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Last month, we were still in the middle of producing Beauty and the Beast at my high school. If you’ve followed my life, you know that play production is a family affair. We were spending both Saturday and Sunday of most weekends working on the set of the show, and that’s when I didn’t have a speech tournament on Saturdays. When I saw that the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri, was offering discounted tickets for area appreciation, I thought this might be the perfect way for our family to take a little break and explore a little.

Bass Pro Shop Springfield, Missouri

After a little research, I learned that our county was part of the promotion that was taking place for the month of March. Though we still had much to do, a little break was just what we needed. One Saturday, instead of heading to the school to build set pieces, we drove an hour away to check out this attraction.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

About the Wonders of Wildlife Museum

This attraction is about 30 minutes from Branson, Missouri.  If you’re planning a trip to Branson, this museum and aquarium is well worth the drive.  Located in the original Bass Pro Shop, the museum features artwork and taxidermy animals in beautiful settings.  The aquarium includes live creatures from all over the world. 

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

I know some people are not fans of aquariums, and hunting animals may seem barbaric if you haven’t grown up around it.  But this attraction, like many aquariums and displays around the world, teaches about protecting wildlife and conserving habitats.  Also, the museum addresses the history of hunting in North America and how some species were wiped out or nearly so.  Education is important to conserving our wildlife.  Because I’ve grown up in the Midwest, I also understand how hunting responsibly helps to control populations of animals.  When populations get too large, animals are more susceptible to disease, starvation, and injury.   Learning to coexist with nature is important; it’s important to me for Kristin to learn about wildlife, from sea turtles to deer.

Wonders of Wildlife: Wildlife Galleries

We arrived at opening, and there weren’t many people there yet.  I knew it would get busy on a Saturday, so our plan was to get there early.  This is probably our number one tip for any attraction.  You can always nap later while the crowds are in the attraction, right? 

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

We started out with the Wildlife Galleries.



This section of the attraction contains taxidermy animals and artwork mostly from North America, but there are some displays from around the world.  One thing to realize–many of the “stuffed” animals are older.  Hunting sensibilities have changed over time.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Here is the polar bear.

Polar bear Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

The first part of the galleries focused on North America.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

We walked down hallway after hallway of animals.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

I never really thought about turkeys being in trees until I saw this display.


The galleries have beautiful paintings, too.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Here’s Lewis and Clark.

Lewis and Clark Wonders of Wildlife

Around every corner, we found something new.

Bison and Wolves Wonders of Wildlife

All of the displays contribute to the story of our nation.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Educational displays are abundant, too.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Eventually, the displays begin to reflect other parts of the world.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Each display is beautiful!

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

You begin to feel like you’ve been transported to another place.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Without the danger, of course.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Wonders of Wildlife: The Aquarium

After about an hour, we found our way to the aquarium portion of Wonders of Wildlife.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

This portion of the attraction is much more “lively.”

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Some fish are more local.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Others are tropical.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Here is another view of this room.  It’s enormous!

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Like many aquariums, this one has a tank in which you can touch rays.  You can only touch the rays if they choose to come to you.  I thought the view from above was cool.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Later, we were able to get near the tank.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Here is a short video of some of our experiences.

We do enjoy aquariums.  I think when kids have favorite animals that they experience, they will care about those animals even more when they become adults.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Oh, and my two companions love sharks, by the way.  Even pre-historic Megladons.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Towards the end of the tour, you can color a fish.  Someone scans it into the computer, and then you can watch your fish swim around.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Kristin’s fish is on top with the hearts.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

We had a great time at the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium.  We spent the entire morning there, and when we left, it was definitely crowded.  The ticket lines were longer, and it was more difficult to see the exhibits.  Again, our plan to beat the crowds by getting there at opening worked!  We didn’t eat lunch at the attraction; there are plenty of places to eat in Springfield.  Unless you simply can’t wait, it is probably cheaper and quicker to eat elsewhere.  I’d recommend this place to anyone who enjoys aquariums; it’s certainly a beautiful one.  As I mentioned before, it’s worth a drive from Branson for a morning if you are on vacation there. 

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield, Missouri

Other attractions you may like in the Branson/Springfield area:

Silver Dollar City

The Butterfly Palace

Clay Cooper’s Country Express

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  1. Oh, my children would love this! (So would I.) I really need to plan a trip to Branson one of these days.

    Also, that polar bear! Holy wow! I didn’t know polar bears grew quite that big!!!

    • Stacey Reply

      I think you would love Branson. There’s so much for families to do, and you really never have to worry about something not being family-friendly.

  2. Wow, so many amazing things to see and do. The enormous polar bear alone has me in awe!

  3. Wow what amazing pictures! My husband and children (and me!!) would love to see this. This is the type of place that will stick in your memory forever. How neat! My uncle lives in Missouri – I feel a trip coming on!

    • Stacey Reply

      Missouri, and this area in particular, has so much for families to do. You could easily spend a week here and still not do everything.

  4. Thanks so much for letting us know about this! How cool! My son is all about Megladons, so that’d be fun feature for him. Be sure to check out the Museum of Nature and Science if you ever come down to Denver, CO!

  5. I love taking the family to fun museums!You visited some pretty awesome looking ones! I love all your pictures =)

  6. What a neat place! And that polar bear is so cool. I’ve never even been to or through Missouri yet, but I’ve heard so many good things about the Branson area.

  7. I love Bass Pro Shops. They are just so cool! If we lived closer we’d be all over this

  8. This looks like a lot of fun for both kids and adults. Thank you for sharing your trip!

  9. Looks like a fun break for you and your family. My boys would love this!

  10. We’ve been talking about going to Branson…this looks like something we should add to our itinerary if we do!

  11. What a perfect place to bring your family! I bet the kids had a great time. We don’t have this type of museum here, I wish we have one!

  12. Wow! This looks a really interesting, kid friendly museum. I didn’t realize it was so close to Branson!

  13. We like going to Cabela’s because of the animal exhibits. Our kids get to see these animals instead of just in pictures. It’s also a great way to remind our children that hunting and fishing is for food only.

  14. Such an interesting place. And hey, I don’t live far from Springfield! I’m in Joplin. Nice to connect with a blogger who lives in the area!

  15. Angela Greven | Mean Green Chef Reply

    What a fun adventure and so much to learn too! Even I would soak all of that up, thanks so much for sharing love your photos ?

  16. I have family that lives in Springfield and we’ve been to the Bass Pro out that way. This looks like such a fun adventure ~ what a great way to learn and explore. Are you glad you took the day off from the production? LOL.

  17. Highly recommend – I’ve been there and it’s fabulous, plus it’s right next to the best outdoor shop in the world. Love it

  18. Good to know! We are headed to Branson in a few weeks for my daughter’s dance nationals. Sounds like a fun stop along the way! ~ Sage Scott, the Everyday Wanderer

  19. I love museums dedicated to nature and wildlife! I will add this museum to my Branson travel list, especially since it also gives me an excuse to visit a Bass Pro Shops!

  20. We love visiting Bass Pro in Springfield, but haven’t gotten to visit since they opened the new part! Hoping to soon, looks fantastic!

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