Last month, my family spent a day at the hidden gem Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. Owned by Herschend Family Entertainment (who also own Dollywood), this attractive locale isn’t your typical regional park. It’s surrounded by trees and uses the landscape so well to separate each new area. The roller coasters use the terrain effectively and are hidden within the woods. Branson is not a subtle town, and there are parts of Silver Dollar City that veer too much towards “wholesome” entertainment. Even so, it’s still worth a visit for the warm atmosphere, inviting food, and unique rides.
I’d researched Silver Dollar City before visiting, but my attention focused on the attractions. What I didn’t expect were the countless details that enhanced the environment. This park has more in common with Frontierland at Disney World than your local Six Flags. The rides, buildings, and background music all contribute to the feeling that you’ve entered a different place. There are numerous signs that aren’t necessary to guide you to the next thrill. Instead, they’re in place to create a certain mood. Traveling with three other adults and two young kids, I barely scratched the surface of the unique details of Silver Dollar City.
Building the Story at Outlaw Run
A prime example is Outlaw Run, an inventive Rocky Mountain Construction wooden coaster with multiple inversions. It’s one of the park’s headliners but does more than provide a great ride. The setting around Outlaw Run mimics a stagecoach depot from the Old West where the good guys always win. It’s a brilliant way to add more to an excellent attraction. The next series of photos come from the queue and area near Outlaw Run. This isn’t a lazy way to add a theme to a coaster. Instead, there’s quite a lot to see even if you aren’t the type of person for the ride.
Selling the Theme at Silver Dollar City
This next group of photos barely scratches the surface of all the interesting little pockets in Silver Dollar City. The first two come from the exterior of Fire in the Hole, an indoor steel coaster/dark ride that opened in 1972. The ride itself is a fun jaunt through a western setting, and the outside sets the right tone. It’s one of many examples of how to build a convincing theme. The other photos show a few more instances of ways to add subtle touches to a park. You could easily miss them while rushing to the next ride, but that would be a shame in such a cool place.
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