Branson, Missouri



OVERVIEW

Known as the "Live Entertainment Capital of the World," Branson, Missouri, lies in the heart of the beautiful Ozark Mountains in Southwest Missouri - within a day's drive of more than half of the population of the United States and just 35 miles South of Springfield. Nestled within the heart of the beautiful Ozark Mountains, Branson has evolved into one of the country's most popular family vacation destinations. With a population of just 7,500, Branson manages to draw more than 8 million visitors annually (80 percent are repeat visitors!).

Branson boasts nearly 50 state-of-the-art live entertainment venues, where you can enjoy everything from country music to rock 'n' roll to swing, jazz, gospel and blues, as well as comedy and Broadway-style musicals. In addition to live entertainment, Branson features eclectic attractions, outdoor recreation opportunities, award-winning theme parks, water parks, fine dining, outlet malls, championship golf courses and much more!

BEST TIME TO VISIT BRANSON
Tourist season officially begins in April when many of the live entertainment venues and attractions reopen. Peak tourist season is June and July, and between Labor Day and Christmas. The average temperature in Branson from June through September is 86F. Branson averages 2 inches of snow each winter (the coldest months are November through January). Note: Many Branson live shows are closed from January through March.

BRANSON HISTORY
Branson is named after Rueben Branson, who opened a general store in the area that became the town's post office in 1882. The immense popularity of Harold Bell Wright's bestselling novel, The Shepherd of the Hills, which documented the struggles and triumphs of early Missouri settlers, started drawing tourists to the Ozark Mountains. The City of Branson was incorporated in 1912 with 1,200 residents. The Shepherd of the Hills outdoor drama first opened in 1959, along with Branson's first musical show, Baldknobbers Jamboree. Silver Dollar City opened the following year as Branson's first theme park. A variety of live theaters started to populate the area along Highway 76 during the late 1960s. In 1967, the Presley family constructed the first theatre (Presley's Country Jubilee) along "The Strip." Country music celebrities such as Roy Clark and "Box Car Willie" opened theaters in Branson in the mid-1980s. In 2004, the Associated Press named Branson one of the top 20 family vacation destinations in the United States.

GETTING TO AND AROUND BRANSON
Branson lies in Southwest Missouri - 1,190 miles from New York City, 1,652 miles from Los Angeles, 546 miles from Chicago, 250 miles from St. Louis and just 167 miles from Little Rock, Arkansas. Located 45 minutes from Branson, the Springfield-Branson Regional Airport offer 66 flights daily connecting to eight international airports via five airlines: American Connection, American Eagle, Delta Connection, Northwest Airlink and United Express.

Most of Branson's live theater venues lie along "neon-blitzed" Highway 76, also known as Country Music Boulevard or simply "The Strip." Traffic along the theater-strewn route is often heavy but many hotels offer the convenience of complimentary shuttles to the main attractions and shows. Most visitors drive to Branson and tours buses/motorcoaches are very common. In fact, Branson has been rated as the No. 1 motorcoach bus destination in the United States by the American Bus Association.

BRANSON LIVE ENTERTAINMENT
Branson boasts more than 53 theaters with 59,757 seats (more theater seats than Broadway!) and 100 family-friendly shows that feature superbly talented entertainers who perform everything from country, pop, blues, rock 'n' roll and gospel to big band, swing and Broadway show tunes. Comedians, magicians and specialty acts round out the wide diversity of entertainment offerings. Popular Branson shows and performers include Dixie Stampede, Mel Tillis, Moe Bandy, Mickey Gilley, Gatlin Brothers, Jeff Foxworthy, Yakoff Smirnoff, Doug Kershaw, Bobby Vinton, Oak Ridge Boys, Kenny Rogers, Jim Stafford, Sons of the Pioneers Dinner & Show, Hughes Brothers, Darren Romeo, George Jones and Doug Gabriel, among many others.

BRANSON OUTDOOR RECREATION
The Branson area boasts three scenic lakes - Bull Shoals Lake, Lake Taneycomo and Table Rock Lake - that offer a myriad of outdoor recreational opportunities, including boating, canoeing, fishing, swimming, jet skiing, waterskiing, sailing and parasailing. Nestled in the beautiful Ozark Mountains, Branson also offers championship golf courses (Branson boasts eight championship courses), hiking and biking trails, campsites and more.

Five miles West of Branson lies the ever-popular 43,100-acre Table Rock State Park, which features a marina, campsites, hiking trails and picnic areas. For the novice or experienced golfer, Branson golf courses feature challenging layouts designed by renowned architects, varied terrain, scenic mountain vistas, tree-lined fairways and intricate waterscapes.

BRANSON SHOPPING
A vacation getaway to Branson is not complete without a visit to one of the area's three outlet malls - Factory Merchants Branson, Shoppes at Branson Meadows and Tanger Outlet Mall - that contain more than 200 brand-name outlet stores such as Aileen, Bass Shoe, Osh Kosh b'Gosh, Florsheim, Polo Ralph Lauren, Old Navy, Gap, Rockport, Carter's, Casual Corner, Izod, Van Heusen, Bon Worth and many others. Branson Landing, a 95-acre, $300-million shopping, dining and entertainment complex, opened in downtown Branson in 2007.

BRANSON THEME PARKS & ATTRACTIONS
In addition to world-class live entertainment, Branson features fun-filled theme parks such as Silver Dollar City. The award-winning Silver Dollar City boasts 17 thrilling rides and attractions, 50 entertaining shows daily and four spectacular festivals. In addition, visitors to Silver Dollar City can take guided tours of Marvel Cave, Missouri's deepest cave. Branson water parks include Splash Country and White Water - the "hottest beach in the Ozarks!"

Other popular Branson attractions include American Presidential Museum, Branson Scenic Railway, Grand Country Mini Golf, Hollywood Wax Museum, IMAX Entertainment Complex, Ride the Ducks, Ripley's Believe It Or Not!, Roy Rogers - Dale Evans Museum, Showboat Branson Belle, Stone Hill Winery, Talking Rocks Cavern and Veteran's Memorial Museum.

BRANSON TIMELINE

1882 - Branson is named after Rueben Branson, who opened a general store here that later became the town's post office.
1894 - William Henry Lynch opens Marvel Cave as a tourist attraction.

1907 - The immense popularity of Harold Bell Wright's bestselling novel, The Shepherd of the Hills, starts drawing tourists to the Ozark Mountains.

1912 - City of Branson is incorporated with 1,200 residents.

1959 - Branson's first musical show, Baldknobbers Hillbilly Jamboree, makes its debut.

1960 - The Shepherd of the Hills outdoor drama debuts in Branson. Silver Dollar City opens as Branson's first theme park.

1963 - Table Rock Lake is created after the Table Rock Dam is completed on the White River
1967 -
The Presley family constructs the first theatre (Presley's Country Jubilee) along "The Strip."

1983 - The Roy Clark Celebrity Theater opens along "The Strip."

1987 - "Box Car Willie" becomes the first celebrity entertainer to perform on a permanent schedule in his own theater.
1988 - The first Ozark Mountain Christmas is held in Branson.

1991 - "60 Minutes" proclaims Branson the "Live Music Capital of the Entire Universe."
1992 -
The $13 million, 4,000-seat Grand Palace Theatre opens in Branson
1996 - The Hollywood Wax Museum opens its doors.
2004 -
Associated Press names Branson one of the top 20 family vacation destinations in the country.
2006 - Branson Landing, a $420 million, 95-acre shopping, dining and entertainment complex , opens in Branson.
2007 - Overlooking Lake Taneycomo and Branson Landing, the new, state-of-the-art Branson Convention Center opens in Branson.
2008 - Branson draws approximately 8 million visitors.

2009 - The $155 million Branson Airport opens East of Highway 65 and just North of the Missouri-Arkansas border.