Heading into Branson, be ready for steep hill driving. Even without the trailer attached, the hills of Branson make driving a challenge. Everything inside the car slides here and there. Per everyone I have spoken to who has been there, I avoided taking the trailer through downtown. It is no place for RVs. I stayed on the 65 past the Escapees park, Turkey Creek, in Hollister then got off and came back up to it. Like all Escapees parks, I was met with hugs and how-do-you-dos. They gave me a great spot near the front so I was close to the wifi which is provided by Tengo for a charge. My new aircard I bought off Ebay to replace my dead card was to arrive the next day care of general delivery. The park is right on a creek that runs into the nearby lake and has a boat ramp. In the clubhouse is tons of brochures on everything you could possibly want to see while there and the park gave me some free tickets and discount coupons for some shows. They served a nice pork chop dinner one night with the most excellent pudding and also got one of the Branson Mall entertainers to come in one night to sing the songs of Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Englebert Humperdink, etc. He was pretty good. The park also provides cable TV and a jam session one night a week.
The first thing I did after arriving and setting up camp, was run up the 76 through town to the Titanic museum. They gave me a boarding pass of someone who was on Titanic which included the name and background of that person. At the end of the tour we would find out if we lived or died. They have a big sheet of ice you can touch on the way in to set the mood. Inside they have lots of pictures of the building of the ship, original plans, items from the ship, and info on life aboard for the different classes. The ships bridge was well done and stepping out onto the deck you can feel the cold of that night. Sit in the life boats and feel how large they were though most were launched half-empty and listen to the talk of the panicked crew and passengers. Many passengers refused to get in the boats because they honestly believed the hype that the ship was unsinkable and thought the captain was just being too cautious. It was very cool standing on the grand staircase though they didn’t allow picture taking in the museum so no pictures of it. The outside of the museum is very well done and you can control a camera on the web to view it at http://www.titanicbranson.com/titanic_webcam.php . And good news! I was a first-class passenger who did survive.
Now before doing anything else, I studied up on the alternate route system through Branson. The 76 is the main street through where most of the shows and things to do are located hence it is also extremely crowded. Thank goodness I did too. Showtime is the worst time to be driving in Branson. Don’t even think about driving the main route from one side of town to the other then. Use the alternates and do go out of the way to go around downtown if you have to get to the other side during showtime.
I went to a wonderful dinner show called Island Fire at the Duttons Theater. While most of the shows in Branson are very good, this one was my favorite because it was different from any other. They served a wonderful polynesian dinner followed by a polynesian show with music and dancing from the islands (Samoa, Hawaii, etc.) I liked the pre-show previews on the large screens, the emcee was perfect, the dancers were very talented, and the whole layout of the show going from one island style to the next was excellent. I enjoyed them playing around with video cameras on the audience during intermission and superimposing sunglasses and hair or licking dinosaurs on us. They sell a DVD of the show you attended afterwards. I bought an island fan and serapi during intermission for those hot days when I’m relaxing around my trailer home. The serapi is very comfortable and can be worn numerous ways. Go see this show when in Branson!
My next dinner show was aboard the showboat Bransonbelle. Good food, good entertainment, and a cruise around the lake all combined. It isn’t cheap but that doesn’t seem to stop anyone. I chose the cheapest fare with dining in the main room rather than above it or in the Paddlewheel Club and it was just fine. The view of the stage was great from there too. After dinner, we got 20 minutes to walk about the boat and go up on top to meet the captain or watch the other boaters and ski jets. It was a beautiful day on the lake with lots of sunshine and activity. The show included singing 50 award winning songs and a magician.
I took some time to go see Dick’s 5 and 10. It is very old and loaded with both souvenirs and everyday items for the townsfolk. There’s a Bass Pro store just down the road as well that is always busy.
For my third show, I went to see the Dutton’s at the Dutton’s Theater. You get half off by the way if you present your Island Fire ticket. I had heard they were really good and I was not disappointed. The whole family performs from parents to kids to spouses to grandkids. They all play up to 6 instruments and even play them behind their backs or while held by the person next to them. OMG! They threw in some classical for us as well as country and of course some comedy. It was a very nice touch when Mom came out to talk to us for a bit and tell anecdotes about them. The best was when the little grandkids did some of the Wizard of Oz with costumes and scenery. The young fella who played the Cowardly Lion has to have seen the movie because he nailed the Lion perfectly. Rrrruff! He had us laughing like crazy every time he growled during his song. It’s a wonderful show with a very talented next generation coming up and certainly another must see.
There is plenty more to see and do such as the Ducks car/boat tours, Six, Jim Stafford, the Osmonds, Silver Dollar City theme park, waterparks, etc. I left plenty to come back for and will definitely stay at Turkey Creek RV Park again.
I did get the new aircard while there so that was a big relief with more choices in campgrounds again though I still try to stay in those with wifi available when I can. I also had to replace another tire on the trailer while there due to one losing air constantly and being old anyway.
For more pics, click here.