Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Branson Part Last

Here are a few miscellaneous pics from our Branson trip...
We stayed in the French Quarter resort condos using our Disney Vacation Points. Very nice resort that offered activities you could sign up for, 2 shuffleboard courts, swimming pool--family and kiddie (but it was too chilly to swim), playground, barbecue grills, and a workout room. We stayed in building number 1 which our balcony looked out over some trees instead of roads. We enjoyed eating our breakfasts on the balcony, and one morning a squirrel came to visit us.

Here are some interesting buildings we saw, although there were more I just didn't get pics of...
King Kong on the Hollywood wax museum (I think)
 A hotel shaped like a river paddle boat
 The entrance to the Titanic museum
Yep, a town with Roger's name in it. There was also an Evans Road, but we were always driving past that sign so fast that I never got a good picture of it.
Look, some trees were already showing signs of fall--I can only imagine how incredibly beautiful the hills are when all of the trees start to turn colors.
I am so glad we had wonderful weather up to the day we left when the rains came pouring down.
It was a nice family vacation and I'm sure we'll go back again some day.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Branson Part Tres

In my last post I talked about how we figured out a way to have school on our vacation. Well on Wednesday we figured out a way to have church. We went to see The Noah Musical. This was one of the most incredible musicals I have ever seen. Before the musical we got to have a backstage tour. We were only allowed to take pics of certain things, one being our tour guides, and the other pic of us on the stage with the rows of seats behind us. Our tour guides played a couple of different roles in the musical. The tall guy Mel played Noah's brother, and Jesus at the end, and the shorter guy Kevin played Methuselah and a merchant. They were so nice and funny, and prayed with the group when the tour was over, and even asked if any of us had prayer requests that they would take with them and pray over as the actors met and prayed together before the show started. I was so touched I had to wipe a few tears out of my eyes because you could just feel the presence of the Spirit there. Yes, in this musical they did add more characters and story to the actual Biblical account and they did that to show what people and society were probably like during this time. We got to see where the actors dress and put on their makeup, where they keep the animals, where they keep all of the props and sets and how they move them around the stage, and so much more! The kids loved it. One neat fact is the room where the sets are stored has the same dimensions as the actual ark had, but they didn't realize this until after everything had been built! It was so cool to stand there and look around and see the height, and width, and length that the real ark had.

Sight and Sound is a company that is based in Pennsylvania and began there with their Christian musicals. Then they expanded to Branson. The building was incredible. It was like you were walking in Greece or Italy with beautiful decor and columns, etc. Noah will be playing through 2011 and then in 2012 there will be a new musical, but they wouldn't tell us what it was going to be. The stage is the largest in Branson and the show seats 2000 some people. It wasn't sold out when we were there, but it was pretty close. They use some live animals, and some animatronics, and some people in costumes. Where we were sitting the usher told Evan he had an important job to do. When it was time for the animals to make their way to the ark, two gorillas (people in very realistic costumes, I must say kind of freaky) usually had a tendency to stop by where we were sitting and get off track and not always continue to the stage. Evan's job was to raise his finger and say "No" to them and then they would continue to the stage. Well, that's what happened, and Evan did what he was supposed to and the gorillas continued to the stage and everybody sitting around us got a good laugh out of it. Once Noah and his family are aboard the ark, and after intermission, you come back to your seats, and curtains open up on both sides of the theaters and it is as if you are in the ark. You can kind of see what I mean in the pics I took of the little theater model. The rows of seats you see in the model are just the ones on the floor, there is more raised, stadium-type seats that are not shown in the model. Everything about this place was amazing and I would love to go back at Christmastime and see their show about Jesus' birth, and then go back when their next musical comes to Branson.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Branson Part Deux

I am a teacher--not just by profession, but by God's gifting, so where ever I go I always keep my eyes and mind open for learning opportunities, especially fun ones, for my kids (I'd probably be doing this even if I wasn't a homeschooling mom). On Tuesday we were looking for some things to do and Roger found out about a fish hatchery near Table Rock lake and dam that was free. Yea, we were actually going to be getting some school done on this trip--call it a field trip if you'd like. This was a really neat place. They had a large room with so many pictures, animals, and information about all kinds of things regarding nature, and then outside we got to feed fish and see them at different sizes as they were being raised to be released into lakes. We also got to see some of the workers squeeze the fish. They were doing this to determine which ones were males who would secrete an oil and which were females who had eggs. It was pretty interesting. Another interesting thing that happened was Lauren had her favorite pair of sunglasses kind of tucked into the neck of her shirt and when she was leaning over to feed some fish they fell into the water! We knew we wouldn't want them back even if the employees could retrieve them, but we wanted to make sure they knew what had happened in case it would end up doing any kind of harm or damage to the fish or equipment in any way. They said that this has happened several times. Poor Lauren, but we did buy her some new ones and she was happy.

 After the fish hatchery we drove to an area at Table Rock lake where they also had an indoor place with more nature info and activities.

We then drove to Springfield to visit the largest Bass Pro Shop, but before there was a restaurant Roger had heard about where they throw dinner rolls, so we stopped there for lunch. The restaurant reminded me of Cracker Barrel had yummy food, but the rolls were huge and very yummy (you will see that we bought a dozen to bring home with us). Evan really enjoyed catching the rolls.

Bass Pro was humongous and so highly decorated. They were even building onto it--a museum I think. An example of jewelry they had were fish bait earrings; wish I'd gotten a picture of them. The pic where you see the underside of the boat was part of the ceiling--it was like you were under water! Then when we were looking through hunting clothes, I turned around and Miss Lauren had dressed up in all of the orange like a duck. She really didn't want me to take her picture, but it was too cute not to. This was a fun, inexpensive day.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Branson Part 1

We went to Branson over Labor Day weekend (Sunday-Thursday). Last year we went on vacation for a few days over this holiday and I must say I really enjoy it. Yes, that Monday is busy as people are taking advantage of the last summer vacation before the kids go back to school, but than the other days places are empty. It's wonderful and just another advantage of homeschooling.

When we arrived on Sunday it was about 3:00. I had found out that if you want to go to Silver Dollar City and you arrive after 3:00, you get to spend the evening there, and then come back the next day without paying again so that's what we did. They were supposed to close at 7:00 that night but because of the crowds they stayed open until 8:00. We got in all of the children's rides that night, so when we came back Monday we were ready to ride other rides. SDC is not as crowded to say the least as other amusement parks I have been too. Waiting in line was not long. Unfortunately, all we did was ride rides and didn't observe any of the craftsmen at their work.
Day 1:

We saw a musical/comedy show which was funny, and I really enjoyed getting an old-fashioned picture taken. Roger and Evan really played up the parts of outlaws with the looks on their faces. We wanted to be hillbillies, but that meant we would have to buy the picture in color instead of the sepia that old-fashioned pics have and we wanted it to seem authentic, so we went with the outlaws. Evan was happy because he got to hold a gun, and Lauren enjoyed dressing up in a pretty dress.What should have taken us 10 minutes to get to SDC took 1 hour on Monday! We really did not know what the hold up was until we got close to the entrance and saw there were firefighters collecting money for the MD charity and as cars stopped to give them money, it held up all of the other cars. You will see when I took a pic of the gps and the clock that it took us 15 minutes to go 0.7 miles. Ugh!
Day 2: