It’s summer vacation time and my family recently left Pennsylvania to hit the partially open road thanks to some construction areas. Our Oklahoma family, friends, and fisherman destination was an all-too-familiar 20-hour drive looking for various landmarks like a giant candle, tank, and large wooden hillbilly with moveable arms. After being closed for remodeling for a few years, we finally looked forward to visiting Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife Museum in Springfield, Missouri. It didn’t disappoint.
Johnny Morris is the founder of Bass Pro Shops and a notable conservationist. From a press release, Johnny Morris created this 350,000-square-foot attraction as a “charitable … gift to the nation to inspire people of all ages to explore nature.”
The key word for this amazing facility is “immersion”. It’s a 1.5 mile trail that takes you over, through, and under exhibits for unique perspectives. Close your eyes and you will even smell when you step into a forest or a saltwater pier. Kids can show up in some of the live animal exhibits and the really adventurous can dive with sharks.
After 3 hours of cool, dark exploration, we had to jump back into the baking car to complete our trip. My family just sat in silence. There was a lot to see. Which exhibit was the best? Was it the shipwreck reef and the petting of the rays? The 3-tier bait fish “Tornado?” Or did the playful otter steal the show?
If your in the Springfield, MO area be sure to check this out and devote several hours to this conservation and educational experience. The website warns that the best times to visit are in the fall and winter and to avoid crowds on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We had to visit in the summer but made a Monday visit and it was still well attended, for example. Not unbearable, but the good reviews are definitely out. Which is a really good thing for conservation efforts. Learn more about environmental protection efforts and find out what you can do to support and protect our aquatic natural resources.