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Memorial Day Weekend marks the start of the busy season in Branson and the staff at Sunset Realty Services takes this last long weekend to spend time with friends and family before the controlled chaos begins. We thought we’d share our plans with you and let you know the places we go to have the most fun.


Dustin Hall – Broker/Owner

Memorial Weekend is a time for my family to take advantage of our time together and spend it doing what we originally moved to Branson for. We spend every minute we can on Table Rock Lake. It’s inexpensive and it gets my daughters away from all the electronics and reminds us of what’s important. We will grill, fish, boat, and float and invite our friends and extended family to join us. It’s a weekend every year that we look forward to. After living in Branson for over 16 years, Memorial Weekend is the kick start to the new vacationing season and no better way to clear your mind then taking in the natural outdoors of Table Rock Lake.


Barb Durham – Office Manager

I plan on getting out the canoe for the first time this year over the three day weekend and floating Swan Creek down to Lake Taneycomo in Forsyth. It’s not a long float by any means but my husband will probably take his fishing pole along so we’ll make a day of it. With the 3 lakes here and tons of creeks and streams, the Ozarks is an amazing place to kayak and canoe. If you don’t have your own canoe or kayak, check out or and they can hook you up. If my husband doesn’t catch anything, we’ll probably grab a couple steaks from Harter House in Hollister to throw on the grill. They have the absolute best meat and produce in the area. If we’re feeling too lazy, we’ll pick up some phenomenal BBQ from Fat Daddy’s in Forsyth. Other than that, we’ll be relaxing and gearing up for the season!

Laci Hudson – Reservations Manager

This Memorial Weekend, my family and I will be making a trip to our favorite restaurant in Branson, Mitsu Neko. Yes, Branson has its very own AMAZING sushi restaurant. It took years for me to get my husband, Trent Arney-who is also one of our Operations Supervisors, to try Sushi, but once he had Mitsu Neko, he was hooked. Everything we have ordered is always good and as an added bonus the owners offer amazing service, Roman makes the sushi and Kate serves it up with wonderful Branson Hospitality. I highly recommend the Sho-Me Roll, Blue Fire and the House Smoked Salmon! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Donna Maki – Reservationist

I have family coming up from Texas and staying at Beary-Cozy-Cabin. And since it is pet friendly, I get to see their dog “Rusty”! Friday we are renting a pontoon boat from State Park Marina and cruising Table Rock Lake. That evening, we are going to Rowdy Beaver located right on Hwy 76 for food, drinks and live music. Did you know they have live music ALL day ALL Summer long – and on Sunday, they are having a Dixieland Band during Sunday Brunch? Saturday, we cannot decide on the National Tiger Sanctuary or Copper Run Distillery or Top of the Rock Canyon Tour. Sunday we will rest and grill out as they have to travel back on Monday. Sounds like a perfect weekend to me!

Melissa Miller – Real Estate Sales Manager

My Memorial weekend plans begin Saturday morning with breakfast at our favorite local diner, Billy Gail’s Cafe in Branson West. You can’t beat the homemade biscuits, gravy and yummy thick cut bacon. But if you are like my kids they can’t pass up the hub cap sized pancakes. The rest of the day will be a little fun in the sun at Moonshine Beach to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. To top off this great Holiday weekend I get to celebrate my own birthday with family and friends at The Rocks in Kimberling City. This local restaurant and bar is famous for its barbeque but even more famous for its fun and great music. If you love to kick back, relax and listen to music all while enjoying a drink and looking over the panoramic views of Table Rock Lake, then this is the place to be this Memorial Day Weekend. If you haven’t ever ventured over to Kimberling City then you have missed out. What a perfect time then this Holiday weekend to check it out and make plans to go to The Table Rock and Ribs Festival that features barbeque, music on Friday and Saturday night. To finish up the weekend there are two fireworks displays set for Sunday evening at Big Cedar Lodge and Chateau on the Lake. We’re still trying to decide which one to go to!

Grant Blanchard – IT Professional

For the past few months, my kids have been begging to play another round of mini golf. So this Memorial Day weekend, my wife and two boys will be spending Saturday afternoon hitting a few attractions around town. First on my kids list is the indoor black light mini golf at The Fun Spot at Grand Country. We played a round about a year ago and it was a blast! From there, we’ll probably swing by one of Branson Tracks for a handful of laps around the go-cart track. I usually have a hard time dragging the boys away, so this will probably occupy an hour or 2 of our time. Time permitting, we will swing out to The Family Fun Factory on Hwy 165 near The Welk Resort. They have our favorite laser tag facility in town. Somehow, my kids and wife beat me last year so I’m looking for a little revenge! By the time we’re done with laser tag, I’m sure we’ll be dead tired and need to refuel. Since we are creatures of habit, we’ll probably head to our favorite restaurant, Cantina Laredo, for some modern Mexican food.

Richard Blackwell – Real Estate Sales Agent

My Memorial weekend will be spent with family and friends, we are very lucky to live in between both Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo which offers the opportunity to hang out at the beach or catch a trophy trout. We will also spend some time at The Branson Landing watching the Water and Fire Show at the Fountains and maybe taking a Balloon ride at Parakeet Pete’s for a view of the city lights. We really love to set out on the patio at Cantina Laredo for great Mexican food or go to Buffalo Wild Wings to catch a game on the big screen. I will also be working over the holiday so if you have any questions on property in the Branson Tri/Lakes or would like to take a look at homes or condos feel free to give me a call at 417-337-4741 or send me an email.

Every day, Branson honors the veterens who fought for our freedom through shows and activities. This memorial day, Branson will give an extra special thanks to our veterans through many area events. We are still digging up upcoming branson events so check back as the holiday gets closer.


3. Shop the Outlet Malls & Branson Landing

The upcoming 3 day Memorial holiday weekend always brings shopping sales with it. This year is no different. From May 22-25 you’ll find many of the shopping malls and outlet stores in the area hosting sidewalk sales and specials. I recommend you start your spree at Tanger Outlets where you’ll find many name brand outlet stores. The Shoppes at Branson Meadows will likely be having big sales as well. As a bonus, you can catch an afternoon movie at the cinema too. Last but not least, you’ll find plenty of shopping, restaurants, and music downtown at The Branson Landing.


2. Silver Dollar City Bluegrass and BBQ Festival

The premier Branson area theme park Silver Dollar City always has something cooking. This memorial holiday you’ll find great American BBQ and Bluegrass music! This all-you-can eat BBQ fest takes place everyday from May 7-25 after 3pm in the Reunion Hall. Be sure to check the aformentioned link for their Bluegrass Music schedule as well.


1. Fireworks!

Who doesn’t like food, fireworks, and fun? Big Cedar Lodge and The Chataeu on the Lake will both be celebrating the weekend with music, food, children’s events, and a memorable evening of fireworks. Both events are open to the public so don’t miss out!

Need lodging this Memorial weekend? Visit Sunset Nightly Rentals and choose from 100 different vacation rentals spread across the Ozarks!

Parakeet Pete’s Waterfront Balloon in Branson

Over the course of the last month, I’ve curiously watched crews assemble the new Waterfront Balloon. Rising some 16 stories in the air, this impressive cylindrical design can easily be seen from miles away. Today, my curiosity got the better of me so I drove down to The Branson Landing for a closer look.

The Branson Waterfront Balloon is located right next to Belks at The Branson Landing and overlooks Lake Taneycomo. Although details are rather scarce, the illuminated balloon will lift visitors to the top for a birds eye view of Downtown Branson, The Landing, and Lake Taneycomo. I’m not sure exactly how high the balloon will rise, but it’s my understanding the balloon will remain encapsulated in the steel structure. This enables operation during windy weather conditions. I’ve been unable to track down pricing or a grand opening date. As soon as more information becomes available, I will update this post.

Cold Weather Won’t Matter

How often does Mother Nature disrupt your vacation plans? Maybe I’m just unlucky, but I’ve never had a vacation with utopia like weather every day. When your inevitable, unseasonably cold or wet vacation day arrives, head over to Castle Rock’s indoor water park for a slippery fun time without breaking the bank.

Before reading on, let this slideshow share my family experience!


The Price is Right

As a parent of twin 8 yr old boys, I am always on the lookout for value attractions. Castle Rock Water Park certainly falls into this category. At $15 per swimmer, a family of 4 can spend the entire day splashing down the slides, floating the lazy river, or swimming laps in the swimming pools. If you’re a parent that prefers to sit out and play lifeguard, your ticket as a non-swimmer will only run $5. Children 2 years and under are free. Don’t let the price fool you though, the park is not only a blast, it’s well maintained, clean, and safe.


Large Water Slides

There are 2 large water slides in the park with a minimum height requirement of 42 inches. Long, concrete, stairways complete with hand railings ascend above the main level to the slide entrances.

For the first slide, you’ll grab a required, inflatable tube before your short hike to the top. The slide itself is completely covered and winds around at a very gradual slope and concludes with a steepening plunge into a large landing pool. Because it is fully enclosed, it’s a dark ride. This one is a personal favorite of my boys. They’ve appropriately named it the “cave slide.”
The second slide doesn’t require an inflatable tube. Compared to the first slide, the slope makes for a slightly faster ride initially with a drop in speed at the conclusion. The overall slide speed is definitely tied to the weight of the rider. If you’re a 6 foot 4 inch adult, you’re gonna build up speed before the final plunge. As an observer, you won’t want to miss the perfect photo/video opportunity behind the thick, splash barrier at the base of the slide (pic in slideshow). Watch out for adults though! Even the splash guard might not fully thwart off their concluding water show.


Kiddie Pool and Slides

Between the two main slides you’ll find an entire area for toddlers. I’m not exactly sure of the water depth, but it can’t be much more than a foot. There are 3 or 4 kiddie slides in the shape of tropical fish, reptiles, and amphibians. I saw children as young as 2 years old (with a parent of course) splashing around. There are also several water falls and a giant, 500 gallon dumping bucket to fully drench your little ones.


Lazy River

There is a giant loft area housing a lazy river. The river is great for both adults and children. You have the choice of swimming tubeless or grabbing a single or double tube for a leisurely float. I must caution adults though; there is an unavoidable waterfall that will soak you each lap. Along with the waterfall, kids will enjoy the unique, mini-bucket dump encountered along the way.


Swimming Pools & Outdoor Area

There are two swimming pools; one outside, one inside. The rectangular, indoor pool has both a shallow and deep end with multiple ladders and steps leading into the shallow end. The pool is handicap accessible by way of a lifting device. You won’t find a diving board, however, so you’ll have to save your twisting, somersaulting, pike dive for the upcoming summer Olympics.

We visited the park in March; therefore, the outdoor area was still closed. As seen in the photo, there is a swimming pool, a kiddie pool, another dump bucket, and 2 kiddie slides. Although there were no lounge chairs out, I suspect there will be once the area opens for the season.


Fuel for the Fire

Kids’ burn energy; lots of it. When its time to drag them away from the slides, you’ll have plenty of food options available to refill their tanks. The restaurant, adjoining the main park with the hotel lobby, has an extensive menu. Pizza, burgers, grilled cheese, pulled pork, and PB&J are just a few of the kids meals you’ll find on the menu. Prices are reasonable too ($10.99 for a 12 inch pizza). You are not restricted to eating in the restaurant. You can bring your meals to one of the many table areas surrounding the water rides so little Johnny can remain barefoot and wet while eating lunch. For early risers, the restaurant also includes a breakfast menu.


Gaming & Gift Shop

One word. Galaga! Wait… 4 words. Galaga and Cruisin USA. Ok. So my age and gaming addiction is showing. I grew up battling the never ending onslaught of galactic bugs and probably spent an entire 401k account on galaga and cruisin USA. I wasn’t a pacman fan, but the popular ms pacman is here too. Along with the aforementioned classics, there’s an air hockey machine, skee ball, a stuffed animal claw machine, and a handful of other arcade games. You won’t find any quarter gouging in this small arcade; 25 and 50 cents a play.


Safety and Lifeguards

Safety is top notch. Even my wife, a recovering helicopter mom, managed to relax while our kids splashed around for hours. There is an entire army of lifeguards on constant patrol. You’ll find them circling the kiddie pools, slides, swimming pools and lazy river. A lifeguard is also camped at the top of each slide policing correct usage of the slides. I also noticed the watchful eye of management ensuring the lifeguards are paying attention. Worth a mention is the chlorine level which is loosely related to safety. As with any public pool, there’s ample chlorine to make your eyes sting. A good thing if you ask me. Nobody wants to spend the remainder of their vacation battling a microscopic bug.

When its time to pack up and leave, you’ll find a rinsing shower right next to a large supply of clean towels. If the kids minded well and didn’t bellyache about leaving, you can grab them an ice cream or chocolate bar from the various vending machines on your way out.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this small, indoor water park to families. It provides enough enjoyment for an entire day. The ticket cost is minimal and the food, video games, and gift shop are priced reasonably.


Location & Lodging

Castle Rock can be found on Green Mountain Drive just off the main Branson Strip (Hwy 76). If you’re looking for lodging close by, check out our Thousand Hills condo rentals located across the street.