Zip Line USA’s steel cables carve more than three miles of winding trails through Ozark Mountain treetops, all ripe for exploration by guests. Designed by the respected brains at Universal Zipline Technology, the ziplines soar higher than 350 feet in the air at some points—just high enough to make eye contact with low-flying spaceships—and are dissected into chunks as long as 3,250 feet. Between each section stands a sky bridge or platform, where guides securely hitch tourgoers to cables, which they inspect each morning. Patrons zoom through the open skies for up to two hours during the day or 90 minutes at night, when only the soft glow of lanterns beckons them to the next platform like a lightning-bug mother welcoming its family home at night.
Grown sustainably on Augusta’s verdant hillsides, the fruit of Mount Pleasant’s voluptuous vines has soaked up a slew of accolades. Wine 101 classes in tasting, food pairing, and cork firing edify duos of aspiring aficionados with a one-hour onslaught of grape-centric wisdom, along with a complimentary souvenir wine glass. Students will learn to pair wines with cheese and chocolate and practice trapping even the wildest varietals in bottles. Indulge in a selection of delicious sips while honing the five S’s of proper tasting—seeing, swirling, sniffing, sipping, and savoring—before honoring instructors with the optional sixth S: snuggling.
A replica of Mount Rushmore reigns over the Hollywood Wax Museum—but instead of bearing faces of American presidents, the mugs of John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis welcome visitors into the museum's collection of celebrity wax figures. Each lifelike figure is meticulously crafted over the course of three months, resulting in uncanny stand-ins for stars such as Lucille Ball, Samuel L. Jackson, Willie Nelson, and Will Smith. Counter to the velvet ropes and glass cases of most museums, guests of the Hollywood Wax Museum can walk right up and touch their favorite figures, getting a taste of fame as they share the spotlight with them for unique photo ops. Celebrity trivia accompanies each figure across the two-level, multi-million-dollar facility, such as stars' accomplishments, the names of their pets, or which moon of Jupiter they own a resort on. After patrons max out on wax, they can head next door to Hannah's Maze of Mirrors, where reflective surfaces obfuscate players' paths as they rescue Princess Hannah from a wicked spell.
Inside most haunted attractions, guests are de facto spectators—willing victims for ghouls and monsters with no ability to fight back. No longer: Castle of Chaos topples that convention with a 5D, interactive experience in which you can strap into your seat, pick up an evil-obliterating weapon, and take aim at a flurry of monsters and undead antagonists. The drama plays out in a movie-theatre style space that immerses intrepid fighters amidst novel graphics and heart-pounding 3D visual effects. The game's top marksmen are displayed on the screen so everyone knows who would be the most valuable companion in the event of a zombie apocalypse or Furby uprising.
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.
From their perch on drifting kayaks, visitors explore Lake Taneycomo or Table Rock Lake, floating past geese and groundhogs who chitter on the banks of the man-made lakes. Twenty-seven miles of placid waters snake around foliage that hides hiking trails, deer, and even bald eagles, and guests can traverse the surface in 3- or 5-mile stretches as guides point out the wildlife.