Last weekend we jet set to Springfield Missouri to celebrate my college roommate Emily’s nuptials. (I was honored to make her a wedding map as well!) These weekends are always some of my favorite as they are full of reunions and catching up! Since our departure flight wasn’t until Sunday evening, we had plenty of time to explore the city that day. Blake’s college roommate John Paul who lives there as well was kind enough to chauffer us around. With his family’s company being that of Bass Pro Shops, the store headquarters was a natural stop on our to-do list. While we were there, we were able to get a sneak-peek of the store’s newest addition, the Johnny Morris Wildlife Museum and Aquarium. It was absolutely incredible. The Morris family is active in their conversationalist efforts, which led to their vision of the most elaborate conservation attraction of its kind for fish and wildlife conservation.
As Bass Pro’s announcement editorial described it, “This 315,000-square-foot educational experience will consist of multiple thematic attractions and exhibits on a scale unlike anything else in the world. The experience aims to showcase the beauty of wildlife while celebrating the critical role hunters and anglers play in wildlife conservation by honoring past accomplishments and ongoing efforts.”
The attention to detail is what blew me away the most after our time spent at the museum. The realistic murals that canvas each room take you out of an ordinary museum and into each continent with ease. I also loved the way the animals were perfectly staged to mimic their natural habitat to give the audience the feel of interacting with live wildlife. The tour weaves and winds you through as if you’re on a natural trail experiencing each section at a time. At one point, as we walked through Africa at sunset, I found myself wanting to sit back and enjoy the gorgeous view outside the perfectly staged tent for two.
From the trails of the wildlife museum, we began our journey into the extraordinary aquarium. You are instantly struck with the two-story water feature swarming with multiple varieties of fish. As you venture further into the space, multiple individual aquariums hug you in a round structural design. After leaving the main aquarium feature, you begin twists and turns through the many varieties of live wildlife and under sea environments.
You go through caves, past waterfalls, over drawl-bridges, while enjoying this interactive experience. The museum did such a wonderful job of hiding the previous path you were on as well as the future trail up ahead to make you feel as though you are in a much larger space than you are. At every turn I was in awe of our surroundings and couldn’t imagine what else could be ahead.
“This attraction consists of a 1.3-million-gallon aquarium adventure showcasing 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles and birds in an immersive tour through the world’s marine habitats; a wildlife museum that brings visitors eye-to-eye with amazing mammal specimens from North America, Africa and the Arctic; and a conservation education center for youth programs, conservation groups and events.”
I can’t convey enough, what an amazing attraction this is. I left feeling as though I had visited every country and learned so much about each species along the way.
John Paul’s dad Johnny Morris, the visionary behind the experience said
“Responsible hunters and anglers are often the unsung heroes in conservation despite playing a significant role. Our vision is to create a world-class experience that celebrates hunting, fishing, and conservation in Springfield where half of the U.S. population lives within a day’s drive,” and in my opinion they did just that.
I highly recommend this attraction for anyone near or far from Springfield! Absolutely amazing, and worth the trip.
Some of the exhibit’s details I gathered from here.