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Silver Dollar City: A Family Destination in the Missouri Ozarks

I have been going to Silver Dollar City since 1964. There is always something new to explore while visiting our past.

You Have a Great Past Ahead of You!

This is the basic theme of the family-friendly park named Silver Dollar City in the Missouri Ozark region. Not that you have to be in a family to visit; couples and those traveling solo will enjoy the festivals, thrill rides, water rides, craftsmen demonstrations, and good cookin' as much as any larger group.

My first visit was in 1964. At that time, the only attractions were the town square and Marvel Cave (which is a visit in and of itself and included in admission—do check it out). After any purchase of snacks or souvenirs, your change was given in silver dollars.

There have been stories that the Spanish, led by Ponce de Leon, made their way this far north from Florida and buried silver treasure, which has yet to be found. There are also rumors of a lost silver mine which spawned the Yocum Silver Dollar. Either or neither may be true, yet these legends form the basis for Silver Dollar City.

Spring in the City

Spring in Silver Dollar City is a breath of fresh air. The air is clean, the temperatures are great, and flowers and dogwoods are in bloom in the park and in the Ozark Mountains.

Springtime is "Street Festival / World Fest" time at SDC. Performers from the world over perform outside in small venues or inside in large auditoriums. Many talented performing groups that started here in Branson have ended up on national shows such as America's Got Talent. Conversely, some who have appeared on AGT have performing slots at Silver Dollar City. Truly, the shows are never-ending.

Summer in the City

This song from The Lovin' Spoonful describes Silver Dollar City with the opening line "Hot town, summer in the city". This is the perfect time to take on the water rides for a great cool-off.

Mystic River Falls, American Plunge and others will get you wet. This is no time for Prada or Gucci wear. The Flooded Mine is a gentle boat ride for those that like water but don't want to get wet. My favorite coaster is Fire in the Hole! It's in the dark! There are many other roller coasters and thrill rides. Choose a few or do them all!

By this time, there is another group of performers all around the park, so even if you came in the spring, you'll see new talent everywhere you turn. If you live close enough to visit even twice, a season pass may be worth your money. If you're only in the area for a week, a two-day pass may be worthwhile.

Fall in the City

Autumn is beautiful in the Ozarks, and also within Silver Dollar City. In addition to the natural fall colors of yellow, orange, purple, and crimson, the park has elaborate decor for every age to enjoy. This may be my favorite time of year to visit.

The long-standing Craft Fair is also held in the Fall. Hundreds of craftsmen and women come from the entire USA to demonstrate their abilities and to sell their wares. I've purchased many items over the years and have never tired of any of them: baskets, earrings, art—you name it, they have it.

Although I have not called out activities for the children, there are plenty of attractions dedicated to the small fry. An entire segment of the park is specifically for the little ones, having pint-size rides and other adventures. The SDC site will show these in detail if you are interested.

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Winter in the City

A perfect winter day makes for a perfect outing to SDC, especially if a light snow has fallen. The snow reflects all the millions of lights which are found throughout the city.

Christmas is the theme this time of year. Good music, shows about the birth of Christ, classic Dickens, and a peaceful atmosphere make a visit during this time very relaxed and unhurried. Few rides (if any) are available, but the music, light parade, and plays make up for that.

There are stands for hot chocolate, and if the water fountains are turned off because of freezing temperatures, you can ask for a cup of water anywhere.

Did I Mention Food?

If you want to eat something, there is a place for you. Sit-down meals with barbecue, pizza houses, snack kiosks, and drink stands abound. You will find several shops with the famous Funnel Cakes.

My favorites are the bakeries, each having different kinds of fabulous pastries. I have been known to eat an entire loaf of warm cinnamon bread in one sitting. Don't judge me.

All Year 'Round

Each season brings themed entertainment and park decorations. However, there are many things you can count on for every visit. You will see how many chores were accomplished back in the day.

Visit the blacksmith shop, see how lye soap was made, and check out the wood carving. Seeing all the hard work will surely make you appreciate the conveniences of today.

A Patriotic Park

Memorial Day remembrance at SDC. There is also a flag raising ceremony each day when the park opens.

Memorial Day remembrance at SDC. There is also a flag raising ceremony each day when the park opens.

More About the Silver Dollar Beginnings

SDC's page on Marvel Cave will give you the history of the cave and the silver origins dating back to the 1800s, which is where it all began.

There is also a terrific historical novel about the settlers of this area in the book Blood Silver by local personality Woody P. Snow. I bought it at a book signing. It is full of many verified facts and digs deep into the Yocum Silver Dollar.

We had a great local band named Big Smith with a huge following. Here you can find their song about Ponce de Leon, which is track 15 at this site. You will also get a charge out of track 13, "12" Fan".

This seems like a fairly long article, but I can tell you plainly this is only a small glimpse of what is available at Silver Dollar City throughout the year. There's also the quilt festival, Blue Grass music festival, and so many others. Check their website for schedules, hours, and events.

You have a great past ahead of you!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 The Sampsons

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