If you aren't from the Midwest, you wouldn't expect a small town in the middle of the Missouri Ozarks to be a massive mecca for prime entertainment. For the surprise of your life, book your next group trip in Branson, Missouri.
Your trip can easily be separated into four categories: eats, live entertainment, adventure, and sights! Here's the breakdown:
Visit Stone Hill Winery, once the second-largest in the United States, boasting a shipment of 1,250,000 gallons per year before Prohibition. Re-opened as a 12,000-square-foot facility, guests can enjoy walking tours of wine and sherry production, along with six tasting rooms. Afterward, hop on the Branson Showboat Cruise for a three-hour dinner tour and show, where you'll be taken back in time with excellent dancers, singers, and entertainers that make this "America's Most Entertaining Showboat Cruise!" If you'd rather stay ashore, Historic Downtown Branson tenders hungry groups satisfying breakfast, lunch and dinner menus featuring classic American fare, fresh sandwiches, burgers and shakes, pizza and Italian, great steaks, authentic Mexican and all your favorite sweet treats -- homemade fudge, desserts, ice cream, candy and more. For a crazy-good seafood deal, try Whipper Snappers, where you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat crab and lobster buffet.
Start your night with a show from the Dutton Family -- variety performing siblings who will make you smile with dance, song, comedy and more, making this a Branson entertainment staple. Country and Western music fans will not want to miss the one-of-a-kind Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, where guests are treated to a thrilling, over-the-top Dolly-style presentation of horsemanship, pageantry, traditional romance, and red white and blue patriotism, all showcased in a friendly rivalry between North and South. The Baldknobbers Jamboree Show started among 4 siblings more than 50 years ago and still is going strong today with a blend of comedy, music and showmanship performances. If these haven't caught your interested yet, enjoy a performance by one of the countless celebrity impersonators -- from the Beatles to Michael Jackson!
You're in the Ozarks, after all -- take a break from the entertainment district for a bit of wild hijinx. Brave a 90-minute lights-out tour of the famous Marvel Cavern, with nothing but lantern-light guiding your way. Costumed guides take you down into one of the country's deepest caverns, first discovered years ago by Osage Native Americans. For a flight adventure, swing over to Branson Ziplines, where you can choose from a variety of different heights and lengths to hop off and speed through the trees overhead. For a more human-constructed adventure, Silver Dollar City should earn at least a full day on your group's itinerary. Modeled after a 1800s Missouri town, world-class rides, shows, demonstrations, shopping districts and more are featured in this city-within-a-city. To get a nighttime scare, take a Ghost Tour through Historic Downtown Branson, where you'll learn about all the local haunts, and maybe even catch a glimpse of a ghoul.
Some of the zaniest, wackiest, most interesting museums reside in Branson, starting with Ripley's Believe It Or Not! The building itself is a marvel, taking on the appearance of a structure affected by the 1812 earthquake that made the Mighty Mississippi flow backward for three days. Inside, see anything from a vampire hunting kit and human unicorn to authentic shrunken heads and a playing card replica of the Colosseum. History buffs interested in the tale of the sea's biggest disaster can find solace in the Titanic Museum, where you're thrown into the story, with a boarding pass and all, as you ride on a near-exact replica and walk through a timeline of how the great ship sank. Finally, be certain to snap a few selfies with the celebrities recreated at the Hollywood Wax Museum.