Aquarium to join Branson Strip Attractions?

Branson Missouri Aquarium Interior: Submarine Voyage

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Concept drawing of the interior of the Aquarium on the Boardwalk.*


If the plans announced Thursday, August 23 come to fruition, a unique aquarium will be added to the List of Branson Attractions for visitors to enjoy. The proposed plans calls for a 46,000 square foot facility to be called “Aquarium at the Boardwalk” (Aquarium). It will be built by Kuvera Partners, the owners of “Grand Palace” and the Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center in Branson, by a related entity, “Branson Entertainment Center – Branson, LLC (BECB).

Unique Aquarium will impact Branson Strip redevelopment

The Aquarium is planned for the northwest corner of the Grand Palace property near the middle of the famous Branson Strip. “Redeveloping the Grand Palace site with an Aquarium is – without a doubt – the most impactful way to reactivate this key section of the Highway 76 [Branson] Strip,” said Kuvera Partner Tej Sundher. “Aquarium at the Boardwalk” will be focused on fish and fun. Right at the start, we’re creating the atmosphere of a classic boardwalk and then taking you under the sea to explore and play and get great photos, along with enjoying spectacular views of a wide variety of sea animals,” he added.


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Concept drawing of Mermaid Palace.*

“Mermaid Palace”  just part of Aquarium’s Fun and Play

It’s website describes some of the things that are planned to make it unique and fun for its visitors. Among them is the “Mermaid Palace.. a magical underwater Palace where heroic Mermaids safeguard the sea…Their lovely fortress has been designed for you to enjoy tales of the deep with a real live mermaid. Plus, take in the mesmerizing sight of schooling fish, seahorses, and butterfly fish.” Another is the “Jelly Fish Climber and Aquarium Slide” where youngsters get to scale a replica of the ocean’s giant jellyfish – a “Sea Nettle” on “their self-directed adventures inside a 14-foot, net-enclosed climber and “whoosh down the slide through a swarm of spiny Lionfish!” Some of the other planned activities include the “Journey Through The Waters Tunnel,” “Amazing Rays,” a “Touch Pool,” “Coral Reef” and more.

It’s is not a done deal!

Although Kuvera’s BECB has been working with the city of Branson and others on the plans and financing for the Aquarium for some time, no final commitment to proceed has been made by either BECB or the City. In early July of this year, the city entered into a Preliminary Funding Agreement with Branson Entertainment Center – Branson, LLC for the redevelopment of the Grand Palace property.

BECB purchased the 13.258 acre parcel in the fall of 2014 for a reported $2.7 million from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Since then they have “been studying the best use for the highly-visible property at the center of the Branson Strip.”  Tej Sundher said, “We are thrilled to finally be able to reveal our vision of bringing Aquarium at the Boardwalk to the Branson community…Three years ago, even I would not have guessed that this is the direction we would go, but an aquarium tested best by far in consumer research, and we are really excited about what we’re proposing to offer.”

No TIF no Aquarium?

In announcing their plans, Kuvera said that special legal counsel and financial advisors to the City of Branson are conducting a review of the project to see if it “qualifies for tax increment financing [TIF] needed for Kuvera to green light the Aquarium.” It went on to say that if the city approves the TIF that “Kuvera has the rest of the financing in place to begin construction immediately and open in March of 2020.”

Branson CVB says Aquarium is top choice to attract new visitors

The Branson Chamber of Commerce & CVB’s CEO Jeff Seifried said, “Our research tells us that an aquarium is the top choice to attract new visitors. We believe that Kuvera’s team of experts and experience in this community will make this a successful project that is good for Branson. It is gratifying to see that this longstanding Branson business believes in the future of Branson and wants to continue investing in a big way.”

*Photos courtesy  Kuvera Parters and  BECB

Skyscraper could have Branson visitors spinning to new heights!

The Tracks Family Fun Park in Branson MO Skyscraper in 2019

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Preliminary diagram of the over 150 foot tall “Skyscraper.”


Skyscraper is a Ferris wheel on steroids

If things go as planned, The Track Family Fun Parks in Branson will be adding the “Skyscraper;” described as a Ferris wheel on steroids, to its repertoire of the exciting rides and fun things they offer their guests in 2019. Although still going through the City of Branson’s permitting process, reports from the city indicate that the Skyscraper, has seats located at the opposite ends of a “propeller blade” that rotates in a vertical plane to a height of over 150 feet at speeds up to 55 miles per hour.

Skyscraper isn’t your Grandmother’s Ferris wheel!

This isn’t “your Grandmother’s Ferris wheel.” A similar ride at Fun Stop Family Action Parks in Pigeon Forge, TN describes the Skyscraper as “Tennessee’s only Ferris wheel on steroids.” While giving riders the sense of being on a roller coaster, the ride’s incredibly smooth as it spins backwards and forwards at speeds of 55 mph until its riders are over 140 feet high. At its highest point, the ride will “pause” giving its riders the opportunity to experience an amazing view of the famed Branson Strip and the beautiful Ozark Mountains surrounding Branson. Click here if you want to get a feel for what to expect when you ride on the Skyscraper.

Located near middle of the famed Branson Strip

Submitted plans indicate that the Skyscraper will be built at The Track Family Fun Parks’, Track #3, located near the center of  the famed “Branson Strip”. The Track Family Fun Parks have four locations in Branson providing phenomenal family fun for the whole family. They offer everything from the iconic Branson Ferris Wheel, formerly at the Navy Pier in Chicago; go-kart rides for every member of the family, from the four story high “Heavy Metal” go-kart track to kiddie go-karts; mini golf courses, including the new “Route 76 Glow Golf,” a custom-designed 9-hole black light challenge; kiddie rides, the 100-foot-tall “Skycoaster,” bumper cars, batting cages, laser tag, arcade games, and more.

Silver Dollar City’s faithfulness to 1880s theme adds authenticity to fun and adventure

Silver Dollar City Marvel Marble Cave - Branson MO
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Silver Dollar City’s actual history dates back to “Marble Cave” which is now “Marvel Cave.” A tour of the cave is part of  your paid admission to Silver Dollar City and is a not to be forgotten experience.

Most of those who have been to Branson, Missouri are familiar with the wonder, fun, and excitement of its oldest and most popular attraction, Silver Dollar City. Those who have never been to Silver Dollar City, or those who might want to relieve some memories, will enjoy Arthur Levine’s, Special to USA TODAY, Silver Dollar City theme park offers old-fashioned fun and thrills.

It gives a great over view of its history and what to expect from the inception of Marble Cave up to and including “the world’s fastest, steepest, and tallest complete-circuit spinning roller coaster,” Time Traveler. His statement “the theme that drives Silver Dollar City — an idealized 1880s mining village — is based in reality and helps give it a sense of authenticity” points out one of the most things that what makes Silver Dollar City so special and unique.

Eight new things for Branson visitors to enjoy in 2018

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Riding the inverted loop on Silver Dollar City’s Time Traveler Spinning Coaster.

One of the things that keeps Branson, Missouri relevant as one of America’s top travel destinations is the way it keeps fresh by constantly adding and refreshing things. Some are subtle like the changes Branson’s live shows make to their shows between seasons. Others are more obvious such as the addition of new shows, attractions, and activities.

Except for the Snowflex Tubbing Hill, which opened late in the 2017 season, here’s a list of eight things most Branson visitors will find new in 2018:

New Ride- Silver Dollar City’sTime Traveler” Complete Circuit Spinning Roller Coaster: The controlled 360 degree spin of each car “delivers high dimension, sensations, and perspective that differ with every car, every ride, every time.” In terms of spinning coasters, it’s the world’s fastest, steepest, tallest, and the first with three inversions, a vertical loop and double launch. “Time Traveler” spins its riders to new coaster heights and thrills as it joins Silver Dollar City’s four other world class coasters “Wildfire,” “Thunderation,” “Powder Keg,” and “Outlaw Run.”

New Show- Sight and Sounds Samson: Another biblical spectacular presented as only Sight and Sound Theatres can do it complete with live animals, lavish sets, amazing special effects and a talented cast of dozens, all presented on a 300 foot surround sound stage. See the story of Samson, the original super hero, come to life as he defeats entire armies, slays lions, loses his power as he falls to temptation only to find redemption through faith in God’s grace, regain his powers, and literally “bring the house down.”

New show- Showboat Branson Belle‘s Main Show: This all new 2018 show, except for specialty cruises, is the same for all cruises and featureing magic; comedy; live music from the 70s to today, performed by a talented group of singers; and a 4-piece band. Relive great soundtrack movie moments to get a throwback journey to the days of Ghostbusters, Risky Business, and the Titanic; plus, the excitement and spectacle of the Showboat’s Deckhands, presenting their very own brand of “nautical percussion.” Of course, the new show is only part of the total Showboat Branson Belle experience along with a delicious meal and a beautiful relaxing cruise on Branson’s pristine Table Rock Lake aboard an authentic paddle wheeler.

New ShowBlue Grass Remedy: Featuring Kari Garrison, this morning show will get your day off to a great start with its unique style, combining the authentic traditions of bluegrass with touches of contemporary music. Featuring “foot-tapping songs from Ralph Stanley, Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatts, Bill Monroe,” and more, this show is delightful entertainment and reminiscent of a simpler time.

New Show- Heartland Country: Visits “the roots of Branson music” featuring the best of classic country music ever performed by Branson favorites Splinter Middleton and Casey Ellison, new comers Kailey Adams and Logan Allen and a power house band with Robbie Blackwood, Jonathan Black, Todd Brumley, and Matt Hanshaw.

New Show- Music Factory: Branson’s new dynamic and emotional musical production, featuring an orchestra of Two! Starring award-winning movie and theatrical composer, Rick Silanskas and internationally acclaimed vocalist, Josh Leggett, the Music Factory features an incredible live musical journey featuring the music of Ed Sheeran, Billy Joel, Simon and Garfunkel, Journey, Queen, Andrea Bocelli, Men at Work, Sting, Chicago, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Michael Buble, Christopher Cross, Jackson Browne, Kansas, Van Halen, Stevie Wonder, Toto, Eric Carmen, Trans Siberian Orchestra, The Eagles, John Legend, Bryan Adems, Aerosmith, Tom Petty, Disney magic and a whole lot more!

New RideSnowflex Tubing Hill at Wolfe Mountain: Although not new in 2018, it opened late in the 2017 season, it’s the largest synthetic snow tubing hill in the united states, is located at the Branson Zipline at Wolfe Mountain, and is an amazing year-round attraction making use of the high-performance snow sports surface Snowflex®. The Snowflex Tubing Hill provides an exciting “winter snow like” tubing experience throughout the spring, summer and fall. It enables as many as eight tubers to travel down its 400 x 60 foot slope simultaneously amidst a beautiful Ozark Mountain setting to providing safe thrills, excitement, and adventure for virtually all ages.

New Attraction- America’s Fun Park: Under construction and scheduled to open in May of 2018, the park is billed to have a Midway, Rides, Carnival Games, and a Food Court. Located near the east end of the Branson Strip, admission to the park is free, but “armbands” to ride are scheduled to cost $20.00 for adults and $14.00 for kids 11 and under.

Marilyn Monroe’s $5 million “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” dress coming to Branson!

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Marilyn Monroe’s $5 million “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” dress.

“Believe It or Not” for just a short time, you can see the dress made famous by Marilyn Monroe when she sang her sultry, iconic rendition of “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy, at his 45th birthday gala, in Madison Square Garden. It, and other Marilyn Monroe memorabilia, will be on display at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! on West Highway 76 in Branson, for a limited engagement, from April 14 through June 10, 2018.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! established a brand new Guinness World Records record for the most expensive dress ever sold at auction after they purchased it from Julien’s Auctions for a whopping $4.8 million. When auction fees are factored in, the cost of the dress is over $5 million which, Ripley’s says, “Makes it the most expensive dress in the world.” Edward Meyer, VP of Exhibits & Archives for Ripley’s, who has been acquiring items for them for over 39 years and placed the winning bid on the dress, said, “This is the most famous item of clothing in twentieth-century culture.”

How did it get that distinction? On May 19, 1962, a gala Democratic fund raising event, celebrating, JFK’s 45th birthday, was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It was attended by more than 15,000 people including numerous celebrities with Peter Lawford acting as Master of Ceremonies for most of the evening.

One of the evenings highlights was an appearance by Marilyn Monroe, who had flown in from the set of the movie she was working on, Something’s Got to Give, specifically for the event. The anticipation of her appearance had been building as Lawford, playing on her reputation for being late, introduced her a couple of times throughout the evening before the actual introduction, when he introduced her, as “The late Marilyn Monroe,” and she actually appeared.

Before departing the stage, Lawford helped her remove her jacket, giving the audience its first full look at her $12,000 Jean Louis dress which had been exclusively designed for her. The sheer, nude colored, dress was covered with over 2,500 rhinestones and fit so tight it appeared as if it had to have been “sewed on.” The combination of the magnificent dress and the fact that it appeared as if she wore nothing under it had the crowd gasping and cheering.

Monroe waited for the cheering to die down, then started singing the traditional version of “Happy Birthday,” substituting “Mr. President” for the name. She followed that by singing a short verse using the music from “Thanks for the Memory” and substituting the following lyrics about Kennedy which she had written for the occasion:

Thanks, Mr. President
For all the things you’ve done
The battles that you’ve won
The way you deal with U.S. Steel
And our problems by the ton
We thank you so much

Sung in a very sultry manner, it took on even more meaning because of the rumors that she and Kennedy were having an affair and the fact that Jackie Kennedy was not there. The combination of the event, the dress, the way she sang the song, and the two major principals resulted in a iconic moment forever recorded in history.

After her performance, Kennedy came on stage and, seemingly referring to her skintight dress, image as a sex symbol, and the sultry performance of the song said, in a joking manner, “I can now retire from politics after having had ‘Happy Birthday’ sung to me in such a sweet, wholesome way.” It was a light moment with no hint of the sadness the future held. Monroe never finished the picture she was working on, dying of an apparent overdose less than three months later. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated 18 months later.

For more information and the latest news, please click here to visit the Branson Ripley’s Believe It or Not! site or call 417-337-5300.