UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Santee Cooper

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Wonders of Wildlife Opens with a Collective WOW

Wonders of Wildlife Opens with a Collective WOW
Wonders of Wildlife

No roller coasters, no rides, no people dressed in mouse suits. When the massive Bass Pro Shops Wonders of Wildlife opened in Springfield, Mo., Friday to the general public, visitors didn’t find anything that’s not connected to the real world outside their doors.

That’s one of the points that Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris wanted to make, however: Youngsters who are made aware of this country’s natural resources grow up into adults who are willing to take care of them.

Indeed, the attractions awaiting visitors to Wonders of Wildlife are sure to fascinate young and adult and cultivate an abiding interest in fish and wildlife and the habitats that support them. The facility, which encompasses a vast museum of natural history as well as freshwater and saltwater aquariums, takes visitors along a 1 1/4-mile trail through 40 dioramas. Mounted elephants, lions and rhinos share a 50-thousand-square-foot recreation of an African savannah with antelope and Cape buffalo. Polar regions and their wildlife are depicted, along with scenes of the Western plains and Rocky Mountains and the animals that inhabit them. Species protected in the National Park Service system also are accorded special treatment.

Wonders of Wildlife

Overall, the wildlife section of the museum encompasses 340,000 square feet and includes rooms where various conservation organizations – everyone from the Boone & Crockett Club to the Audubon Society – share their collective message of the guardianship responsibilities that mankind shoulders. More specifically, the role that hunters and fishermen play in conservation efforts through excise taxes applied to hunting and fishing equipment and dedicated to natural resources management is reiterated.

The aquarium is home to approximately 35,000 live fish – both freshwater and saltwater species – that are displayed in a variety of tanks that depict their natural habitats. Largemouth bass that weigh more than 10 pounds each are among the star attractions, along with a variety of sunfish, striped bass, gar and other species commonly found in the nation’s waterways. The saltwater tanks are equally impressive, with more than 1 1/2 million gallons of water home to a collection of fish representative of the Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific coral reefs.

“This has been a long time coming, because we started building it eight or nine years ago, but I think visitors will find that it’s been worth the wait,” says Morris of the Wonders of Wildlife. “I wanted to develop something that reflected on all the national fish and wildlife treasures that have been provided to us, but also that reminded folks about the contributions that this country’s outdoorsmen have made – and make every day – to conserving those treasures.”

Admission fees to the Wonders of Wildlife are $23.95 (children 4-11) and $39.95 (adults) for combo tickets, $19.95 (children) and $29.95 (adults) for the Aquarium Adventure, and $9.95 (children) and $14.95 (adults) for the wildlife galleries.

For more information, visit wondersofwildlife.org.

Wonders of Wildlife

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