Branson Top Ops FEC to open on site of Missouri Ride The Ducks operator

Branson Top Ops
As shown in this preliminary digital rendering, Branson Top Ops will be a patriotic-themed attraction offering an interactive outdoor maze, indoor laser tag, and other adventures. (Photo: Ripley Entertainment Inc.)

Correction: The date of the tragedy was July 19, 2018.

A new attraction will be taking the place of the Ride The Ducks building in Branson.

The building was shuttered after one of the Ride The Ducks vehicles sank on Table Rock Lake and 17 people were killed July 19, 2018. It is not operating as investigations continue.

Branson Top Ops will take its place at 2320 W. Missouri 76, said Suzanne Smagala-Potts, Ripley Entertainment Inc. public relations manager.

“Branson thrives on tourism and we didn’t want the building to not operate and contribute to Branson’s economy for 2019,” Smagala-Potts said. “We also want to be able to employ people in the city. We’re very grateful that some of our staff from Ride The Ducks are going to be joining us on our Top Ops team.”

Branson Top Ops will have a patriotic theme, along with an interactive outdoor maze, an indoor laser tag, retail space and other experiences, Smagala-Potts said.

“We wanted to reach out to the community first before they start seeing changes to the building because we will be repainting, doing signage,” Smagala-Potts said. “We wanted to be very transparent with the community and let them know what we were doing before they start seeing construction and all of that.”

Memorial Day weekend is the anticipated opening date, but no prices have been set yet, she said.

Ripley Entertainment Inc., which also operates Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Branson, looked at the tourism demographic before launching this idea, Smagala-Potts said.

“We just thought it was a really good fit for Branson, that theme,” she said.

Their focus will be on giving back to not only the community, but first responders as well.

“For the 2019 season, we’re going to be donating 10 percent of all proceeds to first responders, specifically police, fire and EMS, with a minimum amount of $100,000,” Smagala-Potts said.

There will be a discount for first responders and military, according to the spokesperson.

Several Ride The Ducks vehicles had been parked outside the building, but they will be moved into storage, Smagala-Potts said.

Ride The Ducks had been in Branson for 47 years, she said.

For more information, visit www.BransonTopOps.com.

Source: Springfield News-Leader

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