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Activities in Branson, Missouri, for Toddlers

by Susan Sherwood

Branson, Missouri, has become an American center for family-friendly shows. In addition to musical productions, parents can find many activities to keep everyone busy. Because of the variety of indoor and outdoor attractions, even toddlers can stay entertained in this Midwestern city.

Amusement Parks

Silver Dollar City is a moderately sized mountain-themed amusement park. Although there are plenty of thrill rides, little ones will enjoy taking a spin on the flying Elephant March, the Silver Dollar Line Steam Train, winding Ladybugs and whirling Happy Frogs. Other attractions for youngsters include Half Dollar Holler, with a carousel, swings and sand play area, and McHaffie's Homestead, which hosts a petting zoo. Silver Dollar City is connected to White Water, a water park, but a separate admission fee is required. Coconut Cove has small slides and sprays situated in a shallow pool. A large wall aquarium holds youngsters' interest, as well. Toddlers can play here while older family members enjoy other water attractions.

Shows

Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede is a dinner show for the entire family. Guests take in musical numbers, animal acts and pyrotechnic effects while enjoying a four-course meal. Toddlers who sit on laps and eat off parents’ plates are admitted free. At Clay Cooper’s Country Express, dancers, singers and comedians put on a show featuring country, rock ‘n’ roll, patriotic and gospel music. Depending upon your vacation plans, you can work around your toddler’s sleep schedule. Some months have early shows -- 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. -- in addition to the usual 8 p.m. offering.

Tours

Ride the Ducks is a sightseeing tour of Branson landmarks, including the entertainment district, Table Rock Dam and Baird Mountain. The highlight of the tour is the vehicle: a land-cruising boat. The driving tour ends with a splashdown into a lake, where visitors have the opportunity to drive the boat. The Branson Lake Queen is a replica of an old-fashioned riverboat. Morning and afternoon cruises lasting 1 1/2 to 2 hours are offered. Guests see historical and natural landmarks, as well as wildlife, such as eagles, herons, foxes, coyotes and mink.

Indoor Activities

The Butterfly Palace has created an environment for tropical butterflies. Families can walk throughout the rainforest setting to spot the beautiful insects. Kid-sized pith helmets, binoculars and magnifying glasses are available for adventurous toddlers. Parents can also accompany their youngsters into a forest mirror maze, an exploration area and the Rainforest Theater. Although shopping with a toddler may usually seem more of a chore, Dick’s 5 & 10 is a family-friendly, old-time store that also boasts two “G” Gauge Trains running on tracks above customers’ heads. Toddlers might enjoy the classic toy section and the old-fashioned candy aisle.

About the Author

Living in upstate New York, Susan Sherwood is a researcher who has been writing within educational settings for more than 10 years. She has co-authored papers for Horizons Research, Inc. and the Capital Region Science Education Partnership. Sherwood has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University at Albany.

Photo Credits

  • Maria Teijeiro/Lifesize/Getty Images