AOL Travel
Print

Best Things To Do in Branson

AOL PICK from our Editors

The best things to do in Branson come in a surprising variety of wholesome and value-priced attractions, augmented by the natural beauty of the Ozarks. Shows are the town’s main draw. Some 50 theaters present live entertainment featuring acrobats, comedy, legends, rhythmic groups, country music, tributes to favorite popular performers and Broadway shows, and more. Wholesome in language and content, the shows tend to appeal to all ages, from toddlers to octogenarians. In recent years, entertainers with greater appeal to younger adults, such as The Texas Tenors of “America’s Got Talent” fame, have been showcased. Although shows go on all year long, entertainers sometimes may be away. If you have your heart set on a specific show, confirm its schedule before booking your trip. In addition to theaters, the Strip teems with top things to do in Branson ranging from toy, auto and wax museums to water parks, go-karts and miniature golf courses. More than a dozen golf courses in and around Branson offer golfers challenging play. Nearby Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo add delightful ways to enjoy the Ozarks. Some of the best things to do in Branson include outdoor activities such as hiking the trails along the lakeshores, taking a cruise, zooming around on a wave runner, fishing for bass or trout, and more.

Yakov Moscow Circus

Neighborhood: Shepherd of the Hills Expressway

If you’re a kid at heart, you’ll adore the Yakov Moscow Circus and think it's the best thing to do in Branson. Part fairy tale, part circus, it transports you to Soviet Russia where a Moscow Circus clown falls in love with a ballerina and yearns to start a new life with her in America. While Russian-born comedian Yakov Smirnoff reads the tale to the audience via video screen, actors play out the story on stage. The action runs from flowing ballet and vigorous Russian dancing to fire-jugglers, and sometimes, bicycle-riding bears . The entire audience becomes part of the show when you’re invited to dinner at the Moscow Circus’ gala send-off to America. With amazing efficiency, servers distribute boxed meals of tasty Russian soup, meatballs, potatoes and dessert to 1,800 people seated in the theater. If you happen to visit Branson when the Moscow Circus is dark, choose from several other shows that especially appeal to kids. Among them are the amazing Acrobats of China, the Dixie Stampede and the Legend of Kungfu.

More Details on

Yakov Moscow Circus  

Legends in Concert

Neighborhood: The Strip

Tribute shows celebrating popular musicians from Elvis to the Eagles are a mainstay of Branson entertainment. Many consider Legends in Concert, here for 12 years, to be the best of them, as well as one of the top things to do in Branson. While most tribute shows focus on only one entertainer or band, Legends in Concert showcases five or more stars, with music spanning several decades and genres. For example, a show may feature a blend of any of the these stars: Garth Brooks, Liza Minnelli, Tina Turner, Buddy Holly, the Blues Brothers, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson and more. The show changes four times a year. Presented in the Dick Clark American Bandstand Theater, Legends in Concert presents a pre-show of rare American Bandstand videos, historic film clips and photos from the stars' private collections. Among Branson’s other tribute shows are the Liverpool Legends, Rocky Mountain High! A Tribute to John Denver & Country Music Legends, and Always Patsy Cline.

More Details on

Legends in Concert »

Titanic Museum

Neighborhood: The Strip

The Titanic-Branson turns the luxurious ship’s fateful maiden voyage into a personal matter. At the entrance, you receive your Titanic boarding pass, which bears the name, description and status of one of the passengers. As you climb the grand staircase, peer into a third-class cabin or first-class stateroom, listen to the ship’s orchestra play, or shovel coal into a huge furnace, you can’t help but seek out exhibits that relate to “you.” The experience flows from the excitement of boarding the Titanic to its tragic ending.  In the exhibits chronicling the final hours, a clock measures how long you can stand keeping your hand in 28-degree water. At the end of the tour, you’ll learn the fate of the passenger whose boarding pass you carry. Plan to spend two hours on your feet. It’s worth it to pay extra for the audio tour so get the most out of the Titantic Museum, one of the best things to do in Branson. The museum is open year-round.

More Details on

Titanic Museum »

Adventure Ziplines of Branson

Neighborhood: The Strip

Thrill seekers eagerly climb the first tower’s 65-foot metal spiral staircase for the excitement of zipping up to 50 mph over a canopy of trees in a secluded hollow paralleling the Strip. With ACCT-certified guides (Association of Challenge Course Technology) at the front and back of each group, riders navigate five zip lines and three rope bridges in about 90 minutes. For an additional cost, compete with a friend on the racing zip lines. Before starting, participants practice zipline techniques on a training cable.  The outfit issues “chicken checks” for a future ride to any who have second thoughts as they climb the tower. Rain or shine, Adventure Ziplines is open daily throughout the summer and is one of the best things to do in Branson for those who have a bit of a daredevil in them.

More Details on

Adventure Ziplines of Branson »

White Water

Neighborhood: The Strip

Plan a day for this action-packed outdoor water park on The Strip. From towering slides for the daring to a shallow playground for little ones, the park supplies wet fun on hot summer days. Thrill seekers bodysurf up to 40 mph down the Kalani Tower’s seven-story freefall slide or ride mats down the five-story racing slide. Others gravitate to tamer options such as careening down Ohana Falls on a large raft. Those who simply want to float and splash around can play in the Surfquake Pool and Lazy River. Private rental cabanas offer a shaded place to relax. The park is open daily in peak season, but only on weekends from mid-August to Labor Day.

More Details on

White Water  

Table Rock State Park Marina

Neighborhood: Table Rock Lake

In hot summer months, Table Rock Lake churns with activity. While parasailers soar overhead, scuba divers explore the lake’s depths. Boats and wave runners cruise on the water, and anglers hope to hook some bass. If you’re in Branson more than two days, head out to the State Park Marina and join the fun. Options include a romantic sunset cruise on a catamaran. Landlubbers can enjoy the refreshing lake setting by walking along the shoreline walkway or basking on the marina dock. Venues are open March through October, but some activities are offered only in peak summer months.

More Details on

Table Rock State Park Marina  

Showboat Branson Belle

Neighborhood: Table Rock Lake

The Showboat Branson Belle rolls three enjoyable activities into one outing: a cruise, dinner and show. The cruise allots plenty of time to stroll the decks and admire the Ozark Mountains surrounding Table Rock Lake. Singers and dancers perform top hits and Broadway classics before, during and after the meal. In one whirlwind set, they perform parts of 29 popular songs, each with a costume change, in just 10 minutes. That alone makes the Showboat a must see, and one of the top things to do in Branson. The comedian turns his act from funny to hilarious when members of the audience assist him on stage. For the best view of the stage and a select menu, treat yourself to preferred seating on Captain’s Row or in the Paddle Wheel Club Room. Libations are non-alcoholic. To see Table Rock Lake with different scenery, take a cruise in the autumn or during the holidays. The Showboat offers cruises March through December.

More Details on

Showboat Branson Belle »

Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure

Neighborhood: The Strip

Watching the magical dance of butterflies makes the heart flutter with joy. This indoor aviary features some 1,000 butterflies in a tropical setting of birds, exotic plants, orchids and other colorful flowers. The butterflies, rainbow-hued from iridescent blue to brilliant orange, glide within inches of visitors walking through the aviary, as if saying: “Look how pretty I am!” Interpretive panels complement the entertaining introductory 3-D movie about their life cycle. Wearing complimentary safari hats, kids (and adults too) peer through huge magnifying glasses at butterflies resting on leaves or drinking nectar from blossoms. The attraction’s Emerald Forest Mirror Maze is fun for many, disorienting or scary for others, as visitors try to find a way through a dark maze walled in mirrors. In the Rainforest Science Center, well-camouflaged frogs and lizards inside glass enclosures create a fun challenge trying to find them in their natural environments. Stunning butterfly-themed artwork throughout adds beautiful accents to the year-round attraction. If you love watching beautiful butterflies, then the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure should be on your list of best things to do in Branson.

More Details on

Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure »

Haygoods

Neighborhood: The Strip

These guys—seven brothers and one sister - have unstoppable energy! Ranging in age from their late teens to early 30s, the Haygoods pack their performances with youthful zest and high energy beyond the norm in Branson. The shows mix original comedy, melodic voices, energetic dancing and electrifying instrumental numbers. To appeal to all ages, the Haygoods do musical selections from a number of decades — but with their own twist. Their arrangement of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” for example, is performed entirely on string instruments: the violin, viola and harp. Perhaps as much for their own enjoyment as for their fans, they create an all-new show every season. Several other shows are also geared more to the under-40 crowd. Recent examples include The Texas Tenors of America’s Got Talent fame and the dynamic Swedish rhythmic group JEERK.

More Details on

Haygoods  

Silver Dollar City

Neighborhood: Indian Point

Branson’s theme park, Silver Dollar City, has been the region’s answer to Disneyland for 50 years. It combines various venues — an amusement park, a cave, a re-creation of an Ozark town, and live theater shows—into one attraction with appeal across all ages and interests. The amusement park’s latest addition, Tom & Huck’s River Blast, guarantees getting drenched at this top thing to do in Branson. Tours of Marvel Cave showcase the Ozark’s subterranean world. Theaters, in which many popular Branson entertainers got their start, feature magicians, music and more. And in the re-created town, artisans demonstrate their crafts, from blowing glass to woodcarving. Seasonal festivals, such as the Bluegrass & BBQ Festival and Kids Fest, add even more variety to Silver Dollar City. During the holiday season, twinkling lights on every tree and structure turn the venue into a magical place. Closed January and February.

More Details on

Silver Dollar City »
See All Branson Things To Do »
ADVERTISEMENT