Happy Birthday, America!

by Big Cedar Lodge 3. July 2013 13:40

We thought this might be a good chance to reflect back on a previous 4th of July celebration at Big Cedar Lodge:


There is something fascinating about watching families spread out their blankets in preparation for a Fourth of July fireworks show.  Each step is done religiously.  As their parents and grandparents did for them; so they train the little ones.  In time, the ritual will be carried out by their children and their children’s children as well. 

The Rite begins with finding the ideal spot.  Fathers must put thought into how the fireworks will be viewed, and then mothers adjust the position according to safety.  One cannot be too close or too far; in other words, the spot must be perfect.

Next, the blanket is placed and properly squared.  Although just a piece of material, on this night it becomes theatre seating under bursting clouds of celebration.  It’s our country’s birthday, and everyone wants a front row seat.

Finally, everyone takes their position for the evening.  “Daddy, sit by me,” can be heard across the lawn, and “When is it going to start?” echoes again and again.  The anticipation is felt by young and old. 

Then it happens.  The first notes are played from the song engrained in every American heart, the song that silences every crowd, the song that symbolizes what it means to be American… The Star Spangled Banner. 

The sky erupts as color and sound collide.  Each rocket streams upward and envelops the sky in shimmering beauty.  One after another, each color is a little brighter and bolder than the one before.    

Big Cedar Lodge offered Bar-B-Q, pony rides, live music, and kid’s activities throughout the day on the Fourth; but guests came to see the fireworks.  The show is without a doubt, the best display in the area. 

Families travel from across the lake and across the country to find their “front row” blanket seat amongst the Ozark Mountains.  And as each exploding plume cast light on the faces below, the ritual is complete.  Big Cedar Lodge was the perfect spot!   

Happy Birthday, America.


Are You Ready to Spin?

by Big Cedar Lodge 22. May 2013 14:28

If you are interested in a high intensity, calorie burning, exciting new workout, then Big Cedar Lodge’s Spin Class is perfect for you!  Our Fitness Instructor, Denette, pumps up the music as riders pump the pedals for an energizing 45 minute class.

Denette begins the class with a simple explanation of the basics.  This includes hand positions on the handle bars and adjusting the tension for different inclines. Riders are then fitted to their bikes and away they go!

With her coaching, riders shift tensions for simulated flat surfaces, small inclines, and large inclines.  Riders sit and stand as the tension is released or tightened.  By the time class is complete, you'll know why Spinning can burn up to 500 calories per session; but don't worry, it's great for all fitness levels and each rider selects their own tension.  In other words, this is a personal workout and you set your own pace. But don’t forget your towel and water—you’ll need them!

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Are You Sure You are Not an Artist?

by Big Cedar Lodge 29. March 2013 10:21

By Stephanie Watson, Paint & Pour Instructor


There is a common misconception that you are either born an artist or you’re not—like it’s part of your DNA or something! I believe what makes a person an artist begins with a simple decision to become one.


“Paint and Pour” was designed to demonstrate that we ALL have the ability to create great art, and not only that--but it can be really fun and fulfilling! One of my favorite parts of creating a painting is to stand back at the end and think to myself, “I didn’t know I could do that.”  And to see that happen to each and every student over the course of a two hour class, is even better! The participants walk in, look at the painting, and usually say, “I’m not going to be able to do that.”  Two hours later, they stand back and are surprised at what they've accomplished. I love it!


So the next time you are at Big Cedar, come see for yourself. We provide the supplies, wine, and soft drinks; all in a beautiful setting. We will even send you home with your own painter’s apron, because most likely you will get hooked!


Big Cedar's Horse of the Month!

by Big Cedar Lodge 15. March 2013 12:24

Hershey came to us at Cedar Mountian Stables in 2006 at approximately 6 years old. He quickly became a guest favorite, as well as a favorite among the wranglers. Hershey is known for his awesome personality and ability to do anything you ask of him: cattle drive, advanced ride or one hour trail ride. He got his name because of his chocolate color and sweet attitude. Hershey is currently offering trail rides at DWC stables, be sure to ask for him next time you go for a ride!


Spring Break 2013

by Big Cedar Lodge 27. February 2013 16:22


Spring Break in the Canyon--Dogwood Canyon Nature Park 

Wonders of Wildlife Demonstrations Join us for a special wildlife demonstration brought to you by the Wonders of Wildlife Museum. This event is complimentary with a paid wrist band to the park. Join us next to Great Spirit Rock Shelter in the heart of DWC, next to our authentic Tipi. Fridays: March 15th, 22nd, and 29th from 10-11am Birds of Prey and 1-2pm Endangered Species

Local Flint Knapping Artist Demonstration Come and watch local Flint Knapping artists demonstrate how the Native Americans fashioned weapons. This event is complimentary with a paid wrist band to the park. Join us next to Great Spirit Rock Shelter in the heart of DWC, next to our authentic Tipi. Tuesdays and Thursdays: March 12th, 14th, 19th, 21st, 26th and 28th from 11am-2pm

Kids’ Trout Fishing Tournament There’s no place better suited to introduce a young person to fishing than DWC. Come and learn from our professional trout fishing guides, and then take what you learn and catch the biggest trout. Trophies will be awarded to the top 3 biggest fish. This event is complimentary for kids 6-16 with a paid wrist band to the park. Join us next to the Hope Wilderness Chapel. Saturdays: March 16th, 23rd, and 30th at 11am with Demo on fishing equipment and techniques, Tournament starts at 11:30am for one hour.

Fly Fishing We offer half-day guided catch and release, fly casting clinics, and hourly self-guided opportunities to catch and keep or release.

Segway Modern innovation comes to the wilderness! Experience the adventure of traveling via Segway through Dogwood Canyon’s most breathtaking sites on this round trip tour to the Glory Hole, a magnificent blue-green pool where some of our largest trout reside. We also offer advanced Segway tours for more experienced riders with a round trip tour to Wishbowl Falls.


Check Out Big Cedar Lodge's Spring Break Activities

Long Creek Marina

by Big Cedar Lodge 7. February 2013 16:23

Relax; we’ve got you covered….



Bass Pro Shops Long Creek Marina


As a member of the Bass Pro Shops family, Long Creek Marina offers top of the line Tracker Boat rentals and the newest water sports equipment available on Table Rock Lake.  Our knowledgeable staff can arrange professional fishing guide services or set up ski instruction.  The Marina also has groceries, apparel, and camping supplies in a family-friendly, convenient location.


Boat Rental: Fishing Boats, Pontoons, Ski Boats, and Deck Boats


Personal Watercraft Rental: Skis, Tubes, Kneeboards, and Wakeboards


Professional Fishing Guides:  Local Guides with Knowledge of the Best Angling Equipment and Techniques including Conventional Pole and Bow Fishing


Ski School: Shalom, Kneeboard, Wakeboard, and Barefoot Ski Instruction (Beginning Memorial Day)


Lady Liberty Boat:  A custom built 62’ luxury dinner yacht captures the beauty of a by-gone era while employing the modern amenities of today.  The distinctive yacht holds up to 49 guests comfortably, and is available for private celebrations as well as corporate and group events.  Add a touch of sophistication and charm to your next dining event; cruise the lake aboard the Lady Liberty!       


Arriving by water, Bass Pro Shops Long Creek Marina is located just south of the 86 Hwy Bridge, directly across from Brush Creek.  The private marina offers pay-at-the-pump gas services, over 195 boat slips, and calm quiet waters for docking.  


Bass Pro Shops Long Creek Marina

1378 Long Creek Road

Ridgedale, MO 65739






Lighting the Big Cedar Christmas Tree

by Big Cedar Lodge 13. December 2012 15:06

What do Christmas carolers, cheerleading elves, ice carving, and Clarence Peabody have in common?  They all provide entertainment during the Big Cedar Lodge Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the Truman Café lawn!  Every Saturday evening until Christmas, crowds come from near and far to watch a lucky child light up the huge Christmas tree; however, it’s the entertainment before that special moment that make the night truly memorable!

Take Clarence Peabody for example –as Master of Ceremonies for the evening, he offers some unconventional wit with his songs, jokes, and elf wrangling!  The carolers, dressed in Victorian clothing, bring a more traditional aspect to the gathering, and the ice carving is not only beautiful but interesting!  As each chunk of ice falls away, the creations come to life.  And what about the elves, you ask?  Well, their Pep Rally is so good; the jolly old elf himself makes a special appearance!  



Don’t miss your chance to join the celebration each Saturday at 4:30pm on the Truman Lawn at Big Cedar Lodge.  You can also find refreshments, crafts, bon-fires, and all around merriment!  And, don't forget your camera!  



Load Up the Wagon, It's Time for the Holiday Light Tours!

by Big Cedar Lodge 15. November 2012 12:19

There is something inherently Christmas about loading up in a horse drawn hitch wagon decorated in holiday greenery, and heading out to view the Big Cedar Christmas lights. I had the opportunity to take my first Holiday Wagon Light Tour this week, and I know it will be a part of my holiday traditions for years to come.

From the moment we climbed into the wagon, I felt like I was entering a Currier & Ives Christmas card. I recommend dressing warmly, but each wagon carries enough blankets to warm the toes of every guest.  Before we left the loading area, we had snuggled into our seats and were comfortably awaiting the ride ahead.

The tour took us by the many beautifully decorated Big Cedar buildings and cabins.  Looking up the hillside, Falls Lodge, Grandview, and Springs Lodge shimmered in the crisp night air.  But it wasn’t just the sights that made the ride so memorable.  From the clip-clop of hooves, to the smell of fresh hay, to the pitch of the wagon as we made our way throughout the property; every sensory element said “The Holidays are Here… Enjoy!”

Our wagon included a couple celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary and a couple who had planned a quick stop at Big Cedar, but after one day, they changed their plans to a week-long vacation stay.   Also in our hitch, we met a young couple who were regulars to the Lodge, but had brought their baby daughter for her first Holiday Light tour.  Each of us from different places and walks of life, but together we made a lasting holiday memory as we exchanged names, stories, and Big Cedar anecdotes.

We unloaded from the wagons at the bonfire site in front of Truman Coffee and Café.  There, we sang Christmas songs with the Singin’ Cowboy, drank hot chocolate, and roasted S’mores over a blazing campfire.   The evening was complete as the last verse of “Silent Night” lingered above the holiday carolers… Currier & Ives couldn’t have designed a better ending to a more beautiful night! 


C.A.S.T. For Kids

by Big Cedar Lodge 5. October 2012 12:53
Big Cedar hosted the CATCH A SPECIAL THRILL (C.A.S.T.) FOUNDATION for a C.A.S.T. for Kids fishing event at Bent Hook Marina on Sunday, September 30. The event gives special needs children the opportunity to fish and boat with area Bass fisherman on Table Rock Lake. Sponsors included U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Bass Pro Shops, Camp Barnabas, Table Rock Lake Bassmasters, Ozark Rivers Heritage Foundation, Western Taney County Fire and Developmental Center of the Ozarks.

Each child received a free rod and reel, C.A.S.T. t-shirt and hat, a tackle box, and tackle to take home. All children, no matter their disability, had the opportunity to fish the lake from a boat. Upon return, the families and volunteers were treated to a fish fry provided by Bass Pro Shops; and as a special keepsake, the children received a mounted picture of themselves with their fishing guides.

The Bryant family from Arkansas found out about the event through Camp Barnabas, a summer camp geared towards the needs of exceptional children. Both of their children, Seth and Shai, have special needs and attended the camp this past summer.

“Camp Barnabas gave our children a chance to be normal,” explained Tonya Bryant. The children were able to zip line, rock climb, and take part in other activities not usually available to them.

“There was someone with the kids at all times, and it was good for them to gain some independence from us. But also my husband and I felt completely comfortable with the care and supervision they received.”

So when they found out about the C.A.S.T. for Kids event, they really wanted their children involved. Rusty and Tonya used to love boating before having children, so being out on a boat is very special to them.

Seth, the couple’s oldest child, was born with cerebral palsy. “He is physically fine, but mentally special,” Tonya states.

Seth is the first to drop his line in the water, and from his excitement, you’d never know that convincing him to come had been a challenge. Tonya explains that he didn’t want to come because he suffers from separation anxiety. The family is split up into two bass boats, but they remain within a few feet of each other.

Shai, the younger of the Bryant’s children, was three-years-old when she was involved in an accident resulting in a brain stem injury. For two weeks, the family was unsure if she would make it. She spent months in a wheelchair and had to relearn to walk and talk.

“She struggles with balance,” Tonya states. “I have to keep my hand on her to steady her.”

Once situated in the boat though, Shai is all smiles. When the Bass Pro hands her the fishing-pole, she patiently watches the bobber.

“Patience is one of the traits you have to have to be in our family,” states Tonya. Although Shai is in 4th grade, she has only recently learned to ride a bike without training wheels, skip, and is now playing on a softball team.

“I’m not a very good fisherman,” Shai comments. We’ve been out on the water for almost an hour and haven’t had a nibble.

“Just watch your bobber,” Tonya responds. And as if on cue, the bobber immediately goes under! Shai begins reeling, but whatever is on the end of the line wants nothing to do with joining us in the boat. Fishing Pro and guide, Dave, steps up and helps her reel in a 21” catfish.

“I love to fish!” Shai exclaims. Suddenly she has forgotten all about the conditions that challenge her; suddenly she is just a little girl catching her first catfish!

“Girls rule, boys drool!” she shouts to her brother. There is some playful bantering back and forth, but the simple joy of seeing her face makes the entire group smile. “If we had only fished from the shore, we wouldn’t have come. It means all the difference in the world to fish from a boat,” Tonya explains.

And here is where the fishing pros come in—by providing boats and guides, these children experience fishing in a way that would not normally be available to them. Many of the boats are specially outfitted for wheelchairs, and the guides focus their entire attention on the kids. Dave and Rick, the Bryant family guides, belong to the Table Rock Bassmaster Club, and every year they get a call for volunteers.

“We know there are lots of families in need of opportunities like this,” Rick explains. “We’ve been involved for five years, and we keep coming back because of moments like these!”

After catching her fish, Shai is content to play with the items in her new tackle box. Dave asks if we would like to go on a boat ride, and soon we are clipping through the water at a pretty good pace. Tonya’s hand rests instinctively on her daughter’s leg as we skim across the water.

“I’m proud of myself,” Shai states.

Tonya looks down at her daughter and smiles. “I’m proud of you too, honey!”

Tonya and I make eye contact from across the boat, and no words have to be exchanged. The reason the Bryant family traveled to Big Cedar Lodge for this event wasn’t just to catch fish; it was so their children would know they CAN catch fish.

Since 1991, C.A.S.T. has given exceptional children the opportunity to catch fish; but more than that, they’ve given them the confidence to know they CAN! On behalf of Big Cedar, we thank all the volunteers, families, and children who made the day special!

The Journey of the Lady Liberty From the Big Apple to Big Cedar

by Big Cedar Lodge 30. May 2012 15:43

Johnny Morris, Founder of Bass Pro Shops recently purchased the Noa Danielle, a 65 foot custom built classic luxury dinner yacht. The boat, re-named Lady Liberty, officially embarked on its journey May 28th at 5:30am from the New York Harbor at Chelsea Piers. The adventure down the East Coast and eventually up the Mississippi to Jefferson City, Missouri is expected to take approximately 40 days to complete. From Jefferson City it will travel to its new home, Big Cedar Lodge, located on the shores of Table Rock Lake in the Ozark Mountains of Southwest Missouri. The boat will serve as an amenity for Big Cedar Lodge guests and the general public for evening dinner cruises, weddings and catered events.


Currently, Lady Liberty has traveled 165 miles. Join us daily for updates on the boat’s progress. We’ll blog and post about the boat’s adventure, historical sites along the way and how Big Cedar is getting ready for the big arrival.


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Big Cedar Lodge

Big Cedar is tucked into the wooded hillsides of the Ozark Mountains just 10 miles south of Branson, Missouri on Table Rock Lake. This popular vacation paradise - complete with Jack Nicklaus signature golf course and Dogwood Canyon Nature Park - offers cozy accommodations, delicious dining options and first class service.

Big Cedar Lodge website

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