How to spend a weekend in Branson

Let me show you How to spend a weekend in Branson with your family that will be full of food and fun! I don’t know what it is but as I get older, I find great joy in taking my dad to do things that he’s never experienced before. Does anyone else do this? I get so much satisfaction from watching him light up just like a kid on our adventures. It’s almost the same joy I get from watching my own kids but there is one major difference.

Children have a way of forgetting things and moving quickly to the next “big” moment. My dad, their papaw, on the other hand, is a man that has already lived the majority of his life. He’s not in a hurry. He’s soaking up every moment and memory, and he’s genuinely just happy to be there. I’m also very much aware that like all things in life, there will be an end. And I’ve determined to bring joy to and make memories with my loved ones as often as I possibly can. That is why I loved surprising my dad with trips!

Me and my dad in the car tasting Mexican candy together in the car on the way to spend the weekend in Branson.

why spend a weekend in branson?

Branson is SO FAMILY FRIENDLY! That has to be the number one reason why I’ve visited this place so much. There is so much to do and it’s all good, wholesome entertainment that you can feel good about. You won’t find a nightlife in Branson bustling with bars, alcohol, and loud inappropriate music. Instead, you will find families playing put-put golf, racing each other on the numerous go-kart tracks, and standing in long lines at Andy’s Frozen custard for some of the BEST sweet treats on the strip!

It’s like stepping back in time with old-timey stores, patriotism oozing from the mom-and-pop shops around town, and people using their manners like: “yes ma’am” and “yes sir”. This sweet little vacation town restores hope in humanity and in the simplicity and innocence of life.

I know that sounds like a lot or even like a fairytale in today’s world, but it’s the truth! And although I like to travel to different and faraway places, there is always room for Branson in my heart. How could it not be? So much of my childhood was spent there and it really hasn’t changed one bit!

what are the plans for spending a weekend in branson?

The MAIN reason that I wanted to bring Dad to Branson this year was to see the play ESTHER from Sight and Sound Theatre. I went to see this amazing play earlier this year and I knew that I wanted to bring my kids and their papaw to experience this beautiful story live.

sight and sound theatre

A photo of Sight and Sound Theater in Branson, MO.

what is sight and sound theatre all about?

Today, with a decade of operating two theaters, producing and premiering a brand-new show every other year and designing each production to travel between Lancaster and Branson, they are slowly honing their craft of taking stories from the pages of Scripture and bringing them to life on stage.

What began with a dairy farmer, his wife, a few slide projectors, a passion for creativity and a desire to serve God, grew into the Sight & Sound Theatres we know today—the nation’s largest organization of its kind, and one of the top three theater destinations in the country. They are humbled by this success and grateful to remain a family-owned business, led by the next generation of the Eshelman family with a passionately committed team of 600 employees.

FYI – I’ve been to New York City, and I’ve been to Broadway, and I mean this when I say it. Broadway has NOTHING on Sight and Sound Theatre! The acting, the singing, the HUGE stage, and props that are breathtaking. And most importantly to me, the content. Sight and Sound is filled with true stories of the Bible. It inspires you, moves you to tears, makes you laugh, and lastly fills you with hope and faith. When I leave a performance from Sight and Sound, I feel empowered, loved, and seen. No Broadway show has EVER done that for me!

A family photo with my dad, Brady, Ava, and myself at Sight and Sound theatre during our weekend trip to Branson.

what is the mission of sight and sound theater?

Their purpose is to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ and sow the Word of God into the lives of their customers, guests and fellow workers by visualizing and dramatizing the scriptures. Through inspirational productions, they are able to encourage others. And are always seeking to be dedicated and wise stewards of their God-given talents and resources.

The play that I took my peeps to see was Esther. And it was AMAZING!

A large poster or picture of Queen Esther in Branson, Missouri at Sight and Sound Theater.

Set in the opulent yet perilous Persian Empire, QUEEN ESTHER is a captivating tale of beauty and bravery. Esther’s ordinary life changed forever when she was taken through the palace doors, entering a new world of royalty and risk. With a crown on her head and a secret in her heart, can she find the courage to trust in God’s plan and believe that she was made for such a time as this?


sight and sound theatre price and value:

  • Ticket prices are a little steep at:
    • adults – $59 and kids – $29.
    • BUT this price is COMPLETELY WORTH IT! You are getting an amazing show that lasts over two hours. There is also a nice concession stand with freshly roasted almonds, drinks, and various other snacks. (You NEED to try the roasted almonds. They are delicious!)
  • Show times are at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. On Saturday there is an additional performance at 11:30 a.m. There are no performances on Sunday or Monday.
A picture of my dad and my two kids in front of a poster for Esther on our weekend trip to Branson.

what other surprises are in store for a weekend in branson?

The other big item that I wanted to tackle was the Titanic Museum. I had visited this museum as a kid with my school and really enjoyed it. So, I knew that my kiddos and my dad would really like diving into the history of this famous ship.

titanic museum

This museum is so detailed and really immerses its visitors completely into the experience. Whenever we first got there, we were each given a boarding pass with someone’s name on it. These names were actual passengers on the Titanic, and you get to follow their story while you journey through the museum and see if you were one of the lucky ones to snag a spot on a lifeboat.

The crazy thing is that the random boarding pass I received had MY NAME ON IT! My passenger was Jessie Leitch. HOW INSANE IS THAT?? Apparently, I was brought on this ship to take care of my eleven-year-old niece as we were headed for a church revival in America. I just thought this was a crazy coincidence.

My daughter happened to be the youngest child on Titanic, at 9 weeks old, my son was the richest kid on the ship, and my dad was Hispanic! This made our walk through the museum even more interesting because we were really invested in “our person” and hoped that they would make it out alive.

The museum took us about 2 hours to complete and we really took our time. I told my people that we weren’t in any hurry and that we would read as much as we wanted to and really discover the hidden gems of this famous ship. You also have a headset to wear with corresponding numbers in each room and at each station. You simply type in the number and a narrator in your ear tells you all about the room you are standing in. It helps give you direction and focus if you need it and ensures that you don’t miss anything.

check out our adventure video here!

titanic museum price and value:

  • Ticket prices are reasonable at:
    • adults – $35 and kids – $15
    • I think that these prices are reasonable because you are viewing real artifacts from one of the most famous sunken ships in history. They museum is beautiful and full of interactive experiences.

The other things on our agenda were pretty laid back and basic. Put-put golf, go-karts, and ice-cream were going to make their appearances. We also managed to get on the GIANT FERRIS WHEEL, walk Branson’s Landing to shop, and finally watch the water show. I have linked the places that we visited below including the prices and my opinion of whether it was worth it or not.

the track

Go-karts are something that my kids always want to do on vacation and I’m totally here for it but I must say that prices have gone through the roof! We chose to do the Wooden track that is 3 stories tall and the kids had fun but I can’t say that it was worth the price. (I’m sure my kids feel differently, but they aren’t paying. LOL)

  • One go-kart ride – $15 per person
  • Personally, I don’t think it’s worth it but I don’t know if we can go on vacation without letting the kids do this at least once. I would not pay for it a second time. I would make a quick exit for ice cream or put-put golf! (HA)
My daughter and myself riding go-karts on our weekend in Branson.

dinosaur canyon put-put golf

Much like go-karts, put-put golf is a MUST on vacation! We are all super competitive and it gives us a chance to scratch that itch by doing something that none of us do on a regular basis. Plus, it’s an activity that everyone can participate in no matter how old or young. (Obviously not toddlers)

There is a TON of put-put golf places in Branson and they all look like fun. But we happened to accidentally drive by this place which is one road off of the strip and we were instantly impressed. With a volcano that erupts, and shoots fire every 30 minutes, it’s a sight to behold!

Dinosaur Canyon Golf photo with a dinosaur in the bottom of the photo.

dinosaur canyon put-put golf price and value:

  • 18 hole course = adults – $14 and kids – $13
  • Personally, I feel that these prices are a little steep for what it is, but I cannot deny how much fun we have. There is some great scenery with the erupting volcano, moving and roaring dinosaurs, waterfalls, and lush forest decor. And the course itself is challenging and tricky. It takes us about an hour to complete the course and for that reason I can handle the price a little bit better.

the branson ferris wheel

I had never ridden the Branson Ferris Wheel before this trip. I’m more of a thrill seeker and I like the rush of adrenaline, so the laid-back nature of this slow-moving wheel in the sky has never appealed to me. But we happened to go to Andy’s late one night for ice-cream and there was this spectacular light show happening on the side of the Ferris wheel.

This light show just so happened to catch the eyes of my kiddos who then begged to be a part of it and take a ride. I don’t know if I just had an extraordinary moment of weakness or what, but I gave in to their pleas. It was just as I had expected. It was slow. Now, you do get a nice view of the city and lights at night but if you don’t like heights, I would say stay far away because it’s pretty high.

branson ferris wheel price and value:

  • Not so reasonable prices in my opinion = adults -$13 and kids $10.
  • They do allow you to make two full turns on the Ferris Wheel. So, I guess that can make you feel a little bit better about paying those prices but for me it’s not worth it. I prefer something more interactive, fast paced, or adrenaline inducing.

where to stay for a weekend in branson?

Thousand Hills resort hotel

This was the first time we had stayed at this hotel, and it was really nice. The location was perfect. Situated right in the middle of town but still far enough away from the main road to be peaceful and quiet, it really had everything you could want.

The pool was really nice and was half indoors and half outdoors. A nice jacuzzi, on site restaurant, and clean rooms made our stay very enjoyable and fun! They also gave us a coupon for a complimentary appetizer or dessert at two different restaurants which we took full advantage of!

Side Note – My husband and I stayed at the Thousand Hills Resort Cabins for our Honeymoon 16 years earlier and they continued their excellent service and amenities at this in-town hotel!

  • Obviously, prices are going to be dependent upon what type of room you book and the time of year, but I must say that our stay was SUPER REASONABLE, and I would totally stay here again.

where to eat on your weekend in branson?

The Mellow Mushroom

If there is one thing that you should know about our family, it’s that we LOVE pizza. Truthfully, I love all food, but pizza makes an appearance in our lives at least once a week and it is the favorite food of my youngest child. I’ve told him before that I think he’s going to turn into a slice of pizza because of how much he loves it!

Now, I’m not too good to eat a frozen pizza and I love my pizza chains like Pizza Hut and Dominoes, but I also like to taste the finer pizzerias of life every now and then. I love a thin New York Style crust with lots of fresh veggies and I’m also a fan of a deep-dish pizza with a crispy buttery crunch and a fluffy inside. (The only type of pizza that I’m really not interested in is the medium crust. I just think you should commit to being thin or thick. That middle ground just isn’t tasty in my opinion.)

Cheesy Bread found at the Mellow Mushroom on Branson's Landing.

The Mellow Mushroom is DELICIOUS! They have so many specialty pizzas and a wonderful crust. I highly recommend this place because everything on the menu is top of the line tasty. We also ordered the cheesy bread as an appetizer, and it was glorious! The prices are reasonable too!

Krispy Kreme Donuts

Krispy Kreme has to be the BEST donut on the planet! I’m serious. I haven’t ha any other donuts that even compared and at this site in Branson, you can watch as they are placed on a conveyer belt, deep fried, and covered in glaze right before your eyes.

Not to mention the fact that when you walk in, they instantly offer you a sample and by a sample I mean that they offer you a fresh glazed donut that is still piping hot! This donut simply melts into your mouth and all of a sudden, you realize that you are hooked!

Me taking a bite out of a Krispy Kreme donut on our weekend trip to Branson.

Personally, I believe that the simple glazed donut is the best in the house! I’ve also indulged in the lemon and raspberry filled donuts and they were good too but because they are filled with a cold custard, they aren’t served hot, and I think that doesn’t do the donut justice. You HAVE to eat a Krispy Kreme donut while it is hot to fully appreciate this amazing treat!

Billy bob’s dairyland

Many years ago, when we were bringing the kids to Branson for our family vacation, I decided to try to find the best burger in Branson and this restaurant repeatedly came up on my Google search. On that particular trip we weren’t able to fulfill my curiosity because we ran out of time. So, on this trip I had determined that we would visit Billy Bob’s Dairyland and finally taste that burger.

Here’s the deal.

This place has been around for a really long time and for that reason there is a lot of nostalgia surrounding it. The owners are older and super friendly, and they are still seating people, refilling drinks, and making sure that your food comes out just right. There is something to be said for service this great!

As far as the food. It’s typical diner food. The burger was good. The fries were good. The service was EXCELLENT. But I can tell you that the real surprise on the menu was the chili dog. My dad and I wanted to try both the burger and the chili dog, so we ordered both and split them. That chili dog was so, so good! And the thing that made it so good to me was the fact that they split the wiener down the middle and had grilled it until it was nice and charred. This gave that chili dog some great flavor! (It didn’t even need chili)

Me holding a chili dog from Billy Bob's Dairyland.

As far as the chili goes, it didn’t taste home-made, and I’m a home-made chili kind of gal, so I wasn’t super impressed with that. But it didn’t stop me from devouring my lunch! (HA)

My only regret is that we didn’t try the onion rings. If my dad and I would have thought about it, we would have split an order of fries and rings and called it a day. You will have to check them out and let me know in the comments below!

longhorn steakhouse

There isn’t anything unique or original about this chain steak house, but I can tell you about some of the things on their menu that are super tasty. Longhorn has one of the BEST ribeye’s I’ve ever tasted. Their Outlaw ribeye is seasoned to perfection and then grilled to your liking.

On this trip we ordered the Texas Tonion as our appetizer. It is a knock-off of the original Bloomin Onion from Outback steakhouse and is very tasty, but I must add that Outback Bloomin Onion sauce is much better. I also ordered the Salmon with Brussel Sprouts, and it was a nice surprise. The Salmon was a little overcooked, but the sprouts were super original with a delicious smoked honey glaze.

billy gail’s

This trip was my second experience at this restaurant, and I returned specifically so that we could order their famous 14′ pancake! Yes, you heard me right. They have a pancake that takes up half of the table! Now, you would think that with a novelty item like that that they would probably have to sacrifice flavor, but that is just not the case with Billy Gail’s. We ordered that pancake, and it was probably the best pancake I’ve ever had. It was super fluffy and tasted like vanilla. A total surprise!

A 14' pancake found at Billy Gail's restaurant. It has a large pad of butter on top.

I also ordered the French Toast, bacon and hashbrowns. Absolutely everything on their menu is mouthwatering and delicious!

You simply have to come here for breakfast or brunch and you can just thank me later!

A plate filled with French Toast, hashbrowns, and bacon.

andy’s frozen custard

The last stop on our culinary journey ends with dessert. Andy’s Frozen Custard is the “go-to” place for everyone and there is always a long line (that moves quickly) of people waiting to indulge in their delicious shakes, concretes, banana splits, and specialty items. Don’t be deterred by the hustle and bustle because you never have to wait more than a few minutes for your frozen treats to be ready for you! The shop itself is like stepping back in time and you are able to watch all the action while your items are being assembled. It’s truly a sight to see that many people moving that quickly to fill that many orders in such a small space. It’s impressive!

My dad ordered the banana split and I went for the Jackhammer. Specifically, I ordered the James Brownie Funky Jackhammer. This is made up of Andy’s frozen custard blended with creamy peanut butter and brownies, then filled with hot fudge. It is decadent!

The kiddos stayed with chocolate shakes, and everyone left fully satisfied!

our itinerary:

day 1

  • Drive to Branson
  • Check into hotel and unload car
  • Shop and walk at Branson’s Landing
  • Watch water show at Branson’s Landing and did the zipline
My dad and Brady on the zipline above the river at Branson's Landing.

day 2

  • Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast
  • Titanic Museum Tour
  • Lunch at Billy Bob’s Dairyland
  • Go-karts and the track
  • Rest in the hotel for a few hours/swim
  • Dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse
  • Put-Put Golf
  • Ice-cream at Andy’s Frozen Custard
My daughter standing beside some dinosaur bones at the put-put golf place.

day 3

  • Breakfast at Billy Gail’s
  • Visited little shops around town (Trump store, leather works, quilt store, etc…)
  • Sight and Sound Theatre – ESTHER
  • Drive home

check out my other trips here!

The Golden Girls do Sight and Sound Theater

A Family Thanksgiving in Texas 2022

How to Plan a Family Trip to Gulf Shores

A Week of Fun in Dallas/Fort Worth

be sure to pin it for later!

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