September 29, 2012 – Branson – College of the Ozarks, Titanic Museum and “The Legend of Kung Fu … the Journey of a Boy”

On the recommendation of one of our reunion crew, we carpooled to the College of the Ozarks for an early lunch.

The College of the Ozarks is a truly unique college.  While a fully-accredited, four-year college founded in 1906, none of the 1,500 students pay any money to attend.  Rather, each fulltime student works at one of 80 campus jobs or industries to pay in part for the cost of their education in one of 45 different courses of study.  The remaining portion is made up through scholarships provided by gifts and contributions from donors.  Students who are academically capable but financially unable to enter a private or public institution may be accepted as full-time boarding students.  The vast majority of the students are from Missouri and Arkansas.

Among the commercial enterprises in which these students work are a lodge, conference center and restaurant where we enjoyed a  great lunch prepared and served by students.

After lunch, Debbie and I drove around the beautiful campus.

The 150’ long by 80’ wide neo-Gothic William Memorial Chapel sports an 80’ vaulted ceiling and impressive stained glass windows.

The central quad is surrounded by many stone buildings.  However, the Honor Lake appears to be the center piece of the campus.

The college’s complex of greenhouses are home to a collection of more than 7,000 orchids

 

 

 As well as a number of other exotic and seasonal flowers and grasses.

 

 This vegetation is also host to a variety of butterflies, bees, grasshoppers and an elusive swan.

 

 

 

 Later in the afternoon, we visited the Titanic Museum.  While the exterior appears a bit schmaltzy

The museum itself was incredible in the range of actual artifacts, the amount of both audio and printed information provided and in its overall presentation!  Some of our group who’ve seen other Titanic exhibits remarked that this was far and away the best they’d seen.  While the use of cameras was strictly forbidden and enforced, a couple of Internet (poor quality) photos follow.

Full-size replica of the grand staircase

Father Brown’s Photographs (A Jesuit priest, he traveled only as far as Cobin, previously Queenstown, in Great Britain, but had taken many photos with his Kodak Camera and the only ones which show the ship with actual passengers aboard

Third Class Cabin – exact replica

 

One of many smaller exhibits containing recovered artifacts of passengers, some of whom survived while others perished.

From there we went to the White House Theater for dinner

 

After which we saw “The Legend of Kung Fu – The Journey of a Boy”.  The Legend of Kung Fu has wowed and amazed audiences worldwide with its’ unique combination of traditional martial arts skill, aerial ballet, dance and music. Designated as the main show of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, The Legend of Kung Fu has been performed more than 3000 times worldwide. With a cast of 65 performers, it is one of the largest theatrical productions in Branson, immersing audiences in magnificent scenery, lighting, sound and special effects as the tale unfolds.

While the male performers are amazing,

watching the four young boys, ages 6 to 9, just blew us away.

One caveat … we have decided not to try any of these stunts!

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