Life-sized replicas of yellowfin tuna and dolphins swim in a massive artificial seascape at the Wonders of Wildlife Aquarium and Museum in Springfield, Missouri. (Photo: Richard Simms)
Wonders of Wildlife: A Treat for the Entire Family
by Richard Simms
There is a good chance that you are one of the 200 million people who visit a Bass Pro Shop somewhere every year. Hence, you may have heard of the popular chain store’s home base in Springfield, Missouri. The first and “Grandaddy” of all Bass Pro outlets, the Springfield store claims to cover 750,000 square feet and spans 17 acres under one roof.
I’m not going to lie. I was underwhelmed by the Springfield Bass Pro. Sure, it is huge. But my impression was the store’s only attribute is that it’s big.
HOWEVER, I was incredibly overwhelmed by Johnny Morris’s adjacent attraction, the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium (WOW).
Clearly, I am not alone. USA Today recently declared the WOW the best aquarium in the United States. Founded by Johnny Morris, CEO of Bass Pro Shops, WOW includes 1.5 miles of immersive galleries featuring 4D dioramas and a 1.5-million-gallon aquarium.
I was in awe of a life-size, full-scale model of saltwater anglers pursuing full-sized yellowfin tuna. Life-sized African displays featured full-sized elephants alongside hyenas and warthogs. The taxidermy work was beyond compare, at least in my frame of reference.
Beyond its sheer scale and quality, there is a consistent message about the critical importance of our outdoors world, paying homage to the sportsmen and women of the world and their critical contributions to preserve our rich outdoor heritage.
“We are honored to be recognized and are grateful to our guests, partners, staff and volunteers for their steadfast support,” said Morris.
For more information about Wonders of Wildlife and to purchase tickets, visit https://wondersofwildlife.org.