If you have ever driven down the famous 76 Strip in Branson, Missouri you may have noticed a very strange building that looks as if it had been dropped upside down on the pavement. That building is Branson WonderWorks, a museum for the mind, the curious at heart and the adventurous spirts of all ages, whether that be 2 or 102 years old!
According to WonderWorks Sales Manager and Science Extraordinaire, Megan Jackson, the story of the museum all began when Professor Wonder was attempting to harness a tornado in his laboratory, which was located on the mysterious Bermuda Triangle. Something went terribly wrong, and the powerful winds of the tornado picked up his lab and blew it hundreds of miles away, where if finally landed upside-down on a fishing lodge in Branson, Missouri.
There are six “Wonder” locations across the U.S. including in Orlando, FL, Panama City Beach, FL, Myrtle Beach, SC, Syracuse, NY, Pigeon Forge, TN and Branson, MO.
Originally, the site of what is now WonderWorks Museum in Branson was home to the Baldknobbers Theater where the first show opened in 1959.
Even though WonderWorks could not use the original foundation of the theater, Megan said “that pieces from that foundation including bricks and even theater seats were incorporated within the attraction. A couple members of the Mabe family were gracious enough to autograph some bricks, so you will find a couple of those on display in our Branson Experience exhibit. We also have Ma and Pa Mabe’s theater seats hanging on one of our floors, paying homage to some history!”
The building is an impressive 48,000 square feet and houses over 100 hands on and interactive things to do broken up by themes and floors.
“Our building is not the same on any floor,” Megan said. “Every floor that you go onto, you’re going to experience something different. We partner with the U.S. Army. We partner with NASA. On our second level, you will find our Military Room Exhibit, where you can see if you have what it takes to pass a PT test and learn more about the core values of a soldier. It is also where we have our American Pride Theater where4 you can sit for a few moments and take in a great deal of American history. Then, on our third level, you’ll find that it’s very geared towards natural disaster: weather, space, moon, earth.”
Megan said that WonderWorks is very open and accommodating to a variety of groups: reunions, team building, and educational, whether that be public or homeschool. Everything in the museum “falls within an educational curriculum.”
“If a teacher needed to know what their students can experience at their grade level, we have that curriculum that we can send them so they know what their students can do and get checked off of those boxes.”
Megan went on to say WonderWorks does have some new exhibits in “our pipeline” for 2021 but didn’t want to spoil the surprises just yet. There are, however, a few exciting promotions and events coming up, including the OZART contest, where anyone in Missouri or Arkansas, ages 6-20, can submit their artwork for a chance to be selected by the museum and have their work hung in the art gallery.
The chosen artists will “receive a certificate of recognition and as well as four complimentary tickets to come into the WonderWorks museum so they can see their artwork in the gallery and have a good time.”
Also, on the horizon for WonderWorks is Sensory Days which will commence Sunday, February 21,2021 from 11 AM – 2 PM. Sensory Days provides limited stimulations for children with special needs so they too can enjoy the wonders and adventure of the Professor’s Lab. That means that certain lights are shut off and sound volumes are turned down throughout the building.
What all is in the Lab?
After you pass through the inversion tunnel, it’s time for fun, adventure & discovery! Inside the Professor’s massive lab, guests can find an adventure in S.T.E.A.M. an acronym for all things fun: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Exhibits can include everything from the Astronaut Training Gyro which emits feelings of weightlessness like astronauts feel in space, to the Hurricane Shack which creates powerful winds of 74 miles per hour!
Other Displays/Exhibits at WonderWorks include:
- American Innovation
- Route 66
- Branson/Ozark Area History & Geography
- Military and special exhibits in partnership with Webster’s Dictionary and the U.S. Army.
- WonderWorks Art Gallery features OZART, a collection of young artists from Missouri & Arkansas.
**Taken from the WonderWorks website regarding Covid-19 Procedures:
WonderWorks cares about the health & safety of its guests and employees and have therefore implemented the following approach as recommended by the CDC. In order to comply with these guidelines, guest cooperation is needed as well:
- Spatial distancing of 6 feet is required.
- Guests are required to wear facial masks.
- Sanitizer stations are available throughout WonderWorks.
- Wash hands for no less than 20 seconds after restroom use.
- Restrooms are located on each floor.
- Water fountains are not open at this time.
- Benches should not be sat on.
- Sneeze and/or cough in the bend of the elbow.
- Guests should enter the building if they are sick, with fever, or any other COVID-19 symptoms.
- WonderWorks is disinfected with CDC/EPA approved products.
- Employees are required to wear a mask or bandana.
- Employees are given health screenings daily.
Megan said the museum is following all the CDC guidelines and have taken the extra step of hiring on a team specifically cycle through the building to ensure everything stays clean and guests stay safe.
What others are saying about WonderWorks on Google Reviews:
“Wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but so glad we visited. We spent more than 3 hours exploring the place and exhibits and honestly felt the price was a little low for what all was offered. Huge hit for our group. Definitely a must for kids!”
“We got there early and ended up leaving super late. The staff was friendly as can be and very informative. The experience was all around great for the whole family from our 4-year-old son up to us adults. Will definitely go back as much as we can!!!”
Megan said individuals can get tickets online (which can be used for up to a year after purchase). If tickets are bought inside the museum, they must be used that same day. However, guests can leave and come back that same day in case they didn’t have enough time to go through or they had another engagement. The WonderWorks museum additionally has a café in the building that serves a variety of food items including pizzas, nachos, and chicken strips.
*The Branson City Council requires all Branson visitors and residents to wear masks in public. The order went into effect Friday, July 31, 2020.If you do not have a mask, there will be some for sale.
Address: 2835 W 76 Country Blvd Branson, MO 65616
Hours: WonderWorks is open 365 days a year! Monday – Thursday: 10:00am to 8:00pm | Friday & Saturday: 10:00am to 9:00pm | Sunday: 11:00am to 7:00pm
*Due to COVID-19, WonderWorks will not be taking cash transactions.
For more information on attractions in Branson, Missouri, give us a call at (866) 876-4339, and ask how to secure the best tickets at the lowest prices! Find out more about Branson Travel Packages, Shows, Attractions & more on our site here.