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Christmas in the Ozarks: Silver Dollar City and Branson Belle Showboat
Continuing my Christmas in the Ozarks series, today I am bringing you all the reasons why I think you should make Silver Dollar City and the Branson Belle Showboat two special events on your Christmas in the Ozarks itinerary. If you missed my roundup of everything I love about Christmas in the Ozarks, you can catch up with that HERE.
Now that I have been to Branson, Missouri a few times, there is no other one place that I think that I MUST go upon revisiting Branson besides Silver Dollar City. If I am going to Branson, you can bet I am fitting in a trip to this wonderful place. Silver Dollar City, a family owned theme park, could almost be described as the heart of Branson. Since 1960, the theme park has been full swing but even before that, people came from miles around to visit Marvel Cave, which is right under the theme park! The park was actually built to help entertain the long lines of tourists and locals alike who had come to trek through the cave. Make sure you take a trip through the cave when you visit if you have the time. It is truly a, well – MARVEL!
Themed around the 1880s, Silver Dollar City is a complete step back in time and has been named one of the top 10 theme parks not only in the US, but in the entire world! Sure, it has some amazing modern rides and attractions, like the unique Time Traveler Roller Coaster – a spinning launch coaster like no other anywhere – but even those are well themed to the park and stick with the overall feel of the time period. I really appreciate the little details and attention to story, and you will find that in spades here at Silver Dollar City!
You can find crafters, bakers and candlestick makers as you stroll through ‘town’ on your way from one ride or attraction to another. I find it so easy to get distracted by the skilled men and women blowing glass, working with iron or pouring up one delicious confection after another, and Christmas time has dozens more things to delight and awe the entire family.
An Old Time Christmas
Throughout the park, you’ll find Christmas much like you might back in the 1880s with strolling carolers, horse & buggy rides and tasty treats around every corner.
In addition to the regular year round rides and attractions, an Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City brings in so much more, making this THE quintessential Christmas town. Y’all know how much I love the house of mouse and celebrating the holidays there, well Christmas at Silver Dollar City may have topped that for me!
There are so many great places to shop throughout the park, but Christmas time jumps it up another notch with added locations and all kinds of wonderful Christmas treasures. You can find something for EVERYONE on your list here, but don’t forget to get something for yourself, too! I especially loved the Jingle Bell Junction, where I found my own adorable little roaming gnome, who roamed home to Georgia with me.
It’s Christmas-time and may be cold, so of course you will find delicious warm drinks and foods throughout the park. From the beginning at the entrance to Silver Dollar City where the heavenly scent of baked goods greets you at Eva and Delilah’s Bakery, to stands with hot cocoa, s’mores, quick food locations for skillets, hot dogs and other yummy foods to full service restaurants with even a holiday buffet or two, you can find something to satisfy even the pickiest eaters in your family. You will not go hungry while visiting Silver Dollar City but be sure to save room for that yummy candy made fresh daily in the candy shop. Their peanut brittle may be the best I have ever had and you can bet I brought some of that home with me this time!
Let’s go wassailing!
Wassail is a hot cider drink that I tried for the first time at Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas event, and I love it! Snag your recipe for Wassail and make this yummy hot drink at home for your Christmas celebrations.
With carolers, stage shows and even a nightly parade, your day will stay full for the entire time of your visit. No matter what you decide to do on your visit, you must take the time to see one, if not both, of the amazing productions of It’s a Wonderful Life or Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol. Both shows play several times a day and each last roughly an hour, but it is definitely not time wasted!
We had the chance to see A Christmas Carol and I was taken aback by how fantastic it was. The set, the cast, the music and more make this a show to not be missed. I enjoyed it so much that I want to go back and watch it again – right now!!
Take a train ride!
During Christmas the train does something a little different – a ride through the Christmas story, with lights and narration, telling about the birth of Christ and the real meaning of Christmas.
Silver Dollar City, being family owned, is able to be true to their core values and you will see on your visit that this is evident everywhere. No other theme park I have ever visited actually had a church in the park – and especially not a true church that actually has Sunday services! Besides the church, you will see other indications that faith has a role at Silver Dollar City and I for one love that!
So many lights!
New this year is the Christmas in Midtown light spectacle. Now there are over 6.5 million lights throughout the park, with a large swath of them right in Midtown – a quaint little part of town just off the square where you can meander through the lights and be dazzled from one end to the other.
Ticket prices may vary and there are always great deals, so in order to plan your visit, click HERE for ticket pricing and special offers. An Old Time Christmas goes through January 1st. On January 2nd, the park closes for the winter season so if you missed it this year, you have to wait until March to get in on all the fun Silver Dollar City has to offer., so don’t delay! Make your plans to visit today!
The Branson Belle Showboat
Sailing along beautiful Table Rock Lake is another attraction owned by the Hershend family, the Branson Belle Showboat.
The showboat is a replicated riverboat of the 1880s, built right at Table Rock Lake and launched in 1995. Inside the riverboat you will find a multi-leveled 700-seat theater, which serves up to 2100 meals a day during lunch or dinner cruises. Since its launch, it has sailed countless times, bringing fun moments that become fond memories to everyone aboard.
From comedy to magic plus catchy numbers and audience participation, there is something for everyone during the dinner show. We sailed during the Christmas Show and on top of great musical numbers from the 60’s up until today (I LOVED the soundtracks number!), plus favorite Christmas songs sprinkled throughout the show performed by a wide range of talent between vocalists, dancers, and a four-piece band, you will be rocking in your seat, and not from the motion of the boat! (Speaking of boat motion, do not worry about it – I could barely feel it moving for the entire cruise!)
So the question you have is ‘Will my child be bored?” and while I don’t know your child, I know mine and my grandchild and this is my thought: they may be bored, they may not. I do know certain parts they may find dull, while others will keep them very entertained. I have three kids, albeit now grown kids, and one 4-year-old granddaughter and thinking about all of them at the age of what my granddaughter is now until mid-elementary school aged, I think that will be the toughest age group to keep seated and focused on the show in front of them. As the kids get older, they will be entertained by the magic act, comedy and numbers done to more current music that they will want to sing along with. As the sailing we were on was the Christmas show, I think there will be even more to keep all ages entertained.
Tickets for the Christmas show sailing start at $55 per adult and $28 per child for general seating, and go up for the reserved seating in either Lieutenant’s Row or the Captain’s Club. Price includes the sailing, the entertainment and the meal. You can find shopping and scenery at the ship’s dock, White River Landing, as well as a gift shop onboard plus many places to snag that perfect family photo.
If you are looking for a cruise that really focuses on the kids and family fun, then the Santa’s Pancake and PJs Cruise could be exactly the sort of holiday cheer you are looking for! This looks like so much fun, I want to come back to bring the whole family for this one! Think I can get my adult kids to wear their Christmas jammies*? I know my granddaughter would – and you can bet we’d wear matching ones! (Tickets for this cruise are $35 for adults, $27 for children. Come early as there are activities beginning an hour before sail time.)
(*note: PJs are really only for the kids – you may want to stick with your jeans and ugly Christmas sweater.)
A mixed garden salad, rolls, slow roasted beef, garlic mashed potatoes, honey citrus chicken, green beans and dessert of lemon berry ice cream pie…when I pushed away from the table, I was as full as a tick on a fat dog! All general seating will have the dinner I just described, with reserved seating getting a little ‘extra’ and the ability to order from an extended menu. Food allergens and dietary concerns are noted and they will make sure you get as fine a meal as your non-allergen counterparts.
During intermission, everyone has a chance to ‘go up top’ and stroll along the top decks, taking in the views of Table Rock Lake, the surrounding Ozark mountains and mother nature’s insurmountable beauty. We happened to have the most incredible sunset the evening of our sailing, and after what had been a day of gloom and rain, to come out on deck and see the brilliant colors of the sky reflected across the water and surrounding the lake by the changing fall leaves, I was blown away. I want to go back for this view again and again. Can we go now?!
While you may be able to get same-day tickets for the sailing you are interested it, don’t count on it. Make your plans now and buy your tickets for Branson Belle Showboat HERE.
A Christmas in the Ozarks is special no matter what you do, but if you really want to experience some of the best that Branson has to offer, make plans to visit Silver Dollar City and sail the Branson Belle. You will not be disappointed!
Be sure to keep following along as I detail all that the Christmas in the Ozarks has to offer. Next up, shows!
Until next time, here’s to smooth sailing!