Valdosta Daily Times

Features

June 2, 2013

The other Branson

Missouri’s music city has more than songs to offer

(Continued)

- — Museums

Downtown’s small Branson Centennial Museum shows a six-minute video of the town’s history. The Ralph Foster Museum at the College of the Ozarks has two art galleries plus three floors of artifacts related to the history of the Ozarks.

Titanic Museum, housed in a shrunken version of the ship, displays original artifacts salvaged from the wreck, along with replicas of the ship’s grand staircase, state rooms, and more. Displays, including thousands of pictures, tell the stories of many of the 2,208 passengers. We thought the museum would be hokey, but it is well-done with enthusiastic employees.

Veterans Memorial Museum contains displays, statues, and lists of all names of the men and women killed in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and recent conflicts.

Revisit Howdy Doody, Buffalo Bob, and over a hundred antique toy trains at the World’s Largest Toy Museum. As they say at the museum, “Toys we had and toys we wish we had.”

Arts and Crafts

The area’s settlers made furniture, quilts, baskets, wrought-iron utensils, and other such items because they were needed, not as a hobby. Times have changed but excellent craftsmanship remains a strong force in this region. Branson has several locations where visitors may observe craftsmen at work. Branson Mill Craft Village includes more than 100 shops where artists demonstrate their skills. Silver Dollar City has studios for glass blowers, potters, a wood carver, and a smitty. Additional galleries and craft shops are in the Branson Craft Mall, Apple Tree Mall, and downtown Branson. Some artists practice their craft in individual studios that are open to the public.   

Golfing

The Ozark Mountains serve as an attractive background for a round of golf. Seven 18-hole pubic or semi-private courses are in the vicinity. All have golf club rentals and most offer packages that include lodging. The only course actually in town is Golf Digest 4-Star rated Thousand Hills Golf Resort.  

Payne Stewart Golf Club is a newer course designed by Bobby Clampett and named for Stewart who was from nearby Springfield. Among Golf Digest’s “Top 100 in America” is Branson Creek Golf Club where the front nine are played in a valley and the back nine on the ridge. A few courses close December through February but the others are open year-round and most offer discounts during winter months.

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