Branson, Missouri – August 1-5, 2009

Day 1 (August 1st):
I left the house at 8 am in some terrible rain and drove to Branson. I got there after two stops after 4:30 pm. Britney had already arrived from Minnesota (over a 10 hour drive). The scenery was amazing after I left Texas, but Missouri is VERY hilly. I got motion sickness even though I drove.

As a side note, I saw that I was approaching the intersection of 69 and 40 in Oklahoma. It dawned on me that I was approaching Checotah, Oklahoma. While driving through Checotah (home of Carrie Underwood), I played the song referencing the town. It was a neat distraction from the numbness my extremities were experiencing.

Britney and I relaxed at our hotel a bit (the Boxcar Willie Inn) before heading out for a bit of shopping and dinner at the Hard Luck Café. We didn’t realize that all of the waitstaff at this restaurant alternate singing to the customers throughout the night before we went. We were so pleasantly surprised to find this out. Good food, good service, and great entertainment. It was amazingly neat to find ourselves getting serenaded by Jason Yeager who was an American Idol finalist. He even flirted with me, though I was too naïve to realize it at the time.

Day 2 (August 2, 2009)
We get free breakfast at the hotel, so we were up and got something to eat early so we could hit the road. There were many cool places awaiting, so even though the hotel has a pretty impressive assortment of breakfast items, we just grabbed pastries.

Our first stop was the Talking Rocks Caverns for a cool tour of natural caverns and a light show. 

We followed that up with a trip to <gasp> Wal-Mart. (Britney forgot to pack a toothbrush and didn’t want to continue using Colgate Wisps as her toothbrush.) It was then off to an Interactive Aquarium and Zoo where we saw many cool animals – lions, tigers, and bears (oh my), otters, kangaroo, lemur, hyena, llama, goats, fish, sharks, and many other reptiles and wolves and a leopard and a panther and you get the point.

After the aquarium/zoo, we went to Inspiration Point (a tall building in Branson) for an amazing view. Then it was off to Shorty Small’s for lunch. We had a coupon for a free appetizer. The burger I had was the best burger I’ve ever eaten. Seriously. I wound up taking the burger off of the bun and just eating the meat since it had the most amazing flavor to it. We then did a bit of shopping before heading back to the hotel.

Our show this evening was the Haygoods. It’s a family of incredible musicians. They are funny and entertaining; they sing, play a multitude of instruments, joke around, do backflips off of pianos, and dance. There are 7 brothers and a sister. Some of the instruments we saw them play were: guitar, bass, piano, harp, violin, Irish flute/recorder, accordion, fiddle, saxophone, and some more that I know I’m missing. EXCELLENT!!! And we had front row center seats.

It was then off to Cakes and Creams 50s diner for the most wonderful funnel cakes known to man. Imagine this: huge funnel cake topped with chocolate fudge sauce, whipped cream, ice cream, and a cherry on top. Scrumptious!

I waddled into my hotel room and am now ready to face another day.

Day 3 (August 3, 2009)
We grabbed another free breakfast from the hotel before heading to the Titanic Museum. The Titanic Branson is a permanent two-story museum attraction shaped like the Titanic with many artifacts, movie memorabilia, and interactive exhibits inside (touch an iceberg, learn Morse code, walk the grand staircase, hypothermia pool, and etc…). We purchased the audio tour for $2.50 a piece, and it was really worth it. We were given a “boarding pass” of a real person who was on the Titanic at the start of our journey. It told us snippets about who they were. At the end of the tour you are supposed to find out whether or not your person was one of the relatively few survivors of that dreadful night. My lady, Lillian Mae Thorpe Minahan – a first class passenger, did survive. This museum was really interesting, and I’m quite glad we went. I’m just sad that we weren’t allowed to take photos inside.

After the Titanic Museum, we went to a craft mall for a few hours of local vendor shopping. Britney picked up a lot of stuff. I got something for Terri for Christmas. Then it was back to Shorty Small’s for lunch/dinner.

We headed to the Butterfly Palace to see a 15 minute 3D movie about bugs and see the interactive butterfly rooms. This was really neat. I just think butterflies are gorgeous, so I found it fascinating. We headed back to the hotel afterwards for a 30 minute nap before getting ready for our show.

The show we saw this evening was called SIX. SIX is actually the best ranked show on It is a group of the six oldest brothers from a family of ten sons. They sing, make music with their mouths, and are really funny. The show was really entertaining.

We finished up the evening with some amazing Andy’s Frozen Custard before heading back to the hotel. Another fun day in Branson!

Day 4 (August 4, 2009)
We decided to change breakfast up a bit today and grabbed bakery yummies. I had banana bread and Britney had a blueberry muffin. After breakfast, we headed to The World’s Largest Toy Museum. This museum had some amazing old toys and advertisements. It was really nostalgic. Fun times.

That's right...President Action Figures.  Move over X-Men.

I want to play Davy Crockett and the Alamo.

Skitler got a ride.

We headed to downtown historic Branson after the Toy Museum for some shopping. We hit Dick’s Old 5 and 10, which was much more expensive than a nickel and a dime. We also hit a few retro toy and candy stores. We had lunch at The Shack (a café). We then hit Branson Landing, the Amish Country Store, Branson Mills, and a few other areas for shopping before heading back to the hotel to get ready for Dixie Stampede.

The Dixie Stampede didn’t really allow photography, so I only got a few pictures snuck in – and those weren’t very good. The show is really neat. We had front row center seats and saw an incredible show. The meal was good. We got a preshow beverage in a boot souvenir mug. We later got our choice of tea or Pepsi – free refills. We got a cheese biscuit, vegetable soup, an entire rotisserie chicken, pork loin, corn on the cob, potato, and an apple turnover. Tasty. It was served while we were regaled with a crazy, hard to explain show. There were horses and horsemen/women. There were longhorns, piglets, Shetland ponies, and comedy. It was really good. The costumes were amazing.

We went to Andy’s Frozen Custard again afterward and both got concretes (similar to blizzards).

Seriously good times (except for the blasted heat).

Day 5 (August 5, 2009)
Britney and I woke up and packed up the cars.  We had a buy one – get one half off coupon for the Hollywood Wax Museum in Branson, so we decided to go before heading back to our respective states.

We had a lot of fun at the Wax Museum.  They’ve made it pretty interactive, as you can tell from some of the photos.  They also had factoids at each display about the actor/actress or movie.  Pretty spiffy stuff.

Britney and I then ate lunch at the Uptown Café before heading out.  On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from noon – 2pm, they broadcast Radio Branson live from this diner.  Britney and I were interviewed for the radio.  They asked about us and how we spent our time in Branson.  It isn’t every day you can say you were on the radio, so that was pretty cool.

Britney and I headed opposite directions to take the long drive home.  I stopped to take a few photos of road signs (i.e. Checotah) and got home at 8:45pm.

1 Response
  1. Joan Price Says:

    There is a lot more to do in Missouri than people think. My husband and I are looking up hotels in Branson MO so we can take the family on vacation. I am really excited because I grew up there and I can't wait to share it with my family!