Shelly Schultz

Miami News-Record

With the current economic situation, family vacations may be a luxury that takes low priority.

There are, however, many places to visit and things to see within a tank-full of gas from Miami that might fit the budget better.

Each Friday, the Miami News-Record will bring a “trip on a tank” to its readers.

These articles will feature a variety of mini vacation ideas from amusement parks, ballgames and river cruises to low-budget camping, museums and community events.

This week’s trip leads to Silver Dollar City’s KidsFest, where rhythm and dance artistry stomps to the stage with the Swedish Supergroup JEERK in their first U.S. performance.

A phenomenon in Europe, JEERK is five performers who use their percussion skills, rhythmic body movements and an array of novelty props to drum, dance and crash their way through the stage.

“Kids love action, and JEERK presents an energetic and outrageous combination of dance, percussion, music and acrobatics, all in flawless precision,” said Brad Schroeder, Silver Dollar City’s director of special events.

JEERK is part of the theme park’s summer-long KidsFest that runs from June 6 to Aug. 9.

Additional featured shows include The Magic of Peter Gossamer with tricks, levitations, vanishings and comedy from the master illusionist, and an original VeggieTales live stage show - “The Invention of Silliness,” starring America’s favorite talking vegetables in a musical adventure created exclusively for Silver Dollar City.

Hands-on activity is the focus at the Kid Connection Activity Center, where kids can make their own creations from the acclaimed Kid Connections books and television show.

Thirty themed rides and attractions offer thrills and adventure, with high-speed coasters such as the explosive-launch coaster PowderKeg, named the best family thrill coaster on the planet by Thrillride.com; the multi-looping coaster, Wildfire, the 7-story super-swooping Giant Swing, and mega-splashing rides like the American Plunge and the Lost River raft ride.

For real ride fans, the park presents Moonlight Madness featuring nighttime fun July 27-Aug. 9, with rides running until 10 p.m.

Silver Dollar City is open daily during KidsFest.

The tickets aren’t cheap - $50 for anyone over the age of 12 and $40 for children age 11 and under. Seniors take $2 off the ticket price. Getting there won’t break the bank though.

The average vehicle can travel to Branson and home on less than $30 in fuel and packing a picnic is not only fun but an economical way to feed the family on the road.

For more information about KidsFest, discounts or to purchase tickets visit Silver Dollar City’s website at www.silverdollarcity?.com or call them at 1-800-831-4FUN.