Springfield, MO

The Johnny Morris Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri far exceeded my expectations

CJ Coombs

Wonders of Wildlife Museum & Aquarium, Springfield, Missouri.Robert Lawton, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons.

Recently, I was in Springfield, Missouri with family as my oldest grandchild is starting her journey at Missouri State University (MSU). On one afternoon, we went to the Bass Pro Shop to attend the Johnny Morris Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium which is at the same location as Bass Pro. Overall, the displays and presentations amazed me and the time to go through the displays was well worth the experience. It took us about four hours. This isn't an experience you'll want to rush.

Most of us are familiar with Johnny Morris who founded Bass Pro Shops in 1972. In 2017, he opened the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri.


The wildlife and aquarium sections are housed within 350,000 square feet. In the Wildlife Museum, there are so many galleries that contain taxidermied animals. These animals are from around the world. Each of the dioramas is so meticulously detailed displaying the natural habitats of the animals.

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There were also short films during the course of the viewing paths providing interesting information so it was a learning lesson as well for all ages. One of the films was about Teddy Roosevelt and his achievements relating to conservation. The displays of all the wildlife were remarkable against the painted backgrounds. Click here to see some of the wildlife galleries and exhibits.

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I was even more impressed with the size of the aquariums. All the showcases were so large. There were interesting themed portions such as an ocean of a themed shipwreck. You try to imagine the gallons and gallons of water used to pull this off. There was also an area near the end wear anyone can pet the stingrays.

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Your journey begins inside the breathtaking Great Ocean Hall, bringing the depths of the ocean to the middle of America. Explore historic fishing boats that belonged to Ernest Hemingway and Zane Grey. (Source.)

There are so many exhibits in the aquarium that will amaze and mesmerize. You don't have to be a child to have your attention captured. Some of the fish were so unique and colorful. There were also some fish that were very large!

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One interesting portion of the aquarium is where you can suit up and get inside a cage to get a close-up look at a shark and other fish. They call that the Out to Sea Shark Dive. Click here to explore which exhibit might interest you. Interesting, too, they have birthday party options.

In 2019, Morris and his family received the Audobon Medal to recognize their efforts with conservation.

Since 1978, Morris has worked with every Republican and Democratic presidential administration to advance significant conservation issues and inspired his four children to follow in his conservation footsteps, both in their business endeavors and philanthropy. (Source.)

Thanks for reading. If you're ever in the Springfield, Missouri area, I highly recommend you pencil this venue on your things-to-do list.

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms. Thinker, giver, and lover of life and retired early to be a writer. Born into Air Force service life, life has taken me to Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO

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