By: Michael Ayo
Publish Date: March 9, 2017
Another new year brings more exciting changes to the wonderful town of Branson. With several new shows being added and exciting attractions being built, it’s hard not to have an incredible time while on vacation. From Silver Dollar City to Promised Land Zoo, be amazed at what new things are in store.
Silver Dollar City’s World-Fest will not be returning in 2017, and taking its place will be the Festival of Wonder. This all-new festival will feature astonishing performances such as balancing acts and the artistic footwork of the seven Flamenco Kings. Guests will also have a chance to see and hear the world’s largest playable stringed instrument. Along with talented performers, the Festival of Wonder will include incredible works of culinary art. Food such as gourmet grilled cheese varieties, flat bread creations and “The World of Bacon” will be served throughout the festival.
Plenty of changes will be happening at Branson’s Promised Land Zoo as well. The town’s only outdoor zoo will be adding over 60 acres to their land, creating more wild adventures. There will be additional walk through exhibits as well as drive through ones, and a botanical garden for viewing. Some of the drive through exhibits will include a tram so visitors can be inside the enclosure with the animals. The biggest change to the zoo will be the addition of giraffes that can be fed by hand, along with nocturnal and reptile houses.
One place in the Branson area with a wide variety of activities will also have something new in 2017. The Grand Country Resort, which currently features a water park, indoor mini golf and the Grand Country Music Hall, will be adding go-karts to the fun and excitement already present. Titled "Mountain Ridge Racer Indoor Go-Karts," this new attraction will include a multilevel, 525-foot winding track with an Ozark Mountain-themed background.
Some other exciting attractions entering their first full year of operation in 2017 include the Branson Ferris Wheel, Ballparks of America, the Runaway Mountain Coaster and Fritz’s Adventure. While it may not feel like it, 2017 will be the first full year of operation for the Branson Ferris Wheel. It’s the one thing most see as they enter the Branson city limits, but locals and tourists alike are anxious to see what all this colorful attraction has in store during its first full year.
July of 2016 saw the grand opening of Ballparks of America, and youth athletes from all over are flocking to come play ball in Branson. With replicas of iconic stadiums such as Busch Stadium and Wrigley Field, Ballparks of America adds a new dynamic to Branson attractions.
Opened in August of 2016, the Runaway Mountain Coaster is still Branson’s newest thrill ride that takes thrill seekers up and down a mountainside on a roller coaster that gives the rider control of the speed. Three months after the mountain coaster’s opening, Branson’s only indoor adventure park opened in Fritz’s Adventure. This intriguing attraction features utility poles, suspended bridges, rock climbing walls, a life-size water tower and a large rope course visitors can climb, slide, swing and zip line on.
While new attractions garner plenty of excitement, new shows are always a draw to the visitors of Branson. Plenty of new shows have been added to the lineup at God and Country Theatres, Grand Country added “Ozarks Country” and “Ozarks Gospel,” and Janice Martin has switched from headlining the Showboat Branson Belle to starring in her own show at the Americana Theatre. Also, "Raiding the Rock Vault" will be making a special appearance at the Starlite Theatre for a limited time in June. This show currently calls Las Vegas home, and is from the same producers who brought Branson "Raiding the Country Vault."
Whether it’s brand new, fairly new or old, Branson has plenty to experience while on vacation.