Silver Dollar City – A Family Friendly Alternative to Disney

In a series of Tweets on Thursday morning, The Daily Wire’s Megan Basham shared that a source had messaged her the disturbing news that they had encountered “no fewer than 6 male to female trans cast members” at Disney. A “cast member” at Disneyland or Disneyworld is another word for employee.

The irony of the timing of the text wasn’t lost on Megan, who is a mom. She received the note while waiting in line at Silver Dollar City, a 100-acre amusement park in Branson, Missouri.

“GEORGEOUS park, fun rides, Christian music playing everywhere,” she tweeted.

Silver Dollar City literally began as a hole in the ground. It was called “Marble Cave” and was a favorite of geologists and adventurers who would lower themselves down into the natural wonder to explore. What they believed to be marble was actually limestone. It quickly became a tourist destination in the early 1900s, aided by the advent of the automobile and the improved quality of roads. Thousands flocked from all over to see it – including Hugo and Mary Herschend.

At the time of the Herschends visit just after the end of World War II in 1946, Hugo was an Electrolux district manger in Evanston, Ill. He had previously worked in the oilfields in the Yukon and even hunted diamonds in the Amazon. Though on a vacation, the couple was trying to figure out what they were going to do in retirement. After being wowed by a tour of the cave, Hugo was struck by the possibility of taking over the site as a side business. Miriam and Genevieve Lynch, two elderly sisters running Marble Cave for fifty years, were looking for an exit strategy. The Herschends negotiated a 99-year lease and took control of the site.

“If there wasn’t a cave down here, we probably would’ve made a living selling vacuums in Chicago,” Hugo once reminisced.

But the Marble Cave lost money for the first five years, and Mary was downright miserable – but committed to helping her husband.

The combination of persistence and several partnerships – and some political good fortune – helped turn the tide. The addition of a zoo animal feature, along with congressional funds to build Table Rock Dam, triggered a significant influx of tourists. Hugo’s sudden death in 1955 threatened the company, but Mary’s resiliency and her son’s willingness to rally around her helped keep things afloat. The construction and expansion of an “Ozark Village” in 1960 officially launched what would become known as Silver Dollar City – so named because change was given in silver dollars.

Jack and Pete Herschend would go on to forge and expand Herschend Entertainment, a thriving company whose mission is to “Create Memories Worth Repeating” – but “in a manner consistent with Christian values and ethics.”

“Hugo and Mary never went to church,” Jack acknowledged. “They would drop Pete and me off at the Christian Science church on Sunday mornings and then pick us up when church was over. “We learned a lot about Mary Barker Eddy (founder of the Christian Science Church) but never heard too much about Jesus.”

But by God’s grace, the Herschend brothers wound up marrying devoutly Christian women, whom they credit with guiding and influencing them in their Christian walk.

Joel Manby, former CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment, once wrote a book called Love Works – a study of the leadership principles employed at the company. They’re all based on the Fruit of Spirit (1 Cor. 13): patience, kindness, trust, unselfishness, truthfulness, forgiveness, dedication and humility.

Is it any wonder Megan Basham and hundreds of thousands of tourists like her feel so comfortable in Silver Dollar City?

Brad Thomas, the company’s current president, has said, “If someone wants to go to a place where it’s OK to see an American flag, hear some gospel music and stand in respect, this is the place for you. If you are a person who is uncomfortable with these things, maybe it’s not the place for you.”

Families disillusioned and feeling disenfranchised from Disney given the company’s embrace of the “woke” agenda and revolution may want to consider planning a trip one of these days to Branson’s Silver Dollar City instead.

The happiest places shouldn’t insult our sensibilities by confusing and corrupting our children – they should complement our values and celebrate our Christian faith.

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