The weather forecast for the weekend is springlike, and you and the family have a severe case of cabin fever after the last few weeks of snow and freezing temperatures. Put that together, and it calls for a road trip!

Why not head to Branson this weekend for the opening of Silver Dollar City and its brand-new themed area, Fireman's Landing?

The $8 million expansion, built in a previously undeveloped area of the park, features 10 new family-friendly attractions, including six rides and four play zones, and brings the park's number of attractions to more than 40.

Fireman's Landing opened March 11 for a "dress rehearsal" with local children and firefighters, and will open officially on March 14.

The fire-fighting theme fits in with the historical aspect of the 1880s-style theme park. The real-life town of Marmaros was once located on the site of today's Silver Dollar City. The town burned to the ground more than 100 years ago.

"Now fast forward to the fictional story for Fireman's Landing, where the citizens share a desire to band together to prevent such an event -- to be ready with volunteer recruits who have trained to test their preparedness," said Brad Thomas, general manager of Silver Dollar City. "The message carries that everyone can give back through volunteerism and community spirit."

The new rides include Fire Fall, an 8-story fire tower free-fall drop ride; Fire Spotter, with soaring balloons; Fire Wagon Frenzy, a bouncing ride; Lucky's Dizzy Dogs, a ride on Dalmatians running around a fire hydrant; Up the Ladder, a smaller tower drop ride; and Fireman's Flyer, a low-flying swing ride.

Lucky, the official chief rescue dog, is a costumed character who roams the Fireman's Landing area, interacting with visitors.

Silver Dollar City opens this weekend for selected dates, and then opens for the regular season on April 9. To make sure the park is open the days you want to go, check the online schedule for opening dates and times at www.silverdollarcity.com or call 800-831-4FUN.

The award-winning theme park, which was founded in 1960, features seven major festivals and events, beginning with WorldFest in April. More than 100 resident craftspersons demonstrate heritage arts and crafts in the park. Rides, music, entertainment, food and shopping are all part of the fun at Silver Dollar City.

Check out www.explorebranson.com for ideas on other things to see and do during your Branson road trip.