Thursday, July 7, 2016

Our Branson Mini-Vacation

I got to looking at what all free weekends we had left this summer and quickly realized we only had 2 options left for our summer mini-vacation to Branson! One of those weekends just happened to be 4th of July weekend - which could have turned out good or bad due to all the crowds. Luckily for us it turned out great!

We were all packed and ready to go as soon as Nathan could take off work on Friday. Ryan had her first run-in with car sickness - just a little nausea in the mountains so I had to go slow so we didn't end up getting to Branson until after 8:00 p.m. We went and checked into our hotel and headed to eat at my favorite restaurant Shorty Smalls. This time we stayed at The Branson Towers. We used to stay here long ago and decided to give it a try again this time. It is off the strip but close to all the backroads we take to the malls. It was actually a great fit for us! They have nightly ice cream socials with live piano music and the kids loved the pool! They asked if we could stay there again next time :)

2 queen beds and I always end up with 2 kids in a bed with me and Daddy gets one all to himself!

We got up Saturday and had the continental breakfast and headed out to start our busy day! We went shopping, lunch at Outback (not the chain, a local restaurant), Branson's Wild World, watched BFG in 3D, dinner at Joe's Crab Shack and swam at the hotel!

We loved Branson's Wild World! We got to pet sting rays, hermit crabs, a python, sharks and dingos and see lots of other animals like alligators, wolves, tarantulas, scorpions, and they even had Nemo and Dory! We also got to go glow-in-the dark mini-golf there.

Petting Dingos!

Petting Dingos!

The BFG was interesting - the story was cute but not at all what I thought it was going to be like based on the previews.

While shopping Ryan got to Build-A-Bear and Noah did Ride Makerz and we had to stop and do the ballon animals with Bonzo the Clown!

Joe's Crab Shack (Nathan's favorite Branson restaurant) was good as always but a little crazy this time. Ryan had been coughing for going on 3 weeks. It started out just at night, then started getting more frequent with bad coughing spells that would cause her to gag. She had no fever or runny nose or anything so it was really strange. Her doctor had me trying a few things and told me to bring her in the next week if she was still coughing. Well, she got to coughing really bad at Joe's and gagged at the table, on our run to the bathroom and several times in the bathroom. Then once she was done she was fine and we went back to the table where she ate normal and played. I am sure people thought we were crazy! (Her doctor diagnosed her with bronchitis when we got back and fixed her up with some medicine that knocked it out fast!)

The next morning we got up to it storming! Which was not ideal for our plans of getting to Silver Dollar City as soon as they opened. I was closely watching the weather and decided to go get us McDonald's breakfast and then head out just in time to watch the Harlem Globetrotter show at Silver Dollar City. That plan worked perfectly! We got to park in the very front row and it sprinkled on us as we walked in and to the Harlem Globetrotter show. Once we got out it had stopped raining and we started riding rides. We didn't have to wait in any lines and the sun never fully came out so it wasn't hot - it was perfect! Noah was tall enough to ride lots of big boy rides this time too - he had so much fun! He loved getting wet on the Lost River - to quote him after getting soaked "all of my dreams are coming true!" :) We didn't get to ride everything we wanted because we were wanting to go watch fireworks at the Branson Landing.

Watching the Harlem Globetrotters

Ryan got soaked on The Lost River

Noah was so happy to get wet on The Lost River!

We got to the Landing and it was packed! We got one of the last spots in the parking garage and started looking for somewhere to eat dinner. That was a no-go! 2 hour waits everywhere and fireworks would have been in the middle of that so we didn't want to miss them in the middle of a restaurant. Then they came on the loud speaker at 8:00 p.m. (the time the internet said the concert/fireworks started) and said they would do music for about an hour and a half and then fireworks after that! Well, we were starving and knew the kids could not wait that long to eat so we just left to go find food. We went to Lonestar Steak House and Ryan and I got to make another quick dash outside for her to throw up from coughing so much. Good times! ;)

Monday we had lots of stuff we were wanting to do but we just ran out of time to do it all! We will have to do them when we go back in a few weeks :) We did manage to finish up our shopping, find a good Mexican restaurant in Branson (something we have been meaning to do), do dinosaur putt-putt golf, ride go-karts and ride the new Branson Ferris Wheel!

Once we were headed home Noah cried - he said he just loves Branson so much and didn't want to leave yet :) I would say that is a sign of a good vacation! We got to Hollister (15 minutes outside of Branson) and Nathan tried to find my pillow to sleep on. He couldn't find it anywhere. This was NOT ok. This was my pillow. Not just any pillow - the pillow I had to sleep with! It is a little throw pillow that I have had to sleep with on my stomach since I was pregnant with Noah. I called the hotel and they didn't see it in the room but said they would check the lost and found and call me back. We decided to just go back and look ourselves or we would never get it back. I am glad we did because I found it! After all that it was time to hurry back to see our hometown fireworks show since we missed the Branson one.

We got back in time to find a good spot to watch the fireworks! It was the perfect ending to our mini-vacation! I seriously just love Branson! The kids daycare is closed for a week in a few weeks and I plan to take off some and go back and try to check Riding the Ducks, the Toy Museum and Ripleys Believe it or Not off our list!

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