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Fun-size-fits-all in Branson, MO

By Marissa Selby

Family fun and vacation seekers rejoice — Branson is home to a treasure trove of fun-filled attractions guaranteed to please your whole crew, from your smallest little to doting grandparents. While it might be hard to pull yourself away from the three pristine lakes and endless array of outdoor activities, Branson is home to remarkable museums, theme parks and aquariums, unlike anything you’ve ever seen. This fun-for-all collection continues to grow, and we’ve gathered up some of the best new attractions. So, go ahead, indulge your inner child (and those real kids, too!) and plot out a course for an only-in-Branson adventure.

That’s edu-tainment!

Got a frown? It’s about to get turned upside down! As is everything at WonderWorks, Branson’s brand-new amusement park for the mind. There’s no way you can miss it — just look for an honest-to-goodness upside-down museum (with stately white columns, no less) filled with more than 48,000 square feet of patented “edu-tainment.” Once you emerge from the inversion tunnel, you’ll find that everything has flipped right side up, and you’re ready to explore.

Got a Frown? It’s about to get turned upside down!

But be sure to keep your eyes wide open — with more than 100 hands-on and interactive exhibits, you’ll want to see each and every one. Strap in to experience weightlessness at the Astronaut Training Gyro, or enter the Hurricane Shack to feel the rush of Category 1 winds. You can also visit an XD theater rich in special effects and full-motion seating or wander the Wonder Art Gallery, where optical illusions come to life. 

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Sea it to believe it

Jellyfish and octopi and sharks — oh my! The beauty of the ocean shines bright in the recently opened Aquarium at the Boardwalk, a spectacularly massive under-the-sea undertaking, located in the heart of Branson’s entertainment district. Mini-mariners and seafarers of all ages will delight in observing more than 250 species of sea creatures, including sharks, octopi, eels and many more. Travel through kelp forests and discover the Jellyfish Infinity Room, or make your way to the Mermaid Palace for a glimpse of royal merpeople and fins-up fun with seahorses and tropical fish. The aquarium is rich with the latest technology and interactive activities. Come to the touch pools for a hands-on meeting with rays and sea anemones, or board the Submarine Voyage for an unforgettable 4D journey. Cap off your day in the play area, or try your luck at the boardwalk games before you lay anchor and head home.

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Fall for Mystic River

Ride the rapids and brave the tallest drop in the Western Hemisphere on Silver Dollar City’s newest ride, Mystic River Falls. Set in a new area of the park known as Rivertown, thrill-seekers of all ages will delight in the nearly half-mile river journey that takes riders through raging rapids and down a four-story waterfall drop. Based on the mystic river found below Silver Dollar City in Marvel Cave, this masterpiece in engineering takes you through the historic Ozarks, with extensive storytelling and plenty of splashes to boot.  More thrills and delights await you in the rest of the park, from dozens of rides and record-breaking rollercoasters to live entertainment and demonstrations from the talented craftsmen. If tummies start to grumble (and if noses get a whiff of Chester’s Kettle Chips, they will), you’ll have delicious options ranging from fair favorites to fried chicken to barbecue. 

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Say yes to flights of fancy

Where can you search for Bigfoot, dive into an alien egg pit and walk the red carpet while adoring paparazzi call your name and beg you for just one more photo? That’s easy! Enter Beyond the Lens, Branson’s premier pop-culture experience designed to take the entire family to new heights of reality. Cutting-edge technology and ultra-interactive exhibits come together to make a fully immersive adventure for even the most outlandish of scenarios. Want to take “one small step for man” with Neil Armstrong? Or lounge on $50 million cash? Or even take a ride in the new Flip Zone Bumper Cars, in a car that flips you a full 360 degrees? No problem! But there is one more bucket-list item to cross off before the day is done, and that’s the new FlyRide. Gear up and get ready to soar through the air and over 22 breathtaking national landmarks in this exciting experience. The combined efforts of a four-story-high curved movie screen, full-motion seats and wind, mist and scents create an astonishingly life-like journey through the air. How’s that for a flight of fancy?

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A breath of fresh fun

Head to the hills for some family bonding that will take your breath away! At Shepherd of the Hills Adventure Park, you’ll quickly discover just why it’s been voted #1 Adventure Park in America by USA Today for two years running. High up in the Ozark Mountains, explore heart-pounding fun on the zippity-fast Zipline Canopy Tour where breathtaking thrills are a guarantee. Test your fear of heights (or try the kid-friendly Little Tykes challenge) at the park’s ropes course. Head to the Copperhead Coaster for Shephard’s newest attraction where you can ride an exhilarating mountain coaster that takes you zipping down the mountainside. The Copperhead is the longest downhill track in the area, perfect for appreciating the sights while letting out an enthusiastic “Woo-hoo!”

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