Backyard Pass: Model Victoria Henley keeps plenty busy in Branson


Featuring hundreds of live music show productions along its 76 Country Boulevard, Branson, Mo. has gained world-wide notoriety as the live music show capital of the world. But just as exciting as the shows are a wide array of world class lodging options and attractions.

I recently scoured the iconic Missouri city for the best places to stay and play during your next visit.




Located just minutes away from Branson’s famous Clay Cooper Theater, and a bevy of popular restaurants, attractions, and additional shows along the Branson strip, The Branson King Resort offers spacious and comfortable rooms to enjoy a peaceful night sleep, whether for one night or an extended stay.

Suite 2108 (1,800 total square feet), which offered sleek decor and plenty of room, served as our home for the duration of our 10 day stay in Branson.

The room, which was fully equipped with flat screen televisions (our specific room offered a vast array of well-known TV streaming platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, etc.), a full kitchen, a dining table with a rotating center portion, two bedrooms and two full baths, also offered ample closet and storage space for the many wardrobe and accessory items we transported for our business needs.

Our stay was extremely restful. The placement of the condo rooms and suites is far away enough from the roads to ensure that traffic and disruptive outside noises will not be heard, offering peaceful, quiet evenings that cannot often be found during most hotel stays.

Amenities include an outdoor pool with a spacious deck and additional seats for lounging, a basic fitness center, free Wi-Fi to stay connected and share all the fun, adventures, and excitement you experience during your Branson vacation, as well as a complimentary breakfast, available daily from 7-10 a.m. The breakfast coordinator, Irena, was perpetually in a good mood and always went over and beyond to ensure that guests started their day off happy and satisfied. She ensured the casual breakfast buffet is well-stocked every morning, serving up a variety of items including Belgium waffles, biscuits and sausage gravy, assortments of cereals and oatmeals, bagels, fresh fruit, English muffins, honey buns, fruit juices and fresh coffee.

The entire Branson King Resort staff, from the housekeeping and maintenance departments to the up-front receptionists (we would like to also highlight Tracy for her exemplary service) is hospitable and helpful, always standing by to help guests with needs or requests.

One of the elements that sets Branson King Resort apart from the rest is the elegant themed rooms (that you may book upon request, depending on availability), which pay homage in aesthetic to music legends including Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, and, of course, the Elvis Penthouse, conveniently located upstairs, just above the dining hall and main office, as well as the sprawling Elvis condo. (Note: The Elvis rooms are extremely popular and often book up months in advance; therefore, you will need to plan ahead if you want to experience these stunning and one of a kind suites and condos.)

Additional themed rooms based upon John Wayne, and Ronald Reagan are also available. They offer unique decor to enhance your vacation experience, with beautiful atmosphere and envy-inducing photo ops.

Branson King Resort offers the most consistently low prices you’ll find in the heart of Branson, during both slow and peak tourist seasons, and you’ll be hard pressed to find cleaner rooms in Branson as the staff works tirelessly to ensure that each room is tidy and spotless.

Convenience, comfort, and a courteous staff, as well as themed rooms that could be considered an attraction themselves all come together to make Branson King Resort a “Must” for lodging on your next vacation.


PHONE: (417)332-8550



An 1880s style theme park, which has been internationally awarded for excellence in theme, presentation, and operation, Silver Dollar City boasts over 40 rides and attractions (including a dizzying array of some of the fastest and most daring roller coasters in the US), over 100 craftsmen and women actively demonstrating their areas of expertise, dozens of unique shops and restaurants, and live musical entertainment.

Nestled within the rolling hills of the Ozark Mountains, Silver Dollar City offers a plethora of activities, sure to delight everyone in your group, from the young to the young at heart.

While nearly impossible to select merely a few standout experiences during our memorable and exciting visit to Silver Dollar City, below are a few highlights that you simply must experience on your next visit to this world-famous amusement park.


Silver Dollar City is a “Must” addition to your Branson Bucket list any time of the year; however, several festivals with a variety of themes are held throughout the year, along with a rotating line up of entertainers, foods, and craftspeople, to ensure a different experience during each visit.

We visited during the park’s annual Harvest Festival (held Sept. 24- Oct. 30), featuring scrumptious assortments of savory fall comfort foods, pumpkin flavored sweets and treats, and thousands of illuminated pumpkins, which light up the sprawling park nightly for non-frightful fun, perfect for the entire family.



The words “Theme Park Food” might conjure images of funnel cakes and corn dogs for most. But make no mistake, while Silver Dollar City does offer those types of beloved informal classics, this park has a variety of fresh, artfully prepared meal items that will delight and excite your inner foodie.

We started our day off right with a delicious breakfast buffet at Molly’s Mill Restaurant (which is an actual converted mill), where we enjoyed lean bacon and sausage, miniature pancakes, fresh fruits, scrambled eggs and other traditional breakfast items, as well as some of the best, strongest coffee I have ever consumed.

Our server, Tess, provided excellent service as she informed us on the vast, rich history of the restaurant.

We also enjoyed the park’s legendary cinnamon bread, which is available in a variety of flavors (we chose peach cobbler) and topped off with a decadent white sugary glaze.



MYSTIC RIVER PLUNGE: A winding, nearly half mile river journey and epic rafting experience, where guests can enjoy a leisurely boat ride and spritz unsuspecting onlookers with personal “water pistols” built into each raft, then they can return the favor.

AMERICAN PLUNGE: A high thrill water ride like no other, where guests climb more than five stories into the sky, before plunging downward at rapid speeds on an adrenaline pumping adventure that is sure to drench you, and everyone else around you.

THE GRAND EXPOSITION: These grounds encompass two full-acres of the park, featuring 10 family rides that soar, whirl and fly, classic carnival style “winner each time” games, and offer a nostalgic atmosphere, making guests feel as though they have been transported back in time.


Take a leisurely, winding, steam train ride through the stunning Ozark Countryside with engaging and charming narration by the conductor, Gary. A quirky and hilarious three-person skit was performed, during which our conductor stopped the train to address two “Hillbilly” cousins, who warned us all of a potential “Yankee Robbery,” while they may or may not have been hatching a scheme of their own.

Other favorite rides included: Electro Spin, The Carousel, Fire Spotter and Fire In The Hole, just to name a choice few.


Standout shows included The Silver Dollar Saloon Show (featuring show-stopping saloon themed costumes and multi-genre song selections) and the Creek Rocks, a guest artist folk duo with an unmistakable and haunting sound.

Branson’s Terry Award -Winning Comedian of the Year, Terry Wayne Sanders, portrays seven different characters (including “The King” and “The Undertaker”) as he roams throughout the park to interact and take photos with guests.

An enthralling theme park experience with an ever changing and rotating line up of festivals, special events, guest vendors and food options, Silver Dollar City is nearly impossible to experience in just one day (believe me, we tried and were left wanting more).


PHONE: (417) 336-7100



One of the most sought after, and top-rated, attractions in Branson, the Branson Belle Showboat allows you to cruise the pristine waters of Table Rock Lake while enjoying a scrumptious three course meal, a world class variety show, as well as picturesque views from the various upper and lower level decks, which you can explore throughout the duration of your cruise.

Meandering grand staircases lead to the dining hall and showcase space, complete with spacious seating areas, carefully curated decor, and state of the art lighting.

Our server, Fred, was extremely attentive, upbeat and engaging throughout our meal, always on standby to bring us exactly what we needed, without missing a beat.

Much like Silver Dollar City (a partner company), The Showboat Branson Belle had some of the best and strongest coffee you’ll find anywhere, and the three-course meal was artfully prepared, with much higher quality ingredients than what you might expect at a standard dinner show. Guests have the opportunity to select among an array of teas (the sweet tea was wonderful and freshly brewed), soft drinks and of course, coffee, as their beverage of choice.

The general seating menu includes a salad (crisp, fresh lettuce with tender bacon bits, cucumber and cherry tomatoes), main course (savory roasted chicken- we opted to trade in the included roast beef for an additional piece of chicken– as we do not eat red meat– creamy mashed potatoes, green beans and roasted, seasoned potatoes, along with a dinner roll) and dessert (a gooey, melt-in-your-mouth butter cake with a thick, short bread bottom layer and raspberry drizzle on top).

The epic show began with the mind blowing mentalism and illusions of Christopher James in his “Funny Hyper Magic Show,” featuring some of the most jaw dropping and unbelievable acts you will see from a mentalist, including real time, rapid mind reading from random guests in the audience, arranging for two unsuspecting women to communicate using only their minds, and other feats simply too remarkable, and unusual, to describe. (

A small group of musicians performed several acoustic songs to open the epic show, which lets you relive multiple musical styles from the top artists of the ’60’s and ’70s through themodern day, paired with high octane dance numbers and well-designed costumes.

One particularly standout show segment takes guests on a journey back through time to celebrate favorite movie moments from classics such as “Ghostbusters,” “Risky Business,” “Titanic,” “Mamma Mia!” and much more, complete with lightning quick wardrobe changes that will make your head spin.


PHONE: (417)336-7171


Part of the popular Hollywood Wax Museum chain of attractions that you can find in various top tourist cities throughout the US, Branson’s Hollywood Wax Museum allows visitors to get up close and personal with their favorite celebrities for one of a kind, envy inducing photo ops.

A wide variety of provided props can be utilized to enhance your photo experience with “Celebrities” including Dolly Parton, Channing Tatum, Audrey Hepburn, Snoop Dogg and Sandra Bullock.

Whether you are a fan of “Old Hollywood” celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, dating back to the times of Charlie Chaplin, or more modern day stars and starlets like Kevin Hart or Miley Cyrus, you are guaranteed to find some your favorite public figures in Branson’s Hollywood Wax Museum. Better yet, the well-designed figures all look so exceptionally lifelike that you will be hard pressed to tell the difference between the wax figure and the real deal.

Lighting, sound effects and custom-created “sets” (such as a country western section, which houses John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, a “Comedy Club” where Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell and Robin Williams reside, and a staging area that features Prince, Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars) are utilized to create a dazzling presentation, and are thoughtfully curated to pay homage to each genre of entertainment.

Don’t miss the “Monster’s Chamber” portion of the museum that features a spooky soundtrack and a winding corridor that leads to your favorite horror movie characters and other dark creatures including Frankenstein (and the Bride of Frankenstein); Chucky (as well as the Bride of Chucky); the titular characters of “Alien Vs. Predator,” Michael Meyers, the “Scream” ghost, and, of course, “The Queen of Darkness” herself, Elvira.

Not to worry if you do not see your favorite personality on display at the Wax Museum, as the lineup of stars is ever changing, so make a point to visit again to see what new celebrities have been added to the roster.

Be sure to visit one of The Hollywood Wax Museum’s other exciting locations in the Pigeon Forge, Tenn., Hollywood, Calif., and Myrtle Beach, S.C. and purchase an All Access Pass to keep the fun going at the following attractions.


Step inside to a virtual world of excitement, mayhem, and of course, plenty of chaos, as you saddle up in a moving seat within a state of the art 5D Theater for an experience unlike anything you will find anywhere else. During our visit, two “Shoot ‘Em Up” games were available– a country western themed robot inter active adventure; and the game we chose, Carn-Evil, where guests must “shoot” their way out of a hellacious carnival gone wrong, overtaken by you guessed it: Evil Clowns.


Narcissistic Princess Hannah finds herself trapped for eternity in an endless winding corridor of mirrors due to an ugly misunderstanding with the unsightly witch, Hetty. King Oscar and Queen Emmy enlist brave guests to navigate their way through a twisting, winding maze of mirrors, with 288 potential turns among hundreds of mirrored walls to rescue their daughter before it is too late, while pulsating neon lights, music, and surprise cameos by various residents of Savannah make the adventure all the more exciting.

Are you The Chosen One? Find out for yourself in this magical, gallant quest.



Join fast talking Hollywood Super Agent Marty McBooster, who will be your tour guide (entertaining quips and quotes by McBooster are available at the beginning of each hole), who will guide you through the “18 steps” of becoming a big star.

Each hole features a different theme, beginning with Lana Turner, a real life starlet who was discovered while sipping soda at a local fountain, Christophe’s Beverly Hills Salon (which I had the pleasure of visiting during my season of “America’s Next Top Model”), and realistic replicas of world famous Los Angeles landmarks, including the Beverly Hills Hotel, Grumman’s Chinese Theatre, Rodeo Drive, The Hollywood Bowl and The Santa Monica Pier. It’s one of the most scenic miniature golf courses you’ll find anywhere. There are endless opportunities for those special “picture perfect moments.”


PHONE NUMBER: (417) 337-8700


Don’t let the name fool you: there is nothing “small” about this sweeping, cavernous wonder, located deep in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains (approximately 45 minutes from Branson.) Upon entering the breathtaking cave opening, which stands at 55 feet tall and 100 feet wide, guides lead guests through the mouth of the cave and into a different world, where stunning stalactites and stalagmites and wild life (including an extremely rare, completely blind cave crawfish) can be found. Discovered by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft in 1818, and officially listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 2018, The Smallin Civil War Cave is a unique– and unexpected– natural attraction to add to your vacation “Bucket List.”

Our tour guide, Eric, provided insights into the vast Civil War history of the cave as well as stories of the Osage Native American Tribe (to which he has ties) and their important impact upon this landmark, after which he sang a traditional blessing song from the aforementioned tribe before we made our way out of the cave.

The guided tour lasts roughly an hour with an easy half mile walk with no stairs; however, especially adventuresome guests are given the opportunity to embark on a “Wild Tour” that offers an extended adventure beyond the trail by the light of a headlamp. Special events for various holiday seasons are held at the cave throughout the year, so be sure to connect online and social media for updates on all the latest happenings at one of the Ozark’s great natural wonders.


PHONE NUMBER: (417) 551-4545


MUST SEE…AGAIN! We enjoyed these attractions so much the first time around, we just had to return once more.


One of the most popular attractions in Branson, brings all the aquatic splendor of the beach to the Ozark Mountains, featuring 10 full zones of fish and fun. While entering this exquisitely designed aquarium, be sure to have your photo made with the shimmering, glistening, larger than life Giant Pacific Octopus on the Boardwalk, then see a real one inside as well. Your adventure begins with a 5D moving theater with narrators, Aquarius the Octopus and Finn the Pufferfish (sure to delight kids of all ages), and leads “under the sea” into a whole new world filled with exciting and unusual species of fish and a bevy of other aquatic beings including sea-horses, eels, giant crabs, and much, much more.

Endless photo opportunities are available throughout the gorgeous interior of the building, and several themed rooms are sure to excite the whole family, including The Jelly Infinity Room (which allows guests to admire the splendor of the bioluminescent beings in a color-changing environment that they can control) as well as the Coral Reef viewing area, which offers a remarkable vantage point of the miraculous coral reef, showcasing a variety of sharks, fish, and stingrays who often glide through the naturally, beautifully colored reef.

Guests can close out their tour by safely petting a slew of friendly sting rays.


PHONE NUMBER: (417) 335-3474


Located in the lower level of the legendary Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater, the Branson Celebrity Car Museum is a wonderfully curated museum, sure to thrill any lovers of classic cars and Hollywood film enthusiasts alike. Owned and operated by the visionary Scott Velvet (who carefully selects which celebrity cars to place on display ) and his mother, Kathy (who manages the museum to ensure that things run smoothly, while Scott negotiates sales and arranges new displays), Hollywood Meets Branson in this one of a kind, attraction that features over 100 vehicles on display at all times. Have you visited before? If so, come back time and time again as the lineup of vehicles on display is ever changing, constantly featuring new vehicles from films and television series spanning a wide variety of themes and genres.

The iconic “Mystery Van” from Scooby Doo welcomes you into the building, where you will find another take on the same vehicle from the quirky and irreverent “Jay and Silent Bob“ cult classic inside. Over 10 vehicles from the Wildly popular “Fast and Furious” franchise reside in this museum along with several Transformers, the Bat Mobile, Harley Quinn’s ride from “Suicide Squad” and “Stranger Things,” just to name a few.

Anyone who has ever laid eyes on a movie or television program during their lifetime is sure to find an automobile they love and recognize. Super-fans are given the opportunity to hop inside their favorite vehicle and use props for a personalized photo (a small additional fee applies). The number of new vehicles and extremely informative accompanying reading materials provided between our initial visit in April and our most recent September visit was truly astounding. It serves as a testimony to the deep knowledge of, and passion for, vehicles shared by the Velvet family. V

isit often to see what new and exciting pieces are on display at the Branson Celebrity Car Museum…the only place in town where you can get up close and personal with the cars of the stars.


PHONE: (417) 239-1644


Located in the Branson Landing, one of Branson’s premier (relatively) new shopping and dining destinations, Parakeet Pete’s Waterfront Zipline allows guests to soar high through the air over the chilly waters of the beautiful lake Taney-Como, all while enjoying the sights of the Branson Landing. Hop into a spacious and comfortable seat, either solo or with a friend, and enjoy a smooth, thrilling backward ride up to the top of a rocky quarry, where you will be held for several seconds, just long enough to take in your stunning surroundings, before dropping downward at a brisk pace toward “base-camp.”

If one ride just simply isn’t enough for you (it obviously wasn’t for us), you can purchase an all-day combo pass, which includes unlimited rides on both the Waterfront Zipline and Steampunk Balloon.


PHONE: (417) 337- 0611

Sponsored in part by: Impossibilities : 

Backstage Pass on IHeart Radio/ FCB Radio Network and the “Must See” exclusives is brought to you in part by the Impossibilities Magic show in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Nestled in the Iris Theater, located inside Gatlinburg’s highest peak, The Gatlinburg Space Needle, Impossibilities blends an exciting, eccentric mix of classic and contemporary magic, zany comedy antics, sleight of hand card tricks, and of course, the mind blowing mind reading skills for which Master Mentalist, Erik Dobell, has become world renowned. Dobell is also available for private parties and corporate events, so be sure to connect with him on your favorite social media platform, and tell him Victoria with Backstage Pass sent you. Tickets in this intimate theater book up quickly, so be sure to reserve your seats well in advance, and be sure to listen to my exclusive interview with Erik, wherever you get your podcasts.


PHONE: (888) 482-3330

Instagram: @impossibilities_show


Victoria Henley, a former contestant on “America’s Next Top Model” is on iHeart Radio/FCB Radio Network and is a regular on