Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • I have a problem of forgetting to check my PO Box, and when I discovered an invitation from Silver Dollar City to check out their holiday celebration for a family trip, it sounded like a good excuse to get out of town. My husband refused to miss an LSU football game, so just the kids and I hopped into RedBugg and took off to discover a new destination.

    Hotel Grand Victoria standard room in Branson, MO copyright Shannon Hurst LaneWe had a room booked at the Grand Victorian Hotel, right on the strip. The price was right, at around $75/night, but the reviews on TripAdvisor had me a little worried. I try to take these consumer reviews with a grain of salt, because I’ve found people will put more effort into complaining about something than spending time writing about a positive experience.

    The drive took us around nine hours, but it was gorgeous. We drove through Louisiana Plantations, up the Mississippi River through cottonfields. We passed through small towns, some with a population of 85, and we admired the fall foliage of the Ozarks.

    Where we stayed

    We finally arrived in Branson and were delightfully surprised with our hotel. The Grand Victorian Hotel was decorated for the holidays. We got there just in time for afternoon tea and cookies, which are served from 2 to 4 pm. I sat and enjoyed a hot cup of tea while the kids went off to explore the onsite arcade and indoor heated pool. Our room was clean with just the basics, but did offer a small balcony overlooking the parking area and the nearby mountains. The continental breakfast offered is an added value that I like to find at family-friendly hotels.

    What we did

    We spent all of Friday checking out attractions along the strip. Some were really cool and a few can be passed over.

    Rainforest Adventures Roach display in Branson, MO copyright Shannon Hurst LaneButterfly Palace – The kids took a walk through the butterfly area with these magical creatures flying all around. After about fifteen minutes they were totally bored and wanted to check out the mirror maze, which they heard about at the desk. I begged them to walk through the reptile area to take a look, which they did. They thought the roaches were the coolest part of the area. Then they were allowed into the mirror maze, which entertained them for at least 30 minutes.

    The Titanic Experience – This was a cool place to take older kids. I don’t know if the littlest ones would do well here. It is more of a museum-type exhibition, but has a few interactive sections that appeal to kids. At the entrance, each visitor is given a card with the name of an actual passenger from the Titanic that includes a biography and how they traveled. At the end of the exhibit, you get to find out if you lived or died. The kids really enjoyed looking at pictures of children their age that traveled on the boat. I’m glad that they were able to walk away with a little bit of history.

    Ripley’s Believe it or Not – My 12 year old begged to go in here and I think he was more fascinated with the real shrunken head and the fortune teller booth more than anything else. Be sure to bring dollar bills to change for that fortune telling machine. Visitors can also see the World’s Largest Ball of Twine. I guess we can add that one to our Wacky Roadside Attractions list.

    Hollywood Wax Museum in Branson, MO copyright Shannon Hurst LaneHollywood Wax Museum – This ain’t no Madame Tussaud’s, but the kids sure did have fun walking through here. They made me take their picture at almost every setting. The most excitement came when my 10 year old daughter found out that she could buy a $1 bill with the Jonas Bros on the face of the bill.

    Dinosaur Museum/Haunted House – Since it was actually Halloween and not Christmas, I took the kids to the Dinosaur Museum which was also a haunted house. I feel really bad for writing this, but the Dinosaur Museum is a skipper. It was informative and it was educational, but it just didn’t do it for us. The Haunted House part was too scary for me to take my younger one through. Okay, I was too scared to go. But, my 12 year old wanted to go. I could see the emotions going through his head. He’s at that big kid stage and wanted to prove to himself that he’s brave enough to go through a super scary haunted house. I saw his eyebrows rise when he heard girls scream and a chainsaw start up. He insisted on going through it. And then when a monster chased him, he ran so fast through the thing he lost a shoe. Fortunately a kind soul picked found it on their way through.

    Dixie Stampede – This dinner and a show is something that needs to be experienced at least once. Kids really enjoy eating with their hands, stomping on the floor, and having some clean family fun. Be forewarned, though. It is not cheap and cameras are not allowed. However the food is good and it is something the kids are still talking about.

    Silver Dollar City – This theme park is similar to Dollywood yet different in so many ways. The park is lit up for Christmas and offers cookie decorating at one of the toy shops, hot wassail, and an outstanding production of Dicken’s Christmas Carol. We were there all day and I couldn’t get the kids to leave. The day meant so much to me, as I have to work Christmas Eve and Day, so I considered this a Christmas celebration with my babies. The park became magical when the sun set and the entire place lit up. At scheduled times in the evening; the main square holds a Holiday Light Show with music.

    Bottom Line

    Branson isn’t just for seniors and it isn’t all about country music. It is a fun place for families to enjoy year round.

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  • You’ve seen the reviews and heard about how The Traveling Mamas traveled like rock stars in Joe’s Jeans. Now, you can do the same. Joe’s Jeans wants to give five readers of TravelingMamas.com a chance to travel like a rock star in a Joe’s Jeans Contest.

    Just take a picture of yourself holding a sign that says “Joe’s Jeans, I want to Travel Like a Rock Star!” (Like me over there on the right). Email it to: Jeans at TravelingMamas.com. Please keep the photos G rated. All pictures must be emailed before midnight EST on Tuesday, November 18, 2008. We’ll run a random-number generator to select five names/email addresses. Winners will be announced sometime on November 19.

    Must be at least 18 years of age, US resident, and only one entry per email address. By submitting your picture as an entry, you automatically agree to allow TravelingMamas.com and Joe’s Jeans to use your name and likeness in relation to the Travel Like a Rock Star in Joe’s Jeans promotion. Immediate family members of The Traveling Mamas are ineligible to enter (sorry Mom). If winners do not respond within three days after close of the contest, then prize will be forfeited and awarded to another entry.

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  • The Traveling Mamas are always on the lookout for great travel and fashion finds. We do our best to find clothing that is both practical and stylish, so that we can look and feel great while traveling. One item that is essential to any travel wardrobe is a nice pair of jeans. After all, jeans are versatile and can be worn in casual situations or dressed up for a night on the town. One cool company, Joe’s Jeans, wanted the Traveling Mamas to travel like rock stars, so they sent us each a pair to test out.

    DesertMama says:

    DesertMama wearing Joe’s Jeans in the Arizona Desert  copyright 2008 Beth BlairI am a jeans gal, always have been, always will be. But for me, finding a good pair of jeans is a challenge, especially since becoming a mama. Two years ago I found my favorite brand of jeans. They’re not cheap, but they’re worth it because they fit me (or shall I say my curves). When I heard Joe’s Jeans wanted us to check out their jeans my stomach turned. It had taken me years to find the brand I’m loyal to – what are the chances Joe’s would fit?

    The day the jeans arrived I nervously pulled the Muse style jeans up my legs and over my hips and to my surprise the jeans not only fit, they look cute. Super cute! I certainly needed a trip to the tailor to shorten the length (good news for tall mamas) but other than that, they fit perfectly. I have several escapades on the horizon and can’t wait to travel in them. In the meantime, here in the Arizona desert the weather is getting chilly and I can’t tell you how much I am loving walking around town in my Joe’s Jeans and boots. Yep, DesertMama is feeling like a rock star. Oh, and did I mention I said farewell to my former favorite brand? This TravelingMama has a new love – Joe’s Jeans!

    MudslideMama says:

    MudslideMama wearing Joe’s Jeans at Malibu Beach  copyright 2008 Jennifer Miner

    Living in Southern California means sunny, beach-worthy weather almost year-round. Having young kids enjoying outside activities here throughout the year means, in part, that I need a great pair of jeans. After all, Los Angeles invented casual style (no one wears ties to the office in LA anymore), and it’s nice to look good even while chasing kids along the Santa Monica Pier.

    Joe’s Jeans fit my needs to a tee. They are incredibly stylish, and so soft there’s none of that “breaking in” period. You know, where you have to toss your new jeans in the wash for a few cycles before they feel good? These jeans are comfortable from the get-go. My Muse style are made with 2% Lycra. This helps the jeans retain their shape, even when I eat too much of the kids’ Halloween candy and can’t retain mine! No doubt about it: Joe’s Jeans are the best pair of jeans I own.

    MountainMama says:

    After checking out the Joe’s Jeans website, I thought there was no stinkin’ way these jeans were going to fit me. The models on the site are super tall and super slim, so I ordered conservatively (read: a size larger than I normally would). Lo and behold, my high-waist-style Muse jeans fit beautifully, even a bit big around the waist, namely because the material is super stretchy.

    Now, I’m nearly 5’9″ and this style is long on me! Beware to buyers under 5’7″ — Joe’s Jeans will likely either be plenty long to wear with high-heeled boots, or perhaps consider the petite sizing. Also note that even though the Muse line is marketed as “high waist,” they land at the mid-waist: perfect for Mamas like me who don’t like jeans too low slung.

    Truly, these are the softest jeans I’ve ever had on my body. Normally I don’t wear jeans on planes; I go for drawstring cotton pants or too-big capris since I hate having waistlines cut into my belly while I’m seated for so long. But I won’t hesitate to sport these on my cross-country flight later this month. I know I’ll be plenty comfy. (Not to mention I’ll be lookin’ mighty fine, if I do say so myself!)

    CajunMama says:

    CajunMama wearing Joe’s Jeans posing with The Blues Brothers of Legends Show in Branson, MO  copyright 2008 Shannon Hurst LaneJeans are a must-have item in the Southern US, where I live. I normally wear petite (short and fluffy) and reviewed a pair of Provocateur/Blanche Joe’s Jeans. When the jeans came in, they were still a little long, but I had them hemmed. I was hesitant about the jeans at first because I just don’t spend that much on jeans. I spoke to a few of my neighbor mamas and found out that they think of good jeans as an investment in yourself. The retail price of $178 made me a little skeptical, but after sliding these jeans over my hips and wearing them, now I understand why someone would pay a little more for a great pair of jeans. They are soft, comfortable, and I have to say that I felt like a hot mama with these on my big ole behind.

    These jeans are made for REAL women and even come in styles for men and children, too. I was so confident in myself with these jeans on that I stopped a parade to get my picture taken with these Blues Brothers look alikes. Rock Star, indeed!

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  • Congratulations to this week’s winner, Cathy! Check your email on how to claim your tickets to this awesome show. Thanks to everyone who entered.

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