Branson in the good ol' Summertime...
College of Ozarks students on the college's farm
photography courtesy of venues
If you’re looking for outdoor fun, fishing, water sports, championship golf, live music shows, world class attractions and dining, “come on down!”
Nearly everyone knows that phrase from CBS’s “The Price Is Right,” the longest-running game show on television. Branson visitors can see — and perhaps be part of — “The Price Is Right, Live!” at the Welk Resort Theatre. Since 2006, “The Price Is Right, Live!” has entertained audiences around the country with the games, prizes and excitement of “The Price Is Right.” More than 50 members of the audience have chances to win prizes including cash, appliances and cars.
The Stage Door Restaurant, across the lobby from the theater, offers a great menu, from appetizers to full-course meals. If you are staying at the Welk Resort, you can enjoy “Splash-a-torium,” the fun and exciting indoor/outdoor water attraction.
Titanic Museum Attraction in Branson has a new attraction: the Survivors’ Wall of Stories. The stories are fascinating and poignant. Of the first-class passengers, 62 percent survived; of second-class, 42 percent; of third, 26 percent; and of the crew, 24 percent. Plaques include their age when they boarded Titanic, age when they died and a brief story. The passenger on one of the “boarding passes,” is Lucinda Parrish; she was 69 when she boarded. She survived, lived in Missouri until after WWI and later moved to Hawaii where she died at 88. Remarkably, another passenger, George Kemish, a fireman who survived, continued to “serve at sea” until the ‘30s. While “aboard” learn why one passenger, George Brereton, used a fake name.
The “Molly Brown Gallery” is devoted to Titanic’s well-known survivor. Brown helped Titanic passengers into lifeboats and onto the Carpathia. Later she formed a survivors’ committee, seeing that every crewmember of the Carpathia received a medal. The gallery includes historically-noteworthy items, such as photos, stories of Brown’s homes, a hutch from her Rhode Island “modest 40-room cottage,” and a dress worn by Debbie Reynolds in the movie “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”
From the 1912 timeline at the entrance, more than 20 galleries, to the Memorial Room where you learn if your passenger survived, “Titanic” is spellbinding for the whole family.
Another exciting family experience is Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction. Thirty-two amazing horses are part of the cast. From fast and furious to light and elegant, the show is remarkable; it includes barrel racing; Roman riding; trick riding; fast wagons; buffalo, longhorns … even racing pigs. The “Spirit of the Bird” is a beautiful aerial feature, and “Belles of the Ball” is exquisite. The newest rivalry, “Rumble in the Tree Tops,” is a fun lumberjack competition. These strong, agile fellows climb, chop, saw and logroll their way through a four-event relay.
During all this fun, enjoy a delicious, four-course feast, that includes creamy vegetable soup; herb-roasted potatoes; hickory-smoked pork loin; tender, whole rotisserie chicken and more. It’s all cooked there in Dixie’s incredible kitchen and served hot and fresh. Plan an early arrival to allow time to enjoy the Horse Walk. The pre-show in The Carriage Room gets everyone in the mood to have a great experience at Dixie Stampede.
Another new show this season is “The Finalists Live!” at Moon River Theatre, starring Top 10 Finalists you watched and voted for on “American Idol.” A live band, backup singers and innovative staging round out the show, making the experience high-energy fun. “Finalists Live!” is on stage through Aug. 18 and is hosted by Peter Peterkin from the 2009 season of “America’s Got Talent.”
Also on Moon River’s stage, this month is Jeerk, a rhythm artist group, and Cat’s Pajamas Vocal Band will be there through December. “Oh What a Night,” a tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, is back in the fall. Andy Williams has special guests each week for his fall shows, including: Dick Van Dyke; Frankie Avalon; Ray Stevens; Pat Boone and Debby Boone; Clint Black; Jack Jones; and The Osmonds. Stayed tuned for the Andy Williams Christmas Show and the Lennon Sisters Christmas Show. The Moon River Grill is a good choice for lunch or dinner, and with late night music and a late night menu, Moon River Grill is the late night place to be.
Outdoor fun and more can be found at Chateau on the Lake Resort and Spa. High above Table Rock Lake, it offers a magnificent view. Enjoy mountaintop tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pools, a full service marina, the wonderful Spa Chateau and excellent dining. The Chateau Grille offers fine dining, and “foodies” can plan ahead to enjoy the “Chef’s Table.” Chef Doug Knopp custom plans the menu — he’s “open to anything.” You also have the choice of being seated in the heart of the kitchen interacting with the culinary team throughout the evening. The dinner is a five-course meal with three wines, as well as wonderful special effects from Chad Horworth, executive sous chef and “chemical guru.” You also receive a custom, signed menu and plate.
Speaking of dining, Level 2 Steakhouse has moved temporarily from the Hilton Convention Center Hotel, which was damaged in the tornado, to the Hilton Promenade Hotel across the street at Branson Landing. Chef Andy Hampshire moved the whole operation so you can enjoy all your favorites. Choose one of five signature knives to dine with; dine there five times, and your name will be engraved on one of the knives for use on future visits.
The Hilton Convention Center Hotel is scheduled to reopen Oct. 1. All 3,800 panes of glass are being replaced. Everything had to be stripped down, and all carpet is being replaced, some of it manufactured in England and will arrive in the United States by ship. The Promenade Hotel takes care of everyone in style. Besides the restaurant, guests enjoy an indoor pool, whirlpool and health club. Located at Branson Landing, it’s close to shopping and lake cruises as well.
Just down the road, Dobyns Dining Room in The Keeter Center is a delectable dining choice. The menu is unique; many ingredients are produced on the campus, from the mill, the dairy, the fruitcake and jelly kitchen and the vegetable garden. Robert Stricklin, executive chef, and the Dobyns students prepare and serve every dish. Service is second to none. Be sure to visit their website keetercenter.edu; at press time, there were still openings for the “Farm to Table” Cooking School, a chance to cook and dine with The Keeter Center Culinary Team.
Serving at The Keeter Center, at College of the Ozarks, is one of more than 80 campus jobs where students work for their tuition at “Hard Work U.” Edwards Mill, an interesting workstation, is a working mill operated by students. Nearby are the greenhouses, home of the Clint McDade orchid collection. The orchids received the highest designation given by the American Orchid Society at the Orchid Society of Greater St. Louis’ Annual Show held at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Kids will enjoy the dairy as well as the Ralph Foster Museum.
“Come on down” to Branson for fantastic family fun!