On a cool, overcast Wednesday in May, Quannah and Melissa Roush stood tall in an embrace in front of the Cannonball Express outside the Memory Barn at the World’s Largest Toy Museum Complex.
Their children Raegan, 10, nine-year-old McKenzie and Neeson, 6, draped themselves around their parents. Everyone smiled.
They were glad to be out of Tulsa. They were glad to be in Branson.
“We needed break. The kids needed a break,” Quannah said smiling, looking at his wife and children.
They were tired, he said, of being isolated for months of sheltering against the Covid-19 pandemic. So they came to Branson.
The Roush family, here for a week, spent most of the morning browsing the Memory Barn of the Toy Museum.
Dad Quannah, who works in the insurance industry, said he liked the National BB Gun Museum collection, remembering days learning to shoot with his father. The toy museum showcases more than 500 BB guns.
Mom Melissa, a kindergarten teacher, said what she liked seeing most was “Skipper.” Skipper is Barbie’s little sister. Barbie, of course, is the famous doll of flowing blonde locks and never-ending smile. The Toy Museum has more than 900 Barbies in its collection.
“I like the Star Wars things I saw,” oldest sister Raegan said. “Me, too,” Neeson chimed in.
For McKenzie the doll house collection grabbed her attention, especially the teensy real-life champagne glasses and Coca Cola bottles.
“Are those chopsticks?” McKenzie asked her dad as she bent down to look further.
“Are those shrimp on that plate?” Quannah wondered aloud as he bent down alongside her.
For families like the Roushes, the Toy Museum is a chance to make a new memory, that will be especially remarkable because of the strange pandemic situation, according to Wendy Beck, who along wither husband Tom own and operate the Toy Museum.
“We’re prayerful to see more folks this year, ,” said Beck, a former high school English teacher and also a writer. “Now that things are open again, we think the Memorial Day holiday will make a difference in getting people to come to Branson.”
Those who come to the Toy Museum will have their eyes, ears and arms full of plenty of things from memory lane. The museum houses classic military toys, television and movie toys, and toys from the 1880s to the present.
Toys range from antique model planes and trains, Hot Wheels cars, tractors, cap guns, die cast cars, board games, G.I. Joe action figures, lunchboxes. Full-size toys include an antique powered shovel, 1959 Rolls Royce, 1950s bus, a Bugatti car, 1927 Cadillac, 1880s General store, 1948 Simplex motorcycle, Cushman motor scooter, vintage steam locomotive, and more.
The World’s Largest Toy Museum Complex is located at 3609 W. Hwy 76, Branson, MO 65616. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 417-332-1499 for more information or visit worldslargesttoymuseum.com.