Greetings my Loyal Reader(s), and welcome to the latest edition of the Branson Beat, your home for all the news on the Branson entertainment scene.

As always, feel free to drop me a line at jclark@bransontrilakesnews.com, or send me a message via our Branson Tri-Lakes News Facebook page.

Now, let’s get to it. 

Big fun at the Bigfoot Fun Park  

Last week I spent some time at one of the area’s most unexpectedly awesome attractions, Branson’s Bigfoot Fun Park, and I must say, I got so much more than I expected.

Located at 3608 W. Hwy. 76 on Branson’s famous “Strip,” the Bigfoot Fun Park offers a variety of attractions, all themed around the mythical Bigfoot. (Some folks call him Sasquatch, but we call him Bigfoot around these parts). 

Anyway, these indoor and outdoor attractions are designed to appeal to folks of all ages and abilities, and include the Bigfoot Action Tower, Bigfoot Adventure Mini-Golf, Yeti Play Zone & Monkey Jump, Bigfoot’s Arcade, Bigfoot’s 8Di Action Cinema, a large outdoor patio, indoor and outdoor party spaces, as well as the fantastic Bigfoot Discovery Expedition.

Without a doubt, the first thing folks notice is the Bigfoot Action Tower, which is the tallest structure in Branson, reaching 200 feet tall. In addition to being home to two rides, the tower is packed with 35,000 LED lights, and every evening, the park plays host to free light shows every hour on the half hour from 7:30 until 10:30 p.m. nightly.

The first ride featured at the tower is the Gravity Bomb, a 200-foot free-fall ride that is “the only drop ride in the world that allows riders to experience a true free-fall.” Despite being afraid to ride, I mustered up the bravest face I could and climbed aboard.

The trip to the top is slow, and if you ‘re brave enough, allows for one of the most awesome views in the area. Plus, the Gravity Bomb uses magnetic technology, meaning there are no cables, ropes or anything else, making for a smooth ride.

Once we got to the top and looked around for a few seconds, the magnets released, and much like a Tom Petty song, we were “Free Fallin’.” Not only were we free falling, but we were only strapped in with a few belts. That’s right, there are no lap bars, or anything else to hold on to. It was thrilling and exhilarating at the same time, and when we reached the bottom, I couldn’t wait to ride it again.

Unfortunately, my bravery did not extend to the other ride at the tower, the Super Sling. According to management, the Super Sling “is the first of it’s kind, as well as the tallest of its kind, that allows either one or two riders” to climb onto a back-to-back seat resembling a saddle, then launched straight up into the air.

Once those braves souls are launched up in the air like a giant sling shot, they begin to fall back down with a few flips and twists here and there. Even though I declined the opportunity to ride, every single person I spoke with assured me it was less scary than the Gravity Bomb.

The park is also home to Bigfoot Adventure Mini-Golf, which takes guests through Bigfoot’s very own woodlands, as well as a 270-foot tunnel cave hand-painted by Springfield artist Emily Million using UV paint so the animals glow. Plus, folks can try to track down Bigfoot following his footprints as you play along each hole.

The Yeti Fun Zone & Monkey Jump is also featured at the park. While navigating through the maze panels on the main level, guests can discover underground tunnels, swirly slides, climbing nets, rope swings, access to Bigfoot’s Treehouse and several climbing towers that offer an aerial view of the park and the city of Branson.

Once the kiddos are ready for something else, they can exit the Yeti Fun Zone through the “chicken exit,” or the “Monkey Jump Tower Climb,” for the more adventurous. The Monkey Jump  Tower sees folks climb 10 feet up the tower, cross a bridge, then leap into a massive inflated air bag.

There’s also several indoor activities with Bigfoot’s Arcade, as well as the   8Di Action Cinema. The arcade is full of new and state-of-the-art games, including the “Worlds Largest Pac-Man,” “Worlds Largest Space Invaders,” and the Wizard of Oz. Plus, there are plenty of ways to earn tickets, which can be redeemed for some of the coolest prizes I’ve ever seen at an arcade.

The 8Di Action Cinema, which provides folks with a fully interactive and immersive gaming experience. After folks are issued their 3D glasses, they enter the room and jump on one of the off-road mini bikes, grab a laser gun and get to saving the world, or at least, your own hide. The bikes sway from side to side during this experience, making it that much more fun.

In addition to all the fun stuff there is to do at the park, I really want to share my experiences on the Bigfoot Discovery Expedition, one of several “expeditions” originating from the park. 

Without a doubt, there is nothing that thrills me more than being surprised by something being more awesome than I could possibly imagine, and that happened when I embarked on the Bigfoot Discovery Expedition tour earlier this year. As much as I would love to share each and every detail of this expedition, I feel it would most assuredly “spoil” the experience, so my “review” of the Bigfoot Discovery Expedition will be “spoiler free,” for the most part.

Our adventure begins at the park where we were join a Bigfoot Research Team and board the custom made 4×4 vehicles to journey out into the Ozark Hills along with our driver, “Mr. Leland,” a retired bus driver from the area who was pitch-perfect in his role. As we set off on the initial 12 mile drive to begin our adventure, which includes the Scottish Highland Cattle farm, we were treated with outstanding original music, as well as educational and informative narration from a third party, as well as several interjections from Mr. Leland.

We eventually turned that mighty 4x4 off the paved road and onto a small rock road that both thrilled and scared me at the same time. The trail led us to the farm where we were able to pet and feed the Scottish Highland cattle. These cows are actually pretty cute, and they were all filled with personality.

Anyway, things began to change after we pulled away from the farm. The unexpected thrills got fast and furious as we found ourselves careening to the top of a bald knob, then hurling down the other side at breakneck speeds after stopping for a few minutes to admire the view.

The longer we were out, the more immersed in “a fascinating story-line featuring the good, the bad, and even the ugly side of the Ozarks” we became. The best way I can describe it is imagine you’re out for a leisurely drive and all of a sudden, you end up in the middle of a PG-rated action movie.

Eventually, the trail of clues led us to “an extremely surprising twist ending” that I couldn’t see coming at all. That “twist ending” is one of the coolest, most unexpectedly awesome things I’ve ever done in this, or any town, but it is also quite intense, and may be a little too much for the younger kids.

In fact, the Bigfoot Fun Park website also addresses this.

“Parents will need to decide suitability for their small children,” the website states. “Most small kids love it, but some are scared out of their minds. For that matter we’ve had some adults try to hide under the seats too. There is no other experience on earth quite like this.

“Not for the faint of heart.”

It’s so much more than just a leisurely trip to a cattle farm, and the Bigfoot Discovery Expedition is really like four or five attractions rolled into one.

I can’t recommend the awesomeness of what awaits enough to everyone brave enough to climb aboard. 

For those who may not want to be scared out of their wits, the Bigfoot folks also offer the Farm Tour, which is suitable for all ages and physical abilities. This tour sees folks board the same custom 4×4 trucks and head out to the cattle farm where they can interact with, as well as pet and feed Scottish Highland cattle. 

This 60-75 minute tour also offers those stellar views I was talking about.  

I had a great time hanging out at the Bigfoot Fun Park, and if you’re looking for something different, thrilling and lots of fun, stop by and see them.

Saliva set for 

August date in Branson  

Well Loyal Reader(s), this announcement firmly fits into the “things I never thought I’d write in my life,” but apparently ”Ladies and Gentelmen,” rock group Saliva is set to perform a special show Aug. 21 at the Branson Event Center, 4230 Grenta Rd. at the Shoppes at Branson Meadows.

Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, the group Saliva formed in the late 1990s, but burst onto the music scene in 2001 with the release of their second salbum, the double platinum-selling album Every Six Seconds. This record contained the hit “Click Click Boom,” as well as the Grammy nominated tune “Your Disease.”

The group continued to have success with their third album, Back in to Your System, a certified Gold-selling album Back into Your System, which contained the hits “Always,” “Raise Up,” and “Rest In Pieces,” co-written by co-written by James Michael and Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe.

Saliva continued to have touring and chart success, but after 15 years with the band, original lead singer Josey Scott left the group to pursue a career solo Christian music in 2011. 

Bobby Amaru, former frontman of his own band, as well as the drummer for Burn Season, was tapped to be the new frontman in 2012, and “Saliva became infused with new blood, energy, and spirit.”

Upon adding former Shinedown and Fuel bassist Brad Stewart as a permanent member, Saliva solidified their new lineup consisting of

original guitarist and singer Wayne Swinny, Tosha Jones and Kevin Edison. Saliva taken stages at countless fairs, festivals and bike rallies, from Sturgis, Rockin The Rivers, Daytona Bike Week and Rock on the Range, to arenas alongside bands like Sevendust, Aerosmith, and KISS.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the Bucket List Branson is set to host an after concert show featuring “Machine Gun Symphony.” Folks who present their “Saliva” ticket stubs  get in for free at the “Machine Gun Symphony” show.

Adult beverages serverd by The Bucket List with proper I.D. 

Tickets are available by calling 417-677-6133 from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., or visit facebook.com/Saliva for more.

New exhibit at Titanic Branson  

The folks at the Branson Titanic Museum Attraction recently announced a special, “surprise exhibit” featuring stylish fashions from the multi-award-winning show “Downton Abbey,” which will open next month.

I’m sure many of you, like myself, are wondering exactly what the Titanic Museum Attraction has to do with “Downtown Abbey,” but according to the museum’s President/COO & Co-Owner  Mary Kellogg-Joslyn, the RMS Titanic helped launch the show.

“The dramatic sinking of the great ship became a pivotal plot line in the first and subsequent episodes of this hugely popular TV series,” Kellogg-Joslyn said in a release. “It set the tone for the extravagant, Edwardian-period piece and provided an early 20th Century timeframe for the audience to follow.  

“And follow they did, tuning in each week for high drama, lush locations and a weekly parade of the glamourous gowned and tuxedoed cast.”

The only known male heirs to the Crawley family, who live in and hold the rights for Downtown Abbey in the show, were two cousins who both went down with Titanic. Even though the Crawley’s had three girls and only males could inherit, the future of the Crawley dynasty was in jeopardy. 

The Titanic tragedy became the crux of plot lines that drove the rest of the series, according to the release.

The fashions from the series will be on exclusive display at the Titanic for six months, beginning in July. 

“Fans will recognize them, fashionistas will covet them and everybody will long remember them,” Kellogg-Joslyn said. “These surprise pieces were actually featured in the series and after months of negotiation we’re bringing them to Branson as a new, summer and winter holiday addition to our 2019 season. “

More information about this, as well as everything else there is to see and do at the Titanic Museum Attraction, visit titanicbranson.com.

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