Merchandise Team Member
"I just feel genuinely cared for here. I would recommend working here. It’s been a great experience.”Read Full Story
“I had never really heard about what it was like to work at Silver Dollar City until I got the job and came to my orientation. I remember being told all about the company’s mission statement and values. They told us all this is a place for genuinely friendly, caring people.
Once I started working, I realized those aren’t just things people say. It’s not just quotes on a paper, or something you read about in orientation. I’ve actually seen it lived out. It’s a really neat experience.
One time I was riding the employee shuttle and I was talking to a woman who had worked here for a while. I asked her if she loved her job. She said, ‘I absolutely love working here. I love my job. I love coming here every single day.’ No matter who I asked, people would tell me the same thing. That was probably the neatest thing about coming here, just seeing how evident it is that people love being here.
A lot of times, it can be somewhat intimidating when you first start a job. You jump in and feel like you work with people who are just bossing you around. Here, it’s not like that. At this job, I feel genuinely cared for. Everyone has been so kind to me. You work with people who look at you and want to help you succeed – and want to do what’s best for the guest. I think the underlying goal is to care for others – above anything else. That’s the theme I’ve caught onto from working here.
It’s been cool working on the Merchandise team and getting to work in a bunch of different shops and meet a bunch of different people. I started in the Harlem Globetrotters, selling souvenirs during their shows, but I’ve also worked in Valley Woodcarvers, Lucky’s Toy Barn and the Outlaw Run gift shop. Everybody I’ve met has been so helpful and kind and genuine. I get asked genuine questions about who I am and how I’m doing. It’s awesome being a part of that family environment.
We have hundreds of employees here, so you meet a lot of new people. It’s really sweet when I’m walking around park and I run into someone I’ve only talked to once, and they remember my name. I just feel genuinely cared for here. I would recommend working here. It’s been a great experience.”
"I feel very fortunate that I live and work in a place where people care about one another.”Read Full Story
“I was a stay-at-home mom to three kids when the California real estate market crashed. My husband was a carpenter, so things were hard for us out there. We talked about moving back to Missouri, close to where he grew up, where life wasn't so fast-paced. We moved back here so he could find some more carpenter work.
Not that long after we moved, he messed up his knee and couldn't go back to work. We needed some more money, so I started looking for a job. All my husband ever talked about was Silver Dollar City, so I figured I'd come here and get a temporary job until my husband could go back to work. That was about 30 years ago, and I've never left. I loved it so much that I stayed out here.
I got hired to work in Funnel Cakes, and then I got to stay on for the first winter the park was open as a salad and soup girl in the Mill Restaurant. That was neat. The next spring, I transferred to Merchandise. It's really interesting, because each shop has a lot of interesting things you don't see often. You meet people from all over, and you get to make them happy, help them relax and have fun.
Working in a theme park, you're not selling merchandise so much as you're selling a good time. People come in here, they want to be happy. Every time I go out of the way to make someone happy, I feel blessed. It's like it comes back to me.
I still remember this one gentleman from the late 1980s. He came into my shop on the square and we started talking. He was a truck driver who was traveling across the country and just decided to stop in and see what Silver Dollar City was like. He was delivering some beagles to a breeder, and I told him that my son, who was five years old at the time, always told me how much he wanted a beagle. We could never afford one, because they are so expensive and I was the only one working.
Well, the next day he came back in -- and he had a beagle puppy with him. He says "Here, give this to your son." I said "What? I can't afford this." He said, "Did I ask you for anything?" I couldn't believe it, so I just asked him what his name was. He said, "Oh, just call me Angel Jim." So he gave me this puppy, and I gave him my address so he could send me all of the papers. And then every Christmas for about 10 years, he'd send me a Christmas card that just said "Angel Jim" on it.
You just don't meet people like that anywhere. This is a special place.
This company, we contribute to the community in so many ways. That makes me proud to be a part of this company. I feel very fortunate that I live and work in a place where people care about one another."
"If you’re thinking about working at White Water, get ready to have one of the craziest, most interesting summers you’ve ever had.”Read Full Story
"If you’re thinking about working at White Water, get ready to have one of the craziest, most interesting summers you’ve ever had. My first summer here was a lot different than I thought it would be – different in a good way, that’s for sure. I had no idea how fun and uplifting the environment would be.
One of my friends got a job here, so I decided to apply. I love being outside, so being a lifeguard seemed like the perfect opportunity for me. The hiring process was smooth and everyone was friendly, and they still are. I really love the guards here. We have over 100 lifeguards, and everyone works together and is really friendly. We all have fun together and there’s a real sense of community.
People look up to us, because our job is pretty demanding. We’re responsible for people’s lives and safety. That can be kind of daunting, but one of the things I enjoy is that I know how to save someone’s life if something were to happen. With all the lifeguard certification classes we go through and orientations we attend, they do a really good job teaching us how to react in every possible situation.
I remember going through class. You’ll be guarding the pool and, meanwhile, the instructors have told these swimmers to pretend to have some different problems. Someone might have a problem with their neck, someone might have a nosebleed and someone might pretend to drown. The guards don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens – and then you just have to react and help. It’s great training because it showed us what we’re supposed to do in several different situations, and I really like that.
The class made for a smooth transition when it was time to get out of the pool and start working. The majority of skills you need to do well in this job, they teach you in the guard class. You listen to what they teach you and then you apply them to real-life situations. Endurance is an important skill to have, because it gets pretty hot out here. Friendliness is a really good one too, because we interact with guests a lot. If you’re not friendly, it’s not going to be fun for anyone. And honesty – doing what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it. Those are probably the three most important ones.
I really love the environment. White Water really cares about its employees, and they give us some pretty good discounts around town and in the park. I was pretty surprised when I first looked at the list and saw all of the places where we either get discounted or free admission – including some places I had been paying full price. And it’s a fun job. We really have fun on the stand. Not too much fun, because we’re still responsible for the swimmers. But most of the time, there won’t be any problems. You just have to remember that there’s a serious aspect, and be ready if something does go wrong."
Parking Lot Lead
"I’ve been working here since I was 14 years old, and I’d always tell anyone who had class with me about how much I enjoyed it. ”Read Full Story
"Anybody who knows me knows I’m extremely passionate about Silver Dollar City. I’ve been working here since I was 14 years old, and I’d always tell anyone who had class with me about how much I enjoyed it.
I started on the Foods team, working at a few different concession stands around the park. I was a Team Member all throughout high school and college, until one summer I needed to do an internship for my degree program. I studied Hotel & Restaurant Management, so I really wanted to stay here. I was fortunate enough to get hired for a new internship.
It was a little bit of a change, because I’d be working in the Production Kitchen – where we cook and prepare a lot of the food that our guests eat on park. It’s more behind-the-scenes than the concession stands I was used to. But we had just purchased this new smoker to cook pork and chicken, and my project was to draw up a standard operating procedure and production schedule for it. Essentially, I had to come up with the “how to” and the “when” so we cooked the right amount of food on any given day. I was the only one working full-time with the smoker, so I definitely learned time management skills. But at the end of the summer, I could look back and hang my hat on something and say “I did that.” And to my knowledge, we’re still using the schedules I developed today.
My internship came with a lot of responsibilities, but it wasn’t the first time my team gave me some extra opportunities. In my second year, I started working as a break person from time to time. That summer, the breakers were in charge of ordering from the warehouse and making sure that our stands and storage areas were stocked with enough food. If guests had issues with their orders, we’d handle those, too. We were also helping stand operators deal with equipment issues, and training new employees. It was a pretty good introduction to what a leadership role at this company would be like.
The year after my internship ended, I saw one of those positions open up in the Parking Lot, so I put in my application. They hired me, and right now I’m working as the Lead. A lot of what I do is planning and making sure that we always have the right number of lots open and enough busses and trams running to get guests from their cars to the front gate quickly and safely. You have to be able to think several steps ahead and make quick decisions, but I think the skills I learned with the Foods team really help me out.
Time management is still very important, so l’ve been working on getting better at prioritizing and make sure the right things get done at the right times. It’s something that my current Supervisor is mentoring me with and helping me learn and understand. I can think of very few other places with Supervisors and Managers who take time out of their day to talk to you and help you through your problems or look at you with a critical eye and tell you what things you need to improve on. I’ve been extremely fortunate with the Supervisors and Managers I’ve worked under, but I know it’s park-wide – and it’s unique to us.
I definitely recommend working here. I have multiple times. No matter what job you get hired to do, there’s always room for you to grow. If you think you might enjoy a different position or team more, you have the opportunity to apply for a transfer. But between the amount of experience you’ll get working here and the family atmosphere these teams and supervisors create, it’s really unlike anything else."
Showboat Branson Belle Captain
“If you want a job that you can be proud of, and a chance to better yourself, we have lots of opportunities. You will jump into an environment where people care about you and your success, and will give you the opportunities to be successful.”Read Full Story
“When I moved back home to Missouri, I wanted to change my career. I had been a Game Warden for 10 years in Louisiana, but I knew law enforcement was just something that I didn’t want to be in anymore.
One thing I was really interested in was boats. Down in Louisiana, I’d see all these tugboat captains who would drive their boats into the bank and just fish off them. I would get on their boats to check their limits and licenses, and they’d start showing me around their boats. Some even invited me to have dinner with them. I thought ‘This is what I want to do. I want to be out on the water.’ So when I came home, I thought ‘Where am I going to start my boat career?’
My mother actually worked in the Galley at the Showboat Branson Belle then, and she told me they were hiring Deckhands. I met the Captain and the Chief Engineer at a Job Fair that Silver Dollar City had. They liked me and offered me the job.
I was going from pretty much a guarantee of living well, sound and stable to rolling the dice and seeing just how far I could make this boat thing go. A lot of people think being a Deckhand on the Showboat is just dressing up pretty and saying ‘Welcome aboard,’ but there are actually so many certifications you can get and opportunities for you to advance.
When I first started, I told them I wanted to be a Captain. They said it’d take me about five years to get there. But I knew that’s what I wanted, so as soon as I got here I was asking to see all these different parts of the boat. I was constantly taking notes about how things operate. I wanted to be good at this.
After four months, I was helping run the deck. About six or eight months later, I got promoted to Senior Deckhand. Four months later, they told me they were going to help me get my Captain’s license. I couldn’t believe it. I got my license 18 months from the time I started, which is the fastest they’ve ever had. I wasn’t officially a Captain yet, I just sailed as a Mate. There were still some things I had to learn.
Coming from law enforcement, my customer service skills weren’t that great. I’d be the first one to admit it. But the company is really good at training you and showing you how to do things. They really taught me how to care about my job and care about the people who work with me. You can’t be a good leader if you do not legitimately care about your people, and that’s one thing I learned. I got promoted to Captain in February 2016, and I’d say that learning that lesson is what got me where I am today.
Being the Captain comes with a lot of responsibility. You’re legally responsible for every individual on the vessel. The buck stops with you. Decision making to everything you could possibly imagine, the code of liability is on you. That’s a lot of responsibility, but some people love that. And I do. It’s just something to take pride in. And I get to drive the Showboat. How cool is that?
Here at the Showboat, we function as a family. If you want a job that you can be proud of, and a chance to better yourself, we have lots of opportunities. You will jump into an environment where people care about you and your success and will give you the opportunities to be successful. If you put in the work and concentrate on yourself and your work, the sky is the limit here. It all depends on you.”
Senior Manager, Food & Beverage
"You won’t get a broader experience of hospitality than you would at Silver Dollar City. No matter if you’re front-of-the-house, back-of-the-house, whether you want to go into a college degree position or a skilled trade, the work ethic that you can learn here will apply to any job that you get anywhere.”Read Full Story
“I’ve always enjoyed working with food. It probably goes back to when I was a kid, maybe three or four years old. I would go to my grandmother’s house and help her in the kitchen. She was in a wheelchair, and couldn’t reach certain things, so I’d get up on a stool, climb on the counters and do whatever she needed me to do. We did a lot of cooking and baking, and I’ve always enjoyed creating new meals, serving people and seeing them enjoy it.
When I was a teenager, I got a job working in one of the restaurants in town. My mother was working at Silver Dollar City at the time and – long story short – it would have made it a lot easier on our commutes if we both had jobs in the same place. So I came out and met with the Director of Food, who offered me a four-week job as a busboy in the Rib House during the Fall Festival. I still remember the day I started – October 9, 1993 -- my 14th birthday.
The job was temporary, so I knew going in that nothing was guaranteed. I did a good enough job that I got hired again the following year. All throughout high school, I never really thought this was going to be my career. My family built houses when I was a kid, and that interested me, too. My initial plan was to start a business in the construction industry after I graduated. I was commuting back and forth between college and work and it got to be a lot, so I took a break from college. Around that time, I got promoted to Lead at Bayou Market. That venue is now called Dockside Grill. I’ve since been promoted to Supervisor, Manager and currently Senior Manager of Food & Beverage. My office is right across the hall from the Director of Food who gave me a chance and hired me as a 14-year-old.
For a long time, I was the main catalyst for research and development and creating the menu items our guests would eat on park. My role today as Senior Manager is more about coming up with ideas and concepts to try. If I see a cool idea, I’ll give those concepts to people who can take their teams and do the research and development. It’s not just about copying recipes, it’s about how we can make these new foods look and feel like Silver Dollar City and scale it up to what our guests are expecting.
It’s not just me who comes up with these ideas. A few summers ago, we had a group of college students working at Lumbercamp. Three of them approached us with a great idea they had. It was as simple as 'We already have pickles at Lumbercamp, and we’re already breading chicken tenders. Let’s take that breading and let’s make fried pickles.' The students ran all the numbers and did a fantastic job, and their idea was put on the menu. We think it’s very important to include the front line employees when we’re working on the menus. In fact, a lot of our best ideas don’t come from the top down. They come from the bottom up.
I’ve since gone back to college and have my associate’s degree in Business Management. I’ve had other job opportunities over the years, but I’ve stayed in Food because it’s what I enjoy doing. I love being able to go out and see different concepts around the industry, and then being able to incorporate it or recreate it in our own signature way so our guests have awesome experiences here.
You won’t get a broader experience of hospitality than you would at Silver Dollar City. No matter if you’re front-of-the-house, back-of-the-house, whether you want to go into a college degree position or a skilled trade, the work ethic that you can learn here will apply to any job that you get anywhere.”
"Working at Silver Dollar City is something completely different than what I’ve done. That’s why I enjoy it.”Read Full Story
"Working at Silver Dollar City is something completely different than what I’ve done. That’s why I enjoy it.
I worked at a chemical plant in Michigan, for more than 20 years. They were still building the plant when I applied, and I was the first person they hired. I started as a security guard, and then worked my way up to being a lead operator. When I turned 55, I had the opportunity to take a semi-retirement. I moved down here to Branson, where I’d vacationed a few times, and got a job at a souvenir shop in Kirbyville.
One of my former pastors told me about Silver Dollar City, and told me that it was a Christian-based organization. I was under his ministry for 20-some years, so I took that as a positive. For seven years, I worked part-time on the weekends. Then I retired from my full-time job and stayed at Silver Dollar City.
I’ve been at the Flooded Mine ever since. Why? I still enjoy it.
Our job is never the same each and every day. We go through a routine, but we meet new people each and every day. You can run a ride, but it’s different every time. It’s completely different. Plus, I’m more of a quiet person. When I have to interact with a stranger, it’s out of my comfort zone. But working here, and interacting with all of our guests, it’s brought out some things that needed to be brought out.
I’ve been blessed to have a good team, and that makes your job easier. I may have the title of Team Lead, but I don’t consider this my team. It’s THE team. I always work with my team. That’s the way we operate and it’s always worked well for us. We have a very good relationship, even outside of the ride.
We try to have fun down here. The theme of the ride is a county prison, so I went to the team one day and brainstormed. I said, “We’re prisoners in the mine. We should come up with some nicknames and some backstories about how we got here.” For me, my team came up with “Stagecoach” – because my character stole the wheels off a stagecoach. A guest asked me “Well, why did you steal those wheels?” I said, “There’s a big market. I can sell the wheels with all those wagon trains heading west.”
Another one of my characters is “Sarge” – he’s inspired by the Buffalo Soldiers. A lot of people don’t know about the Buffalo Soldiers, so I give them a bit of a history lesson when I’m out guarding the train crossing here on park. I say I help protect the trains and the settlers going west, just like in the 1800s. Some other guests have even brought me some Buffalo Soldier pins, which I wear on my uniform. We’re about the only ride that has the opportunity to have that kind of interaction with guests. We try to run with it.
I’ve made a lot of good friends working here. Met a lot of good people. It was a good choice."
"This is a fun place, but it is work. It’s important to realize there are going to be things that happen that you’re not going to be happy with. But if you come with the right attitude of meeting the guests, loving on them, and working with your coworkers, I think you’ll really enjoy it. It’s a fun place to work.”Read Full Story
“When it was about time for me to retire from teaching, someone asked me what I wanted to do. Stay at home? Volunteer? I told them I wanted to work at Silver Dollar City. My husband thought I was a little nuts for wanting to work after teaching kindergarten, first and second grade for 34 years, but I’ve always had a desire to work here. When my kids were little, we would come down from Hamilton to bring them to the City. The first time we ever came was in 1964, and we had such a good time. We moved to Buffalo after they grew up, but my husband and I bought season passes so that we could just pop in whenever we wanted to. The employees looked like they were having fun, and that’s what has happened to me ever since I’ve been here.
When I first started looking for a job, there was an opening on the Foods team. I had heard those jobs were difficult, but I wanted to do whatever I could to get in the door. I worked in Hannah’s Ice Cream Parlor for a year and had a really good experience. But right before the summer Kids Fest my second season, I heard there was an opening in Merchandise as one of the fudge makers in the Ozark Marketplace. I thought that would be something I would enjoy, so I applied for a transfer and got hired. I worked there for about four years and then they promoted me to lead the Apple Butter shop.
It’s funny because apples and teachers go together. So being a teacher, the first place I would always visit with my family was this shop. It had so many unique things for teachers that you’d never be able to get if you didn’t come to Silver Dollar City because it was only sold here. And now, this is my shop. I’m a firm believer in God and I believe that this is all in His great plan. He knew this would be a place I would really enjoy. I think He placed me here and gave me this opportunity. And I really do enjoy it.
I like the relationship with the guests that come in because you get to know them and they come back year after year just to see you. Since I’m close to where I used to teach, I have a lot of my students who come back to see me. They know that I work here and so they come in often. That’s pretty nice. Now they’re grown up and they’ve got kids of their own. Sometimes I’ve had an occasion where I would be waiting on someone and one of my students was in line, and they recognized my voice. Maybe I didn’t look the same as I did when I was teaching, but they’d come up and they would ask if I taught them.
This is a fun place, but it is work. It’s important to realize there are going to be things that happen that you’re not going to be happy with. But if you come with the right attitude of meeting the guests, loving on them, and working with your coworkers, I think you’ll really enjoy it. It’s a fun place to work.”
Food Senior Lead
"If you want to go to where you love your job and love the people you work with, this is the best place in the world to work. I can’t imagine working anywhere else. I’ve been here 17 years. I don’t plan on going anywhere. But until you experience it, you really can’t understand how great of a place this is to work.”Read Full Story
“Growing up, Silver Dollar City was kind of my playground. Both of my parents worked here in the late 60s, early 70s – so my siblings and I got to come to the park quite often. I remember riding the Stagecoach, Flooded Mine and Fire in the Hole as many times as we wanted. It was awesome.
Once we got older, my sister got a job in the Production Kitchen, where they prepare most of the food for the park. I had been the manager of the laundry and housekeeping department at a nursing home, but she kept telling me how great a place to work Silver Dollar City was. Hearing her talk made me want to put in an application.
I got hired in 1999, and I’ve just loved it from day one. Where else can you work and meet people from all walks of life and all over the world? You can spend five minutes with them and make a difference in their days and lives. You can truly make them forget about whatever has been troubling them.
There’s one little boy that sticks in my mind. He came into the Lucky Silver Mine about four years ago and told us he had cancer. He wanted to know if he could go to the dish room. So we took him back there, put an apron on him, turned the water on cold and let him spray a couple of dishes. He was a pretty sick little boy, and his momma said that made a world of difference for him that day.
He was only about 7 the first time he came. A year later, the family came back. The little boy was in remission. He was collecting pins, and all of the employees gave him every pin we had. The following year, he came back and all he wanted was hugs from all of us. He had remembered all of us by name.
We made a difference in that little boy’s life that day. He had cancer and didn’t know if he was going to make it, but he had a few minutes to forget about all of that. He wasn’t thinking about his pain. He was thinking about how the water came out and sprayed those dishes or all those big ovens in that room. To me, that’s Memories Worth Repeating. Those little things that we can do for people, it’s totally amazing.
I was talking to a friend of mine about work, just everyday work, and she says “You really like your job, don’t you? You don’t hear people talk about work the way you do.” It’s true. I look forward to going to work every day and I don’t dread getting up and going. I enjoy getting up to come to work because every day is like a new adventure with the people who come through that door. It’s just totally amazing.
Over the years, I’ve been promoted from a Team Member to a Senior Team Lead at Riverside Ribhouse, which is a spot I’ve always wanted. There’s just something about the Ribhouse, you know? I’ve worked with every Manager and Supervisor in the Foods division. They are all wonderful. I’ve learned so much from each one of them. And all of them do an excellent job of recognizing and rewarding employees who work hard and show initiative. When one of them sees someone who has great potential, or if you go to them and tell them what you want to do, they will work even harder to help you reach your goals.
If you want to go to where you love your job and love the people you work with, this is the best place in the world to work. I can’t imagine working anywhere else. I’ve been here 17 years. I don’t plan on going anywhere. But until you experience it, you really can’t understand how great of a place this is to work.”
"It’s hard work, but it’s fun. You’re very tired when you go home at the end of a long day, but you enjoy what you’re doing."Read Full Story
“I farmed all my life down in the boot heel of Missouri. My mom and dad raised me on a farm with six other brothers and sisters. We grew a lot of watermelons, corn, cotton, beans, peas and winter wheat.
It wasn’t all that long after ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ episode aired that my parents started bringing us to Silver Dollar City. I remember running around like all these other kids having a good time and my dad hollering at me to behave. He loved this place, and so do I. When I married my wife in 1976, we came here on our honeymoon. And after we had our boy and girl, this was our vacation for years and years.
My wife and I took over the farm from my parents. We’d wake up one day when nothing was growing and say ‘Let’s go to Silver Dollar City.’ We’d get in the car, put the kids in the back seat, come up and stay for a week. I remember going to Fire in the Hole and joking with the Fire Chief. I’d go ‘Hey, one of these days I’m going to have your job!’ He’d look down at me and say ‘All right!’ One day, my wife looked at me and said, ‘You know, I think we will go there one day.’ I told her I knew we would.
Farming was always good to me and my wife, but it’s really tough nowadays. One bad year and it’s over. Once my kids graduated from school, we were ready for a change. My son was able to take over the farm from us, so we decided to retire from farming and come this way. I came out to Silver Dollar City thinking I’d work a couple days a week and see how I liked it. I loved it, and now I’m working pretty much every day we’re open. I started in Maintenance, but after a year I wanted to go to Attractions and see what it was like to work on a ride. I love dealing with people, and this lets me do that.
I worked at The Giant Swing for two seasons and then saw a chance to get a promotion at the American Plunge. I transferred here and when my Lead stepped down a year later, he gave me a good reference to run this ride. Now I’m the Lead. I have a great crew this year and love working with all of these guys.
I really enjoy working with our guests, too. Some days you're feeling a little bit tired or a little down, and you look at these guests coming through with a big grin on their faces. I can relate to them. I remember coming up here with my kids and my parents, and now I’ve been bringing my five grandkids too. Seeing them happy makes you smile. It brings back memories every single day I’m here. It’s hard work, but it’s fun. You’re very tired when you go home at the end of a long day, but you enjoy what you’re doing.
I love joking around with the guests too. They’ll come back to the dock soaked and they’ll say ‘You didn’t tell me I was going to get that wet!’ I’ll go, ‘Well, we must have a leak on the ride somewhere.’ My wife asks me ‘Well, how long do you think you’re going to work there?’ I said, ‘Well, more than likely, they’ll probably bury me out here behind the Plunge somewhere.’ One of these years, I may step back to one or two days a week instead of full-time. But as long as I’m kicking, I’m going to be here.”
Senior Deckhand (Showboat Branson Belle)
"I love it here. Everybody here – not just the marine crew I work with, but the servers and the galley too – they’re like my brothers and sisters. Whether it’s the administration or the crew, everybody is willing to lend a hand – no questions asked. There’s a lot of work, and there’s a lot of sweat, but I look forward to going to work because the people here make it fun and worthwhile to get up every morning. I laugh while I’m working and that makes it worth it to keep doing it every day and keep striving to do better.”Read Full Story
“Never in a million years did I think I’d be working for Showboat Branson Belle, let alone driving it. I was born and raised in Illinois, about 30 miles east of St. Louis, and I had been working as a firefighter/medic for 20 years. But one day my wife had a stirring in her heart and told me she wanted to move down here to Missouri. I wasn’t ready for it because we had a farm with horses and cattle. It wasn’t easy to leave.
I kept praying about it, and one day I sat down and said ‘OK, God. If you want us to move, I need help selling our farm.’ The next day, we decided to put the house on the market. It sold the following day for exactly what we needed to pay everything off and leave there with zero debt. So we moved down here with the hopes of opening up a children’s ranch. The first two weeks were a vacation for us, where we went to Silver Dollar City and some of the other attractions. After that, it was time to find something.
My wife and I lived in a camper for a while, which was a humbling experience. We stayed at a couple of different campgrounds in the area. I got a job driving cement trucks for a bit, but I didn’t really enjoy it. So we started talking to some of our neighbors in the campground, and they were saying how awesome it was to work at Silver Dollar City. One worked in Maintenance, and the other worked in one of the food areas. I could tell they really enjoyed it. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to put in an application, and it wasn’t a day later that they called me and asked if I wanted to interview for a job at the Showboat.
The captain wound up hiring me on the spot, and I started working as a Deckhand. I had been on a couple of fishing boats before, but never anything this big. It was a little intimidating at first, but once they started training me and teaching me the boat I started to get more comfortable. By the middle of my second year, I started working down in the engine room. I did that for five years, but then I had an opportunity to move up and train to be a Senior Deckhand. They taught me how to drive the boat and dock the boat so that if there’s ever an emergency, I can be the one who gets everyone back to shore safely. Now I’m going for my captain’s license, which would put me in line for another promotion.
I love it here. Everybody here – not just the marine crew I work with, but the servers and the galley too – they’re like my brothers and sisters. Whether it’s the administration or the crew, everybody is willing to lend a hand – no questions asked. There’s a lot of work, and there’s a lot of sweat, but I look forward to going to work because the people here make it fun and worthwhile to get up every morning. I laugh while I’m working and that makes it worth it to keep doing it every day and keep striving to do better.”
Merchandise Team Member
"If you’re thinking about working here, I think it’d be the best thing you could do. The management is great. The employees are great. It’s just an overall great place to work. I believe that you’d really like it.”Read Full Story
“When I was growing up in Oklahoma, I would always tell my dad that I wanted to work at Silver Dollar City. I remember my first visit was when my church brought a group of us in 1976. I was only six years old, but I remember the rides, the people and the whole atmosphere of the park being great. We’ve taken a trip here every year since. I’ve brought my kids, and now my kids are bringing my grandkids. We love that it’s a fun-filled, Christian environment. That’s why my church kept coming back over and over. And my dad, who is one of the church’s pastors, still reminds me about what I said about working here. Now he tells me I must be living my dream.
That same year I first came here, our hometown held a Bicentennial Parade. My grandmother made us all old-fashioned dresses and bonnets, just like the costumes at Silver Dollar City. There are pictures of me wearing that outfit as I’m riding in a covered wagon down the main street. Looking back on it, I think that foreshadowed the journey ahead.
My husband and I decided to leave Oklahoma last year. We felt God calling us to Eureka Springs, so we stepped out in our faith and got jobs performing in the play. We enjoyed it, but once the season ended we felt like we should be somewhere else. We prayed and prayed and then one day, I saw an ad for a job fair at Silver Dollar City. We came up and interviewed, prayed about it some more, and the next day we were hired. Now we both have jobs in Merchandise. I work in the Blacksmith Shop, and my husband is at Tom & Huck’s. It’s awesome because we get to share this experience together, and this is the first place I know that will allow a husband and wife to work together. I feel like we’re all one big family here, and that’s one thing I like about it. All of the staff is excellent. And I’m a people person, so it makes me smile when guests come in and I can have a conversation with them and share my story with them.
If you’re thinking about working here, I think it’d be the best thing you could do. The management is great. The employees are great. It’s just an overall great place to work. I believe that you’d really like it.”
"As a Supervisor, I know our leaders are held to a much higher standard than every other job I’ve been to – and it’s not even close. You’re not going to come to Silver Dollar City and have a boss who is just going through the motions...They saw skills in me that I didn’t even see in myself. That’s helped me get where I am today.”Read Full Story
“When I first applied for a job at Silver Dollar City, I never thought of it as a place where I could have a career. After being unemployed for a year and a half, I just needed a job. I was living in Ozark at the time, and there weren’t that many jobs around me. So I ended up branching out down to Branson and applying to Silver Dollar City.
I got hired on full-time in the Concessions department, which means I was all over the park working a lot of different stands. I’d be selling lemonade on Friday, ice cream on Saturday and popcorn on Sunday. It was fun, but I wanted to do more than sell snacks. I never thought I’d stay for more than a season.
One of the biggest reasons that changed was my boss, Michelle. She was my Senior Lead my first year and she recognized I was working hard, but she knew I wasn’t really happy unless I was doing more than I was currently doing. She wanted to put me in a position where I could observe her and learn some of what she did. She gave me the opportunity to order from the Warehouse and the Production Kitchen to make sure our stands always had what they needed. She let me do safety checks. And I got promoted to a Break Person in my second season, which came with more responsibilities.
Once I got more in-depth into the numbers aspects of the job, like budgeting and planning, I realized I enjoyed it. And as I continued to work here, I realized I was actually pretty good at it, too. That’s when I started making plans to stay here and see how far I could go. It ended up being further than I was expecting, which is good because I really like it here. I got five promotions in my first five seasons. They definitely do not look past consistency and hard work. Those two things are highly valued.
Right now I’m a Food Supervisor, which means I’m in charge of making sure that my shops are holding their employees to a high safety standard, staying within their budgets and taking care of their supplies.
I actually share an office with Michelle. I’ve worked some other jobs in security and retail, but I’ve never really had a boss that genuinely cared about her employees as much as she does. She’s amazing with people. As a result of her seeing what she saw, giving me the tools to do more and me being successful, upper management rewarded me. And they rewarded Michelle, too. She just got promoted to Manager.
As a Supervisor, I know our leaders are held to a much higher standard than every other job I’ve been to – and it’s not even close. You’re not going to come to Silver Dollar City and have a boss who is just going through the motions. Your boss is going to be somebody like Michelle that cares about you and is going to try to put you in the best position to succeed. Whether or not you start out being amazing at the job, they will train you to be really good at it. The leaders here really are looking to make sure the people who work here can use everything that they’re good at, and not just do the job they were originally hired for. They saw skills in me that I didn’t even see in myself. That’s helped me get where I am today.”
"It’s the people. It’s the atmosphere. It’s the great friends that I work with. It’s the fact that we’re on a boat every day. Very few people can say that. Plus, I get to meet people from all over the entire world.”Read Full Story
“I have the best job in Branson.
It’s the people. It’s the atmosphere. It’s the great friends that I work with. It’s the fact that we’re on a boat every day. Very few people can say that. Plus, I get to meet people from all over the entire world.
That’s my favorite thing about this job. I meet somebody new and different every day. People save up their money all year round to go on a vacation, and they come to see us. You have to be excited about that. You get anniversaries, you get birthdays, you get a lot of different special occasions. Guests come from all over the world, and I get to entertain them and show them what the Showboat is all about.
We’ve always had a good show. The meal has always been great. It’s up to the server to make sure they are having a great time. I can look at someone’s face and tell if they’re enjoying themselves. If I go the extra mile, even something small like getting a guest a birthday pin, I can make them feel special. It makes you feel good to help them. Plus, you can interject your own personality when you help them.
It’s 99.9 percent your attitude. A good attitude is contagious. If you have a good attitude, it gets your guests having a great time. It benefits you, and they enjoy their vacation. It’s a win-win.
Working here, you have to be a people person. I managed a fast food restaurant, so I had experience with serving guests. My friend, who is a server here, knew I had good people skills, and told me this would be a good job for me. I came to a Job Fair and one of the managers hired me right there.
That was back in 2012. Today, some of the best friends I have are right here on this boat. We have fun together. Not just here, but outside of work, too. We hang out at each other’s houses. Our families go out together. I’ve made some lifelong friends working on the Showboat. I’d definitely recommend it.”
Merchandise Team Member
"I’m 71 now, and I figure I have another good 10 years in me. But I’ll be here as long as they want me.”Read Full Story
“I’ve always been a people person. I can shake somebody’s hand and tell you all about them. That might sound funny, but I can. I worked in the car and mobile home business for almost 50 years before I retired. After about two years of that, I was looking for something fun to do.
One of my friends had been working at Silver Dollar City for years, and he told me to apply. So I came down to the park one day and walked into the Human Resources office. I didn’t have an appointment, but I said I wanted to work here and asked to interview with someone. A few minutes later, they offered me a job in Paid Games — running the booths down by the Grand Expo. Five years later, I’m still here.
I love this job. It’s fun. I like being outside. I love meeting and talking to people. I get to show off my personality. I like making a big deal when someone wins a prize. Our guests are excited — some of them are here for the first time — so you have to be excited, too. And it makes a difference.
You’d be surprised how many people come back and remember you. That amazes me. They can come back and tell me exactly what I did for them a year ago. It gives you a good feeling — like you did something right. That’s why I come back every year.
I’m 71 now, and I figure I have another good 10 years in me. But I’ll be here as long as they want me.”
"I hadn’t really planned on working as long as I have in retirement, but I love it so much – and I knew I would – I can’t find a stopping place. As long as they let me come back, I’ll probably be coming back.”Read Full Story
“I was probably 12 years old the first time I visited Silver Dollar City. I didn’t get to come very often because my family wasn’t very wealthy. We had a 200-acre farm in Northwest Arkansas, and no money for season passes. So when I did get to come, I would dream about it until I’d get to come back again.
I got married when I was 24 years old and moved around the country because of my husband’s jobs with the Federal Aviation Administration. We lived in several different states, but we always came back to Silver Dollar City for our vacations. This has always been my favorite place to visit, and I’ve told many people I wanted to work here when I retired from my other job as a special education teacher.
I knew that if I ever made it back close enough, I’d make my dream come true. Once we moved to Mill Creek in 2008, I had barely settled in and got all of my things put away when I looked at my husband and said ‘Time to mark it off the bucket list. I’m going to Silver Dollar City and I’m going to get a job there.’
I got hired, and I’ve been working at the Homestead for pretty much the entire time I’ve been here. When I started, they needed a part-time cook to give the previous host a few days off. So I did that for two or three days a week and loved it. I also taught at the school, told the living history of the cabin and worked with the animals in the Barnyard. I really liked that, because it reminded me of the time I spent with my dad on our farm back home. I was a tomboy, so I was the one who always wanted to be outside helping him with our cattle, dairy cows, chickens, mules – and all of the chores that came with that.
One day, my supervisors asked me if there was any place in particular I’d like to spend more time. I said I’d like taking care of the animals in the Barnyard. They told me it wouldn’t just be taking care of them, and that I’d be doing chores too. I said, ‘Hey, that’ll be good. It’ll be going back in time. I’ll be doing what I did as a kid. That would be sweet.’ And it has been. I’ve been a PIC, or Person in Charge, since 2011.
You can say that I’m kind of living my dream job here. I’m a people lover, so I love that I can help people make memories here. I always loved coming here because I liked being around folks I’ve never met before. Striking up conversations, getting to know them, sharing stories with them. That’s why I’m here.
What I love about this place is that you come here, and it truly is just like you’re home. You can walk into the peaceful area of the Homestead, or you can go out into the park and ride all the fun rides. This is a place where you truly can make memories, and I made so many memories here when I was a kid. I’ve always been very prayerful about where I’m supposed to be, but I couldn’t wait to retire so that I could come work here and be a part of it. I thank the Lord every day for making this dream come true for me.
I hadn’t really planned on working as long as I have in retirement, but I love it so much – and I knew I would – I can’t find a stopping place. As long as they let me come back, I’ll probably be coming back.”
Merchandise Team Member
"I don’t want to work anywhere else. I will stick with Silver Dollar City for as long as they’re willing to have me.”Read Full Story
“When I moved to Missouri, my brother had been working at Showboat Branson Belle for about seven years. He introduced me to the idea of working for Silver Dollar City. I was nervous when I came to the Job Fair last February because I had always worked in fast food or merchandise and I wasn’t really sure what I’d be able to do here. But they are really good at making people feel comfortable and welcome. By the time I made it through my interviews, I had a job mining gemstones at Tom & Huck’s.
I had been working for 10 years before I started with Silver Dollar City, and I had never really had fun at my jobs. But this one is different. All of my other jobs were indoors, and this one is outside. Plus, Silver Dollar City does an excellent job of listening to employees. Anything I have to say, my supervisors take it into consideration. Sometimes they’ll tell me that it won’t work, but they’ll explain why. And sometimes they’ll say 'That’s a good idea, let’s see how we can work on that.' I suggested we could sell pendant bracelets, and my merchandise buyer went out and found a vendor that sold them. I have a few in my shop, and if they take off, he may buy some more. And every once in a while, my supervisor sends me a reward for staying on budget or if she hears a guest compliment me. It’s nice to have everyone organized, listening and talking to each other.
I really enjoy working in the outdoor shops, so this year I transferred to The Pearl Shack. I open the oysters for our guests and you never know what color, shape or size pearl is going to be inside. It’s really, really fun to see the excitement on their faces. You don’t understand the enjoyment you get from seeing an eight-year-old little girl watch you open an oyster and reveal how pretty her first pearl is.
I’ve never worked in a place like this before. I can bring my own daughter to the park on my days off to have fun. The employees say 'please' and 'thank you' and 'yes ma’am' and 'no ma’am' and go out of their way to make even a complete stranger smile. They want you to have a personal family experience and a memory. If I can make our guests happy just by having a conversation, I want to have that conversation.
Even though Silver Dollar City welcomed me in the beginning, I didn’t always think of it as a family. Recently, that’s changed. I decided to homeschool my daughter this year, and in doing so I told many of my co-workers. I got an immense amount of support. I could walk into my supervisor’s office right now and say 'I’m having a horrible time, my daughter’s not picking up this.' My supervisor would sit down with me and try to find a way to help me explain it to her. That’s what family does. They support you.
That makes me extremely loyal. I don’t want to work anywhere else. I will stick with Silver Dollar City for as long as they’re willing to have me.”
Merchandise Team Member
"I think Herschend Family Entertainment is different because they recognize you as an individual rather than a group of workers. They will reward you for your hard work."