Ozark Region Lights Up at Christmas

By Henry Magenheim

Reed Travel Features

BRANSON, Mo. -- Ozark Mountain Christmas in the Branson-Springfield area begins the second week in November. Clients who have been to Branson and the Ozarks at other times of the year will find a different vacation experience for the holidays because virtually all entertainment, attractions, dining places and shops are Christmas-themed.

Some Christmas shows are priced slightly higher than those offered during other times of the year.

The 10-year-old Branson Area Festival of Lights features many displays.

Recommended is the Silver Dollar City theme park's Old Time Country Christmas setting, which includes a tree festooned with 120,000 lights.

Two displays toured by car or bus are the Trail of Lights at Shepherd of the Hills Homestead in Branson and the Port of Lights at Table Rock Lake in Kimberling City. At the port, there are 30 animated scenes.

Springfield's Bass Pro Shops department store is a tourist attraction in its own right from November through early January. The facility, at 1935 S. Campbell (near Highways 160 and 60), has an outstanding lights display both inside and outside. It offers coupon incentives year-around for motorcoach groups.

Also in Springfield is the Santa Express, which is operated in December by the Santa Fe & Burlington Northern Railroad. The train is decorated with more than 10,000 lights.

For more information about the train, the number is (417) 887-0747. For general information on the Ozark Mountain Christmas, the number is (417) 887-7334.

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