The Springfield Aquarium, which has been named “Best New Attraction” and “America’s Best Aquarium” and is conveniently accessible in Springfield, MO, is a memorable day adventure for the entire family. Wonders of Wildlife is a 350,000-square-foot attraction with over 1.5 miles of paths to explore. It takes you on a trip through immersive ecosystems that delight and educate while telling the narrative of America’s most influential naturalist throughout history until today. The Aquarium Adventure is home to more than 800 species and subspecies of live fish, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, birds, and other animals from across the world. The Wildlife Galleries bring you to the most remote and untamed regions of the planet, taking you on a thrilling and inspirational journey throughout the world, honoring those who hunt, fish, and conserve our natural resources.
The Wonders of Wildlife Museum was established as a consequence of an aggressive lobbying campaign by Johnny Morris, who also provided financial backing for the project. He advocated for a ballot initiative that paid a portion of the $52 million cost of the original museum’s construction as well as the establishment of a museum district to govern the design, planning, and construction of the museum. He was successful in his effort. In line with the provision with the City of Springfield, part of the city’s hotel-motel tax can be utilized to fund capital expenditures. In addition, the federal government contributed $1.5 million to this project. Morris, on the other hand, after incurring public criticism for spending public funds on the project, returned the local public funds that had been collected and used private finances and donations to complete the construction.
The Wonders of Wildlife’s initial 92,000-square-foot structure, designed by Cambridge Seven Associates, debuted to the public on November 1, 2001, and has since grown to include several additional buildings. 225 kinds of live animals, freshwater and saltwater tanks, interactive displays, and educational activities were on display at the facility. Upon the closure of the original attraction in December 2007, it was announced that a 25 million dollar expansion will be built to increase the floor space of the facility by 58% at a cost of 2 million dollars per square foot. Following that, representatives from the museum announced a much more grandiose expansion that would cost approximately $80 million. It was merged into the much larger complex that debuted in September 2017 after minor modifications and updates were made to the original facility.