The CBS hit show “Undercover Boss” featured Herschend Family Entertainment CEO Joel Manby on last night’s show. He went undercover to experience what it’s like working the front lines at his company’s amusement parks, attractions and aquariums. Two prominent Branson attractions were featured – Silver Dollar City & the Showboat Branson Belle.

Manby took on the alias of John Briggs and went undercover in a disguise that included a new haircut, glasses, a beard and different clothes.

The first undercover job was at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia, where Manby met Captain Howard, a hard-working, kid-friendly captain who loves his job conducting Duck tours.

The second job Joel works is at Silver Dollar City in Branson, where he meets Albert, a goal oriented young man who dreams of designing theme park attractions, and perhaps even being the CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment one day. During his work with Albert, where they scan tickets, welcome guests and keep the front gate stocked with strollers, Joel is impressed by Albert’s focus and by the fact that he is driven to get an education.

Albert may have looked somewhat at ease with the cameras around, and for good reason. This isn’t the first time he’s been put in the spotlight. Albert was also featured in ReserveDirect’s Travel Videos hosted by Teri Austin.

The third job on last night’s Undercover Boss had Manby back at Silver Dollar City to work maintenance with Richard, a man who has worked with the park for several years and recently lost his house and belongings in a flood. Joel sympathizes with Richard, especially since Herschend Family Entertainment offers assistance to families in need.

Joel Manby works two more jobs while on Undercover Boss – as a waiter on the Showboat Branson Belle and maintenance worker/touch tank attendee at Adventure Aquarium. The Branson Showboat Branson Belle job brought Joel in touch with Jennifer, a struggling single mom with a work ethic Manby found inspiring. The Adventure Aquarium position had Joel working alongside Mercedes, a single mom who before landing this job two years ago, was homeless. Her story humbled Joel and moved him to tears.

In the end, Manby’s undercover look at Branson Attractions like Silver Dollar City & Showboat Branson Belle, as well as Ride the Ducks & Adventure Aquarium led him to start a program to provide childcare assistance for single parent employees like Jennifer. Richard was granted $10,000 by Herschend Family Entertainment to repair his home, as well as allocating the work effort of the SDC park staff to work on renovations. Mercedes was given an immediate raise as well as a fund to help make her house a home. Lastly, Joel met with Albert. Joel was inspired by Albert to start a scholarship fund and Albert was the first recipient. Not only will he receive his full salary while attending college full time, but he is also welcomed back during the summer season to continue his job at Silver Dollar City.

Great attractions are part of the Branson entertainment scene, and last night’s undercover look at the employees who make them operate on a day-to-day basis was inspiring and uplifting.

World-Fest returns to Silver Dollar City for the 2010 season in Branson April 8-May 9. World-Fest is America’s largest international festival and features international performers from across the globe. Traditional favorites and all-new performers create the line-up of entertainers, all of which showcase the beauty of cultures found both near and far away.

The line-up of international performers includes:
Fiery Fiddles: This is a show unlike any World-Fest has ever seen! Combining the mastery of three brilliant musicians and high-flying aerial acrobatics, Fiery Fiddles is a feast for the senses. Award-winning classical violinist Janice Martin, also known as “The World’s Only Flying Fiddler”, astounds audiences with her gravity-defying performances. Nova Scotia’s Premier Fiddle Champion, Jennifer Roland, and award-winning country fiddler Dean Church also appear in this enchanting new show.
Calpulli Mexican Dance Company: New for 2010, the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company presents a dazzling cultural journey through the music and dance of Mexico, from the flowing feathers of the Aztecs to the signature rhythms of the mariachi. Recently featured at Carnegie Hall, Calpulli includes a cast of 15 talented performers, who will bring the vibrant color and exotic sounds of Mexico to life before your very eyes!
Diego Martin Footprints Folk Performers: New for 2010, the Diego Martin Footprints Folk Performers, from Trinidad and Tobago, bring the tropical rhythms of the Caribbean to Silver Dollar City! This spectacular show features stilt dancers and fire limbo, among many other traditional dances of Trinidad. Steel pan and skin drums keep the beat for this exciting new show!
Zhejiang Chinese Acrobats: Back by popular demand, The Zhejiang Chinese Acrobats return to World-Fest with a show of incredible acrobatic proportions. An internationally-acclaimed troupe of two dozen acrobats and head-balancing monks demonstrates awe-inspiring mastery of body and mind. This amazing show, created and co-produced by LOVE Productions of New York City and Silver Dollar City, also includes other favorite acts including contortion artists, plate spinning, an aerialist duet and stick fighting.
Russian Academic Band: World-Fest welcomes Russia’s Academic Band back to the Gazebo stage! Directed by Nikolai Novitchkov of the Ulyanovsk State Symphony Orchestra, this brass band delivers their own special brand of traditional Russian and Dixieland music to the City’s square. Popular at home and abroad, the group has performed together since 1984. They enjoy playing at regional and international festivals, and also teach classical music to children through their ‘Pupils Philharmony’ program. Don’t miss this bright and artistic group, and don’t be surprised if they play your favorite tune!
Ecuador Manta: Ecuador Manta returns to World-Fest in 2010! Using traditional Andean instruments including the zampona, a bamboo wind flute, the quena, similar to a recorder, the charango, a small 10 string guitar made from armadillo shell, and the bombo, a goat-skinned drum, Ecuador Manta beautifully preserves the music of the Andes. Other Latin rhythms and instruments are also combined to create a truly unique and innovative performance.
Other entertainers like Dearbhail Finnegan, Kerry Christensen Los Pampas Gauchos are also scheduled to perform.
On top of all of this great entertainment, Tastes of the World will also be present so that guests can sample specialties from around the world. The Culinary & Craft School will also be open during this time for classes featuring international flavor.
Silver Dollar City Tickets are on sale now and its a great time to reserve a Silver Dollar City Vacation Package.

The Branson Zipline isn’t scheduled to open until May 1, 2010, but they are already adding something new to its lineup of authentic eco-adventures. The Flying Prospector Canopy Tour is designed for those of all ages and takes guests on a once and a half hour canopy tour that includes soaring through the trees over multiple ziplines and skywalks.

The General Manager of Branson Zipline and Canopy Tours at Wolfe Creek Preserve stated the addition of the Flying Prospector Canopy Tour will allow visitors to have a high quality, low impact adventure in which they can experience the world of eco-adventures.
There is a family pass available for this adventure. It costs $199.99 for two adults and two children 17 and under.
Along with the hour-and-a-half Flying Prospector, Branson Zipline & Canopy Tours offers the thrilling Blue Streak Fast Line, a non-stop, single-line zip from the top of the mountain to the bottom platform, complete with a very surprising dismount.

The premiere experience offered by Branson Zipline, the Ozarks Xplorer Canopy Tour, is an inclusive, interactive two-and-a-half hour guided tour that takes visitors over suspension bridges, platforms and multiple ziplines, allowing time to explore the features of the region and discover the secrets of Wolfe Creek Preserve. Guests will enjoy the pristine beauty of the Ozark Mountains from the unique perspective of gliding through the canopy of trees, past rugged bluffs, and above the forest floor, accompanied by guides, who share topographical and ecological insights while bringing to life the history of Wolfe Creek Preserve.

Branson Zipline & Canopy Tour at Wolfe Creek Preserve, opening May 1, is located on US Hwy 65, just seven miles north of Branson shows, theaters, and attractions.

The Showboat Branson Belle has a special treat this year for guests. For the 2010 season, the Showboat Branson Belle is offering a free cruise to everyone on their birthday.

The free birthday cruise is available on the day of a person’s birth March 19-December 31, 2010, with valid photo ID. If your birthday falls on a date when the Showboat Branson Belle is not open you may take your free cruise on the next available cruise date. For those that have had a birthday prior to the March 19 opening day for the Showboat, they will be able to take their birthday cruise on their ½ birthday (i.e., January 12 births can cruise for free on June 12).
The Showboat Branson Belle is a great way to see the Ozarks. It is a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience complete with a delicious dinner and fabulous show all on Table Rock Lake.

Silver Dollar City is hosting Young Christians Weekend March 26-28, 2010. This three day event will feature big name concerts, inspiring speakers, praise & worship and, of course, Silver Dollar City’s thrilling rides.

Thousands of youths from across the nation will convene in Branson for this premier Christian event. Visitors will be some of the first to experience the all-new RiverBlast – America’s Biggest Water Battle, plus all of Silver Dollar City’s famous rides like PowderKeg, Fire in the Hole and The Great American Swing will be open as well.
The schedule for Young Christians Weekend is as follows:
Friday Night, March 26: At 8pm, the Virginia based group DecembeRadio will perform. Their music combines guitars and rock melodies with gospel themes.
Saturday, March 27: From 9am-6pm, the park will be open for all day fun. There will also be spirit-filled workshops, amazing speakers and mini-concerts throughout the park. Also, at noon, 3pm & 6pm Doug Compton & Lincoln Brewster will speak at the Echo Hollow Amphitheater.
Sunday, March 28: The park will once again be open from 9am-6pm for all day fun. Worship services will be held at 8:30am & 11:00am and will feature the sounds of 33 miles and speaker Joe White.

Silver Dollar City is beginning its 50th year with Family Spring Break Days, an exciting event that opens the park to families during the school year’s spring break for extra fun in Branson. Family Spring Break Days at Silver Dollar City are scheduled for March 18-21 & 25-28. The park hours are 9:30am-6:00pm for the former, and 9:00am-6:00pm for the latter.

Families who attend Spring Break Days will be the first to experience the fun of the all-new Tom & Huck’s RiverBlast, a $7 million dollar super soaking water raft ride themed around the adventures of Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn. This new ride will engage riders and spectators alike as super soaker water guns located on the shore and on the rafts.
Of course, favorite attractions like Fire in the Hole, PowderKeg, Wildfire and The Giant Swing will be open as well for thrilling fun.
Special entertainment is planned for Family Spring Break Days and includes the following performers:
Pure Heart – Harmonizing sisters who perform gospel and country tunes.
Doc Gizmo – A fun, interactive & educational science theater presentation for students of all ages!
Sons of the Silver Dollar – Silver Dollar City regulars serve up cowboy songs with a side of humor.
Homestead Pickers – 1880s style entertainment on the front porch of the McHaffie Homestead.
Families that plan to make Silver Dollar City apart of their Spring Break plans should look into the money-saving Silver Dollar City packages that include a 2-day ticket, so your second day is FREE! You can also add great Branson shows like the Dixie Stampede and Branson attractions like Ride the Ducks to your Silver Dollar City vacation package.
Silver Dollar City tickets are also on sale now.
Please note: Only the shows mentioned above will be performing and a limited number of shops will be open.

Official Press Release form Baldknobbers Theater:

Tonight, March 5, 2010, the curtain goes up on the 51st year of the show that started it all in Branson, The Baldknobbers.

Tim Mabe, the show’s producer and comedian “Droopy Drawers, Jr.” anchors the funniest comedy team in Branson of Stub Meadows and Hargus Marcel.

“We have added three new faces to the Baldknobbers stage. With the addition of Megan, Dean and Robbie to our already talented cast, this year’s show will be lots of fun!”

New to the Baldknobbers stage is female vocalist, Megan McCombs, originally from Pella, Iowa, on steel guitar and dobro is Dean Holman and on drums is Robbie Blackwood. Go to The Cast page at Baldknobbers.com and find out more.

Tim goes on to say, “We are one of the few shows that do an all new show each year. That means all new comedy, new music and even new costumes. And our show is completely live with some of the best singers and musicians in the country.”

Brothers Bill, Jim, Lyle and Bob Mabe began Branson’s first live entertainment show in 1959 by mixing gospel, country, and blue-grass music with zany comedy. The original Baldknobbers Jamboree created the prototype for shows in what has become the live entertainment capital of the world.

Now over fifty years later, the Mabe Family continues their family legacy of great country music and hilarious comedy as the 2nd & 3rd generations carry on the family tradition of great country music and hilarious comedy. Six members of the Mabe family are joined by eleven other dynamic singers, musicians, comedians, and entertainers who perform your favorite Country Classics, Hot-New Country Hits, and Lots Side-Splitting Comedy. Life Magazine said, “Branson is the Baldknobbers!”

The Baldknobbers Jamboree Show is located on the famed 76 Country Music Boulevard in Branson, Missouri, with performances Monday through Saturday at 8 PM.
Baldknobber tickets are on sale now.

Ride the Ducks in Branson, Missouri will open for the 2010 season tomorrow, March 6. All new for the 2010 season are six new themed adventures that give visitors new reasons to ride the ducks!

The new themed adventures include:

Ducks N’Bugs: March 6-April 17
Climb aboard Branson’s famous land and water adventure and see what everyone’s buzzing about. We’ve packed the adventure with bugs of all sorts for learning and laughing. Check out our Kid Splash Room with bugs to examine under a magnifying glass and real live ants at work. See the Ozarks as your Captain shares his buggy knowledge, experience Branson’s only Splashdown as you make a beeline for the lake and then drive if you want. Butterflies, ladybugs and more will be showcased in a special exhibit area as your family experiences Quack-tastic fun with a ducks favorite treat – bugs.

Giddy Up Duck!: April 24-May 31
Cowboy up and Splashdown as you see the Ozarks western style. Instead of a horse, your trusty mount for this adventure is a duck that travels on land and bucks right into the lake where you can take the reins and drive if you want. Pin on a sheriff’s star, try your hand at a trick rope and discover cowboy memorabilia in our special exhibit area. As always, your Captain will be full of tall tales and have you quacking Happy Trails as you experience the ride of a lifetime. Hang onto your hat.

Splash’s Family Luau: June 12-September 6Its summertime and what’s more fun than a family luau duck-style. Grab your shades, throw on a lei and kick back as you see the Ozarks on our famous land and water adventure. Don’t let the grass skirt foul you – your Captain is US Coast Guard licensed and ready for you to hula in the seats. You’ll Splashdown with a dip in the lake and you can drive if you want. It’s Quack-tastic fun for the whole family. Play in the sand, catch bubbles, make a lei and create lifetime memories with Splash’s Family Luau.

Salute to Veterans: September 18-October 31Celebrate the red, white and blue with our star-spangled land and water adventure as we salute America’s amazing service men and women. See the Ozarks riding an amphibious vehicle based on the famous WWII DUKW design. Quack along to patriotic music and see historic military vehicles as your US Coast Guard licensed Captain shares stories of the brave men who boarded these vehicles in WWII to serve the USA and the women, like Rosie the Riveter, who helped build them. An amphibian travels on land and water and you’ll experience that excitement as you head right into the lake for a Splashdown. You can even drive if you want as we salute America’s veterans.

Ducks Go Boo: October 1-October 31
Hop on a duck for a fun-filled Ozarks adventure full of screams and squeals. Expect tricks from your Captain as we treat you to a trip through our own haunted forest. Watch out for ghosts, bats, spiders and other creepy creatures of the night. Your family will have a howling good time as we spin ghost stories on this old-fashioned duck-style hayride. Decorate your own pumpkin or Trick-or-Treat bag in our Kid Splash Room and watch out for things that go boo. It’s spooktacular.

Holiday Lights…Duck Style: November 5-December 12Nothing gets you ready for the holidays like a sleigh ride duck-style. We’ve strung the lights and hung the mistletoe for a sparkling light filled adventure you won’t want to miss. Sing and quack along with your Captain as you listen to Christmas favorites and hear stories of Ozarks Christmas traditions. Bundle up as we head through our own lighted forest of twinkling snowflakes, festive candy canes and other holiday favorites. Create a Christmas ornament in our Kid Splash Room as your family creates quack-tastic Christmas memories – you might even sneak a peek at Santa Claus.

Ride the Ducks tickets are on sale now.

The Branson Airport has been growing at a steady pace since opening last May, and earlier this year they announced two major additions to its air travel market.

In early February, Frontier Airlines and Branson Airport released information regarding its summer 2010 schedule. Starting April 20, 2010, non-stop service to Denver, Colorado will be offered. Rates will be as low as $79 each way, and travelers who fly Frontier Airlines will be able to reach Branson from more than 50 connecting cities through Frontier Airlines’ Denver hub. Flights will take place Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday.
Then, in late February, the Branson Airport announced that scheduled chartered flights will begin serving five new markets in May on the newly minted Branson AirExpress.
The new airline will offer flights to Austin, Texas; Houston, Texas; Terre Haute, Indiana; Des Moines, Iowa; and Shreveport, Louisiana. Terre Haute & Shreveport will have flights on Mondays, Wednesday and Saturdays; Austin, Houston & Des Moines will have flights those days plus Tuesday & Friday. Branson AirExpress will not offer flights on Sundays & Tuesdays.
The new flight service through Branson AirExpress will begin May 17.
Introductory fares on Branson AirExpress will start at $39 one way for the Terre Haute, Shreveport & Des Moines markets, and $49 one way for Austin and Houston travelers. It will be operated by ExpressJet Airlines using 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 jets.
AirTran Airways currently operates daily flights between Atlanta & Branson and once-a-week flights between Orlando and Branson.
The Branson Airport is located 10 miles south of the world-famous Branson strip.
UPDATE: The proposed flights between Terre Haute, Indiana and Branson, Missouri have been cancelled, as of April 6, 2010.

The Dixie Stampede in Branson is now open for its 2010 season. This is also the 16th Branson season for the show, and as always, the Dixie Stampede is adding something new and exciting to the show.

Each season, the show keeps a majority of the features that makes the Dixie Stampede one of the most popular Branson shows. But, a little something new is always a nice addition and this year’s new segment is the “Gold Rush Jubilee” portion of the show. It will feature new music, comedy and sets as the show celebrates America’s western expansion. Horses, long horn cattle, the aerial spectacle of the “Spirit of the Bird,” cowboys and dancing are all part of “Gold Rush Jubilee.” Prospector Skeeter also drops in as he discovers a golden nugget from which the “Gold Rush Jubilee” is named after.
The Dixie Stampede show offers great, family-style entertainment complete with a delicious four-course feast. The friendly North-South rivalry and patriotic flourishes create a show that visitors want to see again and again!
Dixie Stampede tickets are on sale now.