1) Silver Dollar City What if an amusement park could time-travel to 1880? That’s the idea at this Ozarks attraction packed with thrill rides, musical shows, restaurants and shops. You’ll see artisans demonstrating pottery, glassblowing and woodcarving, as well as costumed interpreters wandering the property to lend an air of late-1800s authenticity. Brave the looping Outlaw Run wooden roller coaster for an adrenaline rush. (800) 888-7277; silverdollarcity.com
2) Branson Scenic Railway All aboard for a lovely 40-mile round-trip jaunt through hilly Ozark country. This vintage train journeys over bridges and through tunnels; sit in one of the three domed cars for the best views. In November and December, the Polar Express takes over with Christmas decorations, hot chocolate and Santa appearances. (417) 334-6110; bransontrain.com
3) Titanic Museum The epic tale of the Titanic never fails to capture imaginations, and this permanent museum nicely balances history and tragedy. The building facade replicates the ship (complete with iceberg); inside, you’ll see re-created state and steerage rooms, along with artifacts from the wreckage. One gallery pays thoughtful tribute to the eight musicians who lost their lives. Parents should be aware that some of the more somber information might be tough for younger kids to process. (800) 381-7670; titanicbranson.com
Titanic Museum. Photo courtesy of Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau.
4) White Water Branson This 13-acre Silver Dollar City water park unveiled KaPau Plummet in 2014—a $1.7 million addition that launches riders down two 245-foot water slides with a knee-knocking 70-degree drop and a free fall into the pool below. The Coconut Cove section caters to toddlers with splash features and pint-size slides. Parents who just want to relax can float with the kids along an 800-foot lazy river. (855) 350-8300; silverdollarcity.com/white-water.aspx
5) Dixie Stampede This Dolly Parton-sponsored attraction combines down-home cooking with a horse show. Pick a seat on the Confederate or Union side, then feast on Southern-style fare like barbecued pork and homemade biscuits as riders entertain with music, comedy and stunts. (417) 336-3000; dixiestampede.com
Dixie Stampede. Photo courtesy of Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau.
6) Ride the Ducks Fun tours on an amphibious vehicle give a good overview of the area with a dash of local history. Kids (and you, too) can take a turn steering the ducks once they enter the lake, and little ones receive “quackers” to make some noise. (417) 266-7600; ridetheducks.com
7) Branson Landing Kids will love the free fountain show that runs hourly starting at noon. Water shoots 120 feet into the air and is coordinated with music, lights and cannon fire. (417) 239-3002; bransonlanding.com
8) Sight and Sound Theatres Bible stories come to life with spectacular staging: high-tech special effects, live animals and rich pageantry. Audience members may find a Roman centurion on a white horse riding inches past their shoulder, angels with swords flying overhead or a camel lumbering up to the stage. (800) 377-1277; sight-sound.com
9) White River Fish House The fish-camp decor—boat motors, fishing lures, lines and nets—leaves no doubt that this family-friendly restaurant is affiliated with the nearby Bass Pro Shop. Large windows make the most of the riverside location. Start with the Alligator Tails appetizer (deep-fried and served with "gator" sauce), and then dig into main dishes like Ozark catfish and buffalo burgers. (417) 243-5100; restaurants.basspro.com/WhiteRiverFishHouse/
10) Branson Zipline Older kids and parents will enjoy the course full of zips, suspension bridges and beautiful scenery just north of town. Adventurous guests can buy a ticket to the 1/4-mile-long, high-speed Blue Streak and complete their tour with a 100-foot free fall on a device designed for training paratroopers. (800) 712-4654 bransonzipline.com
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