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.
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?
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.