Monday, December 28, 2015

US - Branson

I was thinking to visit another country during the Christmas holidays, but Steve mentioned driving to New Mexico instead. So, I searched for information about New Mexico and we planned the trip, but found that a bad winter storm was supposed to hit New Mexico and most of the places between there and St. Louis, so we changed our plan at the last minute, driving to southern Missouri instead.

Along the way, we stopped to see Stonehenge at the campus of Missouri University of Science & Technology (Steve's alma mater), in Rolla.  This is a half scale, partial reproduction of the original in England but, being on an engineering school campus, some design improvements were made, such as adding an analemma in the center and a Polaris (North Star) window on the north trilithon.

At noon, sunlight shines through the small hole in the plate on the south trilithon onto an analemma, illuminating the date.  

We also stopped briefly at Table Rock Lake before going on to Branson.

After we checked in hotel, we walked around.  All the hotels & tourist attractions along the road reminded us of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls (without a Starbucks on every block.)

It was sunny when we arrived on Christmas Day.

Most stores and restaurants were closed, some because it was Christmas Day, but many because it was off peak season, so they had closed until Spring.  So quiet.

The Titanic Museum

We found a restaurant that was open and very busy.

The next morning, we had nothing to do besides shopping. I found a small heart shaped dish (less than a dollar) in a big antique mall.

It was the first time I saw heart shaped dream catchers, they were in a gift store. I bought a purple one.   

It rained the whole day.  We still went to Silver Dollar City ($60+tax for adult).  They have several traditional craft shops - candy making, woodcarving, blacksmithing, pottery, etc.  In this one, they were making peanut brittle and fudge when we walked in.  

One batch of fudge is 60 pounds.  Steve liked this store a lot.  :-)

 A comedy Christmas show in the saloon.

A master potter demonstrates making pie plates.  The masters always make their craft look so easy!

The stores were open, and the indoor shows were playing, but none of the outdoor rides were running most of the day.  The train ride finally started running at 4:30 p.m., after the rain & lightning had stopped.

We had dinner back in town that evening, and while we were in the restaurant, we saw this red sign at the donut shop next door. The waiter told us that they give everyone who comes in a free donut when the red sign is on.  No purchase required.

It was true! We went in, and the staff was handing out donuts as people came in. Fun to see the donuts being made. 

Sunday it was still raining when we checked out of the hotel. We bought a Groupon deal for 50% off at the National Tiger Sanctuary ($25 per adult). We paid an additional $10 per person for the Feeding tour.  Most of the big cats here were rescued - formerly peoples' pets, magic show acts, and pay-for-play. 

This is one of their "homes", where they can stay dry & out of the wind.  There is an exit in back where they can go out to a large, outdoor area. 

Steve loves tigers, but the staff wouldn't let him go in the cage to play with them.  The tiger was sad he couldn't come in and play.

Steve tried to pass himself off as a tiger, but the staff was too smart.  They still wouldn't let him in the tiger enclosures.


Anonymous said...

I love tigers, too. I love all cats.


Anonymous said...

You... you remember a few years back... before Missouri banned exotic animal ownership in the state... a similar Tiger sanctuary... sometimes the tigers... don't behave according to script... and folks get... etted.


eHeart said...

Yeah, of course, but they'd never do that to me... :)