The Christmas season is in getting into high gear across the country. But there is one area that has been in the Christmas spirit for several weeks already. Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, has had the red carpet rolled out for Santa and his elves since before Thanksgiving.
An Old Time Christmas takes over the entire park and includes a five-story Christmas tree filled with special effects and a light parade featuring Rudolph, Santa, and nearly every other Christmas character you can imagine. My kids loved it. My wife and I did too.
Being a writer, words and definitions are important to me. In my opinion, a family friendly destination must, by definition, have something all family members in all stages of life will find interesting. Few places fit this description better than SDC.
As a teenager, I loved amusement parks such as Six Flags. But the problem with them was that there was little for my parents, who do not enjoy staring death in the face and taunting with laughter, to do. Not to mention the fact that there is even less for small children to do and enjoy.
But SDC is different because it has rides to get the adrenaline pumping such as the wooden roller coaster Outlaw Run and the newest ride WildFire, but it also has much tamer attractions. It has an entire area called Fireman’s Landing that takes up about 2 acres and is dedicated to children. SDC also has other rides, shows, and attractions that kids will love and parents will enjoy too.
For adults who want a peaceful experience, SDC has them covered as well. From a train ride around the park with special stops and a storyline to follow to walking through Marvel Cave (my favorite thing to do at SDC), there is truly something for everyone.
But aside from the rides, my family has always enjoyed the craftsmanship on display around every corner. Artisans make pottery, blow glass, build furniture, and so much more. If something you see catches your eye, you can purchase it right then and there. You can also buy handmade ornaments and other Christmas decorations for your home.
If you have ever thought about working with your hands in pottery, woodworking, or a similar craft and want to find out how to get started, plan to take some time watching and talking to people who have spent years perfecting their crafts. Many of these artisans are more than willing to talk while they work, except for the furniture builders who are in a very large, very loud area. But for the potters, the woodworkers, and many others, they love what they do and are happy to talk all about it.
In case you have never experienced this 1800s-inspired amusement park, I made a short video about my latest trip to SDC. Check it out. And remember that going to Silver Dollar City during the Christmas season may not be a gift that fits in a box under the tree, but it is certainly one that will never be forgotten.
Editor’s Note: This blog originally appeared on EngageMagazine.net.