Three and a half weeks ago when we arrived in Branson we could choose from about 40 different shows. That count has continued to ramp upward. In fact, we attended two opening nights while here. This week the count has topped 70. These generally play 2-3 times per week or more, meaning you have a choice of about 200 different performance times in a week. And this morning at breakfast the waitress apologized for how few shows are available this time of year, because by summer the number of performances will again double or triple. And this does not count the go-karts, bumper boats, water parks, climbing walls, miniature golf courses, and other kid’s activities. Even the museums are entertaining: Hollywood Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Fishing Museum, Movie Cars, Titanic Museum (I had to laugh at the sign advertising the world’s largest collection of Titanic life jackets). Then there is the Butterfly Palace and a Drive through Zoo. The new aquarium will be open next year. If you want it, and it is family friendly, likely Branson has it.
As entertainment goes, show prices are reasonable. Two hour concerts are generally about $30-35, and less if you attend a second concert in the same theatre. Early in the season, these prices got us seats in the front 2 rows on 3 occasions. Anything you want is here: acrobats, magicians, trained animals, trick riders, variety shows and comedians. But we generally stuck to music performances in the genres we like, and they were all excellent. Although we had to budget ourselves, we have generally managed to see a couple of shows each week. This has allowed us to see tribute shows to Creedence Clearwater (for me), Abba (for Ellen), the Jersey Boys, and (of course) Elvis. We saw an impressionist who mimics dozens of different musical performers, and a family that has been performing here for 25 years. We took in Dolly Parton’s spectacular dinner theatre, with live horses, longhorns, and bison. It was not just a show, but an experience, as you can see below.
Since this is early in the season, many of the shows were sparsely attended, with audiences less than 100. But the Haygood family sold out their 1200 seat theater, and appear to do it every show. Regardless of the size of the audience, performances were delivered with passion and professionalism. Several times I tried to figure out which one was my favorite performance. Generally, my favorite was whichever one I saw last. Today will be our last show, the top hits of the 60s and 50s.
Some performances prohibit all cameras, even cell phones. Others allow pictures but not video. Others do not specify. So the pictures below were all captured via cell phone, occasionally a clip from a short video. So the overall quality is not great. But they should give you a great feel for what the shows are like. If you come here, I guarantee you will find something that appeals to you. Seven million people a year aren’t wrong.