Monday, July 23, 2007

Fist Full of Dollars

Last Thursday Nana and I (Papa) took the three youngest grandkids (two girls ages seven and five, and the big guy age 3) to Branson, Missouri and Silver Dollar City. Branson is only about a two-hour drive from our house. We left Thursday after work and got to the hotel around 7:00 p.m. There was plenty of time for the kids to play in the pool and work off any residual energy left over from a busy day. After an hour in the pool, it's time for baths and off to bed. Friday morning we started the day with a less than appetizing free breakfast. Proof get what you pay for.
We arrived at Silver Dollar City around 10:00 a.m. One hundred and eighty dollars later (including the fact that the three year old is free!) we're in the park and looking for the first adventure. That proved to be the swings that are set up similar to a merry-go-round. Next, it was time for a show. It was a mini-ice capades. The show was pretty entertaining and it got us out of the heat and humidity for an hour. After a couple more rides, it's time for lunch. Hot dogs for the girls, Burgers for Nana and the big guy, Brawts for Papa. Two more rides and it's off the play areas. One area has a series of air cannons that shoot soft rubber balls, inside a netted three level play structure. The two youngest thought this was just the best. Next we're off to an area that is filled with water cannons and you will get wet! Correction, you will get soaked. Again, it's great fun for the kids and a chance to cool off. Plan ahead. Put the kids in swimsuits under their clothes and bring a towel. Two more rides, a snack, another show and we're headed toward the exit. It's 4:30 p.m. The last thing that you will encounter is a 50,000 square foot gift shop that you must travel through in order to exit the park! Sheer marketing genius!!
We stop to get a frozen yogurt on the way back to the hotel. Everyone takes a short nap, Papa goes to get dinner, and it's back to the pool for the pre-bed/bath ritual.
Saturday morning we decide to buy breakfast, so we head to Cracker Barrel. The food and coffee are great! You get what you pay for. After breakfast we head down to "Branson Landing". This is a new retail/entertainment area that is in a completely redeveloped area on the lake front of Lake Taneycomo. Lake Taneycomo is actually more like a wide river that connects Beaver Lake in Arkansas with Table Rock Lake in Missouri. It is a cold water lake and supports rainbow trout and smallmouth bass. There is a Bass Pro Shop here, so Papa and the big guy are happy campers. He's found a four-wheeler for himself and his dad, while Papa has a new fishing boat spotted. Alas, these toys will have to stay on the show room floor. It's time for us to head home.
On the way home we stop for lunch in Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. This is owned and operated by Bass Pro Shops and is a part of the Big Cedar Lodge properties. It's about 15 miles from Branson. You can trout fish there for $20.00 for the first hour and $10.00 for each additional hour. There is a walking trail for $7.95. You can also rent bikes "For a Few Dollars More."
We dropped the kids off at their house around 4:30. It was a great couple of days! Like the old saying goes, "If we knew the grandkids were this much fun....we would have had them first!!!"