Are you heading to Branson, Missouri soon and wondering about taking the Branson Scenic Railway with kids? Our family recently took a family vacation to Branson and everyone in our family, from age 2 to 72, enjoyed our time on the rails! The Branson Scenic Railway is located in downtown Branson and is a fun outing for the whole family.
Passengers take a scenic ride on a vintage passenger train through southwest Missouri. It is a great way for young kids to experience travel in passenger cars while enjoying a relaxing ride with other family members. Be sure to read through this entire article to answer all of your questions about experiencing the Branson Scenic Railway with kids!
What is the history of the Branson Scenic Railway?
The Branson Scenic Railway was originally the White River Railway in the early 1900s. Construction took three years and it cost $2 million to lay miles of track. The Branson, MO area became open to tourists with the opening of the railway.
In 1993, the Branson Scenic Railway began offering short one-hour and 45-minute rides on the steam train. It is a 40-mile roundtrip event to and from the train station. A narrator tells you the story of the area while you take in the beauty of the Ozarks on the Ozark Zephyr.
Where do you go on the Branson Scenic Railway with kids?
The Branson Scenic Railway with kids allows you to travel from the historic train station in downtown Branson either on the southern route or the northern route, depending on train traffic. The southern route takes you into northwest Arkansas and across the Barren Fork Trestle. The northern route carries passengers up to Galena, Missouri in the James River Valley. The whole family will enjoy this scenic ride on this restored vintage passenger train.
How much does it cost to go on the Branson Scenic Railway?
If you are planning for your family vacation, you can easily see ticket prices on the Branson Scenic Railway website. The train runs from March to December with 2-3 excursions per day. Currently, trains are leaving at 11:30 AM and 2:00 PM. The current pricing is $31 per adult, children 3-12 are $20, Veterans/active military are $15.50 (with ID), and lap riders under 3 years of age cost $2.00.
Gift certificates can also be purchased on the website and vouchers may be redeemed. You can also purchase tickets by calling the Branson Scenic Railway at (800) 287-2462.
Where should we meet to take the Branson Scenic Railway with kids?
Visitors meet the Branson Scenic Railway in the downtown area of Branson. The train departs from 206 E. Main St., in the historic Branson depot. Parking is in a gravel lot near the train, so be sure to arrive early to walk to the station. There is a gift shop in the historic depot which is a great way to spend any extra time before or after the train ride. You can find that special gift or souvenir while you wait!
It is a short drive from the most popular attractions around like the Promised Land Zoo, the World’s Largest Toy Museum, the Copperhead Moutain Coaster, the Titanic Museum, and the Showboat Branson Belle. You can definitely fill an entire day with the local Branson attractions!
How early should we arrive at the train station?
I would suggest arriving at the Branson Scenic Railway with kids at least 20-30 minutes before your scheduled departure. This gives you time to park, walk to the train, and get ready to board the train. You will not be assigned seats, however, boarding groups are designated in the order in which they were purchased. Be sure to purchase tickets together if you want to board the train at the same time as other members of your family.
Are snacks available on the Branson Scenic Railway with kids?
Snacks are sold on the Branson Scenic Railway. Purchases can be made in the Silver Lake Concession car. Items for sale include snacks like chips, cookies, and soda. We also brought along our own snacks which was a great way to pass the time with kids in tow.
Are bathrooms available on Branson Scenic Railway?
Bathrooms are available on the Branson Scenic Railway in a few cars. You may need to transfer cars which is easy to do as you ride.
Are seats assigned on the Branson Scenic Railway?
Seats are not assigned on the regular excursion train departure times. During regular excursions, tickets are assigned by boarding groups. Once your boarding group is called, you can choose any seat on the train. If you want the best seats, go for the dome cars which offer the best views.
Does the Branson Scenic Railway have special events?
Yes, the Branson Scenic Railway does have special events! A special dinner train is available on Saturdays from April to October. The dinner train offers a three-course candlelight meal where riders can enjoy a two-hour and fifteen-minute adventure.
During the holiday season, the Branson train transforms into a scenic ride towards the North Pole. Kids of all ages will enjoy the Polar Express train ride which features a ride to the North Pole to pick up Santa Claus. The Polar Express is read aloud, and hot cocoa and cookies are served. Santa Claus boards the train at the North Pole and offers each child a special gift. Christmas carolers sing Christmas carols and even the hobo from the story comes aboard.
The concession car is not available on this special excursion. This train route is different from the typical scenic routes of the Branson train. If you want a first-class experience, book the premium dome car which features reserved seating at the dining tables. Be sure to book tickets early as this is a popular experience!
How long does the Branson Scenic Railway take to ride?
The typical adventure takes about one hour and 45 minutes. The dinner train takes about two hours and 15 minutes. The Polar Express train is one hour and 15 minutes.
What are other fun family activities in Branson, Missouri?
There are plenty of fun family activities in Branson, Missiouri. Looking for a live show or live music? You can always find a ticket to a live performance in Branson, as it is a home of live music. The Showboat Branson Belle is one of the most popular attractions in the area. You can take in a ride on Table Rock Lake while you take in a dinner show.
Another great dinner show is Dolly Parton’s Stampede. Read more on our latest experience here. It is live entertainment that kids of all ages enjoy, both in the Ozarks and the Great Smoky Mountains!
If you are looking for more thrilling rides, you can find that as well! Check out the Branson Ferris Wheel for a look over the city. Silver Dollar City is a great amusement park with plenty of rides for the whole family. If you love a water park, check out Silver Dollar City’s White Water and its awesome wave pool.
If you have a shopper, check out Tanger Outlet stores. It’s the perfect destination to find some bargains while in Branson. It’s always on my teen’s list of top things to do in Branson!
Are you looking for some education? Our family loved visiting the Promised Land Zoo. They feature so many live animals, along with interactive exhibits that our kids all loved. The Butterfly Palace is another fun place to explore with little ones.
I hope this post helps you know more about experiencing the Branson Scenic Railway with kids! Keep reading for more great travel ideas with kids. Sign up for my free packing list below!