Explore Silver Dollar City Like A Pro
By Lisa Rau
Everyone knows there’s an internationally-awarded theme park right here in the Ozarks, just outside of Branson. But how can you make the most out of your trip to Silver Dollar City?
If you consider yourself a Silver Dollar City aficionado, you probably have your own tried-and-true paths, favorites and did-you-know tips. You know all the nooks and crannies of the 120-acre theme park—the winding paths, nearly hidden-in-the-woods rides, music coming from every hollow and a vast array of edible specialties.
For the first (or second, or third) timers, it can be a lot to take in. These insider tips can help you become an SDC insider in no time.
First: Relax. That's the best way to drink in the "City." Come early, arrive for an 8:30 a.m. buffet breakfast and get ahead of the mid-morning influx of fun-seeking families. This way, you can meander through the first bakery, Eva & Delilah’s, just inside the turnstiles (plan to stop at the end of your day to get a loaf of homemade bread for home), grab your park map, appropriately called a "Pathfinder," and head to the Square. On your right is Molly's Mill, a hearty breakfast destination. Note: Come hungry.
As you open your Pathfinder, you'll see the City is laid out like a big wheel with spokes. Regardless of which way you go, each path will have rides, food, shows and shops.
INSIDER TIP: Very few take the Center City route first thing after the patriotic opening ceremony. But now you know better. It's packed with treasures like the best cinnamon bread on the planet at Sullivan's Mill.
By now, some fellow Silver Dollar City insiders are saying, you’re missing one of the best parts! The people, the employees, called citizens of the City, who make it all hum. There are crafters around every corner, from glassblowing and pottery to leather crafting and knife making. You can watch Master Craftsmen demonstrate how things were done in the 1880s and - added value - your kids won't even realize all they are learning...wink, wink!
For adventure, the coasters are world class, including the Guinness World Record recipient Outlaw Run (Steepest Drop on a Wood Coaster, 2015), with a breath-taking double barrel roll. You can experience an explosive launch aboard the coaster PowderKeg, shoot through five inversions on the looping coaster WildFire, and swoop seven stories high aboard the Giant Barn Swing. The park’s 40 rides and attractions include family rides in areas like Fireman’s Landing and the Grand Exposition, plus water rides, a cave and a steam train.
INSIDER TIP: Go for the big rides early when the wait time will be the shortest, and hit the water rides and take a tour of registered Natural National Landmark Marvel Cave during the heat of the day to cool off.
By this time, you’re probably ready to grab a seat at one of the shows. The Original Harlem Globetrotters rule summer with The Globetrotter Experience three times a day, 6 days each week through July 24. The show is interactive with lots of kid activity, trick shots and all-around zaniness. Plus there are meet-and-greets with the players after every show that you, and the kids of course, will remember for a lifetime. Check out The Magic of Peter Gossamer for how-did-he-do-that illusions, see the high-energy championship cloggers, and take the kids to meet their favorite cartoon characters Thursdays through Saturdays through August 6. Fun option: Take the little ones to a Saturday Character Breakfast with their cartoon heroes.
INSIDER TIP: Know as you go by downloading the Silver Dollar City Mobile App. It will give you current ride wait times, show schedules and a GPS-enabled map to help you quickly find rides and features.
MORE INSIDER TIPS:
- Want to maximize your time at the park? Upgrades for a fee such as valet parking, TrailBlazer ride “fast passes” and ShowLovers passes for reserved seating will save you time!
- Take in the Hits from the Hollow evening show at Echo Hollow Amphitheatre. No driving and there’s no extra charge for this contemporary musical variety show including talented singer/dancers, a live band and even stunt dogs!