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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy Photo The Bass Pro Shops' Outdoor Shooting Academy at Big Cedar Lodge offers instruction sessions, sporting clays, trap, wobble, skeet and five stand.

When Big Cedar Lodge adds something new, that attraction has to take its place in a long line. Purchased by Bass Pro Shops' founder Johnny Morris in 1987, Big Cedar Lodge -- just 10 miles south of Branson -- literally has a list of activities from A to Z, including kayaking, miniature golf, paddle boats and sand volleyball.

Big Cedar Lodge started life in the 1920s when two prominent Missourians, Jude Simmons and Harry Worman, built resort homes in the valley. In 1947, their estates were purchased by Dan Norris and became Devil's Pool Guest Ranch, but it was the damming of the White River to create Table Rock Lake in 1958 that set the stage for Big Cedar Lodge.


Bass Pro Shops:

Shooting Academy

Make reservations as part of a trip to Big Cedar Lodge, or walk-ins are welcome during operating hours, which can be found at or by calling 800-225-6343.

Morris envisioned the lodge as a fishing camp, but it quickly grew in popularity beyond any of his expectations, bringing in "honeymooners, young families, established families, guys' weekend getaways, bachelorette parties -- truly across the board," says spokeswoman Janet Glaser. In 2015, an attraction was added that appeals to more of those demographics than one might imagine. The Bass Pro Shops' Outdoor Shooting Academy "is great for individuals, families and group outings," Glaser says. "It's a fun add-on to the experience of Big Cedar Lodge and a 'must try' activity for those who've never visited the Ozarks -- and even for those who have."

Glaser explains that the Shooting Academy offers instruction sessions, sporting clays, trap, wobble, skeet and five stand and has brought in big-time events.

"The Gould Brothers are regulars, and the show they put on with their trick shots is something that if you get to chance to see, you really should," she enthuses. "We also have a national trap shooting champion on staff plus a current collegiate shooter."

But, she adds, "this can be a fun day at the range for the whole family. No experience is required, and our guides will be there every step of the way to ensure a safe and fun time for everyone; 14-plus is the typical starting age.

"Prices start at $12," she adds, "and will vary based off of variables such as if the guest has their own equipment, how many disciplines they would like to experience and for how many rounds. We suggest at least an hour to get the full experience, but the time you spend out there is completely up to your pleasure."

-- Becca Martin-Brown

NAN What's Up on 03/10/2019

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