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Feb 21st
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Home Travel Western Travel Buzz Latest News, Deals & Savings for July 6

Latest News, Deals & Savings for July 6

Branson, Missouri offers new shows for visitors, the National Park Foundation has launched a comprehensive new online guide to all the National Parks sites, and Arizona’s Verde Canyon Railroad is talking about its fall colors tours

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New Shows Add to Family Fun in Branson This Summer

A pirate and a princess, a circus, a cowboy, and a 50-year tradition of live music shows await guests in the family destination of Branson, Missouri.

Peter Pan and his loveable nemesis Captain Hook, Princess of Magic Bambi VanBurch, Yakov's Moscow Circus and entertainer Neal McCoy are all new in Branson for the summer. With special prices for families, Branson now has even more live entertainment for all generations to enjoy.

Cathy Rigby stars in the title role of J. M. Barrie's classic children's story Peter Pan and lights up the stage at The Mansion Theatre with her high-flying talent. With sets and special effects from the Broadway play itself, Peter, Wendy, the Lost Boys and Tinker Bell are in town to charm visitors of all ages through the 2009 holiday season.
At the nearby Music City Centre, Princess of Magic Bambi VanBurch has her own new afternoon show, while continuing to perform with her husband Kirby VanBurch in their popular magical show each evening. Awarded the Female Magician of the Decade by the International Magicians Society, Bambi's show provides a unique feminine perspective on the world of magic. The many magical treats audiences are enjoying include mysterious floating objects, mind-reading, Origami Illusions, disappearing acts, and there's even a kangaroo.

Yakov's Moscow Circus is a new show presented by the famous Russian Comedian, Yakov Smirnoff. It features a revolving line-up of physical performance artists (both human and animal) such as the Human Slinky, Fire Eatin' Lady, Adagio Stars, Clowns, Mishka Bears, and more.

Also appearing at Yakov's Theatre is triple-platinum recording artist and two-time entertainer of the year, Neal McCoy.

Along with over 100 shows, a multitude of family attractions and three lakes, Branson's summer entertainment scene includes:

  • Silver Dollar City's National KidsFest through Aug. 9 featuring the first appearance of JEERK in the U.S. and the magic of Peter Gossamer. Moonlight Madness runs July 27 through Aug. 9, when the park will stay open until 10 p.m. Southern Gospel Picnic with hundreds of performances from top Gospel stars will open on Aug. 27.
  • Fun Spot, at Grand Country Square, is an indoor, black-light mini golf course that transports golfers, in 3-D, back to the sights and sounds of old river towns.
  • The Magnificent Variety Show at Osmonds Theatre covers seven decades of music with 75 blockbuster hits and over 300 costume changes.
  • The 60,000-square-foot Branson Auto Museum has opened with over 100 classic and cool cars. The museum also houses a miniature toy car display and an automotive memorabilia gift shop.

The Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB has provided an easy way for visitors to find hot deals for the family vacation. For more information visit the Web site at www.ExploreBranson.com for special offers from shows, attractions, hotels, resorts and restaurants, and more.

National Park Foundation Offers Online Trip Planning Tool

The National Park Foundation has launched a comprehensive new online tool called "National Parks Owner's Guide 2009" and the resource is a one-stop online reference guide to the nation's 391 national parks complete with maps, insider hints, and photos of America's National Parks.

The guide is free, and is available for download at
www.nationalparks.org .

"We expect more and more people in the national parks this summer as Americans look for economically and environmentally friendly ways to spend their vacations," said Jamie Patten, senior vice president of the National Park Foundation. "Every citizen is a part owner of the National Park System, and this guide has everything you need to get started planning your trip in one place, available for free and online. Getting outside and into the parks has never been easier."

The guide includes practical content for everyone from the novice park visitor to avid outdoors people including:

  • A complete directory detailing camping accessibility, fees and junior ranger programs
  • Contact information for every single park, including website and phone numbers
  • ‘What Not To Miss' points for every single National Park in the country
  • Full color photos and maps

The National Park Foundation is an independent charitable organization chartered by Congress in 1967 to strengthen the connection between the American people and their national parks.

As the official national non-profit partner of America's National Parks, the Foundation raises private funds, makes strategic grants, creates innovative partnerships and increases public awareness about the need and opportunity for park philanthropy.

Fall is Family Time in Arizona's Verde Canyon

Even as visitors travel the West to enjoy summer, Arizona's Verde Canyon Railroad is beginning to talk about fall and the autumn colors that will be waiting for tourists.

The Verde Canyon Railroad's Fall Colors Tour showcases fall colors on its journey to Perkinsville Ranch and back. Around each bend the valley is a tapestry of tangerine, russet, purple and gold as the cottonwoods, sycamore, mulberry and oak flaunt their distinctive autumnal hues.

Crisp nights followed by warm sunny days add a luster to the crimson cliffs for a startling contrast against the deep blue sky. Even the most snuggly-nestled passengers in the climate-controlled coaches will be drawn with their cameras to the open-air viewing cars to capture this kaleidoscope of color and to inhale the earthy richness carried on soft breezes.

Fall brings increased stirrings and sightings of "wing, hoof and paw" species indigenous to the canyon. Migratory birds are seen returning for the canyon's clement winter temperatures and the abundant food sources in this riparian sanctuary.

Winding its way at a leisurely 12 mph the train passes over lofty trestles and through a 680-foot man-made tunnel as a narrator weaves the area's fascinating history, archeology, and geology into the journey. Visit the John Bell Railroad Museum, set in a 1940's boxcar outside the station door, for a display of rare FP7 engine photos and artifacts from mining and railroad history.

The Verde Canyon Railroad station is located at 300 N. Broadway in Clarkdale, 25 minutes from Sedona, two hours north of Phoenix and 90 minutes south of Flagstaff. For more information call (800) 293-7245 or visit the Web site at
www.verdecanyonrr.com .