Discover the best Branson family attractions in Missouri’s capital of fun when you drive in along Missouri Highway 76. Highway 76 is Branson’s main commercial stretch, with plenty of kitsch and campy roadside signage to entertain the whole family.
It all started with Shepherd of the Hills. Shepherd of the Hills marks the spot where the Ozark’s natural beauty inspired a preacher to write a novel of the same name. When his novel became a bestseller in 1907, so many tourists flocked to see the farmstead location that Branson became a popular destination. Within a decade, new owners were doing re-enactments of the novel on the farm’s lawn. Today, Shepherd of the Hills is a 160-acre, full service attraction themed to the novel.
The size of the Shepherd of the Hills attraction is a good indicator of how Branson’s family attractions have grown. Kitsch lover or not, once you’ve met Branson’s very first tourist attraction, you’ll appreciate the rest. Here’s our guide to the very best attractions, grouped by age.
Great Fun for the Kids
(Toddlers to Age 10)
1945 West Highway 76
Branson MO 65616
Grand Country, celebrating its 50th anniversary, is right on Highway 76. Presenting all-around entertainment for everyone from tots to grands, there’s a hotel, Music Hall for bands and comedy acts, juggling and animal acts. Other Branson family attractions include a lazer maze, black light mini golf, mini bowling, Lazer Tag, spin-zone bumpercars and a play area. The affiliated Splash Country Waterpark is an option for water lovers; passes come with overnight stays.
The Track Family Fun Parks
3388 Green Mountain Drive
Branson, MO 65616
This park features big fun for the little ones. Start with Go-Karts, one of the more popular attractions. Three tracks are arranged by different age levels. Each go-kart is double-seated so you and your child can experience the excitement right next to each other. Kids Kountry is the reason why this is a true family fun park. This ‘mini’ park within the park offers a variety of amusement rides for kids ages 2 and up. Other attractions include laser tag, bumper boats, bumper cars, the 100-foot-tall Skycoaster, Skyscraper, mini golf, arcades and batting cages. Ask about the MultiDay Pass (twice the price of one day) if your kids are really into this.
Fun for Older Children
(Up to Age 18)
Silver Dollar City Theme Park
399 Indian Point Road
Branson, MO 65616
Silver Dollar Theme Park, themed to the 1880s, is one of a kind among Branson family attractions. Activities range from the presentation of over 100 crafts displays, to thrill rides, family attractions and more. There’s always a major festival going on between the months of April and December, such as the autumn Harvest Fest and the Southern Gospel Picnic. Every visitor must experience at least one of the 40 fun-filled amusement park rides, some of which are designed for preschoolers. Others, like Powder Keg, send riders into thrill zone, going from 0 to 53mph in just 2.8 seconds. If the Powder Keg isn’t intense enough, try Outlaw Run or Wildfire, which sends riders looping and flying at 66mph. After the thrills, stop by the many restaurants and shops for a unique style of country and home-style cooking.
423 Fairy Cave Lane
Branson West, MO 65737
Make Talking Rocks Cavern a family adventure outing. Take the 60-minute tour and explore the cave, discovering thousands of beautiful living crystal formations of many kinds, colors and textures. There are other activities both under and above ground such as the Speleo Box Maze. This is a perfect activity for the kids, in which the little ones are able to step into the shoes of cavers as they crawl 150 feet of winding and twisting passage ways to experience and practice safe caving techniques. Look for gem mining and minigolf as well. Kids ages 3 and enter go free.
Fun for the Whole Family
Shepherd of the Hills
5586 76 Country Blvd
Branson, MO 65616
Designed to engage all ages, this theme park based on the bestselling book “Shepherd of the Hills” is located at Old Matt’s Cabin, the lead characters’ home. Prepare yourselves for zip lines, action challenges, guided tours of the restored farmstead and the Inspiration Tower observatory. Catch a dramatic dinner theatre recreation of the novel with more than 90 in cast, plus horses, sheep, mules and donkeys at the outdoor theatre. “Shepherd of the Hills” plays weekly from May to August; other live shows include a murder mystery, ventriloquist and seasonal entertainment.
Shoji Tabuchi Family Show
3260 Shepherd of the Hills Expressway
Branson, MO 65616
For 30 years, the Tabuchi family has been singing, dancing and playing musical instruments as a top Branson family attraction. Shoji, his wife Dorothy, and daughter Christina each has a unique talent. Their performance includes ballads from the 50’s and 60’s, professional choreography and the rhythmic Japanese Taiko drummers. Don’t forget to check out the Lady’s and Gentlemen’s Lounges; hint: bring your camera.
Table Rock Lake
5272 State Highway 165
Branson, MO 65616
Table Rock, one of the largest lakes in the state, is located about 6 miles southwest of Branson in a state park. Enjoy a cool day by the water with your family because there’s rafting, canoeing, jet skiing, and many other water activities. Paddle boats, fishing gear and all sorts of equipment rentals are available. Table Lake is nationally known as a top bass fishing lake. It’s the most authentic of Branson family attractions as several national and regional fishing tournaments are held throughout the year.
Drive Branson Family Attractions along Highway 76 Country Boulevard
Families love short road trips, and a fun one is to approach Branson from the west along Missouri Highway 76. Start under the towering toy soldiers who guard the self-proclaimed World’s Largest Toy Museum. Admire the model trains, antique toys, collectibles, bear museum, BB gun collection and the original manuscript copy of “Shepherd of the Hills!” Nearby, the 150-tall Branson Ferris Wheel, transported from Chicago’s Navy Pier, sells daytime views of the mountains and nighttime lightshows synchronized to music.
More Rainy Day Branson Family Attractions
Continue east on Highway 76 to the huge steam liner replica at the Titanic Museum, at 3235 W. Highway 76 Country Boulevard. Picture what happens when you and the kids walk the gangplank, receive your character IDs, interact with life boats, then traverse the whole ship on a self-guided tour to discover your character’s fate. If it’s lunchtime, pause at the huge spaghetti and meatball dangling off a fork outside Pasghetti’s for a hearty Italian meal. Fortify with dessert then drive slowly and carefully; there’s a lot to see.
Other kitschy attractions include the Hollywood Wax Museum, which provides support to a larger-than-life King Kong statue. Nearby, WonderWorks has the classic upside down house appearance of this chain’s other fun science and wonder museums. New to Branson – sign-posted by the mirrored octopus on its roof — Aquarium at the Boardwalk features a jellyfish infinity room, 10 marinelife displays, underwater tunnels, touch tanks and access to the Boardwalk, a new zone of attractions and entertainment. And if it’s raining heavily, there’s no better way to spend an afternoon than studying the oddities at the Ripley’s Museum Branson.
For more ideas on activities, including information about the more than 100 live shows currently playing in town, visit Explorebranson.com. For more ideas on great places to stay, read our roundup of top Branson Missouri hotels.
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