We had an excellent vacation this weekend in Branson, Missouri. I, personally, love the detail-filled blogs that my sisters write about their vacations, so this is going to be one of those. :)
We left Salina Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. after Chris' last parent-teacher conference. Ledger wasn't quite asleep when we left, but we needed to get on the road. Unfortunately, getting him to go to sleep in the car is very nearly impossible! Chris sat in the back seat to provide entertainment for the little man... and he did pretty good for the first hour. But for the 45 minutes between Manhattan and Topeka, he screamed bloody murder. Poor Daddy did everything he could to try to comfort him and calm him down, but he was just too worked up. So we pulled off of the interstate and I hopped in the back seat while Chris drove. It took some coercing, but Ledger finally calmed himself down and fell asleep around 9:15. The rest of the drive to KC was peaceful. Josh waited up for us to get to Olathe, but as soon as we arrived, we all retired to our bedrooms and went straight to sleep. (Thanks for letting us crash at your house, though!)
Friday morning we got up and out of the house by 8. But we stopped by Target and grabbed some drive-thru breakfast, so we didn't actually leave KC until 9. Ledger slept all the way from KC to Springfield... which was amazing! I even made Chris check to see if he was still breathing, since that's so abnormal for him. Oh, and here is a fun little challenge... next time you visit Branson, try counting the billboards for "Fantastic Caverns" -- there must have been 100 of them... some of them only 50 yards away from the last one! In Springfield, we stopped at Battlefield Mall in to eat lunch in the food court and shop around a little bit. We finally arrived at our hotel in Branson around 3:30. When we pulled up to the hotel, there were probably 70 people (all over the age of 70!) lounging around in the lobby and patio -- we arrived just after a bus tour! Luckily, it didn't take too long to get checked in and we were happy to get into our room and relax after a long car ride. But we didn't relax for long! Chris was anxious to drive around and see how much Branson had changed since the last time he'd visited in 1993. So we spent an hour driving around town just looking around before we met BoomMa and BoomPa to go to dinner. We were excited to go to Branson Landing for dinner and to see the "Fountain and Fire" show. When we arrived, there were hundreds of people gathered around the fountains -- some of them even brought their own lawn chairs and coolers! Of course, we figured they were just watching the dancing fountains, but then we noticed the stage. Apparently there was a planned musical act for the evening. We ate Mexican food (of course!) and got to see part of the fountain show before we had to head out to get BoomMa and BoomPa to their evening show in time. (The next day, we found out that we missed some great acts at Branson Landing -- including the Liverpool Legends Beatles tribute band) We didn't have anything planned for Friday night, but Chris was very interested in seeing the new Titanic Museum. So I fed Ledger in the parking lot and got him to sleep before we went to the museum. The Titanic Museum was great! It was supposed to be a 90-minute walking tour, but it took us more than 2-hours to get all the way through it. My favorite part was all of the actual "stuff" (like dinner plates and matches and deck chairs) that they've collected. Chris' favorite part was the interactive displays -- like the water you can dip your fingers in that is kept as cold as the actual ocean water around the Titanic and the mock decks that let you try to climb up the boat deck at different inclines. By the time we got back to the hotel around 11pm, we were exhausted!! (PS- There are no pictures allowed in the museum, which is why we don't have any pictures to show you)
On Saturday morning, we woke up early to enjoy the hotel's complimentary breakfast. BoomMa and BoomPa came over and babysat Ledger so that Chris and I could go to Silver Dollar City. Chris loves theme parks, so he had been really looking forward to it! I usually don't love theme parks -- mostly because I get very motion sick on round rides, which severely limits what I can ride without yakking. The last time I'd been to SDC, we rode 1 roller coaster and my friend puked, so we had to leave. As a kid, we went to SDC, but I remember it being terribly lame. So I was really not looking forward to our Saturday. Happily, I was completely proven wrong! Silver Dollar City rocks!! They have 3 main roller coasters -- all of which were fun and unique. The best coaster is called the "Powder Keg" and it's a one-of-a-kind launch coaster, which we thoroughly enjoyed! We also rode "Fire in the Hole", a classic SDC attraction and "Flooded Mine" which is basically a shooting gallery ride (it was so much fun, we rode it three times!). Right now, SDC is in the middle of their Fall Harvest Celebration, so the park is covered in really pretty fall decorations and there are a lot of visiting craft exhibitors. If we had stopped at all of the booths, we'd probably still be at the park -- that's how much there was to do! And don't even get me started on the food! Instead of sticking to typical theme park food -- burgers and chicken strips -- there are multiple, mouthwatering food booths. I ate baked potato soup in a bread bowl and Chris had barbeque beef brisket -- both were excellent! And I had to build up my willpower to walk right on past the apple turnovers and pumpkin cheesecake booths. Around 3, we had to head for the exits to make sure that Ledger had a meal before he started getting really cranky for his wonderful babysitters! But, we're looking forward to going back again soon. We only had a couple of hours of down time after the park before we had to leave to catch our boat... literally. We had reservations for the Showboat Branson Belle. The food and show were very nice, but the highlight was the firework display from shore. Ledger had trouble sleeping through all of the applause on the showboat, so we had a very awkward night time. Another late night on vacation!
Sunday morning, we woke up and packed up all of our bags. (And BOY does it take a lot of bags to travel with a baby!) We met up with BoomMa and BoomPa and drove out of Branson and up to Springfield. We ate at Lambert's Cafe -- the home of throwed rolls -- and we all enjoyed the humongous portions. We ate a lot!! :) Then our family started the long drive back to KC. We had to stop every few hours to feed Ledger and keep him happy. We stopped at Legends in KC to take a break from the road. Our 5-hour trip home took about 8 hours and Ledger was definitely ready to be out of his car seat! Oh well!
All-in-all, it was a great vacation. Exhausting, but worth it! :)