For more than 20 years, pilot Rodney Williams has shuttled guests on breathtaking excursions into the clouds aboard the gently swaying baskets of Branson Balloon's hot-air-propelled vessels. As balloons rise slowly into the stratosphere, passengers can enjoy views of the trees, valleys, lakes, and Sasquatch dwellings of the Ozarks stretch out underfoot. After the sojourn into the skies, Rodney leads clients through a post-flight champagne toast and the Balloonist's Prayer—ceremonial pleasantries that have helped Rodney maintain a perfect safety record throughout his entire career as a pilot.
The Moxie is a central hub for independent and classic cinema, specializing in celluloid of the funky, offbeat, and arty distinctions. The diverse film list includes thought-provoking flicks that span the genres and ages, with everything from Rubber—a recently screened modern flick about a villainous tire—to vintage film noirs such as Humphrey Bogart's The Big Sleep (showing Saturday, May 14), to the all-penguin remake of Citizen Kane (tickets up to an $8 value each). The deal’s combo package also delivers cinematic sustenance via two fountain soft drinks (a $3.50 value each) and two popcorns (a $3.25 value each) from the theater’s cinebar. Though most theaters use popcorn to meet the state-mandated liquid-butter minimum, the Moxie elevates kernel-cooking to an art worthy of its film selection, topping morsels with 13 distinct flavors, including barbecue, ranch, jalapeño, and apple cinnamon.
Beneath towering trees, paintballs and laser beams soar across Bill’s Extreme Paintball and Laser Tag’s 2-acre outdoor arena. Tippmann 98 quality markers and masks arm paintball players as they scale sniper towers and dive into hideouts, while professional-grade laser-tag guns allow future hair-removal experts to shoot lasers up to 700 feet. Vigilant referees stave off tomfoolery during matches, and picnic tables scattered around the facility provide platforms for snacks or birthday feasting. Bill's can also tote equipment to a customer’s chosen venue, allowing a partygoer to host a game in their own backyard, local park, or favorite alderman's office.
At Branson Boat Club, families and friends cast off into the waters of Table Rock Lake on leisurely personal retreats. Boaters bring family members along for a 90-minute orientation in which Branson Boat Club's harbormaster imparts hands-on boating-safety instruction and raps about his favorite episodes of Gilligan's Island. Afterward, families set sail aboard their choice of the club's six boats. Plumb the lake depths for fish in the 22' Fish Series pontoon boat with two fishing seats and a 9' canopy, or kick back on the 22' Cruise Model Relax pontoon boat with a canopy, stereo system, and CD player. Boaters must pay for their own gas (around $30–$75) and bring along their own wisecracking parrot navigator.
In addition to rifle and pistol ranges, the facility has several areas for clay shooting, including sporting clays, trap, skeet, wobble trap, and five-stand. This range is the site of the 2013 Missouri State Sporting Clays Championship.
Clients can rent shotguns or purchase new and used handguns and long guns.
The staff at Ozark Shooters Sports Complex turns clay shooting into a special occasion. It hosts regular events, including couples' nights, ladies' nights, and a monthly cowboy-themed shoot. The surrounding woods creates an ideal setting for various types of clay shooting, and the furnished clubhouse gives visitors a place to relax. Ozark's experienced instructors also teach shotgun and handgun classes for individuals and groups.
Skydive Missouri chaperones gravity-prone thrill seekers back to earth with the help of a trained team of champion skydivers. An all-encompassing two-hour instruction session prepares aerial enthusiasts for the basics of earth-bound homecomings, covering topics of equipment, aircraft procedures, instructions for free falling, and how to make cheeks flap wildly. After safely soaring thousands of feet above ground, a licensed, professional plane-ditcher, and aspiring human backpack, straps to customers and leaps into a free-falling duet, complete with all of sky-diving's pleasure, but none of the stress of having to locate elusive ripcords. While still safely plummeting at increased altitudes, a state-of-the-art square parachute deploys, providing ample time for free-fallers to say their goodbyes to clouds they've befriended while frolicking in the sky. The skilled gravity tempters at Skydive Missouri have completed more than 15 high-altitude aircraft exits with physically impaired divers, providing exhilarating experiences for all enthusiastic cloud-hoppers.
Andy Williams designed his Moon River Theater to echo the beauty of the surrounding Ozark Mountains. The façade sits amid 16 acres of foliage, rock formations, and waterfalls to not only enhance live performances with a sense of natural discovery, but also to speak to conservation. In 1992, the state of Missouri recognized the venue's environmental efforts by granting it the Conservation Award for Developed Land Use. And that sense of conservation seeps into the theater's three lobbies as well. Koi swim through ponds, flora creeps toward the ceiling, art and performance pictures from Andy's private collection grace the walls, and wild rams hold head-butting matches in the restroom.