You want to take a trip to Branson, but it’s the middle of winter and most live performers are on their annual break. So, there’s nothing to do there, right?
Branson offers plenty of things to do year-round, even during the winter months when the majority of live shows are on hiatus. What can you do? Well, you could …
Visit Titanic Museum Attraction: I was very excited about visiting Titanic, a Missouri bucket-list item for me. Loaded with artifacts, documents and serving as a great repository for history, Titanic Museum Attraction more than lived up to my expectations. The personal stories are simultaneously heartwarming and gut-wrenching.
Although the artifacts here are many, one simple item struck me most. A passenger’s Waltham pocket watch that stopped at 2:35 – about 15 minutes after the Titanic broke apart and sank (2:20 a.m.). Looking at the timepiece made me think of how icy waters froze it after 15 minutes and sobered me with the realization its owner likely survived those frigid conditions only a few minutes longer.
See the Stars at Hollywood Wax Museum: The building’s exterior features King Kong climbing the Empire State Building; Kong is so huge, he’s visible from various points around Branson. So, it certainly is eye-catching, to say the least.
Located a short drive (about one minute) from Titanic, this museum allows you to get face-to-face, so to speak, with celebrities and pop-culture icons such as Missouri’s own Brad Pitt, western hero John Wayne and everyone’s favorite “Vitameatavegamin” pitchwoman, Lucille Ball.
My favorite section was devoted to horror icons, including Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein, Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, and modern slashers Michael Myers (“Halloween”) and Jason Vorhees (“Friday the 13th”).
You also find retailers in downtown Branson, including Dick’s Oldtime 5 & 10. Need something for the wine lover on your list? No worries, Stone Hill Winery and Mount Pleasant Winery have you covered, and don’t miss Palate Fine Wine and Provisions, located downtown.
Since the kiddos were at home on this most-recent outing to Branson, my wife and I felt compelled to take them gifts. Luckily, they are little princesses-in-training, and more luckily, Tanger Outlets has a Disney store. I’ll just say “10-princess superpack” and leave it at that.
Catch a Show: The Branson Imax Theatre, part of the IMAX Entertainment Complex, has a massive – and I mean massive – screen with IMAX features, plus some of Hollywood’s latest big-screen releases. Seeing a movie on this incredible screen – even if it’s not optimized for the IMAX experience – is something you won’t soon forget. Additionally, the IMAX complex has shops to explore and McFarlain’s Family Restaurant; get the cornbread. You’ll thank me later.
Plus, you will find a select group of live shows still running during the winter months. As of this writing, shows such as Hank Williams Revisited, Comedy Jamboree, Grand Jubilee, it at the Hughes Brothers Theatre, and Branson Country USA Late Show continue entertaining audiences. And, Branson always hosts the Hot Winter Fun Big Show, which features several performers appearing at one venue. This year’s event is Feb. 4.
As you can see, there’s plenty to do in Branson during the so-called off-season. And this is just a sampling; other attractions (such as the Butterfly Palace and the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditorium) remain open in Branson year-round, and several lodging and dining options are ready to welcome you.
All you have to do is go.
(Special thanks to Erin Wicker and Titanic Museum Attraction for arranging our visit.)