Silver Dollar City: Wet, Hot Hillbilly Thrills
Written: Aug 29, 2001 (Updated Aug 29, 2001)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Shady, family-oriented park with some educational value in seeing the glassblowing and blacksmithing.
Cons:Does not have many super-thrilling, blow-your-shoes-off rides.
The Bottom Line: The best thing to do in Branson
Willie, put chur pants on!" "I cain't Ma, the dang Baldknobbers stoled 'em."
The jokes heard on the rides sound like rejects from old episodes of Hee Haw. Some of the animatronic figures could have been made in a high school shop class. But if you're willing to leave your East Coast sophistication or California chic back in the parking lot, Silver Dollar City can be a hillbilly hoot.
For those of you not from the Ozarks, to understand the essential Silver Dollar City zen, you must first have a sense of beautiful, downtown Branson, Missouri. Branson is where old country-western stars go to supplement their Social Security checks before they head off to the big ol' Nashville in the sky. In the environs around Branson, the height of fashionable shopping are the firecracker stands and the outlet stores selling months old Russell Stover candy. (But what a bargain!) The most popular restaurant along I-65 on the way to Branson, is called "The Home Of Throwed Rolls" where the floor show is YOU catching the hot rolls literally thrown to you from across the room, 20 or 30 feet. Don't eat too many! You must save room for the delicious hog jowls!
Now you should be getting it. If the Dukes of Hazzard aided by the Beverly Hillbillies had designed an amusement park, they would have come up with Silver Dollar City.
Tell me about the rides, Country Kate
Here is a list of the major rides and attractions:
1. Wild Fire- Wild Fire is the wildest roller coaster in the park. Taking 32 fearless souls to imminent doom at a crack, Wild Fire cranks up a very fast, upside down, spinning ride. If you're not sure your stomach is up to it, you can see the entire superstructure from the Observation Deck. Go as a single and avoid the long line.
2. Buzz Saw Falls-this ride was deceptive. From the line you can see the high plunge at the end of the ride. You can also see the little lazy river. What is hidden in the trees is a roller coaster that zips around with a nice little rush before you begin cranking up the long conveyor belt to the water plunge at the end.
3. American Plunge-this is a smaller water plunge ride for the littler ones. Still the drop at the end is thrilling enough to make you think that the toboggan is flying off the run for a bit.
4. Wilderness Waterboggan-this is a water park ride. You sit in a rubber toboggan and ride through a water powered chute to the splash down at the end.
5. The Lost River Of The Ozarks-a raft ride over and under water falls. This ride will get you the wettest of any at Silver Dollar City. The water washes in over the sides of the raft and from the waist down you will be wringing wet. A fun ride. Not too scary for the tots.
6. Thunderation-a roller coaster which you can either ride frontwards or backwards. Most of the motion is in a centrifugal spinning track. The drop at the end is done in stages so its not as stomach flipping as the build up leads you to think. The coaster does drop through a tunnel. Thrilling because you instinctively duck, thinking you will strike your head.
7. Fire In The Hole- an indoor roller coaster with three drops. Telling the story of a band of Ozarks bad guys the Baldknobbers, Fire In The Hole is fun in the dark. Again, not too intense for younger riders.
8. Great American Shoot Out- this is a boat ride through tunnels on which you aim laser guns at various targets. Bells ring, coffins open, lights go out, etc.
9. Geyser Gulch- this is an area for the kids. They can run through the fountains. They can shoot nerf balls at targets or shoot jets of water at other targets.
10. The Train-this is an old Silver Dollar City staple and the only ride which I'd advise you to avoid. The height of fun on this ride is being "held up" by a couple of crazed Ozark mountain boys who tell terrible groaners and failed to shine up any belly laughs. The only dull ride in the park.
In addition to the rides, Silver Dollar City is different from any other amusement park because they try to show off some of the traditional crafts of the mountains. So you can see a demonstration of glass blowing, blacksmithing, weaving and other arts.
I'd recommend Silver Dollar City for families with children between the ages of 7 and 15. The rides seem to be primarily aimed at this age group. Older teens may think most of the rides are "lame". Smaller children will enjoy the kiddie park known as Tom Sawyer's Island but may be scared on the others.
The food is what you'd expect at an amusement park. Overpriced fuel to keep you going but no more. They do have a few treats like a strawberry shortcake, custard ice cream and yummy pork rinds. ( Just kidding about the epicurean delights of that last one.)
Silver Dollar City is wonderful on a hot summer day because it is set among large shade trees. Of course, after one of the water rides you will be water-cooled for the rest of the day. I'd advise wearing short shorts and a top that will dry quickly. Long pants or jeans will keep you soggy much longer.
Silver Dollar City is a few miles west of Branson. Allow an entire day to do all the rides and attractions. On a recent weekday in August, the crowds were not large. Some rides had almost no wait. Other more popular rides had a maximum wait of 15 to 20 minutes.
After looking through the most popular opinions, I almost titled this review "Wet, Hot Hillbilly Girls In Short Shorts Go For Long, Slick, Hard Rides For One Low Price". But then this is a family website.
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