Branson with Tweens: A Perfect Family Day
Does your family include skateboarders, dancers or drummers? Get tickets to JEERK, a stomp-tacular rhythm group. The show is located at the Hughes Brothers Theatre, 3425 W. Highway 76, and features singers and dancers performing a rock n' roll show that will delight the whole family. Show times are 10AM Mon-Wed and Fri and 2PM on Sat. Visit the Hughes Brothers website or call 417-334-2484 for tickets and complete show times.
Traveling with animal lovers? See Amazing Pets at the Grand Country Music Hall, located at 1945 W. Highway 76. You'll catch a glimpse of cats and dogs performing amazing tricks, a monkey, exotic birds and so much more. Many of the animals are rescued pets from humane societies across the country. Performances are daily at 10am in select months, including March, May, June, July, August and December. Ticket prices are $29 for adults and $15 for kids, and tickets can be purchased on the website or by calling 417-335-2484. Ask about the family pass for Amazing Pets and the other spectacular shows at Grand Country.
On a sunny afternoon in Branson with tweens, cruise Table Rock Lake on a pontoon boat by renting one from Table Rock Lake Pontoon Rentals at the Port of Kimberling in Kimberling City, just outside Branson. Boats are $60 an hour with a minimum time of two hours and provide your family with a great way to relax and cool off in the lake. To save time, make an advance reservation by calling 1-800-662-9984. If you're looking for a bigger boat (and one you don't have to steer yourself), check out the two-hour tour and show on the 700-seat Showboat Branson Belle at 4800 Highway 165. Kids will prefer the noon and 8PM tours, which feature magician Christopher James or pet ventriloquist Todd Oliver and his three talking dogs. Reservations can be made online or by calling 1-800-775-BOAT. A family of four can sail for $170, and several special offers are available on the Belle's website.
You're sure to be hungry after a long afternoon on the water, so head over to Montana Mike's Steakhouse, where you'll find naturally aged steaks, pasta and salads, and a kid's menu for the picky tweens. There are two locations in Branson, but our family prefers to visit the smaller location on Highway 248. Hours are 11AM-9:30PM Sun-Thu and 11AM-10:30PM Fri-Sun. Call 417-334-5893 for reservations.
If your tween enjoys history, the whole family will feel goosebumps at the Titanic Museum located at 3235 W. 76 Country Boulevard. A visit to this life-size replica of the Titanic is one of the best things to do in Branson and offers the chance to see and feel what it was like to be aboard this ship before it started sinking – and to feel the 28 degree water that passengers felt while it was sinking. At the end, you'll find out whether you were one of the lucky survivors – or if you perished with the ship. Tickets are $18.82 for adults; tweens and kids under 12 are $9.99. Call 800-381-7670 for more information.
The brand new Legend of Kung-Fu show at the White House Theatre, located at 2255 Gretna Road, showcases the art and history of kung-fu – think the Beijing Olympics and its fierce, stylized performances. Visit the website or call 417-335-2396 for tickets. Or, try the Cirque Montage at the Starlite Theatre, 3115 W. Hwy. 76, or Yakov's Moscow Circus, 470 Hwy. 248. Your family will love Cirque Montage, which features former Cirque du Soleil artists. Yakow's Moscow Circus includes food – a box meal with delicious Russian dishes my family can't remember how to spell, but loved. The show is a bit harder to describe, but features a story where a clown (the emcee) is in love with a ballerina, but the two are kept apart by a fiery villainess. Cross this touching storyline with a rowdy circus, and you have Yakow's. Visit the websites for individual show times and pricing, which vary by show. You can also call the Starlite Theatre at 417-337-9333 or Yakov's Circus at 1-800-728-4546. Make sure to ask about special family pricing, which can often save you a bunch on admission.
Two family favorites year after year are the Acrobats of China and Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede. They're drastically different, but always enjoyable. The Acrobats of China Show showcases the New Shanghai Circus. Everyone will enjoy this artistic, amazing show with everything from grace and beauty to athletic, dangerous, gasp-inducing stunts. At the end, your tweens can shake hands and pose for pictures with performers. The New Shanghai Theatre is located at 645 State Hwy. 165. Show times are 3PM and 8PM Mon-Sat and 8PM on Sun; call 417-336-8888 for tickets or more information.
Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede is a Branson staple and a definite must see. To avoid clods the horses kick up, sit in the midway seats and higher. You'll be eating with no utensils and hollering for the North or South. Get there to early to meet the horses while they munch hay in their pens. Shows are daily at 4:40 and 7:10PM, and you can make advance reservations on the website or by calling 1-800-520-5544.
Shop, eat, and sightsee at Branson Landing. Ride the trolley, see the evening fountain show and take a leisurely walk along Taneycomo. In downtown Branson, check out the crowded aisles of Dick's 5 & 10 at 103 West Main Street. Make a deal: kids get to choose one old-time candy treat each time mom or dad says, "Oh, wow! Remember that?" You'll spot the old-fashioned awning and the classic horse ride out front. Hours are 8:30AM-9PM Mon-Sat and 9AM-9PM on Sunday. Call 417-334-2410 for more information.
Arrrr! Our family loves miniature golfing at Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf, located at 2901 Green Mountain Drive. Or, in bad weather, check out the twin courses inside the Grand Country Square at 1945 W. Highway 76. Both courses are affordable and fun: prices range between $6 and $8 per person. Hours for both are subject to change, so please contact Pirate's Cove at 417-336-6606 or Grand Country Square at 1-888-514-1088 for details.
And since you're bound to be starving after such an exciting day in Branson with tweens, head to Mazzio's Italian Eatery for pizza that will hit the spot without breaking the bank. Large pizzas are just $10, and the restaurant offers a large salad bar for parents and veggie lovers. The restaurant is located at 1176 W. Hwy. 76, and is open 11AM-10:30PM Sun-Thu and 11AM-midnight Fri and Sat. Call 417-334-4054 for details. Or, try the steaming-hot, spicy Chili Mac at the local Steak & Shake (503 W. Main Street, 417-336-2565). It's open 7AM-midnight Mon-Thu and Sun, 7AM-1AM Fri-Sat. It's great for late night milkshake runs after your tweens are asleep.
Speaking of milkshakes, check out Andy's Frozen Custard, the local hot-spot for cold treats. Andy's is located at 3415 W. Highway 76, and offers delicious custard treats, including sundaes and scoops. Andy's is open daily year-round beginning at 11AM and closes at 11PM in the winter and midnight in the summer (until Labor Day). Give them a call at 1-888-602-6397 for more details. You can also watch for the "Hot Doughnuts Now" sign to come on at the Krispy Kreme at 150 Tanger Boulevard. The drive-thru is open 24 hours, so you can grab doughnuts for breakfast or a late-night snack. Call 417-339-2664 to find out which flavors they're featuring. Add cold Hiland Dairy milk, and you are ready to close out the best family vacation in Branson with tweens.