Have The Perfect Family Vacation In Branson

When you Google top family destinations across the country, one of the search suggestions belongs to Branson, MO. That’s because this one of the best cities to have an R&R with the family. The city itself was built for this kind of activity. Every corner is riddled with establishments for relaxation and entertainment. There are lots of wonderful attractions to visit like museums, theatres, theme parks, and many more.

Here are some of the things to see in Branson, MO which are perfect for that family getaway you’ve always been planning.

Silver Dollar City

A family vacation is not complete without a trip to the city’s premier theme park— the Silver Dollar City. It is filled with all sorts of rides that the whole family can enjoy. What’s unique about this amusement park is that it has an 1800’s vibe as seen in its rides. These are perfect for those who seek thrill and adventure.

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Meanwhile, kids can also enjoy their visit at SDC because there are areas intended for them. For instance, there’s a park where kids can play and partake in some activities prepared by staff. Crafts and shows for kids and adults too are always available in SDC.

silver dollar city attraction

Apart from rides and kiddie activities, the family can also take witness shows prepared to its guests. Entertainment is a forte in Branson and Silver Dollar City has prepared shows suitable for the whole family. There are fireworks show, dive-in movies, and entertain cruises. In addition, the family can spend the night in the wilderness of SDC where camp sites are available.

silver dollar city for kids

Table Rock Lake

For a perfect family getaway, include Table Rock Lake in your itinerary. This is the best place to visit if you are looking for an experience close to nature. Created in the 50s, the lake has been a destination among locals. Now, it is also being marketed as one of Branson’s tourist spots.

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The Table Rock Lake is composed of 50,000 acres of crystal clear and serene water. Folks can snorkel or fish on the lake or they can also set a camp site at the lake shore.Boating and fishing are also popular in Table Rock Lake. Visitors can climb aboard Branson Belle a regular showboat in the area. This showboat offers amazing cuisine and entertainment that will surely please everyone.

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Dogwood Canyon

Branded as the ultimate nature park, Dogwood Canyon is one of the premier family tourist destinations in Branson, Mo. Families will surely love the 6 mile hiking and biking trail with a stocked trout fishing stream on the side. It also boasts a wide picnic and camping area for those looking to dine with nature. What’s amazing about the place is that the locals have preserved the area well despite being visited by thousands of tourists annually. It was the place that English settlers used to traverse and the tourism board of Branson has kept its essence for the enjoyment of today’s tourists. The best activity to accomplish here is to ride a horse while traversing through the path made by the English settlers. Visitors can also marvel at the magnificent sights offered by Ozark Mountains while horseback riding. Meanwhile, bike rentals are available to those who wish to explore the place through biking. On the other hand if they wish to explore it by foot, Dogwood Canyon has paths intended for hikers.

These are some of the attractions to include when visiting Branson, MO. There are other destinations for the family to discover as well. What’s great about having a family vacation here is that it can be realized any time of the year as Branson’s family destinations are open all year round.

 

Author Bio: April is an online publisher for The Cabins at GrandMountain in Branson, MO. She often writes about camping, Midwest traveling, and log cabin experiences. 

Photography provided by Mellisa Swigart of MomLuck.com, a fellow blogging friend who often writes about travel on her site! I highly recommend checking her out for firsthand stories of her visits to Branson, like her recent zip line adventure!

A Day of Exploration and Inspiration at Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center used to be the place to go and spend a day while you waited for a shuttle launch. I remember driving out to Cape Canaveral, on the “Space Coast” as it has proudly been referred to by Floridians, and sitting in traffic for miles. Watching a shuttle launch is one of those things that appeals to everyone, not just “Space Geeks.” No matter what your interests, space exploration appeals to everyone, doesn’t it? When the Space Program closed down, we were afraid of what would happen to Kennedy Space Center. Who would visit a park designed around shuttle launches if there were no more launches?

Well, as it turns out, the people at Kennedy Space Center had a very well thought out plan in place. Kennedy Space Center redesigned the visitor’s center and after spending a day there in February, I almost forgot that it was even missing something…Kennedy Space Center has become a place of history and exploration, education through exciting exhibits and powerful reminders of what Americans can accomplish when we put our minds to it.

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Meet an Astronaut at the Kennedy Space Center Astronaut Encounter

Learn about space travel and exploration from someone who has been in space and experienced it firsthand. While you dine on a delicious buffet lunch, a veteran NASA astronaut relives their journey through space and tells you what it is like to feel the power of g-force and float through the air. You will learn what kind of education is required, how physically fit you have to be and how hard it is and how long it takes to acclimate upon one’s return to earth. There is also the daily Astronaut Encounter, featuring discussions with a veteran astronaut. When I visited, Tom Jones (no, not that one) was in attendance and he couldn’t have been nicer!

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The Space Shuttle Atlantis and Launch Experience 

The Space Shuttle Atlantis and Launch Experience at Kennedy Space Center should not be missed! With simulators, multimedia presentations and dozens of interactive exhibits, the separate building housing Atlantis with the payload doors open and Canadarm extended, details thirty years of fascinating space history.

Just walking through the exhibit was inspiring and I found myself with teary eyes and goosebumps more than once. To be there, so close to the Atlantis and see how ginormous it is – it’s an amazing experience.

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There are two on-site 3D IMAX theaters, each offering unique and unparalleled movie experiences on five story screens with surround sound. The story of the Hubble telescope details the trials and tribulations of building and installing the telescope, while Space Station chronicles life aboard the International Space Station.

Adults and kids alike love the Angry Birds Space Encounter exhibit, which features five unique, interactive exhibits. You don’t even realize that you are learning physics, engineering and math because you’re having so much fun!

There is an on-site cafeteria, which has an extensive variety of burgers, sandwiches and salads. After lunch, continue to the Rocket Garden to view Apollo, Mercury or Gemini or head to the gift shop to purchase exclusive souvenirs.

 

A day at the Kennedy Space Center is enjoyable for the whole family! There is so much to discover and experience you will want to come back for a second day of fun-filled learning.

Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center Hours and Admission

The Kennedy Space Center is open year round at 9 AM but closing time varies by season.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
March 31 – September 1: 9 am – 7 pm
September 2 – December 31: 9 am – closing time varies

The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® 
Now – September 1: Noon – 5 pm
Daily admission tickets are $40.00 and you can buy multi-day tickets for $60.00

You can purchase your tickets ahead of time on KennedySpaceCenter.com.

Tropical Vacations: 10 Steps For An Unexpected Hurricane

You’re so excited to be traveling to a warm coast for vacation! You pack carefully, research restaurants and attractions – you’re ready to go. But, have you thought about what you will do if a storm strikes? No one wants to think about a tropical storm ruining their vacation, but if you are planning to spend time this summer in an area where hurricanes are possible it’s good to be prepared. Here is a list of 10 things you can do to ensure your safe return home.

Storm Coming

1. See how often your destination is hit by tropical storms

When someone says ‘hurricane’ your first thought is probably Florida. You might be surprised to know that, as of 2013, Florida ranked 11th in locations most likely to be affected by tropical storms and hurricanes. The Bahamas, Gulf Coast and even North Carolina are prime targets. Check yearly patterns and seasons so you can pick an area least likely to be hit during your trip.

2. Listen to local news outlets

If a storm is brewing, keep your local news on the tv and a radio close by. Areas that are familiar with these storms will notify you on a regular basis if a hurricane is approaching and offer updates on location, severity and safety measures.

3. Contact your travel company

If you booked your travel through a tour group or travel agency, let them know what is going on. They can offer even more advice on where to go, if evacuation is needed and how to speed up your return home.

4. Have a Plan B for return travel

If a hurricane or tropical storm hits, airports may close or even become damaged, delaying flights. Immediate travel may not be possible by air but, depending on how far you traveled, leaving the area by bus, train or rental car may be possible.

5. Stay inside, away from doors and windows

If you are still at your hotel or vacation rental when the hurricane hits, make sure you are inside until evacuation is possible. As tempting as it is to watch a coastal storm roll in, make sure to stay away from doors and windows at all times.

6. Make a hurricane supply kit

A hurricane often means staying put. Don’t rely on the hotel restaurant or snack shop to remain open. Make sure you are prepared with food, water, and a battery operated light source as early as possible.

7. Know the hurricane procedure for your hotel

Regulations require that hotels have a hurricane procedure in place to protect guests and control chaos. Check your hotel’s website for information or ask at the front desk when you check in so you know ahead of time what is expected: evacuation route, loss of electricity, areas guests are to assemble, etc.

8. Make a physical list of emergency contact numbers

We all have our important phone numbers in our cell phones. But, what happens if you’re without power and lose your charge? Cell phone towers are taken down by high winds? Make sure to write down all of your emergency numbers on a piece of paper so that you have them on hand if you need to use a land line to contact friends and family.

9. Prepack and get all your documents together in case you have to evacuate

Evacuation can happen without notice. At the first mention of an approaching hurricane, prepack your bags and gather your important items such as IDs, passports, credit cards, cash, driving license, contact number list etc. If an evacuation notice is sent out, you’ll be able to grab and go.

10. Follow directions, follow them quickly

The best thing to remember is that the people working around you live in a hurricane region. They’ve done this before and know how to direct you. Follow their lead and do exactly as instructed, without argument and as quick as possible.

Most of all, don’t panic. While some hurricanes have the potential to create damage on land, many will blow over with minimal danger. Keep calm and be prepared.

 

Exploring the OTHER Side of the Caribbean with the Carnival Freedom

I love cruising. I mean, I really, really love cruising. Angeline jokingly said the other day while on the Carnival Freedom, “this is like a hotel that takes you to paradise.” So, so true! A cruise has everything you could possibly want in a fantastic vacation: a lovely room, delicious food available to you 24 hours a day, free room service, fun comedy shows, Broadway-style entertainment, gambling, expert bartenders, a free, built in camp program for the kiddos, inexpensive nighttime childcare, and my favorite part?

Exotic locations at your beckon call!

Exploring the Other Side of the Caribbean with the Carnival Freedom #CarnivalFreedom

I was invited on this complimentary cruise to check out the new Carnival Seuss at Sea themed activities and spaces, as well as the all-new Camp Ocean kid’s program. One of these days, I will get around to sharing some of the awesome stuff the Carnival Freedom has to offer – hopefully it will be sooner rather than later – but for now?

I want to show you some of the amazing places we were able to visit for a day, courtesy of our ports of call.

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Let’s begin with Grand Turk, in Turks and Caicos. We have been to Grand Turk before, but we did a snorkeling excursion on that trip. Last week, we just sat on the beach and soaked up the sun.

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We found a beach vendor selling $5 wifi access and caught up on emails, shared our fun day with our Instagram followers and then headed over to Margaritaville, where the pool water was as blue and warm as the ocean just yards away.

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Next up was La Romana, in the Dominican Republic. We went on the Bayahibe Beach Break shore excursion through Carnival Cruise Lines and spent the day basking in the sun, watching a group play water polo in the pool and taking advantage of the free swim up pool bar!

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Of course no day is complete without a little fresh coco frio…which were free upon arrival!

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Our next visit was to the tiny island of Curaçao, which is part of the ABC Islands – which are Dutch! We visited a few lovely beaches and then I crossed the famous Queen Emma Bridge to explore the local shopping and dining scene.

Just my luck…the bridge opened and I was stuck across the bridge from the girls for almost an hour. I had to grab a ferry back!

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We went on the De Palm Island Snorkeling Excursion while in Aruba. While it wasn’t the best beach on the island, it was a prime spot for snorkeling, and there was a water park included in the excursion for kids!

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People just went back and forth between the snorkeling, water park and pretty beach all day! Drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) were included in the excursion, as well as a free buffet! De Palm Island really had everything you could possibly want in a tropical island excursion. The girls had a blast snorkeling right off the beach for hours!

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I’ll be sharing more information about the Carnival Freedom in the coming weeks, be sure to stay tuned!