The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

February 28, 2014

Silver Dollar City highlights new creations, old favorites during spring break event

BRANSON, Mo. — Joyce Burnett remembers her first roller coaster ride at Silver Dollar City.

"I was just a kid," Burnett said, standing on Branson landing. "I might have been 10 or 11 years old. Fire in the Hole scared me so much. It was fun."

Now, Burnett, 43, of Osage Beach, is planning to take her children to the amusement park for a short spring vacation. She said she thinks it will be a great way to spend time with her kids and share some of her childhood memories with them.

"We are so busy all the time," she said. "We play ball and soccer and are always just passing each other. It will be good to slow down for a few days."

Family time

Beginning on March 14 and running on select dates through March 30, the park's Family Spring Break Days will bring families from around the region to Branson for spring vacations. With more than 30 different rides and attractions open, families can enjoy roller coasters and train rides, soar on a giant barn swing, listen to bluegrass music, eat traditional Ozarks entrees and shop for souvenirs in dozens of shops.

There's a lot to do at the park for families on the go, but Kevin Lotter said it's all quality family time. Oh, and the rides.

"It's the best place to go to spend time together," said Lotter, director of attractions at Silver Dollar City. "You have fun at a theme park right. Rides are good, and it's something that families can spend time together doing. Time together having fun is what spring break is all about."

While Lotter is excited about guests flocking to the park, he's also excited about spring and warm weather returning to the area.

"This winter has been cold," he said. "I'm excited to just get out in the warmth and spend time outside. We haven't got to do that in a couple of months. To be able to spend time together and get outside in the sun together is great."

Lotter began his career in 2003 as a ride operator at the former Celebration City. After more than a decade working at two of Branson's largest theme parks, Lotter knows a thing or two about the rides that bring families back to Branson year after year.

"We have the Grand Exposition with 10 family rides," Lotter said of the 1880s Worlds Fair-themed section of the park. "For kids that are a little more thrill-seeking we have Outlaw Run, which is our record setting, best-in-class wood coaster. It has a double barrel roll inversion and has the steepest drop of 162 feet and goes 68 miles an hour."

Outlaw Run opened in 2013 to great acclaim. The $10 million ride is the second fastest wooden roller coaster in the world.

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