The World's Largest Toy Museum Complex is Branson’s only attraction with multiple museums under one roof, pretty much guaranteeing that everyone in your family or group will find something they love. One significant way in which the Toy Complex is similar to other museums in Branson is that you certainly can’t miss it...with giant toy soldiers, huge alphabet blocks, an enormous teddy bear and other brightly painted, cheerful items adorning the entryway and exterior, the World's Largest Toy Museum beckons all - young, old, and everyone in-between!
With more than 26,000 square feet of space and more than a million items on display, for toy aficionados, there’s pretty much everything you’ll remember from your childhood, as well as things you’ll have to ask your folks, or even your grandparents, about. There might even be a few toys or games that hit big after you considered yourself “too old” for toys - you’ll have to check with the kids on those...but let’s get one thing straightened out first, nobody is ever too old for toys! Just ask Toy Museum owners, Tom and Wendy Beck - their initial toy collection started because “Tom never really grew up…” I think most of us can relate, growing up can mean losing that sense of wonder and curiosity that makes toys so important in our lives.
In addition to expanding into a neighboring building that they dubbed the “Memory Barn,” the Becks have made room for five additional museums: National BB Gun, Stearnsy Bear, World of Checkers, Paul Harvey Jr, and Harold Bell Wright collections can all be found within the World's Largest Toy Museum Complex. Harold Bell Wright is particularly important to the area as it was his book, “The Shepherd of the Hills,” that helped put Branson on the tourism map. The museum houses the original manuscript of the bestselling novel, first published in 1907, along with items from the famed author’s personal collection of artwork and furnishings.
What kind of toys will you find in the World’s Largest Toy Museum? Well, the list of what’s not in there is probably shorter...among other treasures, you’ll see collections that showcase: Barbie and scores of other popular dolls, including Raggedy Ann & Andy, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Chatty Cathy -- sci fi memorabilia, superheroes, and action figures, like GI Joe, Star Trek, Incredible Hulk, Star Wars, Power Rangers, and Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles -- the vintage western collectibles that aren’t so easy to find anymore, like Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger -- those vintage toys every collector is dying to get their hands on, like tin and cast iron toys, trains, tractors, airplanes, metal cars, pull along toys, and more -- and items that appeal to folks who love a particular line, brand, cartoon, or whatever, including Nascar, M&Ms, Disney, Betty Boop, and Popeye -- and everybody knows someone who searches high and low for old metal lunch boxes. Of course, this is a museum, not one gigantic toy store, so most items are on display rather than “for sale,” but there is a gift shop! For an amusing exchange played out on one of the Travel Channel’s highest rated programs, catch the Branson episode of the popular show, Ghost Adventures, when the show’s host and his fellow investigator try bargaining with owner, Wendy Beck, for vintage toys they need for a local investigation - it’s a hoot!
In addition to toys and multiple museums, the Toy Museum features presidential and military items, including military model toys - side note, the museum is veteran-owned, an especially meaningful thing in a town that loves to honor our nation’s veterans. And the museum isn’t just overflowing with simple, glassed-in displays; you’ll discover life-sized figures, special exhibits, classic toy commercials and other advertising, and an over-abundance of photo ops at every turn! The Museum is open year-round from Monday through Saturday, generally from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., but the hours can change seasonally.
In Branson, you’ll discover museums and other attractions that far outnumber the days in the vacation itinerary of most visitors to the area, but if you need a little nudge toward a “must not miss” place for your next visit, may we suggest the “many museums within a museum” known as the World’s Largest Toy Museum Complex? You’re welcome!
For information on other museums in Branson: “Branson’s Museums - Fun and Fascinating Inside and Out!”