Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Vacation Recap: Branson, Missouri

Remember on Friday when I said I would be back here blogging on Tuesday?  Well, that was awfully ambitious of me.  I seriously thought I would be up for cranking out a blog post after vacationing for seven days, and celebrating America's birthday all weekend.  So, today we're having Tuesday Talk...on a Wednesday.  Here's the good news, if your brain is on summer break like mine has been, and you're not up for reading, this post is packed full of picture.  Just keep scrolling, you'll get the just of it.  Today I am recapping our family vacation last week to Branson, Missouri.  

This is going to be a long one, go top off your coffee, I'll wait.  

On Sunday, we loaded up on the Duck Boat and toured around Branson.  We did this ten years ago when we were there with Kendall, but I didn't really remember much about it.  I am so glad this was one of our first activities because our tour guide was so knowledgeable about Branson and gave us lots of fun facts about the city.  

If you have never been on a Duck Boat, it's a military vehicle that drives on land (road), and can maneuver through the water, too.  

(Duck Faces for the Duck Boat)

Our tour took us through the beautiful Ozark mountains, and splashed us right into Table Rock Lake.

This guy was really excited about the splash down!

The Captain took a little break while we were cruising around the lake, and asked for volunteers to help drive the boat.  Hey, you...eyes on the road...err, eyes on the water!

Even little sister got a turn driving.  

Or, you could just enjoy the surroundings.  

After the Duck Boat adventure, we went to the Branson Landing and watched the water show (similar to the Bellagio).

I don't know what Jess was saying, but apparently it was hilarious.  

We wrapped up our day with dinner at Joe's Crab Shack on Lake Taneycomo.  

On Monday, we went to Silver Dollar City.  Silver Dollar City is one of the most beautiful amusement parks I have ever been to.  It's clean, and mostly shaded, but, man oh man, there are lots of hills to walk.  The food is much better than most amusement parks (I'm talking about you, Six Flags), and many of the rides are suitable for small children.  

Jentry was especially excited to ride the tea cups.  

Silver Dollar City has amazing shows, too, and we just happen to be there when the fabulous Harlem Globetrotters were there!  I have always wanted to see them, so I was super excited.  

Kendall hanging with TNT.  

One of the main reasons we decided to go back to Branson this year was because of Silver Dollar City's new Fireman's Landing area of the park.  Jess loves all things fireman related.  He was so excited to ride the rides and play all the games that were fireman themed.  

We started off our morning visiting the Fish Hatchery and feeding fish.  

Inside, Jentry saw this snake and was amused.  Like, eerily amused.  She wasn't scared at all...which kinda scares me.  

Then, we headed over to Moonshine Beach State Park for a picnic and a little swimming in the lake.  Moonshine Beach is the only sandy beach on Table Rock Lake.  The water at Table Rock Lake is crystal clear.  I'm not much of a natural water gal, but the water there is so clear I could almost swim in it.  I said, almost.  In the meantime, I'll just take these pictures from my chair.  

After a long day in the sun, Mark grilled out for us back at our condo, and Jentry supervised a corn hole tournament.  

Steak, grilled veggies, bacon wrapped asparagus, and Cesar salad is the key to my heart.  

On Wednesday, we started off our morning with possibly one of the best breakfasts I have ever had.  If you are ever near the Branson area, I wholeheartedly recommend eating at Billy Gail's.  First off, let me tell you parking is terrible.  We waited over an hour for our table, at ten o'clock on a Tuesday, and waited almost 45 minutes for our food, BUT it was worth the wait.  

This sweet girl, waited patiently for her pancakes.  

Oh yeah, did I mention the pancakes are bigger than your head.  This is the kiddie meal.  I'm not kidding.  He even had eggs on the side.  He ordered blueberry pancakes, and they were perfect!

Kendall and Jentry split a chocloate chip pancake, scrambled eggs and about half a package of bacon.  

I had the bacon and cheese omelette, and it was perfection!  My omelette was served with a hash brown, and if you have been reading my blog long, you know I watch my carbs, so I was not planning on eating that cute, little hash brown.  But, I didn't want to hurt ol' Billy Gail's feelings, so I thought I would just take a bite...or two.  I don't know what came over me, but within ten seconds I had inhaled that whole hash brown.  Maybe I was potato deprived, maybe it was the amazing smell of fried grease, but I ate whole dang thing.  Oops.

I didn't feel too bad about my carb consumption though, I spent the afternoon walking it off at the rolling hills of Silver Dollar City (Day 2).  

Just a bit wet from a few water rides...

Jentry decided she was NOT a fan of water rides, and decided to sit a few out.  Her and I bonded over people watching while Mark, Jess and Kendall got drenched.

On Thursday we woke up feeling like the Silver Dollar City Steam Train had run over us.  We were beat tired, so we decided to spend the afternoon in the pool, and relax.  

After a leisurely afternoon, we went back to the Branson Landing for dinner on Lake Taneycomo at the White River Fish House. 

Jentry loved the Buckets of Bait (chocolate pudding and gummy worms) so much that she wanted to share a bite with you. 

I was just about to take a picture of Jess when a speed boat went by on the lake.  Obviously, that was way cooler than mom.  

A storm was rolling in, so our outside time was cut short, but the lighting was perfect for a few photo ops.  

On our last full day in Branson, we decided to squeeze in everything we had wanted to do, but hadn't into our day.

We spent our morning visiting the State Park Marina.  

Then zip lined a little in the afternoon at the Branson Landing.  This wasn't the typical zip line, we were sitting in a seat similar to a ski lift (with a seat belt).  

This picture cracks me up every time I see it!  Ironically, this is the same expression I have on my face when I ride in the car with Kendall.  (Just kidding, K!)

Then, Mark and I toured the Stone Hill Winery.  

That evening we went to the Starlite Theater for the show Buckets and Boards.  

When I researched (aka googled) family friendly shows in Branson, Buckets and Boards had great reviews.  They also perform on Disney Cruise ships, so I knew it would keep my family entertained.  

And, it did!  Well, that and the popcorn and cotton candy! 

We ended our night (and vacation) back at the Branson Landing for the water & fire show...and a little more zip lining for Kendall and me.  

If you're still with me, hang on just a few more minutes.  As I mentioned before, it has been ten years since we were in Branson.  Just for fun, I thought I would do a little side by side comparison of how Kendall has changed in ten years.

Ok...whew...that's our vacation in a nutshell.  A really big nutshell!  Thank you so much so hanging in there with me for this long post.  We had the absolute bet time.  I worried that my little kids might not be able to hang in there, but vacationing is in their blood, and they soaked it all in.  They are already talking about where they want to go next year,  In fact, I'll leave you with a little bit of our conversation on the way home from Branson.

Me:  Where do you want to go for vacation next year?
Kendall:  Hawaii!!!
Jess:  We can't go to Hawaii, Kendall, we don't know Spanish!

Have a great day, friends!


P.S.  All of this Branson talk reminds me, I'm linking up with my Missouri Pal, Beth, for Tuesday Talk.


  1. So fun to see you in my stomping grounds. I LOVE all of the 10 years ago photos too. I clearly need to explore Branson more too. So much of the stuff you did, I never have lol.

    1. We had a great time! There's so much to do there. We're actually coming back next spring for a school trip with Kendall. I'm sure we'll find more fun things to do then. Hope you're having a great week.

  2. Your vacation looks like it was so fun!!! The pictures make me want to go on vacation now =)
    Have a great day =)

    1. Thank you! We had a blast! Today is my first day home in 12 days & I am exhausted, but drowning in laundry. No rest for the weary!

  3. We went to Branson a few years ago, but never to Silver Dollar City. It looks like you guys had a good trip. I love the 10 years later pictures!

    1. Thanks, Dara! You guys should definitely check out SDC. Your kids would love it!

  4. I LOVE the comparison photos! Those pancakes made my stomach growl. Can I go on vacation with you guys next time haha? I'm glad you guys had a good time.

    1. That breakfast was amazing! I'm hoping to go back to Florida next summer, so you can definitely come with us. Although, I'm sure a vacation to you isn't a Florida beach...that's everyday for you!

  5. Looks like an awesome vacation!!! We loved the duck tour of Branson. BTW I love the picture of you and Kendall! Hope you have a great day.

    1. Thank you, Jessica! We had the best time on the duck boat!

  6. Wow! Y'all packed in lots of fun. I live about five hours from Branson and yet I've never been. I hope when Jack gets a little older to take him. There are so many amazing things to do there. I'd love to go to Silver Dollar City.

    1. I knew you lived in Arkansas, and I was wondering how far from Branson you were. It took us about 6.5 hours. You should definitely plan a trip there with Jack. He would love it!

  7. What a great vacation! My mom went out to Branson a few years ago and loved it. I'm so glad you all had a terrific time and the 10 year/now shots are priceless! How pretty MO is!

    1. Yes, we had a blast! It's crazy that it has been 10 years since we've been there. It seems like yesterday...until I see the pics of how Kendall has changed.

  8. We are currently on our 7 day vacay so I am seriously smiling at all these darling, smiling faces having a ball!! You are all so cute!! I've always wanted to go to Branson, now I really do!!!!

    1. Thank you, Andrea! I hope you have the best vacation! I can't wait to hear about it.

  9. Looks like lots of fun! You packed lots of activities into that trip. I love the 10 year flashback pictures. And also I got a laugh from your title photo #teenager! Traveling with a teen puts a whole new spin on things!

    1. Right!! It's a balancing act to try to make sure my little kids and my teen are entertained, but Branson is a good place for that!

  10. This makes me put Branson on our travel list!! The kids look like they had SO much fun.. and you look super tan =) I love Joe's Crab Shack I always want to eat there on vacation. And the 10 years ago pictures vs now are CRAZY why does time go so fast?!

    1. You should definitely add Branson to your list. There's so much to do there. Aren't those pictures of Kendall crazy. It seems like yesterday to me!

  11. Love your review! I really think we would love to go back and spend more time near Table Rock. I thought Missouri was just beautiful and the drive wasn't bad at all. Oh..and we saw the casino you told me about! Love the 10 year looks back.


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