By: Michael Ayo
Publish Date: November 15, 2016
Vacations can be tough on a bank account, especially if you are vacationing during the holiday season. While Branson is one of the most affordable vacation destinations in the country, your wallet can still take a hit while paying for lodging, food and activities. This Christmas, educate yourself on five of the best free activities in Branson during the holiday season so you can have an entertaining, yet affordable, vacation.
Kringles Christmas Shop
Sometimes window shopping is just as fun as going on a shopping spree, and there is no better place in town to check out everything Christmas related than Kringles Christmas Shop. Kringles is the largest Christmas store in the state of Missouri, and features an incredible collection of Christmas decorations including 125 designer-decorated themed trees. While it is plenty of fun checking out all the various ornaments and trees, it is pretty hard to leave the store without buying at least one thing.
See the Lights
The holiday season is a big deal in Branson. Practically every theater unveils some sort of Christmas show, which means their venue is maxed out with Christmas decorations. One great family-bonding activity to try out this season is cruising Highway 76 at night with the family to see the best and brightest Christmas lights the theaters have to offer. You can also visit popular shopping centers such as the Branson Landing and Grand Village Shops for views of colorful lights and decorated Christmas trees. If those aren’t enough, stop by Shepherd of the Hills for a photo op with their lights or drive through downtown Branson to see their festive tree and decorations.
Visit Branson’s Santas
One of the most enjoyable things about the Christmas season is seeing the look on a kid’s face when he or she gets to meet Santa. Santa Claus will be in various spots throughout the Ozarks during the holiday season, and it is always great fun taking the little ones to visit with him. The Branson Landing will have Santa visiting from Nov. 12 through Dec. 24 inside their “Christmas Treehouse.” Bass Pro Shops at the Landing will also have Santa visiting during those same dates along with holiday-themed games and crafts. Lastly, the aforementioned Kringles Christmas Shop will have Santa in store Wednesdays through Sundays during the holiday season and he will be accompanied by live Christmas music.
Another free activity you can take part in this holiday season is one of the two Christmas parades in Branson. The Most Wonderful Time of Year Parade is the first to take place, happening at the Branson landing on Nov. 19. It will start at 10 a.m. and begins at the north end of the Landing, near the Belk Department Store. The parade will travel the length of the outdoor mall, ending at Bass Pro Shops. It will feature Branson stars such as Clay Cooper, the Hughes Brothers, Osmonds, Duttons and many more. Mayor Karen Best will also be a part of the parade along with its grand marshal, Mel Tillis.
The 68th annual Adoration Parade will occur a few weeks later, on Dec. 4. This parade through downtown Branson will start at 5::30 p.m. with the lighting of the area’s largest nativity scene then follow with a number of beautifully decorated Christmas floats from Branson locals. There are not many activities more joyous and fun than the annual Adoration Parade.
Electrify Christmas Light Show
The Branson Ferris Wheel is one of the newest and most exciting attractions in town. Brought in from Chicago’s Navy Pier this summer by the Track Family Fun Parks, the wheel will be electrified by colorful lights to the tune of holiday music every night during the holiday season. The free show will take place at 9, 10 and 10:55 p.m. each night. If you want a great seat while enjoying a delicious holiday dessert, Andy’s Frozen Custard offers up-close views of the ferris wheel.
Holiday shows and Silver Dollar City are on most people’s to-do list when vacationing to Branson during the Christmas season. If you’re looking for something more economical, or just need to pass the time between other scheduled events, be sure to check out these five free activities this Christmas.