The Ozarks tourist region is a great place to stop in for a weekend flying trip with children. Though Missouri may not sound as exciting as Florida beaches, you can’t deny all there is to do here. It’s located south enough in the United States to be fairly mild many months of the year. If you are looking for a fun place to take your family, then make a plan to fly your airplane to Branson! The least crowded months are January through March, with Christmas and summer months being the busiest. Though Branson is also known for it’s abundance of live shows, this post will focus on day time family fun.
WHERE TO LAND
The closest airport is the M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport (KPLK) located right in Branson. This is not to be confused with Branson Airport, 20 minutes away. The airport has a single asphalt runway at 3,738 x 100 feet. Operating hours are from 7 am to 5 pm daily, and they offer full service 100LL and Jet. There is an overnight fee of $10 for tie down, and Avis car rental on site.
Here’s an iPhone video for the view of the final approach and landing runway 12 at the airport.
WHERE TO STAY
Marriott’s Willow Ridge Lodge If you need more room for the family, here you can find 1 and 2 bedroom villas with full kitchens. Located near the center point of Country Boulevard, this Marriott Vacations Property allows nightly reservations. Rates for villas go as low as $125 in the off season.
Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing There’s a variety of room configurations at this conveniently located hotel. This property is across from the fountains, right at the heart of Branson Landing’s waterfront entertainment strip. You won’t have to worry about driving to dinner, as there are many options right outside your door.
WHAT TO DO
The Butterfly Palace
This butterfly aviary is home to thousands of butterflies and 60 different species. It is a true immersion experience as butterflies land either on you, or atop your complimentary handheld nectar feeder. This was absolutely magical for the kids. Between the thrill of waiting for one to land and getting to inspect the butterfly up close, it’s an experience they won’t soon forget. Upon entrance you receive a wristband that’s good for 3 days. The attraction fee also includes a rain forest science center, a mirror maze, and a video presentation theater. The gift shop has some great novelty items to check out as well. I would give this activity 2-3 hours, arrange to go during off peak hours of the day, and wear red to attract butterflies!
Aquarium at the Boardwalk
This 46,000 square foot, stroller friendly aquarium is one of Branson’s newest attractions. A 55-foot tall and 34 ton stainless steel giant Octopus adorns the front of the building. This attraction is a well crafted auditory and visual experience. Tanks are surrounded by installation art from artists around the world, and each room has a signature composed soundtrack. Enjoy your walking journey through the oceans of the world split into eight distinct zones.
Kids will delight at the touch pools where they can pet rays, sharks, crabs, and starfish. In Mermaid Palace the kids will be in awe of the majestic rockwork sculptures surrounded by giant schools of sardines and seahorses. The Jelly Infinite Room uses light and mirrors to showcase beautiful cylinders of mesmerizing moon jellies. Lastly, the Kelp Forest Playground mimics play in an underwater ecosystem. Kids can climb up to 24 feet on LED lighted platforms inside a netted area. Time slots are limited so pre-booking a slot (even just the night prior) is recommended.
Along the waterfront stands a one mile open-air promenade of shopping, dining, and entertainment. It is the perfect family friendly place to spend an afternoon or evening. There are over fifteen restaurants to choose from that include steak, seafood, pub food, Mexican, Italian, and celebrity chef restaurants. If you have any room in the airplane for the flight home, there’s over 100 specialty shops to browse. For entertainment there are many options like bowling, arcades, lake cruises, even a steampunk balloon ride. The Landing is also home to The Fountains – a water and fire show that plays hourly. It is choreographed with music and light with water shooting up to 120 feet, a true delight for the kids to watch!
Table rock lake
Want to get away from the hustle and bustle to enjoy nature in the Ozarks? Take a 15 minute ride to the Table Rock Lake Dam and Dewey Short Visitor Center. The visitor center is essentially a small three story exhibit hall with free admission. Learn about the history of the lake and the inner workings of the hydroelectric dam. Take in the balcony views of the lake and Dam. On the other side of the parking lot is the Table Rock Lakeshore Trail; a stroller friendly walk along the water. Bathrooms are available.
There’s no shortage of things to do within 20 minutes of the airport. Of course if your children are older, then the options are even more abundant. There are plenty of mini golf courses, amusement park rides, and museums throughout Country Boulevard. So, why not fly your airplane to Branson?
Need some ideas on travel items to pack for kids on trips like these? Check out this packing post for my must-have suitcase additions. Safe Travels!
Leave a Reply