There’s more than live music and theatre to enjoy during a visit to Branson. Dubbed the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Branson is situated in the heart of the Ozark Mountains and is surrounded by prime fishing, hiking, and exploring opportunities. Celebrities, artists, and professional outdoorsmen have long been drawn to Branson due to the natural beauty of the area. Their love of the great outdoors has helped create and preserve numerous historic sites in Branson. From cave tours and fishing holes to museums and theme parks, Branson’s history has been a colorful one that continues to celebrate the natural beauty and splendor of the Ozarks.
Historic Sites in Branson
It’s not just the numerous lakes that have long drawn visitors to the Ozarks. The area’s web of underground caves has attracted tourists and natives alike for decades. In fact, many of Branson’s popular comedy and live music acts got their start on stages once housed in caves. Today, caves like Talking Rocks Cavern still provide an unmatched beauty and sense of exploration. Talking Rocks Cavern got its name in 1969 when it became part of the Silver Dollar City empire, but its history extends back much further. Explore the cave system and its history on an hour-long tour before heading up to the lookout tower and picnic areas. You can even mine for gemstones.
To really soak in the beauty and history of the Ozarks, stop by the Ralph Foster Museum. Located on the campus of College of the Ozarks, this museum is a time capsule of life in the Ozarks. Exhibits display antiques, houseware, wildlife, and even the famous car used in The Beverly Hillbillies. There’s tons to see thanks to carefully curated collections that began in the 1920s.
Stroll through a slice of history at the Bonniebrook Gallery, Museum, and Homestead. This mansion-turned museum was once the family home of artist, illustrator, and writer Rose O’Neill, best known for her cherub-faced Kewpies. Today, the elegant home is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been restored. It now houses a collection of O’Neill’s artwork and illustrations. Even the property itself is a quiet retreat among the many historic sites in Branson, with walking paths that lead through the woods and sitting areas near a small creek.
To enjoy the beauty of the Ozarks, find a seat on this historic railcar and head out on a 40-mile train trip through the area’s forested foothills. The train’s conductor serves as your narrator and guides you through the area’s colorful history. You’ll cruise past creeks, rivers, valleys, and the remnants of ghost towns, or you can enjoy dinner in an old-fashioned dining car. For a bird’s-eye view of the scenic landscape, cozy up in one of the observatory cars, where you can enjoy a view from the top of the train.
Thanks to a bounty of rivers, lakes, and streams, the Ozarks has long been a haven for anglers. Off the water, the History of Fishing Museum is one of the many popular historic sites in Branson. Inside these hallowed halls is an enormous collection of antique fishing gear. Exhibits are packed with lures, rods, reels, motors, and boats. Even more impressive, the entire collection belongs to one husband and wife. In total, the museum houses more than 40,000 pieces.
If the Mabe family had had a crystal ball, they could have known how big their act would become. With a solid set of country music and comedy to rely on, the Mabe family built Branson’s first theatre in 1959. Better known as the Baldknobbers, the family still draws in crowds who come to see their mix of country, gospel, and comedy, all of which have made their act one of the most popular historic sites in Branson.
There’s a reason this 1880s-style amusement park has been one of the top attractions and top historic sites in Branson for more than 55 years: There’s entertainment for everyone. Hundreds of craftsmen fill the park and put their skills on display. There are glass blowers, potters, blacksmiths, weavers, carpenters, candy makers, and more. Even better, your favorite crafts and homemade treats are for sale. So you can learn how to make apple butter and then head home with a trunk full of jams and jellies. Or you could join one of the monthly culinary classes hosted in the park’s turn-of-the-century style farmhouse. If it’s thrills you’re seeking, strap yourself into one of the park’s roller coasters and rides. You can plummet eight stories, spin 50 feet in the air, or go upside down on the famed wooden coaster. No matter your age, there’s a ride for you.
For comedy, live music, and endless entertainment, visit the Presley family. This multi-talented group built one of Branson’s first theatres along the Branson strip and has been entertaining crowds since 1963. Even the theatre is still at its original location. Of course, it’s gone through several upgrades and extensions to host 230 live shows a year. Its timeless act and storied history in Branson has landed the Presley’s Country Jubilee in the national spotlight with stints on Good Morning America and Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.
There is a long list of adventures waiting for you in Branson, which means you’re going to need a comfortable place to relax and recharge. If you’re looking for a place to stay, Branson Vacation Rentals has luxurious lodging options perfect for you and your guests. We can accommodate groups of any size including business retreats. Call us at 417-832-9991 or leave us a message. We would love to make your lodging experience as memorable and relaxing as possible.