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Grand Central Faith-Based Attractions

Visiting places of spiritual significance adds enrichment to any Grand Central itinerary. Groups will be uplifted and encouraged as they experience the heritage and faith that are foundational to many Midwestern communities.

Theater and re-enactments bring biblical stories to life. At Sight and Sound Theatre in Branson, Missouri, stirring songs, professional acting and excellent storytelling make that theater’s productions a must-see. Groups can experience the story of Christ at “The Great Passion Play” and the Holy Land Tour in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Architecture and art endeavor to reflect the heavenly realm in buildings throughout the Grand Central states. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Boston Avenue United Methodist Church is considered the best example of religious Art Deco in the world. On the Historic Hays Church Tour, more than 19 Germanic churches offer groups an understanding of the strong religious values of the early Kansas settlers. And inside the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, Missouri, more than 70 murals recount stories from the Bible.


Sight and Sound Theatre

Branson, Missouri

Epic Bible stories are brought to life on a 300-foot stage at Sight and Sound Theatre in Branson. Audiences feel like they’re part of the action because the stage wraps around three sides of the auditorium. More than 2,000 seats are often filled to capacity, attesting to the popularity and excellence of each production.

“Jonah” premiered last year; it will reopen mid-March and play through 2015. The production brings to life the epic Bible story of God’s prophet who refuses to go to Nineveh. The dazzling musical wows audiences with its special effects, including an underwater scene, a life-size ship and a whale that seemingly swims out into the audience. The cast of nearly 50 professional actors in elaborate costuming plus numerous animals offers a visual delight. This year is the last chance to see Jonah’s powerful and timely message onstage in Branson.

Behind-the-scenes tours, held before most afternoon shows, include a visit to the nerve centers that keep the lights, sound, stage and animals on cue. A rare glimpse inside the state-of-the-art scene shop highlights talented craftspeople creating sets for upcoming shows. Tours allow groups to peek into dressing rooms and walk onstage for an actor’s view of the house.

“The use of the live animals, especially indoors, differentiates us from other productions,” said spokesperson Kate Renfrow. “Behind-the-scenes tours take visitors into the animal dressing areas, which are very unique.”

Elizabeth Hey

Elizabeth Hey is a member of Midwest Travel Journalists Association and has received numerous awards for her writing and photography. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @travelbyfork.