Branson beckons visitors with shows and scenic beauty

By Richard Irwin, Travel Buddy

When I told my neighbor in Los Angeles I was going back to Branson for another week, his mouth dropped open as he exclaimed, “Why would anyone want to go to Branson?”

It’s a fair question because few Southern Californians have ever heard about this quaint town in Missouri, and those who had, thought Branson was only for senior citizens on bus tours.

While I may be a senior citizen, I’m not exactly retirement community material. I still like to ski, surf, sail, bike and zipline, to mention a few of my more athletic activities. And I did grow up back in the hollows of the Appalachian Mountains outside Pittsburgh. So the beautiful, wooded ‘hollers’ in the Ozarks remind me of my childhood.

But I like Branson because there’s so much to do there. This little town of 10,000 offers lots of fun activities for visitors of all ages, not just senior citizens. In fact, families pretty much take over the Ozark Hills in the summertime, enjoying the go-cart tracks, amusement parks and family shows.

Where else can you get gigantic cinnamon buns, a replica of the Titanic and Yakov Smirnoff in one place? Throw in some heartfelt Americana and you have a winning combination. Which is why this little city in southwestern Missouri is visited by millions of tourists every year, and it continues to welcome visitors to the heart of the Ozarks.

Like a Hollywood star, Branson got its big break when the television news program 60 Minutes did a feature on the town more than 25 years ago. That’s when many met “the live country music capital of the universe.”

While country music is still wildly popular, the shows have expanded to everything from Irish tenors and Beatles tributes to Shanghai acrobats and magic acts from Long Beach. There’s more than 100 shows to choose from, which explains why I visit Branson whenever I can. Join me in this new series, as we explore this big little town, which has so much to offer.



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