A couple of weeks ago we took a trip to the Big Cedar Lodge close to Branson, MO as a family and I wanted to blog about it before I forgot some of the finer details! Since Brian and I are going to Italy this summer, we still wanted to do a vacation with the kids… so, we thought this would be perfect since it was only a 4 hour drive from our house and still in our home state of Missouri. Big Cedar Lodge is owned by Bass Pro Shops and there is a slew of activities to do inside the resort, it is on Table Rock Lake, close to Branson and the food is very top notch on the resort. This all resulted in a super fun vacation with the fam bam! We were at the resort for 5 days and I thought about doing a blog post for each day, BUT… I think I’m just going to do one super heavy photo post to get it over with… And, if you’re one that isn’t found of vacation recap posts, then feel free to skip this one!
Day One – Our Cabin
Our cabin was a nice size, had a full kitchen (except for the stove), a separate shower and jacuzzi tub. We had a fold out sofa sleeper and even had them bring in a separate cot for Autumn to sleep on. We had a great view outside into the woods and a deck with grill outside.
The food was fantastic on this trip… I recommend making reservations for the restaurants that take them (there is only 5 or so restaurants at Big Cedar) for each night. It’ll save you time and you won’t have to wait for a table. The first night we went up to the Top of the Rock and had dinner at Arnie’s Barn, the Mexican restaurant in an old restored barn. This was one of my favorite meals, they brought out two different kinds of salsa and also had a lot of varieties of guacamole that you could order. I recommend the mango guacamole… it was the BEST guacamole I’ve ever had. For dinner I had the fish tacos, which were pretty good.
Before dinner, Brian and Nathan did the museum tour… you could easily spend 2 hours in there, but they only spent an hour before dinner. I also got a beautiful photo of the sunset before we headed back to our cabin for the night.
Day Two – Branson Belle Princess and Pirate Cruise
On day two we had a riverboat cruise on the Branson Belle and it was a princess and pirate theme. They also do regular dinner cruises in the evening, but I thought this would work out better with the kids and it was during lunch. I had Nathan wear his pirate gear from Disney and we found Autumn a Jasmine outfit on clearance at Toys R Us for $6.99 before the trip.
Before boarding the boat, the kids got their photos taken with several pirates and princesses.
Onboard, the kids each got their own balloon.
There were actually A LOT of opportunities for photos onboard the ship!
Brian and I even got in on the photo fun!
The kids even got their faces painted! Then we went up to the top deck to watch the boat take off down the river before we ate.
The show was entertaining… The lady singing the Disney songs was REALLY talented and good. The food… was… bland. The kids got hot dogs and their meals looked a lot better than ours (a mushy chicken wrap). Even the dessert was hohum! The reviews for the dinner cruises on TripAdvisor were better, so maybe you’d have better luck with that. The kids really had fun though, so it was definitely worth it (minus the boring food).
After we got back from the lunch cruise, we were going to check out Branson… but, we were all too tired to Ride the Ducks and to check out a show. We never did make it over to Branson during the trip, there was plenty to do at the Big Cedar! After resting in our cabin, Nathan and I decided to walk along part of the 5K trail to see if we wanted to run it the next morning. The trail was really nice and the first mile is really scenic and then the next 2.1 miles are alongside the cabins.
Then we got ice cream at Frosty’s and then headed back to our cabin for dinner. This one lane Amish wooden bridge was what we drove over every day to get to our cabin. It was really squeaky and loud… such a thrill. 😉
For dinner we called and ordered Backyard Baskets. You call them up and select from steaks, burgers, hot dogs, etc. and they bring you the sides, dessert and cuts of meat. Brian grilled them on our grill on the deck and we ate inside (since it was REALLY hot). It was relaxing to eat in that night and the burgers were SO, so good! Thanks, Brian! 🙂
After dinner we decided to go swimming for the first time in the pool that was within walking distance from our cabin. I even got to enjoy a pool beverage! Unfortunately, we accidentally left Autumn’s life jacket at the pool that night and couldn’t find it the next day! Bummer!
We decided to give Autumn a bath in the jacuzzi tub, but… oops! We put too much soap in the water and we got some MAJOR bubbles. Autumn just LOVED it. lol.
Day Three – Day at Big Cedar
We decided to spend a few days of our trips JUST at Big Cedar and this was our first FULL day at our resort. Nathan and I kicked off the day at 6:30 a.m. with a run on the 5K track and we NAILED it! The poor boy got tired after the first mile, but he did finish the full 3.1 miles with me.
After the run, we all got showered and dressed and went to breakfast at Truman Coffee & Cafe. That was my favorite place for breakfast during the trip! But, Buzzard Bar had a great breakfast buffet every morning. We also went to the gift shop to let the kids get some souvenirs and I checked out the spa that I’d be having my massage at later in the week.
We decided to go to the Wilderness Club to check out their lazy river ride (the landscaping on it was gorgeous) and the indoor pool/slide. They also had a hot tub and a bigger water slide outside, too. There is also a small arcade indoors. We spent A LOT of time here, I think it was the kids favorite pool out of the 2 that we visited while there. There was also a third pool, but it was similar to the other outdoor pool and further away from our cabin, so we skipped it.
After swimming we had lunch by the pool and then headed back to our cabin to rest a bit. Later that evening we headed to the Top of the Rock, where Big Cedar has other activities and restaurants (and a great view!). We did the gulf cart cave ride and it was a BLAST- definitely one of the highlights of the trip!
The gulf cart ride was fun… except somehow a wasp got in our cart and wouldn’t leave! We had to park the cart and abandon it until Brian got the wasp out! There were some STEEP drop offs and another wooden Amish bridge that we rolled over. But, the highlight was when we got to the Bat Bar!!!!
I thought I’d share the menu with you… yes, there are even alcoholic drinks! I got the Mine Shaft, which was a white sangria. So good!
After the gulf cart ride, we had an hour to kill until our dinner reservations at Osage Restaurant. We walked around, the views at the Top of the Rock are unforgettable.
We went in the chapel and the kids even got to pet a stray cat that was begging for scraps. (One lady brought it back chicken leftovers, lucky cat!)
Osage was really good! I got a tomato and cucumber salad and then this seafood sampler for my meal! It was A LOT of food and really, really good!
During dinner, Brian got some hugs from Autumn. She is all about Brian right now. And, we also saw this man taking photos on a VERY tall ladder! Yikes!
Day Four – Silver Dollar City
We decided to go to Silver Dollar City on Tuesday, because there was no chance of rain. But, it was a hot one and I think that is why I didn’t take very many photos.
A couple of photos I got of the kids…
A couple of highlights from Silver Dollar City was when Brian and Nathan went on Powder Keg… yeah… that does NOT look like a fun ride by the looks of this photo! Ha! Nathan wanted to go on it SO bad, but was afraid to… and went back and forth all day on if he’d go on it. He finally went on it at the end of the day and he was SO proud of himself for going on it…. but, he’s not sure if he ever wants to go on it again! LOL!
Another highlight was the magic show we went to… it was REALLY good! And… A boy that was 7 got to go up on stage and the magician gave him a $1 to give to a girl… and… guess which girl got the $1 in the audience? LOL! Autumn! Yeah… she was all wound up, not sure what to think of that one… 😉 And… that is all of the photos I have from Silver Dollar City!
We came home and went to bed, we were all worn out! But… I couldn’t sleep, because this was my view from the bed! Creepy! Lots of animals in our cabin (11 to be precise, yes!! we counted!!).
Day Five – Massage, Lake & Relax
I was really excited about an hour long aromotherapy full body massage I had booked for myself on this trip. It was SO relaxing and I got to swim in the hot grotto pool afterwards (and had it all to myself!). You can read more about my spa experience HERE.
We checked out the table rock lake area and were going to come back to swim, but a storm popped up! So, we landed up just swimming in the pool later that evening. We also walked past a turtle pond and even saw a snapping turtle (yikes!).
We had dinner our last night at Buzzard Bar and it was fantastic. I love the salad I ordered and the pork chop! We then went for a swim at the Buzzard Bar pool later that evening to cap off the trip.
Oh, and I forgot to mention. Every night a little old lady would come by to bring us all ginger snap cookies! Nathan just loved these cookies!
Anyway, that is it for our Big Cedar trip! I am going to miss these delicious fraps and muffins from Truman Coffee & Cafe! We will definitely be back, the kids want to vacation there again and it is so close to home!