Postcard From Silver Dollar City

Got up early (early for being on vacation anyway) for a long and hopefully fun day at Silver Dollar City, the family-oriented theme park in Branson, Missouri. It's July and hot, real hot, Africa hot, so we figured we would get an early start and beat the heat as much as possible. I dragged myself out of bed first, took a shower, shaved the tiny hairs off my face and accomplished the usual morning bathroom ritual without wounding myself.

As I headed down to the lobby for coffee and breakfast and more coffee, I woke the girls enough to be reasonably sure they would get out of bed even if I wasn't there offering my supportive and loving encouragement for them to get their butts up. After eating too much breakfast (it's hard to stop eating when the food tastes good and it's free) and returning to the room, I was pleasantly surprised to find the girls up, dressed, and ready to get the show on the road. I recorded this astonishing event on a calendar.

The park opens at 10:00 so we left at 9:30 when the temp was only 87 degrees and about 90% humidity. New Yorkers die in this, but it wasn't too bad yet for us. We arrived at the park at 9:50 and decided to save a little by parking in the free lot. There's a reason we should have paid to park close - we ended up in the south 40 about 1 mile from the gate - all of it up hill. Rather than walk 100 yards downhill to catch a tram to the gate, I was struck with the brilliant idea that since we could kind of see the front of the park up the hill, we would just walk it. More like I was struck dumb. By the time we had walked half the way, with the blacktop parking lot we were walking over, the temp must have been 100 and the humidity must have been 99%. We hadn't even made it to the ticket counter yet and we were sweating and huffing and puffing like we were trying to traverse Death Valley. We finally made it up that hill and across that parking lot, but the issue was in doubt a good bit of the way.

And then you take a left at the wooden 
roses place...
Fortunately, once inside the park, there are lots of tree's for shade and all of the buildings have great air conditioning so we were able to weave our way into the a/c every now and then as we ambled along to the rides and shows we wanted. I must say the employees, each and every one without fail were extremely friendly and helpful. Even later in the day when the heat and humidity was almost unbearable, they still stopped whatever they were doing, smiled and politely answered our questions or gave directions. A lot of them were in the senior citizen age range dressed in period clothing, but even the kid employees did the same. I was very impressed.

There are a lot of water rides to help you cool off. Compared to Six Flags, the water was pretty darn clean and smelled like, well, like water. The last couple of times I've been to Six Flags, the water looked and smelled rancid; not something you want splashing on your clothes and in your face.

The mad woman standing on the left.
The Mamma-woman and I took turns riding with Youngest-daughter so one of us could hold cameras and other items we didn't want to get wet. So I'm standing toward the end of the Lost River ride waiting on the girls to float by and hoping to get a picture of them getting squirted by this hidden water cannon squirter thingy. It only squirts about every 4th or 5th "boat" that comes by so it's just every now and then. A lady with a baby in a stroller walked up about 10 yards from me and stood right where the walk was wet from the water cannon. Sure enough, she's turned away from the cannon and looking up the stream where the boats are coming from when the cannon squirts and hits her right upside the head! She turned and with a huge scowl on her face looked for whoever dared squirt her. Once I see that mad scowl look, well, I can't help but laugh now as this is the best show I've seen since arriving here. She bent over and got her youngster out of the stroller, I guess to show the squirter she has a kid so don't get her wet or something. After looking around a bit more, she puts the baby back in the stroller and turns back to watch the boats coming down. You guessed it, about 5 seconds after turning her head she gets squirted again! Oh boy is she upset now! She's got a mean look on her face that would scare away the devil and she is frantically looking around to locate the squirter to really give them a piece of her mind. I'm about to bust a gut trying not to laugh out loud and draw her ire on me. This was worth the price of admission right here! I mean she walks up and parks herself next to a water ride and stands in the one place where the concrete walkway is wet and now she thinks some evil-doer person is just messing with her?!

An older gray-haired lady who looked to be at least in her 70's and evidently had also been watching the action walked up beside me and said in an almost whisper, "Is she just stupid or what?" as she pointed to the mad, wet mother. Well, that was the end of me holding anything in and we both started laughing out loud. Sure enough, the perplexed mom noticed us then and gave us one of her mean, drop dead looks before turning around. Sometimes the gods do indeed have a sense of humor because as she started to walk away, the cannon squirted again and got her in the back. She jumped, but kept walking away; probably never did figure out what was happening. The older lady and I talked for a few minutes after we managed to stop laughing. Ms Jean and I agreed, sometimes life can be very funny.

So what do you think about the food at the
Rib House?
While riding the lost River ride, we went right behind a Bar-b-que food place and boy did it smell good. It's been a while since I've had good Bar-B-Q so it was easy to forget one of my basic rules - never eat Bar-B-Q in an amusement park as it is always overpriced and never, ever good. It's a good rule to not forget. For $27, I got a beef sandwich that consisted of bread which was at least a week beyond it's expiration date and a few pieces of gross fat and veins mixed in with a little bit of tough meat and about 3 spoons of overly sweet baked beans from a can. Look up "disgusting" in the dictionary and there's a picture of that meal. Most of it went in the trash. Momma-woman got a pulled pork sandwich and 3 spoons of potato salad which had no taste. The girl child had chicken nuggets. The girl child loves chicken nuggets. She can do serious damage to a buffet if they have chicken nuggets. The girl child could not eat these "chicken nuggets." Go to Silver Dollar City, but whatever you do, don't eat at Riverside Rib House. They advertise "Best Bar-B-Q in the Ozarks."  They lie.

Panning for gold and gems.
Absolutely the best show was The Fabulous Wallendas, the world famous high wire walkers who have set several Guiness World Records. There were a couple of really good warm-up acts, but the Wallendas were amazing. As they performed, I forced myself to glance at the other audience members; all had eyes wide in rapt attention, most were open mouthed. I tell you, the Wallendas are GOOD and well deserve the acclaim they receive.

Warmup act did a great drum performance.

A few can do splits, but not like this!

She didn't just pose like this - she twirled
head over heals round and round.
Amazing act!

After thoroughly enjoying ourselves for over 8 hours, the heat and walking up numerous hills numerous times finally took their toll on all of us. We called it a day. Even though the walk back to our car would have been downhill, we stood in one final line and caught the tram, a wise decision as I'm not sure I could have made that mile walk and arrived still on my own two feet.  Before long we were back in our clean hotel room with a clean bathroom and fresh, clean towels and made up beds with fresh sheets. The room smelled nice, was refreshingly cool, the bed oh so inviting. I could get used to this. Jut waiting on my lottery numbers to hit...