Okay, so you’re probably wondering why I’m blogging about a visit to Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO on a blog that centers primarily on nerdy things. Well, here’s why: Just because there’s no science fiction or comics involved doesn’t mean something can’t be nerdy! In fact, there’s quite a bit of good nerdiness to be had at Silver Dollar City and in the Branson area if you know where to look. I was actually quite surprised at just how much fun I had at SDC and in Branson, so I decided it was definitely blogworthy.
The actual tour started very early on a Saturday morning in Lake Charles, LA. Myself and the family hit the road at around 4:45 AM. We stopped in Leesville, LA for a quick bite of breakfast and our next stop was in Fouke, Arkansas at Peavy’s Monster Mart, which is home to all things Boggy Creek. What’s Boggy Creek, you say? Well, Fouke is supposedly the stomping grounds for the Fouke Swamp Monster, who was written about by a gentleman that went by the name of Smokey. Smokey’s tale made it to the big screen in the form of the film The Legend of Boggy Creek. The film is a cult hit, and I’m proud to say that I own a copy of it. When I was a kid, finding Sasquatch or Bigfoot or the Yeti was one of my biggest dreams. I still want to find one, but much like Wile E. Coyote and his pursuit of the Road Runner, I don’t know what I would do if I ever did manage to catch one. Our stop was brief, and I managed to get a few photos (and a mug), but we were soon back on the road.
We stopped at the Arkansas Welcome Center on I-30. I-30 is quite possibly the most boring stretch of interstate highway in the universe, so I highly recommend going “off-road” and taking Scenic 7 through Hot Springs, AR and the Ouachita National Forest. Hot Springs is a pretty cool place. It’s an old city with a very trippy vibe to it. The Ouachita National Forest is beautiful, and there are plenty of great places to stop, hike, explore, or just have a picnic. Eventually we entered the Ozark Mountains and then Missouri. It was a long ride, but well worth the long hours on the road.
We went to Silver Dollar City on Sunday. For those of you who aren’t aware, Silver Dollar City is an amusement park that is based around life in the Ozarks during the late 1800’s. It spins local history with the spirit of the American pioneer, and gives visitors a glimpse into the lives of these hardy and proud people. There’s also plenty of roller coasters, water-based rides, musical acts, magic shows, and demonstrations centered around the area circa 1880. There’s blacksmithing, glassblowing, gospel singing, country music, and food, lots and lots of food!
I’m a huge fan of roller coasters, and SDC had no shortage of exciting one on hand. My personal favorite was Wildfire, but if you ever make it out to SDC, be sure to ride Thunderation, The Powder Keg, Fire In The Hole, and Outlaw Run (a wooden coaster). All of them are excellent rides.
I also highly recommend going on a tour of Marvel Cave which is located on the property. It’s actually the primary reason that SDC even exists today, as the park was built directly above the cave. The daytime tour is free, but there’s also a “Lantern Tour” that can be taken for a small fee ($10.75 as of this writing). The “Lantern Tour” is the last tour of the day. Marvel Cave is well lit throughout the day, but for this final tour, all of the lights go out, your tour guide wears period specific attire, and takes a small group down into Marvel Cave for a tour that runs roughly an hour and a half and includes a lot more stories (including ghost stories) and even a few looks into places that are off-limits during the standard daytime tour. I HIGHLY recommend the “Lantern Tour.” Not only is it a much more intimate tour due to the limited group size, it’s also a great way to learn a whole lot more about this wonderful cave.
Now, we didn’t spend our entire trip at Silver Dollar City. We did take a couple of days to explore the city of Branson as well. We visited Branson’s Wild World, an aquarium/mini-golf/arcade complex that featured bull sharks (that we got to feed), wolves, dingos, and a cool 3-D mini golf course. We also saw Optimus Prime in front of the Ripley’s Believe It….Or Not museum. All in all, it was a great trip. We also visited the Cliff House Inn in Jasper, AR, which had a breathtaking view of the Arkansas Grand Canyon.
As always, thanks for reading, and if you have any questions about anything I’ve posted here, drop me a note or leave a comment!
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