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.
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.
Outside the World’s Largest Toy Museum, two larger-than-life toy soldiers flank the entranceway, which leads to a collection of more than one million toys from the 19th century to today. The proprietors have neatly organized their eclectic memorabilia on wooden and glass shelving, and bigger items hang from the ceilings. Visitors experience fascination and nostalgia while browsing antique tin fire trucks, a 1959 British Embassy Rolls-Royce, superhero action figures, and retro lunchboxes, a more compact version of the dinner trays kids used to carry to school.
The Harold Bell Wright Museum is a special area of the World’s Largest Toy Museum dedicated to a local hero and scribe. Learn about the author’s life and dedication to penning articles, screenplays, and novels, including 1907’s The Shepherd of the Hills. This story, which was once a staple of required classroom reading, helped make Branson, Missouri, a popular spot for tourists.
In their native environments, tropical butterflies flutter among the rainforest’s palm trees and blooming orchids. The Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure adds humans to that equation, permitting visitors to walk through a tropical aviary designed to be a living rainforest. Here, thousands of butterflies imported from rainforests the world over, including Costa Rica and Australia, freely roam alongside tropical birds and exotic plants.
Other rainforest inhabitants such as red eyed tree frogs and chameleons reside inside The Butterfly Palace’s Living Rainforest Science Center. A nearby screening room hosts a documentary on the Monarch migration and a 3D movie of the butterfly life cycle. The facility's other immersive attractions include the Emerald Forest Mirror Maze and the Great Banyan Tree Bungee Adventure, simulating a real Banyan Tree from the rainforest.
National Tiger Sanctuary was established in 2000 to create a safe haven for animals and to teach visitors about the environment. The educational facilities explore the conditions that are affecting the planet’s ecosystems, and a group of resident tigers and lions demonstrate the potential beauty of the earth. The Sanctuary houses both big cats, including a mountain lion and a black Asian leopard, and domestic cats and dogs, which often come through homelessness or abandonment. While living at the sanctuary, tigers eat only food approved for human consumption, each portion weighed to the health needs of each animal. Staff members get to know every cat in their care to discover their particular likes and dislikes, and to learn about their personalities. To reduce stress, humans never go into the animal area and never lock the cats in at night.