In mid June, we went on a short vacation to Branson, Missouri. I have two friends that were in the "Clue" Musical with me that work during the summer in Branson as Duck Boat Captains. They were instrumental in allowing us to go up there and visit more of the sites with complimentary tickets!
We were able to get free tickets to ride the Ducks, which is an aquatic vehicle used in WWII, now being used as a tourist attraction, and free tickets to Silverdollar City, the local theme park. THANK YOU TO GARRY AND MICHELE!! We saved a lot of money because of them! It was great. We also were able to get a discount on a hotel thanks to another friend and co-worker of Josh's. We got a hotel room with a full kitchen and separate sleeping areas for $55 a night!!
We figured out that it would be easier for us to drive to Tulsa and stay at Josh's dad's house for the night, then drive to Branson (a mere 3 1/2 hr drive from Tulsa) in the morning. Josh also wanted to eat at one or more of the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives restaurants that were on our way. We found a couple in Oklahoma City, but they were too far out of the way.
As we started out, Lincoln showed he was going to be a trooper in the car. He was great, as long as we has lots of books, food, and a few movies. We stopped in Cleburne on our way up to eat and let Linc run around a bit. Then we headed off to OKC and planned to stop there for dinner but ended up stopping in Norman and ate at the best pizza place, called Hide-away pizza!! I would recommend the "Paradise Pie" pizza. VERY good.
We walked around the Oklahoma University campus for a little while and then headed off to Tulsa. Dave (Josh's dad) was on his own vacation in Spain and graciously allowed us to stay at his house anyway. We packed enough non perishable food to last for days but still were able to get a small pint of milk for breakfast cereal.
The next day, we left for Branson. We decided to take our time getting there and stopped outside of town to eat and stretch. After finally getting to Branson and checking in to the hotel, we booked tickets to go see the Chinese Acrobats and met up with Garry to get the free tickets and figure out our schedule for the next few days.
Branson is much more family friendly than I anticipated. They have a lot of family museums and attractions, as well as shopping nooks and niches. Driving down the main road is like driving down the Vegas strip, except instead of show girls, it's covered with Country Singers, magic acts and the Osmonds! Yes, they are STILL there!! One museum looked like the Titanic rushing through the water with a huge iceberg hitting the side; another was a replica of the Hollywood sign with a giant King Kong atop swatting away airplanes. They definitely get your attention.
The first night we saw the Chinese Acrobat show (sorry no pictures allowed), thinking that Lincoln would enjoy it and hopefully sit still. Everyone LOVED it! Lincoln was mesmorized by everything EXCEPT the paper dragons. We told him they were "puppies" to make him feel a little better. It didn't work. Luckily, the dragons opened the show and then disappeared. I was amazed at how strong and coordinated those performers were. It was just amazing. And beautiful!
("Captain Foghorn" aka Garry and the Smith Family)
The next day we rode the Ducks with my friend "Captain Foghorn". We drove around town, listening to his town tour and jokes, and then plunged into the lake for a nice float. Lincoln became an honorary Captain by taking the wheel on the lake. He was really upset about being on the water, but driving on land was fun. After the ride, we ate at the hotel and took a quick nap, then headed out to a dinosaur museum to see some dino replicas. It was really cool and Linc liked it, mostly. He got a little bored, since they didn't move.
Josh and I took turns running around with him so the other could read about the dinos. While I was watching Linc, I stopped to take a picture of a dino and by the time I turned around, Lincoln crossed under the barrier and was riding a little dinosaur like a horse!! It was so funny, I couldn't make him move without taking a picture first.
The food we ate during the whole trip was great! Great BBQ, pizza, salads, even bread tasted great!! So another night at the hotel and we were set to leave the next afternoon. First we planned on visiting Silverdollar City to weat Lincoln out.
I wasn't sure how Lincoln would react to the rides and crowds, and he initially did really well. But then we tried the kiddo rollercoaster. Josh tried to go on the ride with him and he waited in line like an angel until it was time to get on the ride. He freaked out and refused to sit down, so Josh picked him up and left. I wasn't going to give in that easily. I took him on the teacups and the same thing happened. He was fine in line, but then screamed as if I was beating him when we sat down. But I made him sit with me and once the ride started, he was fine. It was only once the ride STOPPED that he started screaming again...but this time because he didn't want to get off!!
BEFORE THE RIDE.... You can hear my tell someone that Lincoln will probably cry getting off the ride, which is exactly what happened. After the ride was over, a lady came up to me laughing because she heard me predict what would happen. She thought it was hilarious.
Josh decided to try again with the Flying Elephant ride and again the same thing happened. Josh felt bad making him stay there, but I reassured him that he would be fine and probably cry on the way out too. Lo and behold, that is exactly what happened. The rest of the day was great. We got Lincoln a baseball bat with his name, saw a few musical acts, rode some water rides and ate some good (not good-for-you) food.
Time to head home... We stopped off at the greasiest restaurant with the greasiest food, but it was SOOOOO good. They threw rolls at you and dumped lots of fried food on your plate every 5 minutes. So if you are in Ozark, MO, check out Lambert's. But try to go on a weekend day outside of peak lunch or dinner time. Our first attempt to eat there landed us with a 1 1/2 hr wait. No thanks...
We followed the same route back and ended up stopping in Norman again to eat at "The Diner" a Triple D joint with great food, including an omlette the size of my head. We probably could have used one more day to break up all the driving, but we had a great time!
Now we are looking forward to our next trip to the beach for 2010!