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Wild, Wild Branson

By: Michael Ayo

Publish Date: June 27, 2016

Some big stars headline shows in Branson. From Barry Williams and the Oak Ridge Boys to Jimmy Osmond and Rick Thomas, there is plenty of star power to get anyone excited for a Branson vacation. But humans aren’t the only ones capable of putting on a great show in the live music capital of the universe. There are countless animals throughout the many shows and attractions in Branson that absolutely steal the show.

One of the best places to go to be entertained by animals is exactly where you would think to go: the zoo. Promised Land Zoo is Branson’s only outdoor zoo and allows you to get up-close and personal with their wildlife. The price of admission includes the foot safari where you can walk through and observe various animals from all over the world such as tigers, zebras and spider monkeys. There are also live shows put on throughout the day that allow you to interact with animals that aren’t normally on display.

Perhaps the cutest attractions at Promised Land are the bottle feeding hours during the day. This activity gives you a unique chance to bottle feed some of the zoo’s baby animals such as zebras, camels and deer, among others. From big cats to small prairie dogs, Promised Land Zoo has some of the most entertaining and intriguing animals in Branson.

Another great place to have personal encounters with some beautiful creatures is Branson’s Wild World. Here you can interact with all kinds of animals from both land and sea. There’s a fantastic aquarium filled with exotic sea life such as sharks, jellyfish, eels and piranhas. There’s also a place where you can feed the sharks in the tank. Wild World’s Deadly and Dangerous exhibit allows you a chance to see some of the world’s most deadly creatures such as crocodiles and poisonous spiders and fish. This area also includes the Midwest’s largest collection of venomous snakes.

One other great aspect about the animal attraction is Wolf Woods. This area is the region’s first indoor wolf exhibit and features British Columbian wolves. These wolves were raised and bottle fed since they were six weeks old at Branson’s Wild World and are now over three feet tall, making for one beautiful and remarkable attraction.

If you want more from the animals than them just being in an enclosure, “Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede” may be what you need. This show features all sorts of animals and some of the best equestrian feats you will ever see. “Dixie Stampede” has a beautiful cast of 32 horses racing around the arena, jumping over hurdles and assisting their riders with neat tricks. There is also a stampede of buffalo during the show, along with ostrich and pig races. This animal-filled show provides a delicious four-course meal so you can enjoy dinner while being amazed at the beauty of all the animals.

There are plenty of wild animals included in shows and attractions throughout Branson, but there are domesticated ones as well. “Amazing Pets” at the Grand Country Music Hall features an incredible cast of dogs, cats and exotic birds. Many of the pets have been rescued from shelters and humane societies across the country, and will have you gushing as they perform various tricks and feats. From cats jumping through hoops to dogs pushing other dogs on scooters, “Amazing Pets” is one of the cutest and most pet-friendly shows in town.

One other show in Branson that relies heavily on animals is “Moses” at Sight and Sound Theatre. This biblical tale takes place in ancient Egypt where animals played large roles in farming and the construction of buildings and monuments. “Moses” uses a cast of over 35 animals that include camels, oxen and horses. One of the oddest, and perhaps most interesting, aspects of the show is the fact that there are trained rats in it as well. Their role is small, but if you pay close attention you can see the rats run up the arm of one actor during the early part of the show. While you may never think to associate Branson with trained rats, it is still a unique aspect of the show you don’t normally find anywhere else.

With all the noteworthy celebrities located around town, it’s crucial to not forget about the furry creatures that make several shows and attractions so great. Branson is home to a wide variety of entertainment, and an even wider variety of animals to complement it all. The next time you come visit the Ozarks, see how many different animals you can be entertained by while out and about.

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