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TPF! Travel Adventures: Trips, Places and FUN!
John and Amy share tips and ideas on how to add adventure and family fun to your life, on a budget, whether at home or traveling!
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Hi everyone! This is Amy with TPF! Trips, Places and Fun! And today we're going to be talking about some of the fun things you can do on the Branson strip, highway 76. This is the place where all the fun happens. It's also the place where you may run into some traffic, but there is so much fun stuff around you that we're hoping that even in the midst of bumper-to-bumper traffic you will be entertained. So we're going to just start by, if you are coming back from Silver Dollar City, so, Silver Dollar City is in Branson West, if you were coming down all the way towards the Landing. We're just gonna start and pick out some different attractions along the way.
THE BUTTERFLY PALACE
So the first attraction you would encounter as you're heading down from Silver Dollar City is the Butterfly Palace. Head on in there. They have a great place where you can see all sorts of butterflies flying around. The kids can grab an explorer's hat and some magnifying glasses and just check out all the lovely butterflies. It's like something you've never seen. They also have other exhibits, so they have a reptile exhibit they they even have a mirror maze. So there's other places in Branson where you can pay to go through a bear maze, but here it's all included in your ticket and it's a really great maze too. I can't always find my way out, or sometimes I come back out the entrance which isn't what you're supposed to do, but it's a lot of fun.
BIGFOOT ON THE STRIP
Alright, so heading on down I'd like to highlight Bigfoot on the Strip. If you just want to be flung into the air or do some death defying drops through things like that you can do that here at Bigfoot on the Strip. I was not brave enough to do them, but my husband and my boys were, so they did it. They had a lot of fun. There's also a movie ride you can do, even participate in the arcade, mini golf, all sorts of fun things like that.
So afterwards you are going to pass White Water. White Water is owned by Silver Dollar City. It is so much fun in the summer, lots of water slides, you know, the lazy river, the wave pool, all those traditional things that you'll encounter at a waterpark. So definitely check out White Water if it's hot and you want to cool off.
Across from White Water, if you decide you're hungry and you want to stop for a bite, there is Cici's Pizza. Now you have Cici's probably all over the place but there is a really great arcade in here so you can stop for some pizza and also have some fun playing some games with the kiddos. Really, you know, the traditional Cici's, but they're right on the strip and very convenient and fun.
RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT
Who could pass up Ripley's Believe It or Not? So you'll see this huge robot just standing outside. You'll get in there, you will see all sorts of unique oddities that you can't see anywhere else anywhere, from the world's tallest man, the shrunken heads, it's all in there. So if you want to gain all kinds of knowledge about stuff you never knew you needed to know about, head on in to Ripley's Believe It or Not.
BRANSON FERRIS WHEEL
Across from Ripley's is the Branson Ferris Wheel. Now this was brought in from Chicago and now it’s an icon or a landmark of Branson. You can see it from all over the city, especially at night. It's so gorgeous. It's all lit up. Sometimes they'll do light shows on the Ferris Wheel, so definitely look at it. Check it out even if you're not going to ride it. The Ferris Wheel is owned by The Track, and the track has several locations on the strip. So if you want to play some arcade games, play some laser tag, go go-karting, things like that, definitely check out one of The Track locations.
The next thing I'll highlight on this trip is the Titanic Museum. Now this is a sobering yet exquisitely done tribute to the sinking of the Titanic. You will see all kinds of artifacts, you'll be given all kinds of information. There's an interactive exhibit. It's great for people of all ages, all the way, you know, from kids, all the way up through adults, and there is so much to do and see here. It really is a beautiful museum and it's so immersive sometimes you feel like you're right there on the Titanic in the midst of the action, so it really will pull at your heartstrings. It is, of course, the sobering story of a sinking of the Titanic, but really well done and something I highly recommend.
HOLLYWOOD WAX MUSEUM
Next you will see a giant monkey, gorilla, but not monkey, there's a difference. You'll see a giant gorilla crawling up the side of a building. This is of course King Kong, and you are at the Hollywood Wax Museum. You can go in there. The great thing here is that you can take pictures with all these celebrities, who of course, they're in wax form, but that's really fun. Lots of great photo ops. There they also have mini-golf. There they have the Castle of Chaos, which is kind of like a scary interactive movie ride type thing. And they have a mirror maze, so you can check out all that out or just at least hit the wax museum if you just want to do one thing, because it's pretty cool.
Across from the wax museum, I just want to highlight one of our favorite shows in Branson, and that's Buckets-N-Boards. Come on out and see Matt and Gareth, they are a hoot. So not only is it percussion, as you might imagine, but there is also improv comedy, singing, even some gymnastics moves, a little bit of everything here. I believe they run probably spring and summer so check out their schedule on Buckets-N-Boards dot-com. That's buckets the letter n boards dot com. You'll have a lot of fun there.
GRAND VILLAGE SHOPS
Heading further down Highway 76, you're going to come to the Village Shops. So lots of great little shopping and dining in this area, but we just want to highlight one of our favorite restaurants in Branson, and that's the Sugar Leaf Bakery and Cafe. Great food here, especially if you want to check out some sweets, you cannot find anything better in Branson. So we will talk more later in a subsequent video about our favorite restaurants in Branson, so make sure you press the like button, subscribe and hit that bell so that you can hear more about that when the time comes.
A little bit further down the strip you're going to come to Grand Country. Grand Country has a little bit of everything. They have Splash Country, which is an indoor water park. They also have a variety of shows to choose from. There was an animal show, there's comedy shows, country show, so come check those out. There's a great buffet, so if you're wanting to get some good home cooking, you can find that there. They have the Fun Spot, so some arcade games indoor go-cart, mini golf. It's great for everybody, so come and check it out.
DOLLY PARTON’S STAMPEDE
No trip to Branson would be complete without Dolly Parton’s Stampede. Do you agree with me? Let me know your favorite Branson must-see the comments below. Now the Stampede is a dinner theater, so you're gonna get a great meal. You get to eat with your hands, all different courses, you will be so full when you leave here. And you'll be watching a show with, of course, a lot of horsemanship, but also a ton of audience participation, some singing, some comedy, a little bit of everything, Really a great, can't be missed show.
Next door to the Stampede, you will see Fritz's Adventure. It cannot be missed. Head on in here in any kind of weather and you can experience a ropes course, some climbing obstacles, some laser thing that you got to try to get down under, tons of things. You can climb into an airplane that's hanging from the ceiling. This will give you a workout, so if you want to get in there and you want to burn some calories this is the place to do it. Fritz’s also hosts the Aerodium, so if you are the brave type and you want to go flying through the air, check this out. It's pretty incredible. I haven't done it yet, not sure if I'd be brave enough. As you can probably tell by now I'm not the bravest person when it comes to crazy or unusual rides but for those of you who are, this is probably just the thing for you.
Heading a little further down the strip you are going to pass through downtown. So downtown Branson has lots of great shopping and dining. They have Dick’s Five-and-Dime, which is a little general store that's been there forever. Lots of great things to see and do there so definitely make sure to just take a break, walk through downtown, if you get a chance.
BRANSON SCENIC RAILWAY
Now going through downtown you're going to go pass the Scenic Railway. If you want to take a gorgeous, scenic trip into Arkansas, and that also goes through some scenic areas in Missouri, depending on which way they're going. Definitely make sure to check this out. My husband and I took the dinner train and this was fabulous. We got to eat as we watch that beautiful scenery go by. It's a real treat.
So 76 is gonna dead end into The Landing. Now The Landing is this really cool outdoor shopping mall, lots of places to eat, play and dine there, so you definitely want to check it out. In the middle of it they've got this really cool fountain water, fire thing where you can see shows every hour on the hour. So make sure you stay around for that.
Now I really hope you've enjoyed this scenic trip down the Branson Strip. I just picked out a few of the things that there are to see and do. There was really so much I could never cover it all, but these are some of my favorites. If you have some favorite, comment in the section below and we'll see you next time. Safe travels everyone!
AMY: Hey everyone! This is Amy with TPF! Trips, Places and Fun, and I'm here with John, and today we're going to be talking about the Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri. So we have a little known fact or a fun story for you at the end so just hold off to the very end and hear what we have to say. You're not going to regret it. Now, the Wonders of Wildlife has been voted America's best aquarium and the best new attraction by USA Today, so this is definitely something you want to get out there and see. It's by the creators of Bass Pro Shops, Johnny Morris, and you'll want to know that this is separated into two different areas. So you have the wildlife galleries and you have the aquarium, and you can see one or the other or get a combo ticket to see both.
JOHN: So after you purchase your tickets, if you choose to go to both attractions, you're gonna go to the wildlife gallery first, and I'll tell you, it's absolutely overwhelming. All of the exhibits and the details and and the plaques that you can read and the information; definitely way more than we could ever address here in a short video. So take your time, if you have the time, take the time read all that you can read, look at everything that you can.There's phenomenal, beautifully done scenery and the animals are placed in real life type of scenes and it's themed in a way that I've really never seen anywhere else in my life, and I've been to a lot of different museums and aquariums and things like that. It's amazing. And so you're gonna see a variety of things including a Native American gallery. You're gonna see all sorts of different artwork and sculptures and various types of scenery and things like that. You're gonna look at Roosevelt's cabin, very, very cool. You're gonna walk in and you're gonna see a little fire in the fireplace, and you know, everything that they do here in the museum makes you feel like you're really there, especially the outdoor scenes, which that's really hard to pull off. They did it here. Many of you know the brilliance of Johnny Morris and Bass Pro they know how to do this. They do it so well. You're gonna see bucks and bulls and wolves and so many different types of animals. You're gonna see something called Sheep Mountain. It’s super cool. Amy really loves this, don't you Amy? Why don't you tell them about this.
AMY: This is totally cool. Lighting cycles through a 24-hour day every three minutes, so it's getting lighter, than it, you know, dawn comes. Then it starts to, you know, go throughout the bright day and then dusk comes, and then it gets dark. And so it's really cool to see that cycle as you're going through that, through that exhibit. That lighting is cycling through and it just adds such a cool level of immersion.
JOHN: And correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I heard one of the staff members share today that they actually adjust the temperature as well, is that right?
AMY: That’s what I heard. The lighting is changing throughout the day and the temperature is also changing.
JOHN: So it's going it's getting warmer during the day, cooler at night, and so it's just one of those touches that just it's kind of mind-boggling that they, you know, added the detail like that. And so that's something that's, it's really pretty amazing, you know. Additionally, you're going to see something that they call Africa at night. And that's a, it's a really cool scene there. One thing to take note of, you are going to walk into a polar area that has penguins, and this is the only the only scene in the wildlife gallery that actually has live animals, is that right?
AMY: Yes, as far as I know this is the only place where you are going to see live animals. Most of the live animals are over on the aquarium side.
JOHN: So it might make sense that, you know, if you are only going to go to the aquarium and, something in the back of your head tells you that you want to see the penguins, you're not gonna see the penguins in the aquarium. The penguins are in the in the wildlife gallery, and so just keep that in mind, but those guys are really cool, those penguins, they're swimming and just doing penguiny kind of things, I guess.
AMY: Right, super cute.
JOHN: And so you're gonna you're gonna see the penguins there. There's tunnels for the kids to crawl through and to pop up and to see a different point of view there as the penguins are swimming around. Additionally, different areas there, and and I'm not going through all of them. I'm just selecting a few that stood out to me. There's a walrus and polar bears. There's a lion's den and so many different, just, just really, really cool things. So again, you take your time, walk slow, enjoy yourself and when you are done with that segment, you are going to emerge overlooking the aquarium and it's it's a stunning transition, coming out of what feels more, or I don't even know how to say it, maybe more natural or older or old into something that's that's suddenly vibrant and blue and fresh and it's really pretty amazing. And so we're going to talk about the aquarium, but before we do that, we need to stop and get something to eat, and I think there's a great place to do that.
AMY: Between the wildlife galleries and the aquarium you will find Fish Tales Cafe. Now this is a great time in between the galleries and the aquarium to kind of take a breather, relax a little bit, and grab a bite to eat at Fish Tales Cafe. They have a lot of great food. You'll find pizza. They even have gluten-free pizza so if you need that, that's there for you. They have some vegetarian options. They have salad, they have sandwiches, so lots of great things to eat. They even serve Andy's Frozen Custard, so if you're in the mood for some dessert you can get that there too. As you're sitting there you can see the penguins swimming up and down, there's a little aquarium there inside the cafe itself, so that's fun to watch as you're eating. And then you can just get refreshed, take a breather and then head on into the aquarium.
As John said earlier, the entrance to the aquarium is stunning. You've got an aquarium that's probably a couple of stories high and there are fish swimming the whole height of it. All around are different exhibits and you just walk kind of into this blue lagoon.Iit's it's hard to describe, but it is amazing once you get into the aquarium. There's so many different things to see and I'm not going to cover all of them because it would just be impossible in this short video, but I'll just highlight some of my favorites. You go through Shipwreck Reef, and this is another thing with it, when you walk through the doors and you see Shipwreck Reef, you're just stunned. It is just so immersive and so cool. Johnny Morris is not disappoint. You will just have to see this for yourself. Then, as you go past Shipwreck Reef, you can go past a theater. There's some different things to do in there. But then you can go into the swamp at night. Now, this takes immersion to a whole new level. Just as John was saying earlier they are able to make you think you're outside when you're inside, and so it's like you're walking through the swamp. You're walking across like this kind of swinging bridge, this rickety bridge, into a treehouse. Just so many things to do and see here, and lots of live animals to interact with. And it's not just fish. It's not just the things you might think that you would see in an aquarium. But you'll also see birds and turtles and alligators and just all different kinds of animals. And so, they also have something in here called the touch experience, so you can touch sea urchins and different things like that. So it's kind of cool to look down and see these little spiky creatures and be able to reach down and touch them. You can even swim with the sharks if you are so inclined and very brave you can gear up and go swim with the sharks. I did not do that but maybe you are brave enough to do it. So another really cool thing to see are the jellyfish. These, I don't know how they make them look like this, but I don't know if they're backlit or something, but they just have this really cool glow effect. And so the jellyfish are something we always want to take a picture of and kind of stare at in different lighting. The shark alley is in here, and you can take your photo inside of a giant shark mouth or jaws of a shark, teeth of a shark, so that's a great photo-op if you decide to do that, There is even a caves exhibit, so it's kind of like you're walking through just caves, underground caves…
JOHN: …as opposed to the above-ground caves…
AMY: …that's true caves are underground, but you're walking through it, again it looks so real. You'll see bats, real live bats and some fake ones, sometimes it's hard to tell which are which so it can be a little creepy. But you'll see bats flying around. They also even have black bears in the aquarium, so definitely something that you wouldn't think you'd see in an aquarium, but they do they have a couple of black bears there. One of the the neatest things to do is the stingray touch. So stingrays are swimming around and you can reach your hand in there and they just come right up. They, they are used to people touching them and they don't seem to mind it. So you can pet some stingrays, and then the very last thing to do there, and we always have a blast doing this, is they have what's called the sketch aquarium, and it's kind of hard to explain. But, you color a picture of a turtle or a fish or something like that and they kind of scan it and then it is in this, it's up on the wall. Your sketch is up on the wall swimming around. So we even did TPF travels so you guys could see it. Anyway, so this aquarium is really, really incredible, you know, the best in the US voted by USA Today. So definitely get out here and see this. You will not regret it.
JOHN: So in the beginning of the video we told you that was there was something fun, interesting, at the end that you definitely needed stay tuned in for, and here it is, I was recently talking with an employee of a sprinkler company who installs commercial sprinklers. He was sharing with me that the gigantic whale that is up there in the ceiling of the aquarium, huge, absolutely massive, he said that they were installing sprinklers actually in the whale. He was, he was going on to tell me about how Johnny Morris is very a particular about hiding different things that are necessary in order to have a business open, like sprinklers, but hiding them, making them blend in with the scenery. And so that's what they were doing. So he was telling me that there's actually sprinklers hidden in the whale and when they got up there to do the installation they noticed that there was a little doll, a little, tiny doll sitting there. Someone had thrown a doll into the whale and it's it's Jonah! And somebody threw Jonah up there in the whale. So when you see that whale up there in the ceiling you can know that, you'll of course you'll never never see it, but there there's a doll named Jonah hanging out inside the whale. And I guess if the story follows what we see in the Bible that after three day he's gonna get out? I don't know he's been in there longer than three days, I think he's kind of stuck.
AMY: Thanks for joining us on another episode of TPS. We hope you'll tune in next time for some other fun activity.
JOHN: And by all means be sure to give us a thumbs up and then subscribe and click the bell so you can be notified the next time a video is uploaded. See you guys next time!
AMY: Safe travels!