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Before school started back, I wanted to take our big kids (9 yrs and 8 yrs) on a road trip to do some “big kid” things without the toddler. We all love the littlest SO much, but it was a nice break to take a trip that didn’t include diapers or a stroller or a regular nap time (although, I had a couple naps on our trip!).

Theme parks are something that our family enjoys, so I thought “let’s hit up TWO theme parks on our trip!!!” Why not?!

Our first theme park to visit was Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.

If you’ve never been to Branson, here are some accommodation suggestions for you: Majestic at Table Rock, Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing, WorldMark, Club Wyndham at The Meadows

Or, check out Vrbo for other options!

A quick family picture at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri before riding the coasters!

Here’s a quick (my definition of quick is probably different to yours) recap of our day and some information you might find helpful for your future visit to SDC.


We got to the park about 30 minutes before it opened to allow enough time to park and ride the tram to the park entrance.

The parking lot was well marked, easy to navigate, and the tram area was well marked.


The park is beautiful and there’s so much tree coverage! We live in a newer development in Dallas, TX so we aren’t used to seeing so many big beautiful trees!

We brought hats to wear, but never used them since there was so much shade.

Our son gets heat exhaustion easily, so I brought a Ziplock bag with a few frozen washcloths. I got the washcloths wet the night before, stuck them in the freezer over night, and popped them in the bag the next morning. They really came in handy cooling this little guy down! If you want to know what else is in our theme park bag, check out this post!

Even though we didn’t have a stroller (woop woop!), it would have been easy to get around with one in the park. I would have totally gotten a good booty workout though with all the change in elevation!


I LOVED that we were able to bring our own food into the park. We eat a mostly whole-food plant-based diet. It’s difficult to find food options at theme parks that are dairy free, gluten free, and sugar free.

Side note – if you eat like us, do yourself a favor and eat at Revive Juice and Coffee Bar while you’re in Branson!! You’ll love it.

We brought wraps, veggie sticks, fruit, and our favorite granola bars.


We were there 100% for the rides. Our kids are in the ride-loving stage and I’m allllll about it.

Here’s how it plays out for our family:

Kids jump up and down with excitement upon arrival to theme park. Get in line for roller coaster. Kids complain, whinge, and talk about how scary the ride is. The hubs and I spend the length of the line assuring the kids the ride isn’t scary and they will love it. We all ride the roller coaster. The kids love it so much and want to ride it again. Every. Time. *Repeat for the entire day.

Below are the rides we rode at Silver Dollar City, listed in the order we rode them. We made a counter-clockwise circle around the park.

  1. Time Traveler – this is for the daredevils. I figured with this being a newer ride at SCD (it opened in March of 2018), that it would have the longest wait time. We headed here first. Our son was just a bit shy in height to ride this one. You must be 51″ to ride. I took him on Thunderation while our daughter and the hubs rode Time Traveler. We swapped and I rode it next. HOLY COW. It was a thrill! Definitely the winner of the day in the thrill category. It does three inversions AND your cart is spinning the entire ride.
  2. Thunderation – a runaway mine train. Our kids LOVED this one.
  3. The Flooded Mine – this was a target shooting game. You floated on a raft through the ride and shot your pistol at different targets. The hubs won…by a long shot.
  4. The Grand Exposition Coaster – this one was just for the kids. The hubs and I sat out and watched the bigs go on this little mini coaster. They road this ride at least three times.
  5. Fire Wagon Frenzy – We wouldn’t ride this one again, unless we had our toddler with us. Not “big” enough for our bigs.
  6. Up the Ladder – although this was geared towards younger kids, ours loved this one! The ride took them up to the top of the tower and down and up and down again.
  7. Fire in the Hole – an indoor coaster that was more storytelling than thrilling. The kids enjoyed it though!
  8. PowderKeg – now we’re talking! I was the only one of the four of us who knew what was going to happen when we got on this ride. This coaster went from 0 to 53mph in 2.8 seconds. I thought it would be best for the kids to ride it without knowing what was going to happen. My trick worked! They loved it and wanted to ride it again.
  9. American Plunge – the kid’s favorite ride of the day. It’s a water ride where you float in a log and take a plunge down five stories! You WILL get wet.
  10. Tom & Huck’s RiverBlast – this one is fun to do when you’re hot and need to cool off. It’s not a thrill ride, but our kids laughed so hard. You are in a raft and each get your own water gun. You can spray people walking by, which my kids thought was the funniest thing ever. There are also little water gun stations along the route for onlookers to spray you – so be on the lookout! We got soaked by a few kids. After we got off the ride, of course our kiddos wanted to spray others on the rafts going by.

We finished riding all the rides we wanted around 2pm. There were two more big coasters that our kiddos weren’t tall enough to ride. There was another water ride, Mystic River Falls, that our kids really wanted to ride but the wait time was over 2 hours long.

The day we visited, the longest line we waited in was 40 minutes. Most had about a 15-25 minute wait time.


I’d planned to watch a few of the shows, but was quickly turned down by the husband & bigs.


If you love Christmas like me, make sure you get to Christmas Hollow! The whole upstairs is like walking into a Hallmark Christmas movie. There are so many beautiful decorations. The downstairs area is chock full of ornaments. I got a SDC ornament for us to remember our trip!

I started collecting Christmas ornaments from our travels a little over 10 years ago. I LOVE DECORATING our tree each year and being reminded of our travels.

The kids enjoyed exploring Lucky’s Toy shop. They each brought some of their birthday money to buy a souvenir from the trip.

After a fun-filled day of rides and a little shopping, we were all beat.

Are you a roller coaster fan, or do you go to theme parks for the shows? Let me know in the comments!

Interested to see what else we got up to in Branson?!

See these related posts:

A Mom’s (or Dad’s) Theme Park Bag Essentials

48 Hours in Branson, Missouri

Revive Juice and Coffee Bar – Best Healthy Spot in Branson

New Branson Restaurant, Guy Fieri’s Kitchen + Bar


About the Author

Hey there & welcome! I’m Mandi – wifey to my college sweetheart, mom to three crazy cute kiddos, and we are an American/Australian dual citizen family.  You’re in the right place of the blogging world if you love your kids, but also want to be encouraged to travel kid-free once in a while. I share about our luxury travels (kid-free & family), our love for healthy foods, and how we stay mentally/physically/emotionally well.



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