National Museum & Aquarium
The Wonders of Wildlife – National Museum and Aquarium re-opened its doors in September 2017 and has definitely become a family destination hotspot. With over 350,000 square feet and 1.5 miles of trails with animals at every turn, you will be drawn into the immersive exhibits and habitats which were built to entertain and educate, while also sharing the importance of conservation, both historic and present day.
Upon entering the Grand Hall, you will have an opportunity to choose the Aquarium or Wildlife exhibits. During our visit, we chose to visit the wildlife exhibits first. The detail of the animals is spot on, and the staff went to great lengths to ensure that the exhibits fit the natural environment of each species.
Penguin Cove was a pleasant surprise. Watching the penguins swim, dive and play is not something that we expected to find in Springfield, Missouri. The penguins were a popular stop for most visitors, who enjoyed watching them fly and entertain. Who knew they could jump so high!! The Aquarium gives you 360˚ views, which allows the guest to feel as if they are immersed in an underwater world. Many of the visitors that we met were impressed by not only its size and shape but also the vast number of underwater life that inhabits the aquarium.
The Aquarium also includes a touch tank, that allows visitors the opportunity to reach in and feel the skin of a stingray, horseshoe crabs and a myriad of fish. One of the newer adventures allows for an interactive Shark Dive (with prior reservations). This was not available when we visited, and so we missed watching this show.
It would be easy to spend an entire day visiting the Center. Visitors are encouraged to take their time and really immerse themselves in the experience. If you end up hungry (like we did), there is a small restaurant in the Grand Hall where you can stop, get something to drink or eat and take a break before moving on to the next adventure. Our family took advantage of a brick oven pizza, and we were not disappointed!
It was a fun-filled day full of education and wonder. Be prepared for a lot of walking as you can't imagine how many trails and levels are within the building. The Wonders of Wildlife Natural Museum & Aquarium lives up to its nickname (“WOW.”) You can find it right next door to Missouri’s #1 Tourist Attraction – Bass Pro, at 500 W. Sunshine in Springfield. You can pre-purchase your tickets online, or at the door. We recommend purchasing the combo ticket so that you can take advantage of both the wildlife exhibits and aquarium in one day. Wonders of Wildlife also offers season passes and memberships, that
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