(Disclosure -I was invited to a semi-expense paid trip to Branson, courtesy of Stone Castle Hotel, to attend the #BloggingBranson Event in exchange for my coverage. No other compensation was provided. All views shared are completely my own.)
Silver Dollar City is not just your average theme park. It has a lot of the Branson and Ozark history and foundation behind it.
Silver Dollar City is located at one of the Ozark’s oldest historical attractions – Marvel Cave. Henry T. Blow, a lead mining magnate, explored the cave with six miners. They found no lead but were convinced that the flat ceiling of one room was composed of marble. They originally named the cave Marble Cave. The cave remained undisturbed until 1882 when a group led by T. Hodges Jones and Truman S. Powell entered the cave in hopes of finding lead. Jones and Powell instead found huge amounts of guano and a flat wall which they also believed to be marble. Two years later Jones bought the property and formed the Marble Cave Mining and Manufacturing Company.
The company planned a town, Marble City, on the rough hilltop near the cave and in 1884 recorded a plat map at the courthouse in Galena, Missouri. By 1889, much of the guano had been mined from the cave, the marble wall proved to be limestone, and no lead ore was found. The mining company ceased operation. In 1894, the Lynch family purchased the cave. When William Lynch died in 1927, ownership of the cave passed to his daughters and the name of the cave was changed to Marvel Cave. The Lynch family operated the cave for nearly fifty years until a Chicago vacuum cleaner salesman, Hugo Herschend, purchased a 100-year lease on the cave. After Hugo’s death, his wife Mary took over the day-to-day operations of the venture. With the aid of her two sons, Jack and Peter, she was able to make vast improvements to the cave, including the inclusion of a narrow gauge funicular railway whose trains pulled visitors a distance of 218 feet (66 m) from the depths of the cave up to the surface. Once the railway was in operation, the Herschend family felt the development of the cave was complete, so they decided to create another attraction which would bring even more tourists to the cave. That is how Silver Dollar City came to be, and the park is amazing!
Silver Dollar City was founded because of Marvel Cave, so you need to take a tour of Marvel Cave. The tour is included in the cost of your ticket. Tours depart approximately every half hour, weather permitting. Marvel Cave is a wet limestone cave, complete with formations that are still alive and growing! You will travel 300 feet below the surface and enter the Cathedral Room. The breathtakingly beautiful Cathedral Room is the largest cave entrance room in the United States. The visitor’s trail consists of stairs and ramps. The tour lasts approximately 60 minutes with most of that time spent taking 700 steps. After descending nearly 500 feet below the surface, how do you get back up to daylight? In 1957, cave operators installed a unique cable train designed to take cave visitors up the half mile, 1070 foot climb back to the surface! After the cave tour, my thighs were sore for about two days; however, I do not regret one minute of it. The beauty of the cave will leave you in awe. It really is a must do.
Here are some videos for your enjoyment to see what the cave tour looks like!
While I did not have the opportunity to ride the Time Traveler, the ride itself is quite a sight. It is the World’s fastest, steepest & tallest spinning coaster. Costing $26M, Time Traveler reaches a height of 100 feet with a maximum speed of 50.3 mph and has a total track length of 3020 feet. Take a look at what it would be to like to ride this rollercoaster!
Silver Dollar City has some amazing food. It is incredible the variety that they have considering they are a theme park that is half the size of other theme parks. One of the things you will notice is that everything revolves around the traditional foods that you find in the Ozarks, mixed with the new cuisine. You can go around the park and see different employees cooking in huge skillets making foods such as Succotash.
As shown in the picture below, you will find a different array of foods, including buffets. There is even Time Traveler ice cream and chocolate in honor of the park’s new ride, the Time Traveler.
The bakeries smell amazing and the treats are delicious. They bake fresh goodies all day long. One of my favorites was their cinnamon rolls. Cinna-Bon has nothing on these rolls!
When I went in April, I had the opportunity of taking a cooking class, and yes you get to taste this delicious food once it’s done. Our class was taught by Master Craftsman of Culinary Arts, Debbie Dance Uhrig. The class is 60 minutes long and only $15!!! That is a steal, and the food is excellent. Our class made Thai Noodles featuring chicken, mushrooms and sweet peas in a burnt butter sauce along with a refreshing lemon poppy seed bread.
To learn more about the culinary classes you can attend, visit https://www.silverdollarcity.com/theme-park/Attractions/Classes
Silver Dollar City has some of the best craftsmen in the country and you can tell this by the quality of work that you see around the park. I had the opportunity of attending a glass blowing class and it is truly amazing how these glass vases and pieces come together. You can also see pottery being made and it’s incredible. Some of the men and women have been at the park for over 20 years and it shows in the craftsmanship of the work.
To find out more about the craftsmen around the park, visit https://www.silverdollarcity.com/theme-park/Attractions/Craftsmen
For more information on Silver Dollar City ticket prices, visit https://www.silverdollarcity.com/theme-park/Tickets/Buy-Tickets
Silver Dollar City is a Branson marvel. If you are looking for places to visit while in Branson, make sure you stop by and say Hi!