Living In Branson, Missouri | Church, Escape Rooms and Our CRAZY Story!
Our story from young marrieds to church pastors to church planters to escape room owners, and eventually to YouTubers is CRAZY!
Check out our story and our journey from Dayton, Ohio to Cleveland, Tennessee, then to San Diego, Dallas, Colorado Springs, the International House of Prayer in Kansas City and Detroit…before we eventually land in Branson, Missouri!
*Learn more about the drama company that featured our prayer ministry, including prayer in the cave and Mission Manitou here: https://thecivilians.org/productions/this-beautiful-city/
and here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Beautiful_City_(play)
and a NY Times article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/theater/reviews/23beau.html
Read an LA Times article here: https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cosson26-2008sep26-story.html
Watch a video interview here: https://youtu.be/MLD7mEpAK7I
Branson, Missouri | BEST things for YOUNG KIDS
Branson, Missouri is an amazing place to take kids of all ages, including toddlers!
Children love the adventure at places like Silver Dollar City, The Butterfly Palace, Wonderworks, White Water and MORE!
00:54 Silver Dollar City
02:34 Butterfly Palace
04:05 Promised Land Zoo
04:43 Branson's Wild World
06:02 Aquarium at the Boardwalk
07:27 The Track
08:12 White Water
08:48 Dolly Parton's Stampede
09:58 Mini Golf
10:45 Grand Country
Fall In Branson | Best things to do in 2021
Fall is here in Branson, Missouri! Check out some of the best things to do in Branson in the fall!
From incredible pumpkin sculptures and delicious treats at Silver Dollar City to harvest events at Shepherd of the Hills to Downtown Branson happenings, fall is a great time of year to visit!
Chocolate And Popcorn | Cole's Chocolates and Popcorn in Colorado Springs, Colorado
When you live in a vacation town the fun never stops!
My wife Amy and I along with three of our five children arrived home to Branson, Missouri the other day from a ten-day trip to Colorado and Oklahoma.
The day we returned, we had an appointment set on a private boat cruise on beautiful Table Rock Lake, at sunset, with fireworks popping all around. After a five-hour drive from Oklahoma we found ourselves standing on the dock at a marina at Big Cedar Lodge ready to board. My wife said, “It's like we returned from vacation to go on vacation.”
Living in a tourist destination like Branson, Missouri provides non-stop opportunities for fun, entertainment and relaxation. Over the years we have lived in several “normal” places like the suburbs of Dallas, Kansas City and Detroit, so we understand the typical lifestyles those localities offer. The predictable, “What do you want to do tonight,” is followed by the even more predictable, “How about dinner and a movie?”
We ask that question in our family too, but the answers are vastly different in our hometown.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO TODAY?
The options are endless, and after living here for the past six years we still haven't run out of things to do. (I always find it humorous when people wonder if there's enough to do here over a one-week vacation.)
On any given day or night, wondering what we could do is answered with innumerable fun-packed opportunities. The most difficult part is choosing from them all!
As season pass holders at Silver Dollar City, a short five-minute drive puts us right in the middle of this special place. Walking around, smelling the delicious food, watching the happy people, viewing the beauty of the Ozarks, listening to phenomenal musicians, enjoying remarkable shows and riding world-class rides is at the top of our list when thinking about things to do as locals in Branson. It's not uncommon for us to visit Silver Dollar City three or four times a week.
A day at one of the lakes is an exceptionally good day indeed. Whether you are swimming, fishing, tubing, boating, water skiing, scuba diving, cruising on the Showboat Branson Belle or simply enjoying the beauty from the banks, Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo provide world-class fun and refreshing.
From there the choices multiply by the hundreds. From mini-golf to attractions like Wonderworks, The Aquarium at the Boardwalk and The Butterfly Palace to water parks to incredible shows to golf, hiking, shopping, amazing restaurants and, yes, even movies, you will never run out of things to do.
Add to this the many more amazing places to visit within an hour or so like the unparalleled Buffalo National River and your options multiply yet again. Another hour or two gets you into larger cities like Kansas City, St. Louis, Little Rock, Tulsa and Oklahoma City, so you have the very best of both worlds at your disposal.
WHY SO SERIOUS?
Amy and I have determined there's no place we'd enjoy living more than Branson, but if we had to move it would have to be to another tourism epicenter. Gatlinburg, Orlando and Myrtle Beach are a few localities we've considered.
As we were driving home from vacation (to our never-ending Branson vacation) we wondered why in the past we were so serious. Go to work, mow the lawn, pay the bills, watch some television, go to bed and do it all over again. Truth be told, we've always been more adventurous than that, but it wasn't until we moved out of suburbia that we realized there was so much more!
Yes, we still make sure the lawn is maintained and that our bills are taken care of. We run businesses and do the more serious stuff every day. We are also invested in ministry projects and I find myself writing several days a week for various publications. Life goes on and the mundane stuff happens. But, after that, the party begins!
When we were deciding what niche our YouTube channel should be centered on, it was obvious that it had to be vacation oriented. The result was TPF! Travel which stands for Trips, Places and FUN!
We come alive when we are at theme parks, water parks, shows, hiking on trails, on our scooters in exciting new lands and discovering amazing new restaurants, attractions and places to visit. Living in a place like Branson, Missouri (the best places in the nation to live, in our opinion) makes all of that easy to accomplish. The videos on our channel reveal just how much fun we are having and we believe it shines through to our friends and fans.
The thought of living anywhere except an entertainment-focused region makes us a little sad. Living in Branson keeps things exciting, and when we travel we aren't disappointed when the vacation ends. All that means is our year-around vacation in Branson is set to continue!
As I peruse the various Branson vacation related Facebook groups, one of the top questions I notice from visitors is, “What are some fun things to do for kids?”
Well into a dramatic transformation that includes a much greater focus on kids and family, many still presume Branson to be mostly for the older generation. While Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa have a myriad of exciting choices in entertainment, Branson is also overflowing with fun things to do for the kiddos!
Silver Dollar City
Those who ask if Silver Dollar City is good for kids have never been to Silver Dollar City. Entire sections of the park have been designed with children in mind. You'll find theming and attractions that are a huge draw for toddlers, teenagers and everyone in between. Both Firemans Landing and the Grand Exposition have several fun rides for the youngsters.
In addition to these kid-focused areas of the nation's number one theme park, riding toddler and kid friendly mainstream rides like Tom and Huck's River Blast, The Flooded Mine and the Frisco Silver Dollar Line ensure the entire family will have a full day of fun. Of course, the older kids will be all about Mystic River Falls, Outlaw Run and the many other coasters and thrill rides. Silver Dollar City is a must do on your next Branson vacation.
Every child regardless of age loves a water park, and Branson has both indoor and outdoor varieties. Whether it's Silver Dollar City's White Water, Splash Country Water Park or the lesser known local favorite Branson RecPlex you'll find a way to stay cool as you splash and float with the kids.
The shallow pools for toddlers, the giant buckets and water playgrounds along with all of the more daring adventures will satisfy everyone in your family.
After the recent opening of Copperhead Mountain Coaster at the Shepherd of the Hills Adventure Park, Branson is now home to three thrilling mountain coasters. In a double capacity coaster, a child can ride with mom or dad (or an older brother or sister) and enjoy the twists and turns through the trees. A splendid feature of mountain coasters is the ability to choose how fast or slow you go. If zipping through the mountainside is a bit too extreme for the younger ones, pull on the breaks and enjoy a leisurely cruise along the ultra-smooth rails. Not only will a slower ride make your experience longer, but you'll enjoy some extra quality time together on one of Branson's truly unique experiences.
A visit to the free fish hatchery at the base of Table Rock Dam along the shores of Lake Taneycomo is a must do for families with kids. Mom and Dad will appreciate the beauty and wonder of this part of Branson but the kids will have a blast watching thousands of hungry trout battle for the fish food they toss into the water.
Mesmerized is the right word to describe the reaction your entire family will have as butterflies flutter all around. Be sure to bring your camera as this is a prime spot for capturing some epic memories.
While kids of any age can experience many escape rooms (some have age limits, so be sure to check before booking), kids over five or six will have an especially amazing time. Of course, some themes may be less appealing to some kids, but many are perfect for people of all ages. Stepping into dramatic, mysterious and exciting themed environments that are filled with wonder is sure to be something the entire family talks about well after the experience is complete.
It would seem axe throwing would not be an obvious choice for a kid-friendly attraction, but you'd be quite surprised at how much the older ones love it! Depending on the requirements at your local axe venue, kids who are at least eight to ten or so have the time of their lives hitting bullseyes along with your entire family.
Little one's eyes light up at everything they can do at The Track Family Fun Parks. You'll find go-carts, rides and other attractions designed for various ages. Bumper cars, bumper boats, the giant Ferris Wheel and other options will keep you going all day (until mom and dad decide it's time for a nap)!
Buckets N Boards
The extreme energy, musical wizardry and incredible rhythms will capture even the most distracted kid's attention at Buckets N Boards. This show was designed with kiddos in mind all while keeping your entire group at the edge of their seats.
Other shows the younger ones will enjoy include Hamners' Unbelieveable Family Variety Shows, the Amazing Pets Show at Grand Country and Reza.
Table Rock Lake
Whether you splash around on a beach or rent a pontoon boat for the day, kids young and old will have an incredible time. From swimming to fishing to tubing, Table Rock Lake provides loads of fun for all! Plan on spending the entire day on the lake or just a few hours. A picnic lunch works great or head out on your boat to one of the lakeside restaurants.
Dolly Parton's Stampede
Watch your kid's eyes light up as they jump up and point at the beautiful horses as they are ridden across the arena, through a right of fire and around obstacles. Other animals also make an appearance as does hilarious comedy and a delicious meal!
Aquarium at the Boardwalk
I don't know if I've met a child who doesn't love aquariums, and Branson's offering is absolutely stunning. You can also upgraded to their FIVE'R ticket and enjoy the Hollywood Wax Museum, Castle of Chaos, Hannah's Maze of Mirrors and Shoot For The Stars Mini-Golf. This will give you a full day of big fun for all of the kids and adults in your group.
What kid wouldn't love to venture into a massive upside-down house? Wonderworks offers hours of fun and education in this science-oriented adventure.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of things to do for kids in Branson. (Speaking of an iceberg, don't forget to check out the Titanic Museum too!)
Depending on their age you could also consider summer snow tubing at the Snowflex at Wolfe Mountain, ziplining, Ripley's Believe it or Not, Bigfoot on the Strip and other exciting attractions. The list seems quite endless. Whatever you choose to do with the kids on your trip, it's sure to be a vacation filled with wonderful family memories!
While spending time in the beautiful outdoors in the Ozarks is something that should be at the top of our vacation agendas, there are some amazing indoor attractions as well. When it's too hot, cold or wet, or really at any time during your visit to Branson, head into the great indoors!
Today in Branson I felt like I could fry an egg on my forehead (though I don't see why I'd ever do that). Our family thoroughly enjoys spending quality time outdoors hiking, at Silver Dollar City or at places like Shepherd of the Hills and Branson Landing. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons not limited to the weather, we love to venture inside. Branson has some world class indoor attractions for the entire family!
You can check out full-length videos on all of the following attractions on our TPF! TRAVEL YouTube channel!
Aquarium at the Boardwalk
Amy and I were excited to be among the first to visit this brand new and highly anticipated aquarium in Branson. The gigantic octopus outside threatens to grab passing cars on 76 Country Boulevard with it's massive tentacles. If you can avoid capture, you'll be overwhelmed by the unique, festive aquarium environment inside. While the Aquarium at the Boardwalk isn't the largest aquarium, it makes up for that with it's beautifully themed and well designed home for all types of sea life. We'd also recommend their FIVE'R pass that gives you access to the Hollywood Wax Museum, Castle of Chaos, Hannah's Maze of Mirrors and Shoot for the Stars Mini- Golf.
The Titanic Museum is one of Branson's premier attractions, highlighted by excellence and attention to detail throughout. You'll be awed by the iceberg and ship as you enter the parking lot, and then overwhelmed upon entering the exhibit. After assuming the identity of one of the ship's actual passengers, you'll experience a variety of museum pieces, actual items from on board the ship, interactive elements and the powerful yet sobering story of this great ship.
The upside down house as many refer to it as is a newer addition to the Branson skyline. You can't miss the beautiful monstrosity as it hovers over the passing cars and people walking along the Strip. Once inside you'll have hours of entertainment awaiting you. Science exhibits, rides, games and other fun diversions will keep the entire family engaged.
Beyond The Lens
If celebrities and tabloid news interest you, Beyond The Lens is a must stop. You'll go hands on with various interactive kiosks, play games and dive deep into the world of the famous and infamous. You'll definitely want to check out Flyride, a theme park level attraction that has you flying over our amazing planet.
Little ones, older ones and mom and dad will be all smiles as innumerable and glorious butterflies sputter all around. This stunning rainforest environment is the perfect home for some of natures most adored creations. Be sure to bring your camera and prepare for these colorful friends to land right on you!
Escape Code & Sagas Mysteries
As many of you know, Amy and I own three businesses in Branson. Escape Code and Sagas Mysteries are two of them, and if you are into dramatic and engaging mystery solving, you must stop by! Escape Code was recently awarded the fifth best escape experience in the nation and has five thrilling games to choose from. Visit a whimsical dwelling Journey Through Elek's Hollow, evade a massive tornado in Vortex or discover what happened to a missing tenant in The Guest House. Sagas Mysteries takes the escape experience to another level altogether. It's a unique, one-of-a-kind escape adventure with immersive sets, interactive video and many rooms for you to investigate.
The Axe Game
We also own Branson's original axe throwing venue. Hurling steel is huge fun for those aged eight and up! After a safety briefing and axe throwing tutorial, you'll spend sixty minutes playing games, competing with others in your group and feeling the rush of hitting bullseye after bullseye!
The moment you walk into Fritz's Adventure you'll transform into a child again as you gaze upon the many things you can climb, crawl into or investigate. Bring your energy, or at least make sure your kiddos are rearing to go as the ropes courses, climbing walls and many other physically invigorating things to do will wipe you out, and you'll love every minute of it!
Of course we have to highlight the backbone of Branson, the many theaters and music shows. After a long day in the hot sun it feels great to settle into the air conditioned theater as you munch on snacks, drink cold drinks and get ready for an electrifying show! The number of shows is large so do your homework and find some favorites. In fact, you can go to shows morning, afternoon and night if you'd like! Some of our favorites are Bucket's N Boards, The Haygoods, The Presley's, Smoke on the Mountain and Reza.
Sight & Sound Theaters
No visit to Branson, no matter what the weather is, is complete without experiencing the spectacular productions at Sight & Sound Theaters. This breathtaking and better than Broadway experience will leave you stunned, shocked and awed by the message, the technical wizardry and incredible actors. Trust me, do not miss Sight & Sound on your next Branson vacation!
Branson Christmas Lights | Promised Land Zoo Drive Thru
It's Christmas Eve! John, Amy and the entire family load up into the van and head out to one of Branson's several drive thru lights experiences…Promised Land Zoo's Let There Be Lights!
Branson is America's premier Christmas destination, and the lights all over town are stunning!
At Promised Land Zoo you can choose a car load or a VIP tour and experience reindeer, Santa, have some hot chocolate and MORE!
Branson Missouri Hotels | Paradise Point Presidential Suite
Amy takes you on a tour of the AMAZING Presidential Suite at Paradise Point in Hollister, Missouri, just outside of Branson, Missouri!
You'll see the beautiful indoor/outdoor swimming pool, the lobby, a mini-golf course and, of course, the two story Presidential Suite!
The views are stunning from the deck and from the master suite which takes up the entire second floor! Fireplaces, a pool table, a state-of-the-art kitchen, washer and dryer, three bathrooms and so much more make this the perfect vacation condo!
Is this the best condo in Branson? You decide. As you are looking for lodging, condos, vacation rentals, resorts or a hotel, most definitely keep Paradise Point, a Blue Green Resort, in mind!
Mystic River Falls and Silver Dollar City Updates!
Mystic River Falls at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri is getting VERY CLOSE to opening!
You can take a look at this exciting new Silver Dollar City river ride both from the train and at Fireman's Landing.
John also takes you around the park and shares info and updates.
#silverdollarcity #mysticriverfalls #branson #travel #vlog #trips #vacation