5 Must-Visit Tourist Attractions in Branson, MO

It all started with a general store and a post office in lower Missouri. More than 10 years later, people began traveling to pay for tours at what is now Marvel Cave. Roughly another decade later, and Branson, Missouri was officially incorporated. Today, it’s a highly frequented tourist attraction for several reasons. It’s an ecclectic country, western destination in lower Missouri with local entertainers, western shows, beautiful caves, a theme park, museums, and many more attractions that make this place a unique, one-of-a-kind experience. You’re never be bored in Branson because the strip is lined with endless attractions that you simply cannot pass up.

Marvel Cave

Deep beneath the bustling countryside city known as Branson, tourists are exploring another part of the city: Marvel Cave. The National Natural Landmark is an eerie, dark cave. So eerie, in fact, that there’s evidence that the Spanish had likely explored the cave in 1541, more than 300 years before people began touring it for recreation.

Originally called Marble Cave because explorers had mistaken the ceilings to be made of marble, William Lynch purchased the cave in 1889 and the name officially became Marvel Cave. The cave is full of “rooms” and passages, many with odd names due to their histories. The Dungeon, The Mystic River Passage, The Mud Passage, and The Elves Chamber are only a few of the rooms of Marvel Cave.

Guests can go on one of three tours:

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Marvel Cave – The Waterfall Room

  • Traditional Tour: An hour-long tour with a limit of 60 people. Guests take concrete stairs down the cave and walk along man-made paths. Before the stairs and pathways, the tours ran by the Lynch family would last eight hours, were guided by candle or lantern, and visitors would climb through a sink hole down a 100-foot ladder into the cave. Tourists now have the comfort of concret stairs with railings, electric lighting and pathways for guidance. This tour is free to the public.
  • The Lantern Light Tour: In 2006, Marvel Cave began offering lantern tours. In this tour, Marvel Cave turns off its electric lights and each member carries a lantern for guidance. This tour is limited to 20 people, lasts about an hour and a half, and costs $10 a person. The tour also includes more rooms than the traditional tour.
  • Wild Cave Tour: Currently in the works, Marvel Cave will soon offer “wild” cave tours, a new trail for tourists to explore.

Silver Dollar City

If you have some time your schedule for a theme park, you might want to consider this country theme park. It’s exuding tourism, but you can’t not visit. The park has roller coasters, family rides, western entertainment, a wilderness campground, and so much more. You’ll feel like you’re stepping into the 1880s. You can literally step into some western clothing and take a vintage photograph in 1800s westen fashion.

It’s at Silver Dollar City that you can tour Marvel Cave, and explore so much more. Take a dinner cruise and enjoy live entertainment on the Showboat or cool off at White Water, a Silver Dollar City water park.

Hollywood Wax Museum

There are four Hollywood Wax Museums in the country, and one is right in the heart of Branson. Are you really on vacation if you don’t visit a wax museum and rub elbows with a wax celebrity figure and pretend they’re actually real? You can expect a wax museum in every highly-frequented tourist destination. Hollywood Wax Museum is located in the Hollywood Entertainment Center on the strip in Branson.

Titanic Museum

Titanic Branson is the largest museum attraction in the world. It’s so popular that people book the museum as a wedding venue. It’s at this museum you can travel 100 years into the past and explore the replica as if it were the actual marvel that was the Titanic. It is the only place you can see the $1.7 million violin owned by Bandmaster Wallace Hartley on display between March 7 and May 29, 2016. He was one of the victims who led the ship’s orchestra to play hymns while the ship sank, rather than saving themselves. Guests at Titanic Branson can see this and much more on tour of this Titanic replica.

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View from the dining seats at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Show

Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede

Once you’ve learned a great deal of western history, you might be wondering about food. Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede is the most visited dinner attraction in the world. This dinner show showcases 32 horses with their riders as they accomplish tricks and compete against one another. Enjoy a delicious, home-cooked western meal while enjoying fun music, dancing, special effects, and crazy costumes all while enjoying a good laugh.

About the Author: Paul is a guest contributor from American by Rail, providing rail vacations and rail tours throughout North America, including through Branson, Missouri.

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