Fun, fun, fun at Silver Dollar City

BRANSON, Mo. – Every trip to Silver Dollar involves a wonderful new discovery.

Just 200 miles from Tulsa, Silver Dollar City is a great destination for a weekend trip from Oklahoma.

Where else can you get a taste of the Ozarks, top-notch entertainment, rides for the kids, handmade crafts and lots of fun for all age groups?

Our three kids are adults but there is no place I know where you can get so much fun at such a reasonable price so close to home.

At Silver Dollar City, you pay one price for admission and that gets you on all the rides. A one-day pass (less than half the cost of admission to Disney World) is a good deal but a season pass (less than half the price of two one-day passes) is a hard deal to beat.

And it’s hard to take in all that Silver Dollar City has to offer in just one day.

The Harlem Globetrotters celebrated their 90th anniversary at Silver Dollar City this summer. The Championship Cloggers give the full flavor of Silver Dollar City in the Boatworks Theater and will be there until August 6.

Some of the shows this summer are McHaffie’s Homestead with the Homestead Pickers or the Second String Band. The Horsecreek Band perform country music, bluegrass, western and Gospel music through October. You’ll hear great harmony from the Sons of the Silver Dollar, a bluegrass, western and Gospel music trio.

I stopped riding rollercoasters about 25 years ago. Silver Dollar City has more than 40 rides, including the PowderKeg (you go from zero to 53 mph in 2.8 seconds), the WildFire (it goes as fast as 66 mph) and the $10 million Outlaw Run, a gigantic wooden coaster that drops 162 feet (16 stories) at 81 degrees and then twists upside down three time as fast as 68 mph. It is the second fastest wooden roller coaster in the world.

You can tell where the Outlaw Run is because there are a line of chiropractors with business cards at the exit ramp (just kidding).

There are other gentler rides, like those at the Grand Exposition or at Fireman’s Landing. My favorite is the Lost River of the Ozarks, a circular raft that bounces around a flowing stream like a beach ball. It’s fun and you are guaranteed to get wet (but it feels good in the summer).

The Wilderness Road Blacksmith Shop is a fascinating place that has ongoing demonstrations of casting, forging and foundry. The blacksmith makes bells, chimes, cookware, ornaments, weather vanes and a lot of neat stuff. Watching him work is like stepping back into the 1800s.

For almost 30 years, our family has stopped in Silver Dollar City at Ashley’s Tintype Photography. We slip on character costumes and stand in front of backdrops as we pretend to be in an Old West barroom or in a Civil War parlor. The metal tintype photos are terrific souvenirs.

Normally, I would ignore Brown’s Candy Factory at Silver Dollar City. But you know, you walk all day and you burn enough carbs to at least get a free sample of the fudge, peanut brittle, hard candies and other stuff they offer.

If you need a fresh baseball bat, rolling pin, biscuit cutter or something else made out of wood on a lathe, the Duplicating Lathe is the place to shop.

Granny’s Lye Soap at Silver Dollar City offers homemade lye soap, the kind that was used in the 1880s to wash clothes, dishes and kids on Saturday night. It cures insect bites and poison ivy, too.

I think my wife’s favorite shop is Hillcreek Pottery. You can watch pottery being made from clay on a wheel. They have dinnerware, bake ware, wind chimes, coffee mugs, flower pots and a lot more.

In His Hands is home to western and Christian home décor – all handmade in America. Custom wood burning on items, a big selection of crosses, metal wall art and other Christian-themed items add a nice spiritual flavor to Silver Dollar City.

It’s hard not to smell the cinnamon rolls at Eva and Delilah’s Bakery as you enter Silver Dollar City. You can munch on cookies, pastries, eclairs, sweet breads and more while drinking gourmet coffee.

If you leave Silver Dollar City hungry, it’s your own fault. We like to eat at Molly’s Mill Restaurant (they have really good fried chicken) but it’s hard to resist Hatfield’s Tater Patch, where they cook calico potatoes in a huge iron skillet right out in the open. It smells really good.

Silver Dollar City has a slew of good restaurants with pizza, ribs, sandwiches, salads, pretzels, hamburgers, poor boy sandwiches, hot dogs and desserts.

Silver Dollar City opens seven days a week at 9:30 a.m. and the closing times vary from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. (check the website at www.silverdollarcity.com. The park will be closed August 16 and August 22-24. The schedule changes in September.

And if you don’t happen to get to Silver Dollar City this summer, the Christmas season there is extraordinary.

And I really like doing business with a family owned company with Christian faith and values.