Saturday, June 30, 2012

Silver Dollar City - Branson, MO

Silver Dollar City is an amusement park set in the olden days. You won’t find the flashy clowns or carnival type games here, but you will find fresh-baked breads and goods, candies and treats being pulled out of the ovens or made as you walk in the shops, and extraordinary talent making amazing crafts. I love this place even without riding any rides – it’s such a refreshing place to visit that reminds you of simpler times. I’d rather go here that to Six Flags or Worlds of Fun even…of course it doesn’t hurt that when I’m in the US, I live a short drive away. Silver Dollar City is located in Branson, MO – directions can be found on their website since I would probably just get you lost if I tried to give them.

The employees all dress in early-1900 or mid-1800 garb – which I imagine is quite hot in the summertime, but it makes them easy to spot. The park also has several festivals throughout the year that are quite popular – especially the Festival of Lights for the holiday season. A one-time pass into the park is pretty expensive, but a season pass is a bit cheaper than 2 individual tickets. So if you plan on going more than once during the year, a season pass is the way to go. You can also get special deals for tickets with its sister park, White Water.

Silver Dollar City has many talented people that will show people how they do their craft and then offer the items for sale in the shops.

The glassblower is always a popular stop for people. The guy there the day my brother and I went wasn’t the master craftsman with the beard, who is amazing to watch by the way, but a younger guy that was still good. He was friendly and trying to engage people, but the furnaces are kind of loud, so it’s hard to really have a conversation with the glassblower when he’s working. If you want to see an entire product being made, you have to be patient and stay there watching for a good couple of hours. I wasn’t that patient, but here are a couple of short videos of the glassblower. Items made by the glassblowers are for sale in the attached shop.

Ceramics are another item for sale. The pottery made at Silver Dollar City has actually won several awards for its quality and appearance. The potter happened to be in on this day working the wheel. He was friendly and answered questions that people were asking as they watched him work.

Woodcarving is another craft they have on display at SDC. Inside the woodcarving shop, there were three guys working that just come by occasionally and carve at SDC. They were all very friendly and had a pretty lengthy conversation with me about what they do. When I asked if I could take a few pictures of them working they responded that I could take some pictures of them having fun but not working :).

Another craftsman that is available to watch is the blacksmith. Unfortunately, he wasn’t in when we were there. Maybe he was out shoeing some horses…

The metal works made by the blacksmith are also available for sale in the attached shop.

Candy Makers
I think all of the candy and snacks for sale at SDC are made there. At certain times of the day, you can watch them make saltwater taffy by hand – it’s pretty interesting. Different candy shops will have different specialties for sale. Here’s the inside of one of the shops.

There are a couple of fudge shops available, too. My brother and I stopped at the one in the gift shop area on the way out and bought some different flavors of fudge to take home. They were all quite good, but very rich. The ladies could’ve been a bit friendlier, but we were able to engage them in a little bit of conversation about the candies and such after I mentioned to them that our maternal grandma used to spend the Christmas season baking all kinds of fudge and divinity for the whole family. Apparently the fudge shop inside the park used to also make divinity, but kids would squeeze the packaging and misshape it all.

There’s no shortage of food in the park for sure. I didn’t get my usual funnel cake on this trip *sniffle*, but I did get a fresh strawberry lemonade.

All of the lemonade drinks are made fresh in the little drink stands. There are also soda stands that make soda the old-fashioned way. There are plenty of restaurants in the park as well. This was around the time of a barbeque festival, so barbeque could be smelled all over the park. One of the popular food items that you see people walking around chowing down on are turkey legs. I’ve never had one, but they seem to be quite good judging by their popularity.

I haven’t eaten at very many places in the park since the food is kind of expensive like most parks, but my brother and I decided to try The Mill’s buffet. Eh. It was alright but nothing to write home about. One place that I do definitely recommend, though, is Buckshot Annie’s. This is a skillet place that seves two dishes that are cooked in giant skillets. The “family feud” is really good. You can find a full list of restaurants on their website.

It wouldn’t be much of an amusement park without rides, I suppose. When I was a kid, the only roller coaster was the indoor Fire in the Hole. Now they have 6 or 7 from what I’m told. However, the best two rides at the park, in my opinion, are The Lost River and The American Plunge. I can’t really ride The American Plunge anymore since my right knee is so messed up, but I love The Lost River. Unfortunately, my brother is a pansy and didn’t want to get wet, so I didn’t go on it since it’d be kind of eh to go with a bunch of strangers that I can’t really make fun of. Here are a couple of pictures of other people enjoying the ride, though.

The Lost River is a ride where you’re in a round raft type thing zipping around a river. It’s uncertain how wet you’ll get – it all depends on where you’re sitting. When you hit the rapids, the person with their back to them usually takes the brunt of the 6-foot waves coming up over the side. The American Plunge is a different story – you will get wet. You sit down on a toboggan with up to 4 other people (it’s best to put the heaviest person in the back) and zip along a pleasant little river for a while. Then you reach the conveyor belt and begin the climb. You reach the top, the employee monitoring the top of the ride will wave and make a smart comment or say goodbye, and then you take a nearly vertical 50-foot plunge into the water below. There aren’t any cameras available here, but people can stand on a bridge over the arrival area and watch your terrified faces shrieking in horror/excitement.

I think that about covers it for my recap of Silver Dollar City. There are loads more things to do there and see. There are funhouses, shops, kids’ play areas, music shows, magician shows, and tons of other stuff. You can even get married at the Woodland Chapel in period dress if you so desire. If you’re in the Branson Area for a vacation, I definitely recommend taking a trip back in time and stopping at Silver Dollar City for a day.


  1. Hi all,

    Silver dollar city is one of the most popular attractions in Branson. Silver dollar city recreates the Ozark's culture featuring near bouts 100 craftsmen doing everything from candle and candy making to glass blowing and blacksmithing. Combined with silver dollar city's entertaining shows, mouth watering restaurants, exciting rides and attractions you can count on the whole family finding some great fun. Thanks...

    Branson Lake