5 Best Photo Opportunities in Branson
Lee Van Grack
1. The Romantic Photo: Showboat Branson Belle
Cruise Table Rock Lake on the beautiful antique-style Showboat Branson Belle, and you'll just feel the love. This classic paddle-wheel river cruiser gives you great entertainment, beautiful lake vistas, and plenty of romantic areas to stop and smooch -- or even propose -- to your sweetheart. The friendly boat staff is more than willing to sneak up and take a photo as you pop the question, so just ask. Wait until the late afternoon/evening cruises for a perfect sunset shot. The early afternoon and evening dinners cost $56 and include the dinner, the ride and a fun, old-fashioned "showstoppers" show. Make sure to stand on the dock in front of the Showboat Branson Belle before you board and take a photo with its classic structure. Ask the captain to join you for added fun; he's more than willing to be in your pictures, but may not be legally able to actually marry you on board!
Take Highway 165 to Table Rock Dam; the Showboat Branson Belle is right next door.
2. The Quirky Photo: Santa Claus at Stone Hill Winery
During the free wine tour and tasting at Stone Hill Winery in Branson, you will find an unexpected treat in the bottling room -- it's Santa Claus! The employee you'll find bottling the Spumante wines (a version of sparkling wine) touts a long white beard and a jolly personality. All right, so it's not the real Santa Claus, but it is the running joke among the other jolly employees. You can even purchase postcards bragging about the winery's famous employee. Before exiting the bottling room, stop and introduce yourself and pose for a photo. Not only is it a great photo of you and your loved ones with Santa in his red long undies, but the treat of having a neat background of the bottling room is an added bonus. The winery is located at 601 State Highway 165 in Branson. Free tours run every 15 minutes.
3. The Family Fun Photo: The Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure
A great family adventure that results in some wonderful photo opportunities in Branson can be taken at The Butterfly Palace, located on 4106 W. Highway 76. This interactive adventure is beautiful inside and out. The outside structure makes for great photos, but inside, as butterflies swarm around you, perching on your clothes and even right on your fingers, you will get the best photos. There are over 1,000 butterflies of all types from all over the world at the palace. The colors of the foliage and the butterflies make for bright and unforgettable photos. The littlest ones in your family can even participate, making lasting family memories. Also part of the adventure are the Living Rainforest Science Center, the Emerald Forest Mirror Maze and the Coconut Tree Climb, so there's plenty to get everyone excited. The Butterfly Palace is open all year from 9AM to 5PM CT daily, except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The cost is $19 per adult and $11 per child or larger groups can get cheaper rates by calling in advance.
4. The Scenic Photo: Marvel Cave in Silver Dollar City
For a $53 ticket, enter Silver Dollar City and enjoy the rides and attractions. But make sure to stop for a photo opportunity in Marvel Cave, where former miners didn't find gold but found plenty of bat guano (feces) to harvest and sell as quality fertilizer. Slip on a jacket and descend via steep staircases to the bottom of the cave where you will find the most amazing attraction, the Ice Cream Stalagmite.
This stalagmite, a limestone mineral structure growing up from the bottom of the cave, is gigantic in size. Its creamy, smooth top and rough, brown base makes the giant structure resemble an immense ice-cream cone. Feel free to take your own photos, and the cave staff will also assist you in taking quality photos for a small price, to be purchased in the gift shop at the end of the trip.
It is truly a unique experience. Silver Dollar City is located at 399 Silver Dollar City Parkway in Branson. Make sure to bring your walking shoes as you'll be taking hundreds of steps to walk through the damp cave (a jacket is also recommended). Restrictions apply for those who are pregnant and have medical issues. The cave is not wheelchair-accessible.
5. The Classic Photo: Table Rock Lake
Here's another photo op in Branson that you may not want to miss. For a beautiful, calm and romantic setting, make a stop at Table Rock Lake in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, on Highway 165 outside of Branson. It spans more than 43 thousand acres and is surrounded by lush tree-lined boundaries. You'll watch as water-sport lovers speed by, fisherman cast their lines in the midst of some of Branson's best fishing, and the calm water creates a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Branson tourists. Any location around and on the lake will make for a beautiful photo. If you're looking for a terrific engagement photo spot, this is it. The size of the lake and the beautiful foliage will ensure top-notch photos, and it is so large that there is always a private area to be found, no matter how busy the lake is when you arrive. Get out your panoramic camera. The view here is breathtaking.