5 Family Activities Near Table Rock Lake

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5 Family Activities Near Table Rock Lake

My family has vacationed at Table Rock Lake since I was a child. We would enjoy meeting my aunt, uncle, cousins, and other extended family for a week of fun together. Now we stay together with our own children and carry on the tradition. Here are our favorite things to do.

Table Rock Lake

Table Rock Lake is located near Branson, Missouri, and has 800 miles of shoreline.  It’s surrounded by trees and a great way to enjoy nature. The houses are set back from the shoreline and the boat docks are shared so it doesn’t feel crowded. 

We typically find a condo through VRBO and this year we stayed in a 5-bedroom condo with beautiful views of the lake. In the past, we rented a boat for a day and then spent the rest of the week swimming in the pool, swimming near the dock, kayaking, or fishing. This year we had a pontoon boat and motor boat for the whole week. The older cousins were able to inner tube and swim in the cove during the day while the grandparents could enjoy quiet boat rides at night. We brought inflatables and pool noodles to relax near the dock.

Dick’s Five and Dime

Located in Historic Downtown in Branson, Missouri, the Five and Dime store should not be missed! It’s been in operation for over 50 years and is an “old time” store featuring items such as toys and candy made long ago (when you walked to school uphill both ways) as well as current toys. It carries my favorite Melissa and Doug Toys as well as collectibles and candy that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. 

Kringles Christmas Store

If you love all things Christmas, you will enjoy visiting this store! It’s open year-round and with the music and Christmas trees, you will feel like you stepped into a winter wonderland, even in the summer. Just be careful visiting with little ones as there are breakable items. Enjoy shopping for ornaments and all Christmas decorations with 9,000 square feet full of holiday cheer. 


Branson has many museums and attractions to choose from. This is actually the first year that I visited some of the museums as we had a few 100-degree days and wanted to visit an indoor location. 

Our families took cousins ranging from ages 13 to 1 year old to Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum. Everyone enjoyed it with favorites being the large Lite Brite Board (similar to the one at Des Moines Children’s Museum), a dance party area with music, and a pathway going through a spinning tunnel with lights.

We also took my 4 and 1-year-old to the Wonder Works Museum which features both rides as well as science activities. The building itself is made to look like it’s breaking in half and has the sound effects to go with it. We had to convince my oldest that this was just pretend. 

I would recommend this for older kids as there are several rides and science activities that my little’s couldn’t quite reach and that would be too scary for them. I would also skip this museum for kids that are sensory sensitive to sounds and lights and people that are unable to walk up multiple flights of stairs. 

My kids enjoyed jumping on the large piano and climbing inside a model spaceship (my one-year-old refused to come out!) and my oldest son enjoyed pretending to move a jet pack on Mars. 

Animal Attractions

I am an animal lover and will jump on any opportunity to see animals… I mean we went for the children… All the cousins visited Branson’s Wild World which has a variety of animals as well as a black light mini golf for an extra fee. We skipped the mini golf and just saw the animals. It’s mostly inside and a bit dark.

For $5 you can pay to feed some of the animals. My 4-year-old used a stick with bits of raw meat to feed small sharks and you can also feed sting rays. The kids enjoyed looking at the snakes, fish, turtles, monkeys, and alligators. My 1-year-old calls every animal a dog, so he enjoyed pointing at them and shouting “Dog! Dog!”.

Outside there were some larger animals like ligers (a mix between a tiger and a lion) and mountain lions. Some of the reviews mentioned concerns for the animals. The animals outside did not have indoor locations to cool off like at Blank Park Zoo and the one’s inside likely don’t see the sun as it’s pretty dark. Otherwise, the cages looked clean when we visited although a little small.

There were touch tanks for different sea life that our kids enjoyed including little doctor fish that nibble on your fingers. The older kids (must be 8 or over) paid extra to go into the Lemur Playground to interact with them. You can also pay extra to interact with Dingo’s, but we skipped this one. All I could think about was Elaine’s famous line from Seinfeld about Dingo’s. If you know you know. Overall all the kids and adults enjoyed this attraction and learning about all the animals.

Next time I would like to try visiting the Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure which features a butterfly aviary.

Table Rock Lake is a beautiful lake perfect for swimming, boating, and kayaking. Nearby Branson has many family attractions and it’s a place my family and I enjoy visiting! Consider it for your next vacation.

Whitney Alaniz, MOT OTR/L

Whitney Alaniz, MOT OTR/L

Whitney Alaniz, MOT OTR/L is an occupational therapist turned (mostly) stay-at-home mom. She has worked with adults to young toddlers and has a special interest in early childhood development targeting fine motor skills, feeding, sensory processing, and coordination. She loves incorporating this knowledge with her own two little boys through play. When she’s not running after her little ones she enjoys traveling, cooking new recipes and eating chocolate from her secret stash.

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