Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Castle Rock Resort and Waterpark, Branson Review

Castle Rock Resort and Waterpark, Branson

My family and I had the awesome opportunity to stay at and review Castle Rock Resort and Waterpark in Branson.  We had a great time.  I'm going to tell you a little bit about it, then I'll let my 12 year old Jake tell you more!

The theme of the resort is of course, Castle Rock.  Therefore, the look was some what castle and rock like on the outside AND on the inside.  For example our counter top in our room was rock looking, the shower was likewise.

Our rooms were fairly spacious.  There were 6 of us so we needed a fair amount of space and for the most part, we had it.  The room had 2 queen beds and 1 set of bunk beds.  Perfect for sleeping arrangements.  The bunk bed room also had its own tv which was very nice.  We didn't' have a lot of arguing over who watched what anymore...although there were times that both rooms were watching the same thing anyway!  :-)

The view from our window was quite nice.  And honestly it was a nice quiet hotel.  No complaints there. 

The first night we were there we were unable to use the swimming pool because it was too late by the time we got there.  Tuesday through Thursday, the water park closes quite early, 8pm.  That was fine though...we were exhausted from the day.  The next day however, Thursday, the pool didn't open until 1pm.  I thought that was a little odd....but it wasn't summer time, so I am sure it costs tons of extra money to have the park open when maybe there aren't as many visitors.  It gave us time to rest...and this is the day we went to the Titanic in the morning, then took MaKenna to the Urgent Care.  So it worked out well for us.  By 1 they were ready to go though.  Jeff (my hubby) stayed in the hotel room with MaKenna (who wasn't well enough to swim) and Cam (who was just being a teenager...little did I know, he was starting to not feel well too though).  I took Jake and Major downstairs with me to the waterpark.

From the elevator on our floor there are windows to see into the park.  Here are a couple of pictures I took from the hallway.

As you can see, there were two big slides, a couple of pools, a kiddie pool and a lazy river.  I don't know if you can see the lazy river in those pictures, but it was really neat how they built it.  It was actually on the second level!  You'll see more pictures in a bit.

So we headed down there, Jake did the slides first and loved them.  He is NOT a high thrill slide type of guy, and these were fairly tame, so he enjoyed them immensely.  Major just LOVES the lazy river, so he and I hung out there for quite some time.

The water was a little cool...but it didn't seem to bother the kids.  We noticed the smaller bodies of water were much warmer though, so we hung out in the kiddie pool when we got chilly!
 The next two pictures are taken of and from the Lazy River.  This first one shows the hallways to each floor where the elevator is.  There are also a lot of rooms that have windows to the water park too.  Very gives those people something to look at...which I noticed a lot were doing.  The concern I have with that?  Well...if you have forewarned.  There was a couple on the 3rd or 4th floor who had their curtains their mini bathsuits having a make out session in front of the window for all to see.  When the man finally got her bikini top off, she realized she should close the curtains.  It was disturbing....but luckily MY kids anyway were too impressed with the waterpark that they weren't looking at windows.  I was only looking because I was taking pictures.  NO...I am NOT a pervert!  :-)  Really....I just happened to see what was going on.  I am digging myself a deeper hole...I'll shush!
 This is Major in the Lazy River getting acclimated to the water.

This is a picture I took from the Lazy Rover deck looking down on the kiddie pool.

 Here is the end of one of the slides....and you can see one of the pools with a basketball hoop.
 The one in the bottom of the slide with his legs sticking up is Jake!

 Here is the Lazy River.
 Jake swimming in the Lazy River.

There were plenty of lifeguards around and I watched them.....they were very alert to everything going on around them.  I've been to a lot of different water parks...indoor and outdoor, and I haven't always been thrilled with the staff.  In fact, I've been known to complain a time or two to the establishment...but these lifeguards were very attentive to every need.  I even saw one jump in to help a little girl that had just come down the slide and had a bit of a problem getting right side up.  She wasn't struggling, but he didn't hesitate to make sure that it didn't get to that point.  I was really impressed.

The location of Castle Rock was great too.  It was far from downtown...but close to things like Titanic, Ripleys, Branson Tracks, Hollywood Wax museum.  it was right in the middle of downtown and Silver Dollar City, Shepherd of the Hills, etc.  It really was a great location...and due to the fact that I had been to Urgent Care once while we were there, I discovered that there is a really nice Walgreens just a couple blocks away!

We didn't have a chance to try out the restaurant, The Tower Grill.  But I heard it was nice.  Here is a look at the menu, if you can enlarge it:

They did have a game room as well.  However, we also didn't have a chance to check it out either...but it looked pretty basic....but lots of fun for kiddos!

I will say, I was a bit disappointed that there was no Continental Breakfast in the morning.  The Tower Grill offers breakfast but only on the we had to fend for ourselves for breakfast....and that was okay...I was prepared for that, so I had brought food...oatmeal, cereal, milk, etc.  The room had a refrigerator in it which was awesome...but no microwave, which was surprising.  So we were unable to make warm breakfasts for ourselves...or pop popcorn in the evening.  We managed though.  It was just surprising as most places we stay have at the bare minimum microwaves and most also have Continental Breakfasts.

It was a nice experience though.  Nice water park, nice rooms, nice staff, nice location.  We all left happy!

Thank you to Castle Rock for having us for those two nights!  We enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Now for Jake's view:

Hi my name is Jake Filleman.  I don't say a lot, but Castle Rock was fun!  I liked the waterpark!  The service was nice, ah...the rooms were nice...the waterpark was awesome.  My favorite thing was EVERYTHING.  The water was kinda warm...the slides were awesome.  They were not too fast, not too slow, but perfect.  I enjoyed playing basketball...its my favorite sport after hockey...and I love to be in the water.  On a scale from 1-10...10 being the best....I would rate Castle Rock Resort and Waterpark a 10.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cox Urgent Care, Branson

I am not going to have MaKenna write this post.  Her and Cam were the two kids that got to frequent this Urgent Care while we were away.  Thanks to Tiffany from the Branson Tourism Center for referring us to Cox Health Urgent Care!

Given that we were at an Urgent Care, it was a good experience.  The staff was all so very nice, understanding, patient and compassionate.  I can't say enough about the staff on that Thursday and Saturday.  The front office staff were the same people each day and so when I walked in, they recognized me and mentioned that I was back again.  It felt like home....even though home was an 8 hour drive away.  It was a very friendly atmosphere.

Heaven forbid you EVER have to go to an Urgent Care or ER when you are away from home...but if you do...and you are in the Branson/Springfield area, I would highly suggest Cox Health...and definitely this particular Urgent Care!

Thanks to all of the staff that helped MaKenna and Cam!

Read below for more info on Cox Health and the hospital affiliated with it.

Emergency and Urgent Care

Whether you're facing a life-threatening emergency or an illness or non-emergency, CoxHealth Emergency Services and CoxHealth Urgent Care are here to help.

If you are unsure whether a medical condition requires emergency care, call CoxHealth Nurse Advice Line at (800) 339-1212. Nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call and help provide you with the medical information you need.

CoxHealth Emergency ServicesCox Medical Center Branson
251 Skaggs Rd.
Branson, MO 65616
(417) 335-7218
Open 24 hours, 7 days a week
CoxHealth Urgent CareCoxHealth Outpatient Center
545 Branson Landing Blvd.,
Branson, MO 65616
(417) 348-8646
7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

History of Cox Medical Center Branson

In 1950, Cox Medical Center Branson was founded just north of downtown Branson, Missouri.
The facility, originally named as Skaggs Community Hospital, was named after M.B. and Estella Skaggs; Mr. Skaggs was the prosperous founder of Safeway grocery stores and a Missouri native who owned a home and game preserve in eastern Taney County.

With their encouragement and major financial backing, Skaggs Community Hospital was built in the late 1940s at a cost of approximately $250,000. The empty hospital building was turned over to the community as a gift, with area citizens asked to raise money to equip and furnish it. When the community was unable to raise the entire needed sum, Mr. Skaggs donated an additional $50,000 to supplement the community funds.

On January 8, 1950, doors to the 25-bed hospital were opened to the community for an open house. The following morning, the very first patient was admitted for surgery—Arkie Combs of Bradleyville. The first of four babies to be born at Skaggs during that first week was born to Lucy and Lonnie Cummings of Forsyth. A gift to the child, a $25 war bond, was presented by Captain Bill Roberts of Rockaway Beach, thus the child was named William Marion in honor of Mr. Skaggs and Captain Roberts.

A newspaper article of the day states: "Glancing over the list of the first week's [patient] entries, we cannot help but pause a little with bowed head in grateful appreciation for the Good Samaritan spirit that has set this instrument of service in our midst. How much of anxiety and suffering have been avoided because near at hand was a hospital to serve the need."
In its early years, Skaggs treated an average of four patients per day, with five physicians, six nurses and six nurse aides on staff. The original medical staff consisted of Dr. Francis Aubin, Dr. Joseph Bunten, Dr. Harry Evans, Dr. Harry Knowles and Dr. Jesse Threadgill.

Now, the average daily patient census exceeds 90, with 165 hospital beds. A staff of 1,000 physicians and nursing and support personnel are required to operate the hospital and its numerous clinics.

At the same time the hospital opened, a hospital auxiliary group was founded. Now, more than 300 volunteers belong to Skaggs Volunteer Services.

Almost from the beginning and during each of the following five decades, healthcare services and medical technology at the hospital have continued to expand. All the while, dedicated employees have maintained their sense of pride, caring and professionalism.

In January of 2012 administrators of the once Skaggs Regional Medical Center began seeking a partner to ensure healthcare was provided for years to come in the Branson area.  In January of 2013 the hospital became a part of the CoxHealth network, doing business as Cox Medical Center Branson.

Mission and Vision

MissionCoxHealth's mission is to improve the health of the communities we serve through quality health care, education and research.
VisionOur vision is to be the best for those who need us. We value safety, compassion, respect and integrity.

Titanic Review from a Child's Perspective

Titanic - Branson

I am going to let MaKenna write this post too.  She absolutely adores Titanic and all it is.  She has watched the movie with me a few times (I forwarded through the naughty moments with Kate Winslet and Leo), and we have several picture books of the Titanic (I am a fan too), and I have had Polar the Titanic Bear book since before I even had kids.  So she has had a lot of exposure to it.  The boys on the other hand?  Yeah...its cool...but whatever, is their response.  :-)  So....without further ado...I give you...MAKENNA!

Hi!  My name is MaKenna and I LOVE the Titanic!  When mom said we were going to Titanic in Branson, I almost wet my pants!  I was so excited! I didn't care that I didn't feel good still!  Mom and I have watched the movie and documentary things and read books...I know a lot about Titanic!  Here we are.  Major was throwing a fit.  What's new?
 Here is the Titanic.  Isn't she pretty?

I was sad.  They wouldn't let us take pictures inside.  But I guess I understand.  Mom is letting me use some pictures she got on the website though.

When we first walked up to the Titanic a woman dressed in the Maid uniform of the Titanic met us.  She gave us each a listening device that looked like a big, long, phone and a card with our names and stories on it.  I was Annie Harper, a 2nd class passenger from Chicago.  I guess my dad was one of the Reverends on board!

Once you get your directions on how to use your "phones", you walk into a room with this big ceiling fan!  They tell you though that that was actually the size of one of Titanics propellers! It was massive!
In the next room there is a gigantic model of the Titanic which took them 2 years to build!

 Throughout the museum there were these flip up things to test your knowledge about the boat, or about the many dogs that were on the boat.  Yes. There were dogs.  I was surprised too!

 And there were REAL dogs at the museum too!  Well...not the day I was there of course...bummer...but mom said when she was there last month that there they were laying in their steamer chest.  This is what they look like!

 In the next room you can track the Titanic on a big board and push the buttons to light up the path.  I was picked by the Maid to push the buttons for the group that came in with us.  It was really neat.  She called me Annie the whole time!

 This is a picture of the third class cabin.  And also the belongings of a third class passenger.  Two of my brothers were in third class, Cam and Jake.  The rest of us were in 1st or 2nd class.  We also got to go through the Coal Room...and pick up a shovel that held the same weight in coal and pretend to put it in the burner.  It was SUPER heavy for me....but mom and dad didn't seem to have much trouble.  I guess I am just little.
The Grand Staircase was AMAZING!  It was JUST like the movie!!!  I know that the movie wasn't real...but mom says it is based on the real boat...and the Grand Staircase was JUST like that!

Then we got to go upstairs to the first class area.

 We got to see their plates and other things like glasses, jewelry, and even one of the deck chairs that they found floating in the water after the ship sunk.

  Next we went to the Marconi room...the place where the SOS went out.  It showed what it looked like.  The "phone" we had told us that it was like the first text messages of the time!  I get it...but it looked REALLY hard!
After that we went to the Bridge.
I got to "steer" the boat!  It was really neat!  It also showed what the outside looked like out of the windows.  When you went out the door to the outside it was SUPER cold....and there is a deck chair hanging as if it flew off the deck when it hit the iceberg or something.

 Then there is a room to watch a video.  Mom and dad were watching it, but we got bored.  It was in black and white.  Bleh.  So we moved on!

We went through a bunch of other neat rooms that had artifacts and stuff in it...but we came to the Children's room.  My brothers and I found this room really interesting because it showed all of the children that were on board.  I got to see what I looked like as Annie and my brothers got to see what they looked like.
 After that things got quiet and sad because we were in the Memorial Room.  It was here that we were going to learn the fate of many of the passengers...including our own fates!  Myself and 2 of my brothers lived, including my mom and dad.  My dad in Titanic life died though.  My oldest brother Cam and his whole family...they were third class....died.  One thing I found really neat was the life preservers.  They were displayed in a couple of different rooms.  Mom pointed out to me that they were just a bunch of corks wrapped up in cloth.  Not circular corks...but the material was just cork.  It was kinda weird to think that that is all they had to hold them up.  So many of them died though once they hit the water anyway because it was so cold.
After the Memorial Room is the Survivors Room.  So if you survived, you can read your story...what you did...where you lived...when you did die, stuff like that.  It was cool.Then we all got to see what it was like at each level of the Titanic sinking.  These pictures show you.  It looks easy, but the last two were really hard!

 Finally at the got to put your hand in the freezing cold water and time how long you could keep it in there.  This is the exact temperature of the water when the Titanic went down.  I only put my finger in...and I couldn't stay in for more than 10 seconds.  I have a hard time imagining what people must have felt like with their whole bodies in it!  That is CRAZY!  My dad did his whole hand for 3 minutes....but his hand hurt afterward!

I had so much fun at Titanic...even though I didn't feel the best.  It was so neat.  Mom and I came home and read some more about Titanic and looked at more pictures.  Neither one of us are sure why the Titanic is so close to our hearts...but it is!  Thanks Titanic for letting us enjoy you for a day!

MaKenna was not feeling well that day.  In fact, after Titanic, we went to pick up our dinner boat tickets and went straight to the Cox Urgent Care after that to get her some medicine.  Poor baby.  But she did have a fantastic time.  Even though she didn't feel well, her eyes lit up at each step of the Titanic Museum.  And my boys really enjoyed it too...eveybody got into it and got into character beautifully.  I think most of all, they were all amazed by the temperature of the water at the end.  They talked about that and trying to walk on the decks at angles for awhile after ward!

Be sure when you are in Branson or Pigeon Forge where the other one is, that you get a chance to go.  It is worth the time and money.

Advance Reservation - Adult$24.26 + tax
Advance Reservation - Child (5-12)$10.77 + tax
Advance Reservation - Family Pass (2 adults, 4 children)*$62.84 + tax
Advance Reservation - Child (0-4)Free