The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Best of Branson

March 16, 2012

Dave Woods: Promoter gives Branson recommendations

BRANSON Mo. — Cindy Merry has seen the spring break travel season explode during her years in Branson.

“We consider ourselves the other spring break destination,” she told me recently.  “We get a lot of families who come here to experience the diversity of shows and attractions. I think there is something for everyone.”

For more than 20 years, Cindy has advised some of Branson’s most successful entertainers, show producers and theater owners. She’s deeply involved in promoting Branson attractions and shows through the convention and visitors bureau, Branson Show League and area marketing councils.

Cindy knows Branson.

I asked her what shows and attractions she would recommend to families headed to Branson for spring break. She was quick with a high flying recommendation.

Eco-friendly

“The Branson Zipline is an adventure,” she said. “The Canopy Tours at Wolf Creek Preserve were designed to be something just about everybody can participate in. They’ve added the Wolf Creek Photo Safari, a walking tour guided by Safari Dan. People can get a gentle, downhill guided tour and unique views of the zipliners overhead. It’s nice to get out in the pristine Ozarks.”

I harnessed myself up not long ago and took the zipline challenge. It’s a great time and provides a unique opportunity to see Ozarks nature and wildlife from above.

Since opening a couple of seasons ago, Branson Zipline Canopy Tours has added the Ol’ Blue Gemstone Mining attraction. Families and reunion groups will enjoy the new Prospector Pavilion, a place where groups can get together at base camp and enjoy the Ozarks outdoors while friends and family soar on the ziplines above.

The Blue Streak Fast Line, the attraction’s fastest and highest zipline, and Free Fall Express, a take-your-breath-away controlled line drop, are adventure activities for those with a need for speed and a stomach for extreme adventure. Cindy said she has twice  done the Fast Line and Free Fall. Once wasn’t enough for me either.

“Last fall I got to go out with a Boy Scout troop,” she said. “That was really fun. The dads were more nervous than the kids were.”

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