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If you’re looking for a special place to get into the Christmas spirit, look no further than Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.  Every year during November and December, the park is transformed into a winter wonderland with Christmas touches in every nook and cranny.  My family has been coming to Silver Dollar City at Christmas time for fourteen years, and we often go more than once.  I’d like to share some of the details that make An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City so special while giving you my best tips for making it a memorable trip instead of a miserable one.  Sometimes crowds can dampen even the jolliest of elves’ Christmas joy, so I’ll share with you what I’ve learned through a lot of trial and error. Get to Silver Dollar City Before Opening This really is so helpful in getting the most out of your experience. …

I have been a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan since I began reading her books in elementary school.  I also loved watching the TV show, even though it is pretty loosely based on the books.  As an adult, I’ve wanted to learn more about her life, so I have started taking my family to her homes across the Midwest.  We are lucky to live near to two of those homes–The Little House on the Prairie near Independence, Kansas, and Rocky Ridge Farm near Mansfield, Missouri. Heading to Rocky Ridge Farm I was pretty excited to bring Kristin to Laura’s homes.  She is starting to learn more about her, although currently Jack the bulldog is her favorite character, not Laura. What can I say?  The girl loves animals.  We’ve also stayed a night in De Smet, South Dakota, at the Ingalls Homestead.  That was an amazing experience.  If you’d like to read…

If you’ve ever wondered what life would have been like for the first English colonists who made America their permanent home, then you simply must stop at the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia.  We made the Jamestown Settlement part of our road trip to historic sites in the eastern part of the United States. Jamestown is one-third of what is known as Virginia’s Historic Triangle.  Just to be clear–this is not the actual site of what is now called Historic Jamestowne.  If you want to visit the actual site of the colony and see archeologists in action, then you’ll want to go to the site that is run by the National Park Service.  If we’d had more time, we probably would’ve checked that area out, too. In the end, we decided to visit the reenactment attraction, the Jamestown Settlement, because we thought that Kristin would learn more there. If you are…

Have you ever wondered what the American Revolution would have been like for the average family in the late 1700s?  Just like today, most people were not wealthy; many had small farms and were just trying to survive and maybe even thrive in the colonies.  Our history books tend to focus on the Founding Fathers and their service to our new country, and they absolutely should. But there is more to the story.  While Colonial Williamsburg demonstrates what life would be like in a city or town during the early years of our nation, the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown aims to teach us more about rural life during this time period.  The indoor galleries do provide a timeline of the events leading up to the revolution, the war itself, and a little about the new nation.  The Siege of Yorktown is also highlighted, and the lives and actions of…

I’d like to thank The Butterfly Palace in Branson, Missouri, for sponsoring our visit.  As usual, all opinions are honest and my own. When you think of rainforests, Branson, Missouri, is probably not the first place that comes to mind.  Still, you can get a little taste of the rainforest right here in the Ozarks.  The Butterfly Palace in Branson is a lovely celebration of some of the most beautiful creatures on Earth. Arriving at The Butterfly Palace The Butterfly Palace is at the very end of the “strip” as you head west as if you were going to drive to Silver Dollar City.  The building itself sits on top of a hill. Right inside the entrance is a gift shop filled with many butterfly-inspired items.  It’s fun to just look through this area.  Right in the center of the room is the ticket booth. There are two floors with various…

I’d like to thank the Clay Cooper Theatre for sponsoring our attendance to the performance of Clay Cooper’s Country Express.  As always, all opinions are honest and my own. When you think of Branson, Missouri, you may think of country music shows lining the 76 Strip, or the main highway through town.  That strip of highway is also known as Country Music Boulevard, and those shows make up Branson’s history.  Add the beautiful Ozark Mountains and attractions like Silver Dollar’s City, and you have the family destination of Branson. Though historically those shows featured country music, nowadays the shows along the strip offer a diverse array of music and entertainment options.  Clay Cooper’s Country Express is a wonderful example of a show that does it all–music, dancing, and comedy.  And the music covers so many genres that there is truly something for everyone; your whole family will love it! Before…

Where do you go when you’re in Branson and you want to see some sharks and some wolves?  Branson’s Wild World, of course.  Kristin had been begging to go for awhile, so one rainy morning we decided to make a day trip to Branson to check it out.  Besides seeing the animals, you can also do some other activities like animal feeding and interaction, miniature golf, and a 6D ride theater for an additional fee. We opted to go for just the regular admission of $18.95 for adults and $11.95 for kids, even though nine-hole of golf would’ve only been $2 more for each of us.  In Branson, that is a good deal for miniature golf.  Also, we were told that our ticket would include a visit out To Wild Valley Adventure park in Reeds Spring.  Since the rain was pouring on the day of our visit, we were told…

When I began researching what to do in Savannah, I stumbled across a great little restaurant–The Pirates’ House.  As soon as I saw pictures of this place, I knew we had to try it! As soon as we pulled into town, we headed straight for the restaurant.  Time for lunch! We decided to have lunch here since it’s not as expensive as dinner.  The prices for lunch were really reasonable; they were similar to casual chain table service places.  When we arrived, we were told we had about a 15 minute wait, so we headed upstairs to the gift shop where we saw this guy: We bought a magnet, and soon our table was ready! Guests to the Pirates’ House are seated in various rooms in the building.  This place is billed as the oldest house in Savannah.  Apparently, the place started out as an inn and tavern, but soon…

When Jeff and I were planning a trip to the Black Hills, he was insistent that we make a stop at Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota.  I thought it was a little weird that he wanted to make a stop at a drug store, but little did I know that this is a place like no other.  Turns out, there are many reasons to stop at Wall Drug! This attraction seems to be in the middle of nowhere, and it seems that everyone traveling this way towards the Black Hills knows that a stop here is a must.  We actually planned a stop here overnight after we finished seeing Badlands National Park.  We took some time to pose with celebrities of the Wild West. This store has just about anything you can imagine for sale–there are plenty of touristy trinkets to be found here!  We had a great time…

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