Winter Fun in the Ozarks

Dated: January 10 2023

Views: 250

For many of us, the gap between New Year’s Day and the spring thaw is endless. Sure, we have decent weather days, but we also have our share of gray, dreary days that chill to the bone. The way we figure it if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Why not bundle up and dive headfirst into some winter fun? After all, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy around here, so you might as well grab a hat, scarf, an extra pair of socks, some good friends, and go try something new. 

Eagle Days

It’s one of the most majestic sights you’ll ever see, an eagle soaring through the sky. Bald eagles return to the Show-Me State between late December and early February, and 417-land is a prime spot to watch the action. The Springfield Conservation Nature Center will host its annual Eagle Days on January 21st and 22nd to celebrate the annual return of the bald eagles to Lake Springfield. You can also see one up close indoors at the Nature Center courtesy of the Dickerson Park Zoo. Programs are held every hour on the hour from 10 am until 3 pm and they’re free with no registration necessary. You can also view them in the wild at the Boathouse and Marina with a bit of help from some knowledgeable volunteers and helpful spotting scopes. Just bring your binoculars or zoom lens and a sense of wonder. This event is appropriate for all ages.

Table Rock Lake has its own eagle-watching opportunities, too. The Missouri Department of Conversation suggests viewing early in the morning, watching for eagles perched in trees along the shore. It’s not unusual to see them flying and diving for fish, and you have plenty of beautiful shorelines to explore.

Pink Jeep Tours

Since 1960, tourists in Sedona, Arizona have enjoyed unique tours of Red Rock country via a bright pink Jeep. Local guides thrilled visitors with stories, folklore, and geographic history during a panoramic tour, and eventually, the experience expanded to Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, and the Smoky Mountains. Herschend Enterprises acquired Pink Tours in 2018, and now the pink Jeep Wranglers are tooling around the Branson area. From off-road trails to the lakes, through the winding Ozarks Hills, and the top of Baird Mountain, these tours will show you parts of Branson you never knew existed, and they do it all year long. 

There are several to choose from, including 3-hour Best of Branson Tours, a Sunset Tour, Lakes and Landmarks, and a Downtown to Mountaintop Tour. Make sure to find time for a Holiday Lights tour next year, but don’t let the current winter pass you by without experiencing this outdoor adventure. 

Branson Snowflex Park

Even if there’s no snow on the ground, we can enjoy downhill tubing in the Ozarks just off Highway 65. Snowflex Park at Wolfe Mountain’s expansive 400-foot slope allows eight tubes to run simultaneously for maximum fun. It’s a high-performance polymer surface, which means it’s safe, softer than packed snow, and needs no grooming so you can enjoy the slopes all year long! And don’t worry about the long trek back up from the bottom—a moving platform does all the work, toting you back up so you can save your energy to slide back down over and over again.  It’s safe for kids as young as 3 years old, but note that kids aged three to six will need to ride with an adult.

Check the calendar for days and times, but the website currently shows availability Fridays through Sundays, throughout the month of January.

Glamping at Camp Long Creek

If you’re the type who believes the great outdoors is best enjoyed from indoors, a glamping experience might just be the perfect compromise. Big Cedar Lodge’s Camp Long Creek has just the ticket where glam meets camp, with glamping tents that dot the Table Rock Lake shoreline and wooded areas. Don’t let the rustic, canvas exterior fool you – these pads are posh. Wood floors, a king bed, full bath, small dining area with refrigerator and coffee maker, even a private courtyard with fire pit and outdoor tub. We told you it was posh! The family unit’s courtyard has a tent large enough to sleep two little ones, and don’t forget Fido—Camp Long Creek is pet friendly. A heads up, these glamping tents are wildly popular so book early. There are also several small cabins and huts, so keep an open mind and go connect with nature in Ridgedale!

The Igloos at Vantage

Okay, okay, we know. This suggestion isn’t exactly an “outdoor activity” but you have to walk outside to get there, and there are cocktails involved, so this one is a no-brainer.

If you haven’t thrown back some drinks in this sky-high bubble, you’ve missed out. Vantage Rooftop Lounge and Conservatory high atop V2 (the second iteration of Hotel Vandivort, catty-cornered from the original) is hands-down the coolest cocktails-with-a-view venue around, and a little glitch like winter shouldn’t keep us from enjoying it. These climate-controlled domes can seat up to six people, there’s plenty of space for food and drink, and we dare you to not post your bubbly bash on social. Enjoy craft cocktails, local beers, sharable plates, and a cool downtown vibe in a toasty warm hideaway. Oh, and be sure to reserve one early enough to enjoy the stunning Ozarks sunset and the ceremonial ringing of the bell that goes with it. 

Toll the bell and raise a glass
The sun has gone from view.
On this higher ground may joy abound
As we see our world anew.

Take that, winter!

About Murney Associates, Realtors®

No one loves the Ozarks more than Murney Associates. Our real estate agents are here to help you navigate one of the most important decisions you’ll make. We encourage you to look at our market updates which highlight real estate trends in Springfield, MO, and the surrounding area, as well as our rankings in home sales. Thanks to our clients for making Murney Associates, Realtors the number one real estate agency in Southwest Missouri.

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