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I’ll admit, this title may be a little misleading.  Just know this–Branson, Missouri, does Christmas in a big way.  Branson at Christmas time is a Christmas-lover’s paradise.  But if you’re not feeling it yet and you need a little Christmas, Branson will make any Grinch’s heart grow ten sizes.  Here are the my favorite ways to embrace the holidays in Branson. 1. An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City If you only have time for one attraction in Branson during the Christmas season, you should choose An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City.  This 1880s theme park transforms into a magical Christmas town complete with over 6.5 million Christmas lights.  Merry and bright, indeed. Silver Dollar City has so much to offer during Christmas time.  The comfort food is abundant, and you’ll have so many entertainment options that you won’t be able to see everything in one day. …

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 were anywhere near the path of totality for Monday’s solar eclipse, you could feel the sense of suspense as people prepared for an event that hasn’t occurred in the U.S. in the continuous 48 states in over 30 years, and even then a total eclipse was only visible in the northwest part of the country.  In 1991, parts of Hawaii were able to see a total solar eclipse.  But this was different.  For about two minutes, a swath across the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina would be known as the Path of Totality.  With this eclipse being available to so many people across the country, it was inevitable that excitement of the eclipse would grow over the weeks leading up to August 21. To be honest, I wasn’t planning to write about the eclipse.  I was excited to see it, but I didn’t think it would become…

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…

What do you do when it’s the last week of school and George Washington Carver National Monument is between the school and your home?  You stop by and take a walk, of course! It was a beautiful day, so Kristin and I couldn’t resist making a stop here on the way home from school.  I teach in Diamond where the monument is located.  We make the 25-minute drive home every day to Joplin, so we pass by the turnoff for the monument all the time.  It feels like it is in the middle of nowhere, and I guess it is.  The monument is located where George Washington Carver was born and spent his boyhood.  When you make the turnoff, it isn’t long before you see this. There is ample parking in front of the visitor’s center.  There is also no charge for visiting the center or walking the…

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…

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