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We headed to Branson, Missouri this past June for our annual summer road trip. Our two youngest daughters had never been out of Texas before this trip. It was a 7 1/2 hour trip, so we left early in the morning and stopped for lunch in Oklahoma at the halfway point.
Before we left, my husband kept joking that we were headed to the old people capital of the world as we knew Branson was often a destination senior citizens enjoyed. However, we stayed for a week, and rarely saw older people. In fact, everywhere we went, it was full of young families like ours.
Grand Country Resort
I chose Branson because I found an amazing deal on Groupon for the Grand Country Resort. It was a package deal that included the hotel’s waterpark, pizza, popcorn, and even a show. And, the best part was you could buy multiple package deals and use them all together. So, we were able to buy two packages and stay for 4 nights and 5 days.
This is the perfect place for families. They have an indoor water park as well as pools all around the motel that are open 24 hours a day. And, it was all family friendly, even at midnight, there were kids splashing in the pools with my kids.
They also have a fun center full of arcade games, laser tag, gokarts, and mini golf. Plus, every night when the waterpark closes at 10 pm, there’s a party for kids in the fun center complete with free slices of cake, popcorn, and free stuff!
There’s also 3 different restaurants on site in the resort. There is a buffet that serves breakfast and regular comfort food meals. There’s a grill with hamburgers and concession-type food in the water park, and there’s a pizza buffet in the fun center. We ate the pizza a few times. We didn’t order the buffet, but their pizzas were just $10 and took a couple back to our room.
All of their rooms are made for a family of 4, but they will allow up to 6 in a room. They have rooms with 2 queen beds, rooms with 1 king size bed and 2 bunk beds, and 1 queen size bed and 2 bunk beds. We had the 2 queens, so my husband and I shared a queen size bed with the baby. My two girls, ages 18 and 8 shared a bed, and my 14 yr old stayed on a very nice air mattress I bought on Amazon. He actually loved that bed and volunteered for it. It has a built in motor, was very plush yet firm, too, and fit perfectly next to the window. We will definitely be taking this mattress on any future trips, even if we have a sofa bed available.
Amazing Pet Show
The Grand Country Resort also has a large music hall with a few different shows. Having small children, we chose the morning show, which was the Amazing Pet Show. Part of our vacation package, included drinks and popcorn for the show. It was a great deal!
My 8 yr old loved the show. It was full of dogs, cats, and birds doing all kinds of tricks and stunts. It was very family friendly with several opportunities for kids to go up on stage and participate. Molly went up twice for singalongs and had a blast. There was enough noise throughout the theater, that babies who made a bit of noise were perfectly fine.
Our favorite thing was Bat Dog, who dressed up like Batman and could walk on his hind legs. There’s even a nicely timed intermission for kids and babies to let out some energy.
During both intermission and after the show, you can get your photo taken with one of the animals from the show. Lots of people were doing that. Plus, at the end of the show, they have a deal with the buffet restaurant for a discount using your show ticket.
I was most looking forward to the Titanic Museum. I found a great Groupon deal for the whole family that really saved us money. Unfortunately, photography is forbidden inside due to copyright.
It’s a walking audio tour. When you enter, they give each of you a boarding pass with a real person who was aboard the Titanic. There are two levels and it is mostly at your own pace, though there are a couple of times they have talks with a crew member. You can walk the grand staircase or use the elevator. We had a stroller, which thankfully is allowed, so we used the elevator.
Through the exhibits, you can sometimes find mention of the passenger on your boarding pass. Mine was a rich lady in first class who wrote a book about her son’s toy on the Titanic, so I was able to find mention of her and her son a few times.
The last of the exhibit is upstairs with more of a hands-on experience. You can walk up the boat at different inclines as it was sinking. You can also walk out into a twinkling sky like you’re on the boat. You can definitely spend hours looking at every thing. We hurried just a bit, but still had a great time, as we had an impatient 14 month old baby.
At the very end, they take your picture and put you on the grand staircase and on the boat. When you exit through the gift shop, you can view your photos and purchase them.
Dick’s 5 & 10
In the downtown area of the city are lots of small shops. We headed there because we had heard that the Dick’s 5 & 10 store was a fun place to visit. It is very large and definitely fun. You’ll want to walk through the entire store because there is just so much to find. All of us found a few things we just had to buy.
Past the railroad, there is a big mall area with a huge water fountain that puts on a show to music every hour on the hour until 8 pm. The first night we saw it from afar, but the next night we specifically came down for the 7 pm show as it was supposed to be 3 songs instead of just 1. However, the night we saw it, it was just a show to the Star Spangled Banner. I recommend you check it out at night as it’s much better with all the lighting instead of just in the day time. They even shoot fire out on the water fountain!
After spending a few hours at Dolly Parton’s Stampede dinner show, we decided to stop off at Hurt’s Donuts right across the street. They are open 24 hours a day and even at 10 pm at night, they had a ton of donuts — just about any flavor you could imagine. Between the 6 of us, I bought a Dirty Dozen, so everyone could pick 2.
This was a great road trip for the whole family. We have a wide range of kids from 18 all the way down to just 1 yrs old, and everyone had a good time. Our two teens even said this was the best road trip we’ve taken. One of the highlights of our trip was to the Dolly Parton’s Stampede dinner show. You can check out the review HERE.