A Day in Silver Dollar City

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As one of my Yeses, for the July Yes! Month, I agreed to take my granddaughter Aubrey and great niece London to Silver Dollar City, near Branson, Missouri.

These girls are second cousins. However, they’ve grown up together as cousins and friends. They enjoy spending time together.

The girls planned this trip, from the day they wanted to go to working out the details of getting together. I happily said yes to a day in Silver Dollar City. Greg accompanied us, serving as driver and holder of items while we rode rides in the park.

Explore the City with us!

A Day in Silver Dollar City title meme

Silver Dollar City History

The City is located in the Ozarks, near Branson. One of the most popular attractions in Missouri, Silver Dollar City actually began as a hole in the ground.

The sinkhole, originally called Marble Cave, was discovered by the Osage Tribe in the 1500s. Over the years explorers lowered themselves down into the cave, searching for marble…there wasn’t any…and other treasures. Canadian mining expert William Henry Lynch bought Marvel Cave and moved to the area with his two daughters.

They began giving tours of the huge cave in 1894. By the 1920s, tourists flocked to the cave, by road or by hiking in from the train station. In 1946 Hugo and Mary Herschend leased the cave from the Lynch Sisters. After making improvements to the cave’s access, the Hershcends and their two sons developed the idea of an 1880s village around the cave entrance. People arriving to tour the cave could wait there.

Silver Dollar City officially opened in 1960, so named for the promotional idea of giving guests change in silver dollars. The town square contained a general store, blacksmith shop, doll shop, ice cream parlor and two authentic log structures. A small troupe, dressed in 1880s costumes, performed in the square.

A Day in Silver Dollar City 6o
A Day in Silver Dollar City – Diamond Jubilee Celebration continues

Silver Dollar City Today

The City continues to grow from that humble beginning that drew 125,000 visitors its first year.

Today the park spreads over 100 acres. It features more than 40 rides and attractions, 18 restaurants, 12 performance venues, 60 shops and 100 craftsmen. World class festivals and events are offered from spring through the holiday season, when the park is lit up with more than 6 million lights.

The City is divided into 11 themed districts, all reachable on foot. Prepare for lots of walking in the City, and up and downhill walking at that. Due to the Herschend’s careful planning to leave the area as natural as possible, the paved pathways and streets wind through wooded areas and water features. During the hot summer months, all those trees help keep the area cooler.

The first roller coaster, Fire in the Hole, opened in 1972, joining the steam engine train, Flooded Mine ride and Grandfather’s Mansion. It’s still in operation today. Silver Dollar City’s newest ride, Mystic River Falls, opened last year. It’s billed as the tallest rapids drop in the western hemisphere.

A Day in Silver Dollar City Mystic River Falls
A Day in Silver Dollar City – Mystic River Falls

A Day in Silver Dollar City

The park is open March through December. Current hours are from 9:30 am until 10:00 pm. You can purchase one, two or three day passes online or at the park. Also available is a season pass for unlimited visits through Christmas. A slight discount is offered for those over 65. However, for active or retired military, there is a significant discount. Those tickets must be purchased online.

Until August 8, you can enter the park after 5:00, during Moonlight Madness, for a deeply discounted price.

You can also save on groups of 15 or more people.

The City offers strollers, wheelchairs and motorized scooters for rent.

Due to COVID the park chooses the right to limit the number of visitors into the park. Stringent cleaning practices are in place. Vaccinated guests are not required to wear a mask. Masks are encouraged for those who are not vaccinated.

Special note: some rides have a height requirement. Check out the rides and requirements HERE.

A Day in Silver Dollar City Wildfire
A Day in Silver Dollar City – Wildfire Roller Coaster

Our Day in Silver Dollar City

We arrived about 10:00 am, after purchasing our tickets online. London is a season pass holder, which meant we all received discounts on our food purchases while in the park.

For the girls who planned this trip, the highlight for them was deciding where to go, what to ride and when to eat. Greg and I tagged along behind them everywhere they went, allowing them to follow their adventurous hearts.

On this day in the City, the girls focused on rides and primarily the roller coasters. Due to the heat…temps in the high 90s making it feel like 108…the water rides had long wait times. We rode one toward the end of the day. The rest of the time, the girls enjoyed other rides and attractions and the thrills of Thunderation, Wildfire and Time Traveler, riding each multiple times.

We stayed hydrated, drinking water throughout the day. And we ate lightly every couple of hours.

I downloaded the Silver Dollar City app and found it so helpful! The map showed our location, making it easy to see where we needed to go to get to the next ride or restaurant. And every ride shows how long the wait time is. The girls passed on any ride with a 30 minute or longer wait time, focusing on those with quick access. As wait times shifted, we moved to that part of the park. I highly recommend the app, available in the Apple App store or Google Play.

We ended our time in the City with a water ride that left all of us soaking wet…and happily so. I’d recommend leaving dry shirts in the car.

A Day in Silver Dollar City water ride
A Day in Silver Dollar City – soaking wet after Tom and Huck’s River Blast

Until Next Time

What a fun yes experience, taking Aubrey and London to Silver Dollar City. We walked more than five miles that day, spun and looped and twisted on roller coasters and explored all areas of the park.

At the end of our day there, the girls…and Yaya and Papa…were extremely tired. It was a good day though. The girls declared Time Traveler their favorite ride. I think they rode it at least six times. I joined them once. It is a cleverly done coaster that spins as it hurls over the track. This coaster is called the world’s fastest, tallest and steepest spinning roller coaster. The course includes a 10 story tall 90 degrees drop and a 95 foot tall vertical loop. The whole steampunk theme charmed me.

This won’t be our last time to visit Silver Dollar City. I have more grandchildren to explore the City with. And Greg and I would enjoy a stroll around the City on our own, taking in the shops and some of the shows.

Get your Silver Dollar City passes HERE. And let me know if you’ve visited this fun 1880s themed park.

Time Traveler
The favorite ride this day…Time Traveler. Aubrey and London head to the entrance.

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Day 208: Outlaw Run Roller Coaster at Silver Dollar City

Outlaw Roller Coaster Cindy e

What a fun day! When my planned first cancelled out, the day opened up as did the possibilities. Greg and I headed to Branson, MO to visit the beautiful Silver Dollar City theme park and discover what firsts awaited there. It had been at least 10 years since I last visited this fun and interesting park. Nestled on 55 acres in the Ozark Mountains, the park is a journey back in time to the 1880’s. Trees, water, flowers and plants abound as they created Silver Dollar City around preserving the natural landscape. The buildings, restaurants, rides and workers’ costumes all continue the 1880’s theme. It was wonderful to explore the City again, seeing the changes and yet noting familiar sections of the park also.

During lunch I scanned a map of the park and saw an entirely new section called Wilson’s Farm. We decided to stroll through that section we had never seen and check out a new ride that opened last year. Outlaw Run Roller Coaster is Silver Dollar City’s newest attraction. It is a wooden coaster built onto a tree covered hillside, which allows the trees to block most of the coaster from view. For my first, I decided to ride Outlaw Run.

The park was not overly crowded today. A worker shared with us that while yesterday there were 21,000 people in the park, today those numbers were more in the 6,000 range. Which meant, we did not have to wait in line to ride. We simply walked in and watched as the people in front of us climbed into the train, which holds 24. As the guests prepared to depart, I noted the steep incline of track just beyond the arrival/departure area. I said out loud, “I don’t think this coaster goes upside down.”

Outlaw Roller Coaster going up e

As we took our seats in the next train, there were two clues that this was about to be a very wild ride. First clue: The restraint system was extensive! We were required to buckle a seat belt and then pull down a bar that encased the legs and lower body. The seats held the upper body tightly. Second clue: The ride attendant asked for my purse and put it in a cubicle. “You can’t have that purse or paper with you,” he cautioned. Greg and I exchanged looks as we were given a thumbs up and rolled out of the large wooden structure.

I enjoy roller coasters. Because of a neck and back injury years ago, I’m a little cautious these days to not get too jostled around. With a BIG upcoming trip, I especially didn’t want to get hurt. We were so securely held in our seats that I decided to relax and go with it. Up, up, up the incline we went, 107 feet. There is always a butterflies in the stomach feeling of anticipation as I am climbing up, knowing that what goes up must go down. As we reached the top of the incline there was a slight downward dip, and then a swing up and over the precipice. We dropped down 162 feet, being on the other side of a hill, at an 81 degree angle….almost straight down, in other words….reaching a speed of 68 MPH. I immediately understood the restraint system and was grateful for it as it felt like a free fall.

Outlaw Roller Coaster drop e

There was no time to breathe a sigh of relief as we reached the bottom. The next 87 seconds were exciting, to say the least! Outlaw Run is called the world’s most daring wooden roller coaster. It has the steepest drop in the world, for a wooden coaster, and is the only wood coaster to turn upside down. Yes, it did. Three times, which is a record-breaker. One of those inversions was a 720 degree double barrel roll. It also had a 153 degree outside banked turn. That one made me feel like the train would surely fall off the track. Except that we zipped through it so fast that by the time I had the thought, I was past the turn. There were a total of nine airtime locations, where I felt like I was floating in air.

I laughed and whooped during the entire ride. As we climbed out of the train and caught our breath, Greg and I compared thoughts. I shared that as we hit the bottom after the first free fall and I caught a glimpse ahead, I thought, “Yep, we are going upside down!” He remembered thinking during that banked turn, “This doesn’t seem safe!” What a great first! Such a wild and unpredictable ride, and being our first experience on it, we had no idea what was coming next.

Walking around the park, we would burst into laughter as we remembered Outlaw Run. I recalled that our grandson had ridden the coaster last year and told us a bit about it, but at the time we climbed on board the train, I didn’t remember that this was the same wooden coaster he had shared about. I’m glad I didn’t remember the details. It made the ride all the more thrilling, not knowing what was going to happen next.

And that made me think about how like life that brief, yet exciting ride was. I don’t know what’s around the next curve either, as I journey. There will be amazing peaks reached and sometimes, unexpected drops, turns and dizzying upside down spins. Through it all, I am secure, and I will reorient myself. I am safe as I journey, just as I was held tightly during those crazy 87 seconds. And life’s ride continues on, never leaving me stalled or stuck, as long as I stay on board, until I arrive at my final destination, out of breath, laughing with delight, exhilarated with the thrill of it all. There, someone will let me know it is time to disembark from this ride….and the adventure will continue on, elsewhere. For now, I am tightening up my seatbelt, eager for what’s coming next. What a ride!