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14 Free Things to Do and See While in Branson Missouri
1. Branson Landing
Branson Landing FountainsAt the heart of Branson Landing is a vibrant town square terracing down to the spectacular fountain show that features the first-ever merging of water, fire, light and music. You will be amazed by the dazzling interplay of water Fountains shooting 120-foot geysers and fire cannons blasting, all choreographed to light and music. Branson Landing also presents the Concert Series with performances in Town Square and Monday Night Movies at 9pm. Great names, great performances. The full schedule of activities is available at BransonLanding.com. For other evening entertainment at Branson Landing check out the music at Ernie Biggs - great food and features dueling pianos in a fun atmosphere, ensuring a great time. You will also enjoy an evening at Shorty Small's Dockside Pub where you will listen to great live music performed nightly, Wednesday through Friday.
2. College of the Ozarks
You won't find a more picturesque campus with interesting and educational sites of interest. Signs proclaim this mountain college "Hard Work U", owing to the 15 hours per week each student must work (for tuition) in one of over 80 campus work areas. Students maintain the lovely and you are welcome to enjoy the walking paths, a pond with swans and fountains, and many spots other that are great for pictures. Edwards Mill gives free tours of this student-operated 1880's grist mill which produces several products you can buy on site. Visit the Ralph Foster Museum and see the original Beverly Hillbillies car. This museum houses the area's best collections of Ozarks history. (Modest Admission Fee) The student-run Keeter Center Restaurant, serves fine country-style cooking.
3. Dewey Short Visitor's Center
Located 6 miles west of US Hwy 65 on State Hwy 165 at the south end of Table Rock Dam. The nature center features three films and displays of the local flora and fauna. On the grounds, you may enjoy the day by picnicking, swimming, sunbathing, scuba diving or fishing along the shoreline. If you arrive by boat, take advantage of the courtesy dock that is located on the Visitors Center grounds. The Center is open 7 days per week, 9am - 5pm, from April 1 - October 31.
4. Downtown Branson
Downtown is where Branson got its start around 1888. It's a shopping and entertainment destination with the flavor of an old time Main Street, preserved building facades, brick sidewalks and Victorian lamp posts. Visitors from near and far will find a unique shopping opportunity in Downtown Branson's 60 retail stores. Visitors can also enjoy a wide range of dining choices and 19 historic points of interest. Everywhere downtown, whether you are strolling down the brick lined sidewalks, riding in an old-time horse drawn carriage, or relaxing on the Downtown Discovery Trolley, your imagination steps back to a simpler time.
5. Free Sunday Shows
Several of the Branson theaters open their doors Sunday mornings for some good old gospel get-togethers, Ozark style. Hear some of your favorite Branson entertainers and musicians doing traditional gospel music. You'll mix informally with other tourists, Branson locals, and you'll spot Branson celebrities both on stage and in the audience, although they are often unannounced. Several enjoy taking to the stage and sharing a word about their faith. Some theaters host worship services complete with preaching and testimonies.
6. God and Country Inspirational Gardens
Come and reflect on God, family and our Country. Enjoy 6 ponds with fountains and waterfalls, a small cedar chapel, covered area for performances, many flower beds, a winding path along the landscape and a display of the Ten Commandments.
7. Lakeside Forrest Wilderness Area
In the heart of Branson hikers looking for a nature escape can find 130 acres of wooded and rugged hill country allow you a retreat from the bustle of Branson. Both visitors and local citizens can enjoy this unique park with its two woodland trails that wind through forest, along bluffs and across glades. The park is open daily from 7am to 7pm in the summer months and 7am to 5pm through the winter.
8. Lake Taneycomo
Located in old downtown Branson and along the boardwalk at Branson Landing is a beautiful area on the waterfront that is beautiful for short walks. You can fish off the docks, feed the ducks and geese for a few pennies, stroll through the park, the dockside art galleries, or just sit and enjoy the view of the clear waters, rugged cliffs. Don't miss the clip-clop of horses and carriages passing by.
9. Scenic Views
Head south on Hwy 165, cross Table Rock Dam and go approximately 3 miles and you will find great view of Branson, the mountains, Table Rock Lake, the dam and Lake Taneycomo. Another great place to view the scenes and sites of Branson is the Henning State Forest Lookout, about 2 miles West of town on W. Hwy 76.
10. Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery
One of Branson's most popular tourist sites is located below Table Rock Dam. The visitor's center has some beautiful aquariums displaying Missouri's game fish and information about the history and running of the dam and the hatchery. A walk through the trout hatchery (which raises over a million rainbow and brown trout yearly) is an especially big hit with families. These trout are stocked in the cold waters of Lake Taneycomo below Table Rock Dam. Hatchery tours are given throughout the summer months.
11. Shopping
It doesn't cost anything just to look! Branson is one of America's top shopping destinations. The outlet malls, Tanger Outlet Mall, Factory Shoppes at Branson Meadows, and Factory Merchants Outlet Mall, house over 200 stores. In addition, Branson several theme malls featuring antiques, demonstrating master craftsmen, country crafts, or flea markets.
12. Stone Hill Winery
The Stone Hill Winery entertains thousands of guests each year with a fascinating, historical and often humorous look at winemaking. Enjoy a sparkling hour of wine making on this free tour, which ends with some fine wine tasting. (Grape juice for the kids).
13. Table Rock Dam
This massive engineering structure was completed in 1958 and created Table Rock Lake. You can at the park just below the dam to watch the powerful structure hold back the waters of the White River. It is the perfect spot to view the workings of the dam and the power generating plant. There are also walking trails and good spots for a picnic. Designed, built and operated by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Table Rock Dam and Lake has become a paradise for boaters, scuba divers, campers and fishermen alike.
14. Table Rock Lakeshore Trail
This beautiful trail is 2.2 miles long and runs from the Dewey Short Visitor Center to the Table Rock State Park Marina. As you bike or hike the trail in the spring you will view dogwood, serviceberry and redbud trees in bloom as well as many wildflower species. During the fall season, visitors are treated to nature's colorful fall foliage. The trail also offers beautiful views of Table Rock Lake. The trail will take you by the Showboat Branson Belle, and it also takes you through Table Rock State Park which offers many additional recreation opportunities.
 

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