**RECEIVED 2018 BLOGGING BRANSON AWARD OF EXCELLENCE**
The holidays are full of hustle and bustle, going this way and that. We spend our time going from one store to another, trying to find that absolutely perfect gift for each member on our long list of family and friends. Somewhere in there, though, you have to find some nourishment or take a breather. However, when it’s freezing outside and you have to travel across town to get there, it’s hard to reconcile the thought. That’s why a place like the Branson’s IMAX Entertainment Complex is one of the perfect venues to stop during the holidays. In just one location, you can pick up a unique gift for that someone special, grab a delicious meal AND take a break to catch a festive holiday show.
I was invited as media by Stone Castle Hotel & Conference Center to visit and explore Branson. However, all opinions are 110% mine and mine alone. This post also contains affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure policy for more information.
Branson’s IMAX Entertainment Complex
One stop Shop, Dine and Catch a Show
Back in April, our Blogging Branson group had the unique opportunity to explore the Branson’s IMAX Entertainment Complex. The venue as a whole is beautiful inside with a wide open space in the center for easy maneuvering. Trust me ~ this becomes a tremendous “plus” when the motor coaches and crowds arrive, particularly during the holidays.
We had a blast going behind the scenes with Trent to learn more about the technology that fuels the IMAX screen, as well as dine in the restaurant on site with the owners Mr. and Mrs. Bluto.
This most recent trip occurred towards the beginning of November when all the Christmas decorations were on display. The venue was adorned with garland and lights! It was beautiful and festive!
We once again had the chance to view a movie in the state-of-the-art theater and, this go round, it was a fascinating film about the Rocky Mountain Express across Canada. My brother-in-law has had a passion for trains most of his life. He would have loved this film and it piqued my interest quite a bit! That was a lot of information I didn’t know!
Our group also had the opportunity to do a little shopping and sit down for another fabulous meal at McFarlain’s Family Restaurant. Oh, yes ~ it was fried green tomato time, my friends! Give me a HUGE side of ranch and a basket all to myself, please ~ and ~ thank you!
But really ~ what makes this complex so attractive to guests?
In all honesty – it’s simply because it’s a perfect place to spend an afternoon!! Here ~ let me explain this to you in a little more detail.
As you walk into the complex, there are a number of shops that outline the perimeter. I personally love walking through these stores! They are stocked to the hilt with adorable souvenirs, thoughtful gifts and unique creations. Whether you are looking for a Fabulous Find or a unique gift at The Shadow Box, there is bound to be something that catches your eye and strikes your fancy. There are collectibles, jewelry options, leather products and beautifully designed clocks that actually play music (these fascinate me to no end!!)! It’s even fun to walk through the stores just to read the placards they have on their walls and shelves.
During the holidays, the stores are, of course, filled with Christmas specialty items, as well. I kid you not ~ it would not be very difficult to find something in one of these stores to give as a gift this time of year ~ even to the most finicky of family members.
Okay – now it’s time to grab some popcorn and a soda because the complex is also home to a movie theater! Whether you are looking for a newly released film or desire to see a cultural piece that depicts life in the Ozarks (or elsewhere), this is a great place to just kick back and relax.
With high back, reclining chairs? Oh, my goodness ~ they are soooo comfy! (Be careful ~ they may be a little too comfy. Zzzzzzzzzzz).
Along with the Elite II Cinemas, there is an IMAX theater, which steps it up a notch (or ten) with dual 4K laser projection systems and new optical engine! This theater has the latest in IMAX tech that makes color more vivid and crisp to the naked eye.
Now, if watching a movie isn’t the way you want to spend a few hours, you can always catch a live show at the complex. Yup! There are a handful of performances shown throughout the course of the day over in the Little Opry Theater. Among the options, you can choose to catch a tribute to John Denver, listen to the Glen Campbell’s Songbook or watch the musical comedy routine of Sons of Britches (my in-laws caught this during their recent trip to Branson and loved it!).
During the holiday season, you can even catch a little Christmas play called THE SANDERS FAMILY CHRISTMAS, a nostalgic musical comedy that follows the saga of SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN, one of the most loved and most produced musicals worldwide.
All right. Confession time. You know this is true ~ all that shopping and laughing is bound to make you hungry. Am I right? We were famished and there is nothing like dining at McFarlain’s Family Restaurant right there on the property!
McFarlain’s is a HUGE local favorite and Branson exclusive, inspired by one of the movies they show in the IMAX theater, Ozarks Legacy and Legend. Whether you’re looking for a hearty cooked-to-order breakfast, a well-packed sandwich or a plate full of the most amazing fried green tomatoes, this place is ready to serve it up with a ginormous smile! Just take a look at some of this goodness! What would YOU order?
McFarlain’s, like many of the restaurants in Branson, also has a group menu for when the larger crowds visit. What’s nice about having this menu available is that it helps to expedite things so that guests can easily move in and out so they fit in more shopping and shows!!!
I think that sounds like a fantastic plan! Don’t you?
Sooooo, we just happened to be one of those larger groups and we had the opportunity to enjoy that menu once again. The last time we were here, I enjoyed the McFarlain’s Special (open-faced pot roast sandwich with mashed potatoes, all covered in gravy). This time, I chose to go with the Grilled Chicken Sandwich ~ but certainly not without having some fried green tomatoes first!
The staff at McFarlain’s Family Restaurant also have a little secret ~ and a sense of humor!. During our last visit, I had the pleasure of being a part of the group that was “inducted” into the Rising Table Society. There is nothing like eating your dinner and feeling as though you are shrinking!!!
T, what in tarnation are you talking about?
Throughout the restaurant, there are certain tables that will literally “rise” during the course of the meal. The guests sitting at those tables are usually oblivious to what is going on…until they literally find themselves reaching up to take a bite.
Here – check out the video I shot during our recent inductees’ experience. You can at least see the table height and what they had to do to bring it down.
Now, if weather permits…there is another dining option.
Let’s say that the weather outside isn’t that “frightful” and you wish to to venture outside the venue after shopping and a movie to grab something to eat. Well, I have another strong recommendation that would satisfy any of the hunger pains you may be experiencing.
Welcome to Montana Mike’s Steak House
Branson’s IMAX Entertainment Complex also owns the Montana’s Mike’s Steak House in town. Montana Mike’s is a chain steakhouse that prides itself on “crave-able food, refreshing beverages and superior hospitality!”
Branson’s Montana Mike’s sits on HWY 76, the main strip in town, right next to the Titanic Museum. Guests can enjoy any number of entree options, including delicious steak cuts, chicken, ribs, seafood or handcrafted pasta dishes. They also have some amazing looking appetizers ~ from campfire shrimp and mountain stuffed mushrooms to bacon cheese fries and more! Oh, my goodness ~ it would no doubt be near impossible to walk away from this place hungry!
Of course, not only is everything delicious, but the portion sizes are rather generous and, check this out – moderately priced! This is great news for families traveling through. Don’t you think?
For further inspection of the Montana Mike’s menu in Branson, click here.
Just like McFarlain’s Family Restaurant, Montana Mike’s in Branson also caters to the motor coaches and larger crowds. Groups of 20 or more can order from a designated menu, which once again helps to expedite the meal so they can get back out to explore. The options on this restaurant’s group menu include:
- soup and a baked potato
- hamburger basket
- grilled chicken breast salad.
I’ll tell you – that salad looked good, but the hamburger was delish!! It was exactly what I was craving at the moment!!
So, are you ready to go?
Whether you are looking for a location to shop, dine and catch a show in one shot or if you’re looking to find a great steak place in town, the venues under Branson’s IMAX Entertainment Complex umbrella are ready and waiting for you. The complex itself is one of those must-see places when visiting Branson and it’s simply just a fabulous place to hang out for a few hours.
So, stop by ~ grab a souvenir, catch a movie or a show and then grab a table at McFarlain’s for some good eats. If you’re closer to Montana Mike’s, stop there to enjoy one of their juicy steaks!! Yum!!! You won’t be disappointed!
For more information on the venues highlighted above:
- 3562 Shepherd of the Hills Expy, Branson, MO 65616
- (417) 335-4832
- Branson’s IMAX Entertainment Complex, 3562 Shepherd of the Hills Expy, Branson, MO 65616
- (417) 336-4680
- 3225 MO-76, Branson, MO 65616
- (417) 334-2766
**Pssst – I have another great restaurant recommendation that falls under Branson’s IMAX Entertainment Complex title ~ it’s Florentina’s!! This place has THE BEST ITALIAN NACHOS!! You can read more about it by clicking here!!
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