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A Jolly Branson Christmas

December 17, 2009

Branson, at any time of the year, is a fun and energizing place to take your family. At Christmas, Branson will get even the Scrooge in your family into the Christmas spirit!

My 3-year-old son Cale has been asking to go on a train ride for a nearly a year. When I heard the Branson Scenic Railway had been transformed into the Polar Express I knew it was a must-see for us.

Polar Express train ride

The train ride starts out with the story of the Polar Express being narrated through the speakers while characters from the movie walk through the train car showing the pictures. Then, hot cocoa is served to the music from the Polar Express movie. The train then goes to the North Pole where Santa hops on to visit the children and give them each a small gift. Just like in the movie, each child is handed a ticket and the ticket master comes through and punches their tickets, over the heads of the parents I must add, for a special souvenir. On the ride back from the North Pole, the train passes the Branson Trail of Lights bringing oohs and aahs from all the children.

Tickets, tickets, tickets anybody.

And the best part, the kids are encouraged to wear their pajamas, so when you

arrive home, the sleepy heads are ready to be tucked into bed.

The next day we went to the Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure. They are currently featuring White Flight, with thousands of white butterflies fluttering by amid their twinkling ceiling. Another added element was a model dressed and placed in the garden to resemble an angel statue. This was

White Flight

such an amazing touch to a pleasant experience.

Downstairs you will find lizards, iguanas and frogs, a perfect ending for little boys! They also have the Emerald Forest Mirror Maze. Usually I can make my way through these pretty easily, but this one had me stumped and reaching out to feel my way a few times.

That evening we went to Silver Dollar City which features a Christmas display with more than 4 million lights covering everything from roadside trees and fences to entire buildings.

As soon as you walk into the park, you are greeted with an enormous Christmas tree choreographed to music. This is truly amazing. Visitors are mesmerized by the size of the tree, the beauty of the lights and how they truly dance to the music. My son would make us stop every time we walked by so he could watch it for a few minutes.

To top it all off, they have special Christmas programs for all ages, activities for

Christmas Tree at Silver Dollar City

children, including cookie decorating and ornament making, and even a beautiful set up for kids to visit with Santa. Not once, but twice a day, they have a Christmas parade through the park for the kids and families to enjoy. Not sure of the parade route? Look for the snowflakes on the ground.

This trip was a great start to truly kick-off our holiday season and to spend some family time together before the hustle and bustle becomes overwhelming.

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