The whole family can enjoy a day at Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri, located just 30 minutes north of Branson. It's home to more than 500 animals from 170 different species. This zoo is, perhaps, most famous for the success of its Asian elephant, cheetah, and maned wolf breeding programs. Travel the globe in just one afternoon, viewing animals from South America, Australia, Missouri Habitats, Africa, and more. Kids will love the reptile house, which features nearly every kind of snake and lizard.
The Dickerson Park Zoo also offers a miniature train ride, that takes you around Monkey Island, for a 360 degree look at their home. You will also notice that there are some birds that roam free in the park, such as peacocks, although they tend to stay near the entrance. Hours of operation are as follows: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, April through September, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, October through March (except during inclement weather). It is closed on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. There is an admission fee.