Breaking Win-ter Part 1

I want to start by apologizing to all my readers for not posting for 2 months, in my defense winter break has been pretty busy for me. One thing after another whether it be work, travelling, or just getting ready and jumping back into the college life it’s been a crazy but enjoyable time for me. SO I hope you can all forgive me.

Sorry

Branson, Missouri

To start off with was Christmas. Now, rather than paying for us all to get various gifts, half of which we would’ve broken, lost, or thrown away mom decided to go a different route. She, about a month before, took a short vacation to Branson, Missouri where she went to one of those timeshare meetings. It was the classic scenario where the timeshare owners pay for you to come down and you have to sit through their meeting, whatever. Anyways, basic gist of it is that mom decided to get a timeshare down there and thus we used that as a week-long vacation which was plenty of fun.

After the long 8-hour drive and stopping one night in Springfield, Missouri we finally made it to Branson and got settled into our timeshare home. The home was lovely with a sailing/boat theme that influenced a lot of the décor. There was an old ships blueprint in one room, and various sailboat woodcarvings strewn throughout the living room. It was two stories and in the back was a deck facing out towards the many other houses designed almost exactly like the one we were staying in except for the color. We checked in at the main building which happened to have a Starbucks on the bottom floor which greatly excited my sister Mary and me. We rushed down in hopes of satisfying our caffeine craving only to find no one there. We walked in circles for 5 minutes or so before a woman walked out. We asked her about getting coffee and it turned out she worked the restaurant around the corner but proceeded to get the Starbucks woman from the back. I got a Mocha Frappuccino, while my sister got some other kind of Frappe, we took our first sips and were greatly disappointed, turns out (we overheard this before leaving) that the employee was new and had little experience being a Barista.

Shows

One thing I learned about Branson during this trip was there are a lot of shows, and the majority of them target older people. Many of the shows feature singing specifically country, folk, and classic rock which was something I wasn’t intensely looking forward. Thankfully, though, I was pleasantly surprised.

Hay

One of the several shows we attended was The Haygoods, a family of brothers and a sister who did an awesome mixture of comedy, music, and dance and was all in all a great show and would definitely recommend it. Check them out at their website: TheHaygoods.com.

Another was Pierce Arrow one of the longest running shows in Branson. They focus a lot on music with a comedy aspect on the side but honestly the comedy was the thing everyone left talking about, it was hilarious!

Jonah

One of my favorite shows was The Sight and Sound Theater’s production of Jonah. I managed to catch their production of Noah while in New York and both of their shows have blown me away. The production company’s goal is to bring stories from the Bible to life on the stage and they do a phenomenal job, especially with their effects and the many exotic animals they have on hand. If you EVER have a chance to see one of their shows TAKE IT!

We also managed to catch one of the last showings of The Acrobats of China which was good. The positive side of the show was the acrobats themselves who were incredible, some of the feats they performed were mind blowing and very possibly inhumanly possible I kind of have to wonder. The negative side was that their audio equipment was falling apart, I suppose they played their music from a CD because there were a couple times when the music skipped or failed entirely as if there was a scratch in the disc playing it.

I was lucky enough to get to see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies at the IMAX Theater which was a splendid fantasy treat for a huge geek like myself. Interestingly enough the screen was so big that the movie couldn’t even be projected to cover it because of the resolution etc (AKA the movie literally wasn’t made for a screen that big) but nevertheless it was still way cooler than seeing it at a typical movie theater (no offense to the Sioux City Carmike, I still love you).

Dining

We also hit some restaurants, some new and some I’ve never experienced. One of the new tastes I experienced was the Fall Creek Steak and Catfish House. Now I’ll be honest the catfish wasn’t great, I ordered the all-you-can-eat because I was starving and after the first breaded slab of fish (more breading than fish) I wasn’t really looking forward to another one. What really made the place worth going to was the rolls, not only were they delicious but they had a really interesting and cool way of serving it to you. Every 5-10 minutes a man would come out of the kitchen carrying a basket of rolls, if you want one you simply raise you hand and one will fly across the room and should you have reasonably good catching skills, it will land in your hand. Very fun and I managed to catch one from all the way across the restaurant which you ever go you’ll be able to see how epic that would be.

I also tried a Steak and Shake for the first time which was great, the burgers are pretty good and the shakes are as phenomenal as their prices, you could get a burger, fries, and a shake for close to $5 a way better alternative than going to McDonalds. One place I HAD tried before which I was excited to go to (since we don’t have one in either Sioux City where I live, nor Storm Lake where I go to school) is Fuddruckers. A phenomenal burger joint with massive food, good prices, and plenty of customization possibilities for your food. My dad says that if we were ever to buy a franchise it would be a Fuddruckers in Sioux City.

Shopping

As far as shopping goes we went to an Outlet Mall which was alright, I discovered a place called Go! Calendars Games and Toys which I swear is going out of business because I ran into two of their stores in Branson and one later during winter break in Minnesota all of which were closing (and thus 50% off anything). Thanks to this store and the half-off prices i have started a new hobby which is collecting different versions of Monopoly, so far I have gotten Pokemon Monopoly (Kanto Edition), Nintendo Monopoly, and The Hobbit Monopoly (covers all 3 movies).

One of the coolest places (and the first thing we did after getting to Branson) we went to was Dick’s 5 & 10, an old style shop filled with random stuff. Everywhere you look there were geeky things, girly things, guy things, weird soaps and scented candles, old toys, new toys, games, hats and other costume things it was insane. I managed to buy one of those awesome horse masks you see all over the internet.

Horse

Above is a picture of myself and my sister wearing one.

Museums

Final section of my story is possibly one of my favorites. Of the museums we checked out there was the Ripley’s Believe it or Not which was very cool (and occasionally creepy but hey that’s the point). The Titanic Museum had a great setup where not only do you experience the ship and the operations inside and out before and after the making and destruction of the great ship, but you also go through as one of the people on-board and you get to learn what your job was etc and at the end find out whether you lived or died. My person sadly died but was a hero who worked till the end trying to radio for help. Also was a dinosaur museum that was kind of small and difficult to find and even remember the name of honestly, one of the only details I can even remember about the location was that across the street there is a building with a mural portraying a monster dude that kind of looks like Voldemort, but the museum was kind of fun to look around inside especially if you’re into dinosaurs like I am. But my all time favorite spot and favorite time on the whole trip was the Hollywood wax Museum, possibly one of the coolest attractions in all of Branson (in my opinion) and it definitely delivers.

Charlie Chaplin and me

They were so life-like! Here’s me with Charlie Chaplin!

 Final Words

Even though I originally thought that Branson was specifically targeting old people (which they kind of do) that by far does not mean there is a heck of a lot of stuff for us of the younger generation to do there and still have a good time in the process. One thing I will suggest though is bring some allergy medication because there’s something about the pine trees or something (I wasn’t listening very well) that can cause some nasty allergy stuff which hit me pretty hard, but just take some meds and you should be fine. Feel free to comment about your winter break or experiences you’ve had in Branson, Missouri.

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