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We have many pet friendly lodging options so you can bring Fido along on your vacation! With lakes and nature trails Fido will be a happy traveler. Visit our Pet Friendly Vacation Rentals Page and make your plans today!

Jonah Sailing onto the Stage at Branson’s Sight and Sound Theatre

Avoiding clichés like “it’s a whale of a show”; I’ll simply say that Jonah is the best production that I have seen at Sight and Sound Theatre, and I’ve seen them all. The staging and effects are superb and the musical numbers are the best that I’ve heard at Sight and Sound.


A Show Everyone can Enjoy

I recently saw Jonah with some of my extended family members. We had men, women, and children ranging from 78 to 10 years old. I can honestly say that we all enjoyed the production, but perhaps for different reasons. Though there are obvious embellishments (for character development and to make it more entertaining), the Bible’s story of Jonah and the Whale is lavishly produced not only on the stage, but in the wings, down the aisles, and over the audience’s head. The technical wizardry that it must take to create three dimensional ancient cities, a fleet of boats floating across the stage, and a 50 foot ship caught in a storm at sea is mind boggling (and that’s just in the first half of the show). After intermission, the entire theatre is transformed to an undersea wonderland with schools of exotic fish swimming about, beautiful iridescent jellyfish gracefully floating above, sharks prowling for prey, and of course a giant whale swimming over your head. While I was appreciative of the special effects, the kids were awestruck! After all, this isn’t television or movies, its live theatre.


Much More than Special Effects

In addition to the technical aspects of this production, there are also some stand-out performances by the actors, costumers, and composers. The musical numbers were extremely polished and the performances of those works were well done. The vocals of the actor playing Jonah, the actress playing the Queen of Nineveh, and another female vocalist in Nineveh were inspired. Unlike many productions, the costumes weren’t just the clothes that the actors wore – they really helped to tell the story and show the evolution of the characters.


What Sets Jonah Apart from other Branson Shows?

Sight and Sounds’ productions are fundamentally different from most Branson shows in two ways. First, this is musical theatre – not a music show. There is a story with a plot and lots of character development. Second, Sight and Sound is a Christian, faith-based, company. There is plenty of entertainment at Sight and Sound, but there is also a message. In Jonah the message is about ignoring God’s will, and avoiding unpleasant tasks – or perhaps fleeing from your responsibilities. As always, the message at Sight and Sound can be related to our everyday lives. I believe this is why Biblical stories are so enduring – even though they are historic, the message is timeless.

The Rescued Animals of The Tiger Sanctuary

For all the animal lovers out there, there’s a wonderful gem of an attraction just 10 miles north of Branson: The National Tiger Sanctuary. A non-for-profit organization trying to teach others about the beautiful creatures in our world, they allow people to go on tour and look at a variety of the big cats they’ve rescued.

I had wanted to visit the sanctuary for awhile and Mother’s Day seemed perfect, it wasn’t too hot and there was an abundant amount of sunshine. There are three tours a day (Wednesday through Sunday), one at 10am, and the others at 1pm and 3pm. After briefly glancing at The National Tiger Sanctuary website and deciding that an after-lunch encounter would be best, we chose the 1pm tour time. There are many different kinds of tours to choose from, ranging from $25 for a basic guided tour, to $125 for a “Behind the Scenes” look at animal care, food preparation, and even the chance to feed the cats yourself!


Let the Tour Begin

Arriving at 12:45pm and choosing the “Feeding Tour” for $35 (this package lets you watch the cats eat), we hung around the porch before our tour started. We noticed there is an indoor room to view videos, and a place for the sanctuary’s rescued dogs and domestic cats to roam and play. A very helpful and knowledgeable tour guide named Skylar led us to the area to view the big cats, and it was an amazing experience!


Encountering the Big Cats!

Our first stop was the panther enclosure, and at first, we couldn’t see anything! Skylar started calling out to “Midnight”, and then a low growl was heard. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, the most beautiful blank panther came into view. She ate, romped, and rolled around for all of us to see!

Next on the list was Merlin the lion. At first, he wasn’t too interested in us or the quartered chicken being offered to him. But when Judy, one of the owners, came by, you could tell Merlin was smitten with her! With large paws, he lumbered right up to the fence. To note, you stand about 3 feet from the animals, separated by 2 fences. It’s great for up-close photos!

Other animals we saw included Nikki and Madison, the white tiger mother-daughter duo and Willie, a large tiger. There was also Mariah and Sierra, two sister tigers along with Tina, who was very vocal! And, last but not least by any means, Banshee: a mountain lion. Two people in our group happened to pick the “You Feed” tour, so we got to see lots of up-close feeding from all the animals. Crunch Crunch! Bones and all!


As Educational as it is Fun

At each stop, Skylar takes time to talk about each animal and how they came to the sanctuary. There is information given about each different species, and questions are loved and encouraged! There is something to note, though, you may not see any of these animals on your visit: only half are on tour each day, giving the other half a day to rest to minimize any stress.

Visit The National Tiger Sanctuary website for pricing, directions, and tour information.