With Disney’s odd opposition to parental rights in Florida – and a company executive’s pledge to include “many, many” characters of various sexual categories in its productions from now on – parents across the nation are looking for more wholesome alternatives.
When it comes to amusement parks, anyway, it doesn’t get any more family-friendly than Silver Dollar City near Branson, Missouri. In fact, what do you suppose might be the theme park’s mission? Thrills? Spills? Tills?
Nope. Silver Dollar City’s mission statement is to “Bring Families Closer Together.”
And at the end of its list of strategies to fulfill those goals is this statement: “All in a Manner Consistent with Christian Values and Ethics.”
That emanates directly from Herschend Family Entertainment, which claims to be the country’s largest family-owned themed attractions corporation. The family has owned Silver Dollar City since its opening in 1960, just five years after Disneyland and a full 11 years before Disney World.
In contrast, you might be surprised to learn that nowhere in Disney’s mission statement does it even mention families or children.
Nor do families have to sacrifice quality to get wholesomeness for all ages. Silver Dollar City was named the No. 2 amusement park in America for 2021 by USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards – just behind Sea World in Orlando. Silver Dollar City beat out such big names as Busch Gardens and Magic Kingdom in Orlando, and Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California.
Voting is on here through April 25 for the 2022 award.
Readers of USA Today and 10 Best also have selected Silver Dollar City’s “An Old Time Christmas” as the No. 1 Best Theme Park Holiday Event in America, for five years running.
“Those who voted are responsible for launching ‘The City’ to the top of America’s holiday must-see list,” Brad Thomas, president of Silver Dollar City, said in a statement in December.
The park’s Christmas celebration, it says in a press release, “showcases 6.5 million lights, two Broadway-style shows, a holiday light parade, an 8-story animated Christmas tree, light spectaculars of Christmas In Midtown & Joy on Town Square, holiday foods, a crafts colony of artisans creating heirloom gifts and a sing-a-long authentic steam train.”
Herschend Family Entertainment operating companies also include Dollywood Parks & Resorts (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee); Adventure Aquarium (Camden, New Jersey); Newport Aquarium (Newport, Kentucky); Kentucky Kingdom (Louisville, Kentucky); and Wild Adventures (Valdosta, Georgia).
Silver Dollar City is open March through December.