Back-to-back theme parks in Branson, Mo. offer fun in the sun.
Silver Dollar City and Celebration City are owned by the same corporation, and judging strictly from their Web sites, the main difference between them seems in opening times only.
However, one can only appreciate the open space and variety offered by Celebration City after experiencing the crammed festival feel of the enormous Silver Dollar City.
Celebration City is like a Fifties-era theme park, and the piped-in oldies music added to the ambience. The park has plenty of rides for toddlers, as well as the over-42-inch family members. New is Roaring Falls, involving a five-story plunge into water that positively soaks all who ride it "¦ and some who merely stand nearby to watch. The big surprise of the place comes in the extras: the respectable 18-hole miniature golf course and the multilevel Go-Kart Speedway are both free with admission, whereas some parks charge extra for these attractions.
SILVER DOLLAR CITY
Silver Dollar City, with its 1880s craft village theme, feels quaint upon entrance, yet it keeps going, and going, and going. The massive park " 55 acres compared to Celebration City's 30 " contains more than 30 rides, yet in between, guests will pass a host of specialty shops and working craftsmen to pull off the working mining town theme. With relatively short lines and short rides, one can get a lot of ground covered quickly with a map to guide the way.
Because the parks are spacious, it's a good idea to get educated before arrival. Their Web sites " both launching from www.silverdollarcity.com " provide a host of important schedules, a downloadable map and even a "MomsBlog" with advice, tips and a helpful "Build Your Trip" feature. "Malena Lott
(Editor's note: Silver Dollar City provided admission to the author.)