One of Ventures Travel’s most popular vacation spots is Branson, MO. Groups take in the shows and sights, stay in condos and soak up the atmosphere. Read a blog from one of the travel staff on a recent trip!
Day 1: The Journey Begins – A caravan to MO
This trip is lucky enough to have 11 very excited travelers ready to experience the Branson Holiday Lights! In a caravan of vans, and one fearless lead car, the group headed south. We enjoyed lunch during a stop to pick up a traveler in Faribault and then continued onto Osceola, Iowa were we stayed overnight. But not before the entire group enjoyed dinner at a local restaurant, Nana Greer’s Family Table, where we were able to sing an enthusiastic Happy Birthday to Jenny, one of our travelers (who waited very patiently all day). We had an early night in order to get an early start for Branson!
Day 2: Welcome to Branson – The Oak Ridge Boys’ concert and Mel’s Hard Luck Diner
The two groups split and took on the road separately to Branson. After quite a few more miles, we all made it safe and sound to the beautiful hills of the Ozarks where six incredible condos were waiting for us. Everyone has their own room and bathroom, and the balconies all overlook Table Rock Lake. After unloading the vans with travelers and luggage, claiming rooms, and ooh-ing and ahh-ing about the Jacuzzi tubs (!!!), we loaded back up to head to The Oak Ridge Boys’ concert. But first, we stopped at Mel’s Hard Luck Diner where the wait staff takes turns singing songs – and even though the birthday was Tuesday, the wait staff sang Happy Birthday again which was much enjoyed by everyone.
Day 3: Touring the area and the world’s largest chicken
Group B congregated in one of the condos and enjoyed homemade breakfast of pancakes and sausage. We then loaded up and went into downtown Branson where we went shopping and bought souvenirs for ourselves and our loved ones. The beautiful fall weather was perfect for the outdoor shopping area. There was a water-and-fire show set to the Star Spangled Banner, and then the group huddled up to get a picture with Santa Claus! We enjoyed lunch at Garfield’s where we got to color on the table covering. Afterwards, we made our way to The Legends show where we sang along with Reba McEntire, Nat King Cole, The Blues Brothers, Rod Stewart, and Elvis impersonators. After the show we even got to meet some of them and get pictures! After dinner at a restaurant that boasts the largest chicken standing 70+ feet, we went to our last show of the day: The Haygoods! Talk about entertainment. The six siblings put on an amazing show that everyone laughed and sang along with.
Day 4: Posing with (wax) celebrities
Started the day with another homemade breakfast before going to the Doug Gabriel’s #1 Hits Tribute Show. It was a smaller production which made for an easy start to the day. After the show, one of the stage crews suggested a diner down the road since we didn’t have much time between shows. It ended up that our reservations got mixed up, so instead of seeing the 50s/60s show, we went to the Wax Museum. Everyone enjoyed acting silly for pictures with wax celebrities! It was a great replacement for the change in schedule to get everyone moving and walking around. With the extra time in the afternoon, we were able to go back to our condos to relax and eat pizza before our evening show. Jonah was by far the best production in the prettiest theater of the trip. The Broadway-esque show featured talented actors/singers, beautiful panoramic sets, a whale that came over the crowd, and live animals!
Day 5: The Bretts, Branson Belle Showboat and the Trail of Lights
Once again, we began our day with homemade breakfast. The morning show was back to the Legends theater to see The Bretts – a family made up of mom, dad, and their three adult children performing a family friendly show with music, jokes, and storytelling. Then we went back to the condos for lunch and relaxing before boarding the Branson Belle Showboat for dinner and a show. Everyone enjoyed dinner, as well as the magician, a cappella group, and a violin player who also does an aerial performance – while still playing the violin! Travelers had a great time during the show and walking around taking pictures on the boat and shopping in the gift shops. Afterwards, we drove through the Trail of Lights which is 2 miles of Christmas lights and animated scenes. The black van enjoyed singing our own versions of Christmas carols while enjoying the sights.
Day 6: The Titanic Museum and flying bread!
The group started our day with one last homemade breakfast, and after packing and loading up the vans, we squeezed in one more Branson attraction: The Titanic museum! We spent a couple hours learning about different elements of the Titanic’s short voyage – from how the ship was built, to how the different classes of passengers were treated, and we even received boarding passes with an actual passenger’s information. At the end, we learned if our passenger survived the sinking or not. Afterwards, we pointed our caravan north and headed for Lambert’s Café – Home of the Throwed Rolls. Our big group enjoyed getting hot rolls being thrown across the busy restaurant! A great way to end a fun filled Branson trip. Once again, we stopped in Osceola, Iowa for the night before another half day of driving back home.
Day 7: A relaxing drive and an ice cream goodbye
The whole group was awake and full of breakfast before our scheduled departure time Monday morning, so we hit the road early! Lucky for us, that meant a nice relaxing lunch back in Faribault, and then, once back in the Twin Cities, our group stopped at Honey & Mackie’s for some ice cream, even with the snow falling down! It was a good chance for everyone to stretch their legs, take the last few pictures with our new friends, and share our Thanksgiving plans with each other before heading back to the VT office to say good-bye.