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Branson's Silver Dollar City Debuts Mystic River Falls Rapids Ride

Mystic River Falls made its grand opening in 2020, despite a Coronavirus Riddled Season

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Celebrating their Diamond Jubilee, Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo., has opened their brand-new Mystic River Falls attraction.

Especially in COVID-19 times, having a brand-new water adventure is exciting news for the park, and the theme park industry. Billed as offering the “tallest drop on a water raft ride in the Western hemisphere,” the attraction drops riders down four stories over roaring rapids. The setting is an Ozarks mountain river, with an authentically designed old-time river town, that is the center of the park's new themed area, called Rivertown. The area also includes the Rivertown Smokehouse featuring smoked-on-site meats, and a cinnamon bread bakery with bakers in action before park guests.

The ride cost $23 million to create, with a rotating four-platform, 8-story lift. It has a strong theme and back story that should resonate with park-goers.

The idea is this: Silver Dollar City is in reality the home of a large cave, called Marvel Cave. It contains a real-life Mystic River filled with twists and turns of water and nooks. Its existence and discovery are contained in writing and drawing as early as 1893 through the documented work of the botanist, artist and scientist S. Fred Prince.

His book "The Story of Marvel Caverns 1893-1942," is kept in Silver Dollar City's archives.  He sought the headwaters of the actual river, but never found them; even today, where the river originates is unknown.

That tantalizing IRL detective story led to the ride's storyline, in which adventurers today look for a “fabled waterfall that could mark the end of the raging river. They follow the path of Pearl, a young adventuress, along the challenging, winding waterways in pursuit of the legendary headwaters. At long last, Pearl and her riders discover Mystic River Falls -- and the town erupts in celebration,” according to the park's press handout.     

The story expands from there with the so-called “citizens of Rivertown celebrating a 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee” of the theme park, which was founded in 1960. Part of the celebration is dining on the smoky brisket and BBQ at the on-site Rivertown Smokehouse, which offers guests a choice of turkey, pork, sausage, chicken, sides, and desserts along with the aforementioned brisket. It's the largest restaurant ever constructed in the park's history, and located right along the banks of the new ride.

Nearby, parkgoers can visit the Rivertown area's new bakery, Clara Belle's Cinnamon Bread, which serves up individual iced loafs of the park favorite cinnamon bread, with choices of original, peach, or apple.

Health restrictions are in place including: capacity limitations; reservations recommended for visits after Labor Day by season pass holders, and date based tickets for general admission. Face masks are required for all visitors ages 3 and up except while eating or using water park attractions and select coasters Temperature screenings are taken prior to entry. Within attractions and dining venues, capacities are also limited; social distancing queues, marked barriers, and signs reminding guests to social distance are also in place. The park is also providing enhanced cleaning regimens and hand sanitizing stations throughout the park.

The park is operating the new Rivertown area through Christmas, replete with outdoor entertainment, and artisans.

The park has offered some expanded summer hours – until 10 p.m. most evenings, with some dates the park stayed open until midnight. This was a boon for visitors and helped to keep capacity limits in place within attractions. The Moonlit Madness after 5 p.m. ticket proved a bargain for park goers at $30 per visit. Live summer concerts such as the Newsboys and Diamond Rio are a part of the August entertainment experience at the park.

Festivals are running too: August 27th through September 7th, guests can enjoy a Southern Gospel Picnic event. The event features over 70 performers including Bill Brothers, The Down East Boys, and The Hyssongs, among many others. The concerts take place socially distanced in the Echo Hollow Amphitheater.

Also on tap is the Harvest Festival featuring Crafts and Pumpkins In The City (Sept. 23-October 31). In its sophomore year, the festival has expanded with even more artisans displaying their crafts by day, and illuminated pumpkins glowing at night.

Then finishing the park's season with a festive event is the annual Old Time Christmas (November 7 - December 30). The popular and highly regarded event includes a reported 6.5 million lights, the Christmas In Midtown® Light Spectacular, and a nightly light parade featuring Rudolph™ The Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The new splashing and splashy new attractions and events being held at Silver Dollar City contrast with  SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment which is delaying its scheduled 2020 new ride openings to 2021. These include Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa, Pantheon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Ice Breaker at SeaWorld Orlando and Emperor at SeaWorld San Diego.
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