America’s Most Amazing Theme Parks: No. 7 Silver Dollar City
Most Amazing Theme Parks Silver Dollar City is located in Branson, Missouri and welcomes over 2 million visitors annually. The park sits on over 60 acres of land and is home to over 50 rides and attractions.
The park is an 1880s-themed experience that fits Branson’s vision as a family-friendly vacation destination with down-home charm.
Silver Dollar City sits on top of Marvel Cave, one of Missouri’s deepest caves. The caves feature a 300 feet below the surface walking tour for those that are adventurous.
A Chicago vacuum cleaner salesman, Hugo Herschend, purchased a 99-year lease on the cave in 1950, from The Lynch sisters.
After Hugo Herschend’s death in 1955, his wife Mary took over the day-to-day operations of the cave. With the aid of her two sons, Jack and Peter, Mary Herschend was able to make vast improvements to the cave. They added concrete paths and stairs to the cave, and a tower from the sinkhole to the top of the debris pile. Also, they added a cable-pulled railway in 1957, whose trains pulled visitors a distance of 218 feet from the depths of the cave up to the surface. Before building the cable train, the Army Corps of Engineers said that it could not be built, because a cable train can not make a turn like the one the Herschends planned. The Herschends built it anyway, and it is still in operation to this day.
Once the cable train was in operation, the Herschends decided to recreate the mining village Marmaros, for tourists waiting to go on a tour. It opened in 1960, and is called Silver Dollar City.
The Herschend family wanted authenticity and preservation as well as preserving the natural beauty of the area, so built the Ozark frontier town on the land surrounding the site of the cave. Silver Dollar City originally was the site of five shops, a church, a log cabin, and a street production reproducing the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys several times daily.
The first year, Silver Dollar City drew more than 125,000 people, four times more visitors than the number that toured Marvel Cave. “We discovered we were in the theme park business,” Pete Herschend said.
In 1968, the park started charging admission.
In 1976, the Herschends purchased the Goldrush Junction theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, which they renamed Silver Dollar City Tennessee. In 1986, the Herschends partnered with Dolly Parton and renamed the park to Dollywood.
Silver Dollar City expanded its entertainment over the years by adding attractions such as a stage coach ride, a steam engine train, interactive activities and various thrill rides.
Silver Dollar City
At Silver Dollar City you can head back to the Wild West. In addition to dozen of rides, attractions and live shows, there are also more than 100 craftsmen demonstrating crafts like glass blowing, candle making, leather and pottery.
Silver Dollar City is home to record breaking thrill rides. Time Traveler, their newest addition, is the world’s fastest, steepest and tallest spinning roller coaster. Outlaw Run, the world’s most daring wood coaster can also be found here.
Throughout the operating season Silver Dollar City hosts six different festivals:
- Festival of Wonder (April): a spring festival showcasing unusual acts and performances.
- Bluegrass & BBQ Festival (May): a celebration of bluegrass music and BBQ from across the nation.
- Star-Spangled Summer (June – August): a summer festival featuring shows and activities that appeal to families with children.
- Southern Gospel Picnic (August – September): Gospel music is showcased during this festival along with picnic style dinners.
- National Harvest & Cowboy Festival (September – October): a salute to an old time harvest celebration featuring visiting craftsmen.
- An Old Time Christmas (November – December): a traditional holiday Christmas celebration with special shows, foods, and other attractions. In addition, the park is decorated with 6.5 million Christmas lights and a five-story special effects Christmas tree.
White Water Branson
White Water Branson is Branson’s only outdoor water park and is a short 5 minute ride from Silver Dollar City. It is a 13-acre commercial recreational water park that features a wave pool for swimming, water rides, private poolside cabana rentals, dining and shopping. It is open seasonally from May to September.
This Branson water park features 2 million gallons of fun and 13 acres of water rides, slides and waves. Enjoy the high tide of the 500,000-gallon Surf’s Up Wave Pool, float your cares away on theAloha River or splash with little ones in Coconut Cove. For high thrills take a 70 degree, 40 foot plunge at a screaming 26 feet per second on KaPau Plummet or brave the side by side free-fall drop slides at Kalani Towers.
Did you have the chance to read America’s Most Amazing Theme Parks – The History of Amusement Parks where you can learn how it all started! Also, don’t miss:
- America’s Most Amazing Theme Parks – No. 1 Walt Disney World
- America’s Most Amazing Theme Parks – No. 2 Disneyland.
- America’s Most Amazing Theme Parks: No. 3 Universal Orlando Resort
- America’s Most Amazing Theme Parks: No. 4 Universal Studios Hollywood
- America’s Most Amazing Theme Parks: No. 5 Six Flags
- America’s Most Amazing Theme Parks: No. 6 SeaWorld Parks