Ozark Resort with Theater and Indoor-Outdoor Water Attraction
Billed as the “live entertainment capital of the world,” Branson is said to have more theater seats than Vegas or Broadway. You’ll know the Strip when you see it—a blaze of neon-lit marquees highlighting the music venues and all-you-can-eat buffets lining Highway 76. It’s an entertainment district known for stage acts that have ranged from performances by Mickey Rooney to Shanghai Circus shows. Though it’s about 10 minutes off the Strip, Welk Resort Branson is very much a part of the city's long-standing theater tradition: the Welk Theater here seats up to 2,300 guests and puts on big-ticket performances year-round.
The current show, "The Price is Right, Live!," turns the iconic game show into an interactive stage show that’s been popularized with runs in Atlantic City and a permanent spot in the Vegas lineup. Just like the TV franchise, audience members are called down to the stage to play classic games, such as Cliffhangers, with the chance to win appliances, vacations, and other prizes. If your name isn't called, you can still play along with the included passes to spin the Big Wheel and take photos with the celebrity host and models.
At the heart of the resort is the Splash-A-Torium, an indoor-outdoor water attraction that’s open year-round. Here you’ll find kid-friendly recreation with fountain jets, dumping buckets, and a 100-foot water slide, as well as hot tubs for the adults. There’s plenty to do on dry land, too, including playing billiards in the nearby game room and joining in on the resort’s scheduled arts-and-crafts activities.
Branson, Missouri: Family-Friendly Theaters and Concert Halls in the Ozarks
If you take a drive through the Ozarks in Missouri, it might seem like an unlikely place to find glittering lights and stage shows—for the most part, it's a rolling plateau of wooded hills, snaking rivers, and limestone bluffs. But follow Route 76 and you'll find Branson, which looks like a miniature, more family-friendly version of Las Vegas.
Dozens of stages and music halls line Branson's main strip, some of which are owned by stars such as Andy Williams and Dolly Parton. On any given night you can watch anything from country-music performances to circus acrobatics to magic shows.
If you're traveling with kids, Silver Dollar City is a safe bet; it's located about 5 miles west of the Strip. The popular theme park is built around Marvel Cave and modeled after an 18th-century frontier town. Here you can hop on a mine-car roller coaster, take a tour by lantern through limestone caverns, or watch as blacksmiths hand-forge mailboxes for the mayor's private collection.
If you want to duck away from the lights, it's worth it to explore the surrounding countryside. Within about 30 miles, there are two large lakes—Table Rock and Taneycomo. Each is stocked with trout and has boats available for rent. Or head to Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area, where you can bike or hike along Roark Creek and through dense oak forests. Paul Henning, who was inspired to create the Beverly Hillbillies after a Boy Scout trip to the Ozarks, donated the 1,534-acre reserve.