Things To Do

Branson Baldknobbers Show Past to Present

If you visited Branson in 1959, you may have been here for the fishing. After casting their line in, Branson guests could have wandered over to the theater on Taneycomo’s Lakefront that housed the Baldknobbers Show. The Baldknobbers name came from the Ozarks vigilante group that met on the bald knobs (tops) of mountains in the area in the 1800s. The lakefront theater the Baldknobbers used had about 50 folding chairs. The Mabe brothers (Jim, Lyle, Bill, and Bob) were there using instruments such as a washtub for rhythm, the jawbone of a mule for the drums, a dobra (flat-top guitar), and an acoustic guitar.

You may have also spotted the Baldknobbers playing for the square dance the first year of the Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama (1960).

A few years later in 1968 the Baldknobbers built their new 1500 seat theater on 76 Country Blvd.

In 2011 the Mabe brothers donated several original Baldknobbers artifacts including costumes and instruments to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.

In 2014 the Baldknobbers Theater is home to the Buck Trent Country Music Morning Show, the Sons of the Pioneers Matinee Show, and the Baldknobbers Jamboree Show in the evening.

Monday through Saturday nights the 2nd and 3rd generations of the Mabe family as well as other talented performers mix classic and new country as well as gospel music with side-splitting comedy to entertain audiences. The Baldknobbers who started with a washtub, jawbone, dobra, and guitar now perform with a fiddle, mandolin, guitar, drummer, steel guitar, dobra, piano, banjo, and bass. Though their instruments may change, the roots the Mabe brothers planted so many years ago have grown deep. The family just keeps right on entertaining folks from all over and providing people with heart felt friendliness and laughter that can brighten anybody’s experience! As they say at the Baldknobbers, “Ya’ll come see us!” on your next trip to Branson.

Hook and Ladder Pizza Company Within Minutes of Branson

If you need to complete that pizza craving, head over to Hook and Ladder Pizza Company on Downing Street in Hollister, MO. Plan to have your hunger extinguished by the time you leave. This is a fire-house themed restaurant where you will find an older model fire engine outside as well as several memorabilia inside including air tanks, masks, hook and ladder, a menu board that appears to be the back of a fire truck, and so much more. Check out some of the dining tables which have been decorated with firefighting emblems and the walls where they have firefighting patches from several different areas.

The owners have developed their own specialty crust and sauces and use top quality ingredients in their products to treat your taste buds. For your appetizer try toasted ravioli, garlic bread sticks, mozzarella cheese sticks, or wings with different sauce choices including their “signature 3 alarm sauce.” Specialty pizzas include the Super, All Meat, Veggie, Alfredo, Taco, Chicken Bacon Ranch, Buffalo Joe, 3 Alarm, and Cheeseburger. You always have the option for “Pizza Made Your Way” where you can choose what toppings you want. You also may decide on a 7” sub sandwich with chips and a pickle. Your sub options include Meatball, Supreme Pizza, Ham and Cheddar, Italian, BBQ or Buffalo Chicken, Steak and Onion, or Chicken Bacon Ranch. Hook and Ladder also offers a tasty Dinner, Chef, or Caesar Salad on their menu. Before you leave, be sure to leave room for a “hose roll”, which is a mouth-watering cinnamon roll.

The owners are a part of the county volunteer fire-fighting team and would like to encourage everybody to consider researching how they might become involved with their local fire department.

Hook and Ladder is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 am – 9 pm and Sunday 11 am – 8 pm.

Soap Making in Branson, MO

Branson has several entertaining activities to offer including golf, shows, shopping, lakes, and so much more. If you also enjoy the history of the area, you may be on the look out for soap making.

My first interest in lye soap was when I worked as a college student at Silver Dollar City. I was taught by Oma how to make lye soap for the park on a rather enormous scale. It’s been a few years so I don’t remember the exact recipe, but I know it involved an extremely large cast iron kettle, lye, water, and about 75 lbs. of lard. We let people know originally the lard came from when it was time to butcher a hog, and the lye came from rain water being dripped through oak wood ashes. At Silver Dollar City, we used regular purchased lard and lye. We melted the lard and water together, then added the lye mixed in water very gradually, and stirred, and stirred some more. As we added the lye, it was always a good sign if it curdled like cottage cheese. If it did not, we needed to cook it more and wait a bit before adding any more lye. As the batch began to look like cottage cheese, it was time to dish it out in the wooden boxes lined with wax paper. It seemed like this process took 3 or 4 hours if my memory serves me well. Once all the soap was out, it set the rest of the day in 3 large wooden crates. Before going home, we drained the extra liquid out of the soap. There was a hole at the back of the crate that we could punch through and let it drain. The next morning we dumped the crates over and cut the soap into strips then bars, and let it set for a spell.

Jim and Clayton were two other men that worked at lye soap with Oma and myself. Jim would occasionally put his tongue to a soap chip just to let people know it was not going to hurt them. Oma, Jim, and Clayton all signed my stirring paddle, and I still have it to this day about 21 years later.

Since my time at Silver Dollar City, I’ve always enjoyed finding a good bar of home-made soap. On your next trip to Branson, you may want to venture out to Silver Dollar City, the 1800s theme park, and check out the soap making process.

Shepherd of the Hills Drama Closing after 54 years

A mainstay in Branson, and the start of the Branson phenomenon, Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama will be closing after 54 years. Shepherd of the Hills will continue its current season with their last performance on October 19th.

Shepherd of the Hills will continue to run the other attractions such as the Trail of Lights, Inspiration Tower, the Chuckwagon Dinner show, Vigilante ZipRider, and tours of Old Matt’s Cabin. The Shepherd of the Hills Homestead will be maintained and preserved as it is on the National Historic Registry.

The Shepherd of the Hills Drama, Harold Bell Wright’s epic story of love, loss, power, and hardship, is brought to life every night underneath the stars in the beautiful Ozark Mountains. The play has over 80 actors, 40 horses, a flock of sheep, vintage guns and rifles, a 1908 DeWitt automobile, and an actual burning log cabin.
If you have never seen the Shepherd of the Hills and would like to experience the outdoor drama that has entertained millions of Branson visitors since 1960, or if you would like to see it one last time call 1-800-768-3892 to make your reservations!

Worlds Largest Toy Museum & Harold Bell Wright Museum

Worlds Largest Toy Museum

Toys represent childhood for all ages and the Worlds Largest Toy Museum is a place of nostalgia. Rekindle the memories of your childhood while you enjoy looking through thousands of toys dating from the Civil War period to present. Enjoying the large displays will take you down memory lane; back to simpler times growing up playing with cars, games, dolls, and trains.
The Worlds Largest Toy Museum has over one hundred antique toy trains, toy tractors, pop guns, Barbie dolls, Board Games, and old character toys such as Power Rangers, Popeye, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. There are many displays of die cast toys, antique bicycles, miniatures all the way up to a full size Rolls Royce. There is even a gift shop if you wanted to pick up some unique Branson gifts. With over a million toys you will rediscover your favorite toys and maybe even find some new ones!

Harold Bell Wright Museum

Harold Bell Wright, probably best know for one of his best sellers “The Shepherd of the Hills”, was one of the most read authors of the early 20th century. Harold Bell Wright published nineteen books between 1903 and 1942, wrote many scripts, and several movies were made from his works. Harold Bell Wright was a master of description writing about things that mattered morally. He would research his locations in depth often living at his locations before writing his books. Published in 1907 “The Shepherd of the Hills” was set in the Ozark Mountains during the late 1800’s. It is a timeless story of simple mountain folk about love, hate, and forgiveness. “The Shepherd of the Hills” is what started Branson, Missouri off as a tourist destination with people coming all over to see where the story took place. It has inspired The Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama. Stop by and take a journey into the life of a great author Harold Bell Wright.

The two museums, located at 3609 West Hwy 76, are open Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 8 pm during the regular season and 9 am to 6 pm during the winter season. The museums are closed on Sundays and Christmas day.

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Phone: 1-800-768-3892 · Address: 1294 State Hwy 248 Branson, MO. 65616