What makes a vacation in Branson even better? Free things to do of course! This rings especially true when traveling as a family, as you don’t have to be a math whiz to know family-fun can really add up. As someone who knows the ins-and-outs of the Ozarks, I can recommend free things to do in Branson with kids that will leave the “I’m bored” groan at home.

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Branson Landing Fountain Show

1) Branson Landing

You might think of Branson Landing as only a place to shop, but think again! There is a magnificent free fountain show that runs hourly (after noon). Kids love it because it combines cannon fire with 120-feet high water spouts and musical favorites. After watching the free show, stroll along the waterfront towards the park area to feeds some ducks.

College of the Ozarks Aerial Wiki

Aerial view of College of the Ozarks: KTrimble/Wikipedia

2) College of the Ozarks

No matter how old your kids are, it’s never too soon to visit this college campus. Dubbed “Hard Work U,” College of the Ozarks students work 15 hours per week towards their tuition. The working campus is very picturesque, and the student-ran Edwards Mill, a 1880s gristmill, and Creamery, a student-ran dairy farm, are unique stops. In addition, the Ralph Foster Museum is a fine collection of Ozark history and is also home to the original Beverly Hillbillies car. (Museum has small entrance fee.)

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Dick’s 5 & Dime in Downtown Branson

3) Dick’s Old Time Five & Dime

Stores like Dick Five & Dime are hard to find these days. Stocked with over 50,000 different items, it’s fun to look around at the kooky novelty items for sale. The décor, such as a 60-foot baseball wall of fame, WWII aviation art and two model trains circling the ceiling, add to the charm. Word to the wise, though, you may just find something to buy!

Learn about local wildlife.

Aquariums at Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery

4)  Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery

If you’ve got a little fishermen on your hands, take them to the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery. They can view fish up-close in several beautiful aquariums showcasing Missouri’s native fish. You can even feed them! Families love to walk through the fish hatchery and learn more about the world around them. Self-guided and conducted tours are available.

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Sunset at Moonshine Beach

5) Moonshine Beach

What does every kid love? Swimming! A day at the lake doesn’t get any better than at the shores of Moon Shine Beach on Table Rock Lake. This pick isn’t free, as it does cost $4 per car to enter, but after that you’ve got a day of free lakeside fun ahead of you. Make a day of it by picking up some cheap sandwiches and drinks at the local grocery (Price Chopper is the closest). It’s an easy way to enjoy the true appeal of Branson while spending next to nothing.

These five free things to do in Branson with kids will keep you busy and your budget intact. Have any ideas you’d like to share? Tell me about them in the comments.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Branson to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Celebrate Silver Dollar City’s Star Spangled Summer in Branson, Missouri.  The event is a festival for families and kids to embrace All-American summer fun.  Starting June 11, there will be special meet and greet sessions with favorite cartoon characters such as Dora and Diego, SpongeBob and Patrick and Team Umizoomi.  Plus,  The Globetrotter Experience and The Magic of Peter Gossamer return for even more family fun in 2016. 

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Outlaw Run

Visitors with Silver Dollar City tickets can also play at the kid-friendly Fireman’s Landing family adventure area as well as enjoy thrilling attractions like the Outlaw Run Coaster, The Giant Swing, Wildfire, PowderKeg, The Lost River and the American Plunge will be open for family fun!  The festival runs through July 24, 2016.

During the festival, there will be special meet and greet sessions with favorite cartoon characters such as Dora and Diego, SpongeBob and Patrick and Team Umizoomi.  Character meet and greets will take place in the Carousel Barn on the Riverfront. 

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SpongeBob & Patrick

The full schedule of appearances by Silver Dollar City’s cartoon friends includes:

The Flintstones
June 9-11

Dora and Diego
June 16-18

Scooby Doo & Shaggy
June 23-25

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Donatello & Leonardo)
June 30 – July 2

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Family fun starts at Silver Dollar City

George Jetson & Astro
July 7 – 9

Team Umizoomi
July 14 – 16

SpongeBob & Patrick
July 21 – 23

Tom & Jerry
July 28 – 30

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Michelangelo & Raphael)
August 4 – 6

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Harlem Globetrotters

During a Star Spangled Summer at Silver Dollar City Branson special shows are also planned.   At The Globetrotter Experience, watch as these talented athletes display their trademark basketball wizardry.  Then, head over to The Magic of Peter Gossamer show, where Gossamer takes audience for a walk on the wild side of science.  Returning to the stage are Championship cloggers.  They will perform on the Gazebo Stage during Star Spangled Summer.  See some of the nation’s most talented clogging groups perform.

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Lost River

Want to grab breakfast with your favorite characters?  Each scheduled character group will host a special Character Breakfast on the last day of their scheduled appearance at Reunion Hall at 9am.  The All-You-Can-Eat Buffet includes Silver Dollar Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs, Breakfast Casserole, Bacon, Sausage, Hash Browns, Biscuits, Gravy, Chicken Strips and choice of Juice, Milk, Soda or Coffee.  Cost is $18.99 for adults and $14.99 for children, in addition to regular theme park admission.

Reserve your Silver Dollar City tickets or one of our money-saving Silver Dollar City Packages today to experience all of the fun at the Star Spangled Summer Festival!


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Branson to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

If you’re trying to make the most of your money while in Branson, you’re probably looking for things to that are free or extremely affordable.  Keep these five budget activities in Branson in mind to make the most of your trip in the Ozarks.

College of the Ozarks Chapel

College of the Ozarks/Facebook

1) Visit College of the Ozarks
College of the Ozarks, one of the top colleges in the nation, has a beautiful campus worth exploring. Visit the Ralph Foster Museum, focused on the history and heritage of the Ozarks (Adults/$6, Students Free); the Edwards Mill, a working grist mill (free); Williams Memorial Chapel, an outstanding example of neo-Gothic architecture; Point Lookout, a scenic overlook; the Dairy Farm, where you can see an operating dairy farm and even taste fresh milk; plus much more. Be sure to stop by the Keeter Center for delicious lunch.

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Fishing on Lake Taneycomo

2) Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery
Kids rather enjoy the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery, and parents can’t beat the price as it’s totally free. Both self-guided and scheduled tours are available. You can hand feed fish, learn about the trout production process which are found in nearby Lake Taneycomo, as well as four hiking trails ideal for sightseeing. You can also bring a rod and reel and cast your line in nearby Lake Taneycomo for a leisurely afternoon.

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Stone Hill Winery

3) Stone Hill Winery
Stop by the award-winning Stone Hill Winery, located centrally in Branson, for a free wine tour and to see the step-by-step wine making and bottling process. At the end of the tour, you’ll find yourself in a tasting room where you can taste all of Stone Hill’s delicious wines. Don’t worry—there’s juices for the kids. Pick up a bottle of your favorite for a unique souvenir from Branson, MO. I highly recommend the Moscato.

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Moonshine Beach

4) Spend the Day at the Beach
One of the best budget-friendly activities in Branson is also one of the most fun! On the shores of Table Rock Lake sits Moonshine Beach, a man made sand beach perfect for swimming. For only $4 per car, the whole family can enjoy sunshine and the beauty of this local-approved lake spot. The lake is framed by the rolling hills of the Ozarks, which makes it picture-perfect. Pack a lunch and make a day of it! Just be sure to bring sunscreen, towels and plenty of water.

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Branson Landing/Facebook

5) Branson Landing Fountain Show
Since opening in 2006, the Branson Landing has become the premier place to see and be seen in Branson. There are several low cost activities at the complex, like Parakeet Pete’s Waterfront Balloon, as well as street performers. Best of all, though, is the $7.5 million water, light and fire show set to choice music you’ll love. The water and fire spectacle is a creation of internationally renowned Wet Design, the producers of world-class shows for Downtown Disney marketplace in Orlando, Universal City Walk in California and the Bellagio in Las Vegas.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Branson to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Ride into the night at the Moonlight Madness event at Silver Dollar City. From July 23 through August 7, 2016, the theme park in Branson MO will stay open until 10pm, letting guests experience their favorite Silver Dollar City attractions in a whole new way.

The expanded hours at Silver Dollar City mean families can enjoy over 12 hours of non-stop thrills, shows and attractions. During this year’s Moonlight Madness event you can look forward to:

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The high-powered country music show Great American Country Nights in Echo Hollow® takes the stage throughout Moonlight Madness.

Street Dances on the City’s Square begin at 9:30pm each evening. They’ll be playing all your favorites including The Chicken Dance, The Electric Slide and The Cotton-Eyed Joe!

Moonlight Madness gives Branson visitors the chance to get even more value from their Silver Dollar City tickets, as well as celebrate one more time before the summer season turns into a new school year. Combine your Silver Dollar City passes with Branson lodging for a money-saving Silver Dollar City package to get even more bang for your buck.

Shops and eateries open until 10pm include the Hospitality House, Ozark Marketplace, the Moonlight Madness Tent on the Square, Eva & Delilah’s, Fanny’s Funnel Cakes, Flossie’s Fried Fancies, Hannah’s Ice Cream Parlor, Wagon Works Grill and Wilson’s Farmers’ Market.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Branson to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Branson, Missouri will be celebrating our nation’s Independence Day with a variety of fireworks displays and special events. Celebrate the 4th of July in Branson, MO with events that light up the night, and make for a memorable Americana celebration.

4th of July in Branson: Fireworks Shows

 

Fireworks_iStock_000002102379XSmallCelebrate America College of the Ozarks – Honor America – June 26

College of the Ozarks celebrates America with their annual Honor America event on Sunday, June 26. The event begins with a picnic at 5:30pm, with entertainment and kids activities offered through 9pm. The Fireworks Finale will occur slightly thereafter. Organizers of the event create an atmosphere that reminds one of old-fashioned patriotic celebrations, complete with a family-friendly atmosphere. An all-American buffet is served at Celebrate America. Guests of the buffet receive reserved parking and seating (blankets and chairs provided). Cost: $34.95/adults, $13.95 (children 6-12).

Fireburst 2016 Celebration – July 2

The 29th Annual Fireburst at Table Rock Lake, hosted by the Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce, takes place in the center of Kimberling City overlooking the lake. Viewing spots include the Kimberling City Shopping Mall and near the north end of the bridge over Table Rock Lake. The best view, of course, is on the water. Over 1,000 boats will crowd the lake for this huge fireworks show on Table Rock Lake in Kimberling City. The fireworks show will begin at dusk.

4th of July ThinkstockPhotos-522914147Liberty Light Up Celebration – July 3

The 9th annual Liberty Light Up Celebration is scheduled for July 3 at the Branson Landing. The Liberty Light Up Concert will feature Resurrection – A Journey Tribute on Branson Landing’s stage. Following the performance, Branson Landing’s 9th Annual Liberty Light Up will fill the skies over Lake Taneycomo with an amazing choreographed Fireworks Display Show produced by Gateway Fireworks Displays. Afterwards, enjoy an encore by Resurrection. 

Chateau on the Lake Fireworks Display – July 3

Chateau on the Lake Resort celebrates Independence Day with an outdoor BBQ event, complete with live entertainment. During this 4th of July in Branson event there will be a grand Fireworks Finale at dusk.  You can view the display by boat on Table Rock, near Moonshine Beach and from the Chateau’s public areas.

Hollister 4th of July Celebration – July 4

The 63rd annual Hollister 4th of July Celebration is the oldest fireworks display in Taney County. The celebration is presented by the City of Hollister Fire Department. Fireworks are scheduled for dusk.

Two young boys sitting in wagon with American FlagsShepherd of the Hills 4th of July Show – July 4

To celebrate the 4th of July in Branson and see a show, go to The Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama, Harold Bell Wright’s epic story of love, loss, power, hardship, and the true meaning of life is immortalized every night on our star-lit stage. It takes over 80 actors and actresses, 40 horses, a flock of sheep, several guns and rifles, an actual burning log cabin, and a vintage 1908 DeWitt automobile to make the live action performance what it is today. Purchase your Shepherd of the Hills tickets today to save $6.  Get your tickets for a great fireworks display Sunday July 4th! Fireworks begin right after the show!

Big Cedar Lodge – July 4

Big Cedar Lodge will light-up the night sky with a spectacular fireworks display at dusk. Bring your lawn chair or blanket. The fireworks display can also be seen by boat on the lake. A patriotic picnic will be held from 3-9pm, with activities and entertainment.  Wristbands are $30.

Reserve your Branson vacation today to enjoy all of the festive 4th of July fun that’s available in the Ozarks.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Branson to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Planning a Silver Dollar City vacation in Branson, Missouri can be easy and budget-friendly if you take advantage of these money-savings tips.

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Silver_Dollar_City_-2528001-25291) Reserve Silver Dollar City Tickets

Purchase two-day Silver Dollar City tickets for just $5 more than a one-day pass.  That means you can play at the park at your leisure, ensuring you’ll have time to take in all of the thrilling rides, entertaining shows and demonstrating craftsmen. Please Note: If you arrive at the park after 3pm and you go the next day, it counts as ONE of your admissions. Take advantage of this offer and you’ll get an extra half-day at the park free of charge!

Silver_Dollar_City_(0366)2) Take Advantage of Silver Dollar City Vacation Packages

Bundle your ticket purchase with a Branson hotel in order to save even more money on your vacation. Many hotels feature discount package rates that you only have access to when you reserve a package as opposed to a la carte style shopping. Plus, you can easily add other Branson attractions and shows to your vacation–many of which also feature a discount.

sdc_family3) Pack a Snack

Theme park food and drinks can easily add up for a family on vacation. Luckily, Silver Dollar City allows small coolers at their theme park, which means you can bring light snacks and beverages for your family. This can save a lot of your hard earned-money and make your day even more enjoyable.

Silver_Dollar_City_(70004)4) Make a Day of It

At Branson’s premier theme park you can spend the entire day being entertained. On top of the thrilling rides available, there are also FREE shows, a Marvel Cave Tour and craft demonstrations taking place throughout the park that turn your Silver Dollar City ticket into more than just a theme park pass – it’s an experience.

Echo Hollow

5) Parking is FREE

There are several parking lots available at Silver Dollar City. Be sure to choose the lots that feature FREE parking. They are located farther from the gate entrance, but the park provides trams and buses to transport you to the entrance of the theme park.

Saving money and vacationing go hand in hand if you follow these easy steps. Silver Dollar City attractions like the Showboat Branson Belle are also currently offering a Kids FREE promotion and White Water features Night Water on select summer nights that extends park hours until 10pm, which means you can get even more park for your hard-earned dollar.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Branson to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.