Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, in partnership with noted conservationists from around the world, introduced plans for America’s Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri.
Envisioned as the most elaborate conservation attraction of its kind for fish and wildlife conservation, America’s Wildlife Museum and Aquarium is scheduled to open in spring 2016.
The 315,000-square-foot educational experience will consist of multiple thematic attractions and exhibits on a scale unlike anything else in the world.
Anchored by an all-new world-class aquarium, the massive facility brings together a variety of opportunities for visitors of all ages to engage with nature like never before, according to a news release from the organization. Through immersive environments and incredible live animal habitats, the experience aims to showcase the beauty of wildlife while celebrating the critical role hunters and anglers play in wildlife conservation by honoring past accomplishments and ongoing efforts.
“Responsible hunters and anglers are often the unsung heroes in conservation despite playing a significant role,” said Johnny Morris, the visionary behind the experience.
“Our vision is to create a world-class experience that celebrates hunting, fishing, and conservation in Springfield where half of the U.S. population lives within a day’s drive.”
When fully realized, the attraction will consist of an all-new 1.3-million-gallon aquarium adventure showcasing 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles and birds in an immersive tour through the world’s marine habitats; a wildlife museum that brings visitors eye-to-eye with amazing mammal specimens from North America, Africa and the Arctic; and a conservation education center for youth programs, conservation groups and events.
Construction on the project—funded entirely by private dollars, primarily from the nonprofit Johnny Morris Foundation—is underway with a grand opening anticipated in spring 2016.
Specific components include:
All New Aquarium Adventure & Fishing Heritage Hall: The centerpiece is an entirely new world-class aquarium adventure designed by renowned aquarium architect Michael Olesak that plunges guests into a thrilling tour of the world’s oceans, lakes, and streams, bringing them eye-to-eye with more than 35,000 animals.
New Fishing Heritage Hall: Visitors will first enter the 60,000-square-foot entry hall, home to a dramatic 300,000-gallon “open ocean” habitat teeming with saltwater marine life including mahi-mahi.
New Aquarium Adventure: Designed to transport visitors to some of the world’s greatest undersea environments, visitors will discover an elaborate trail system that winds in and around marine habitats teeming with life, including a sunken shipwreck, colorful coral reefs, tropical coasts, underwater caves, steamy rainforests, freshwater swamps and more.
New International Fishing Hall of Fame: The new International Game Fish Association Fishing Hall of Fame will highlight some of the sport’s most accomplished men and women through interactive exhibits, personal artifacts and recreated replicas of world-record fish mounts from both freshwater and saltwater species.
All-New Wildlife Museum & Hunting Heritage Hall: Walk amongst the largest land mammals on earth, go eye-to-eye with the Arctic’s top predator and discover some of the most spectacular game animals on the planet in this sprawling 50,000-square-foot showcase of amazing mammals from around the world.
Hunting Heritage Hall: Meticulously recreated lifelike environments will educate visitors about the importance of conserving the icons of the animal kingdom.
Boone & Crockett Club’s World-famous National Collection of Heads & Horns: Experience a part of history through more than 40 historically significant North American big game mammals that originally helped bring conservation to the forefront of public awareness in America when it debuted at New York’s Bronx Zoo in 1922.
John A. & Genny Morris Conservation Education Center: The conservation leaders of today and tomorrow already gather together at the completed 50,000-square-foot Conservation Education Center, which connects to the Museum facility.
The Wonders of the Ozarks Learning Facility School: A comprehensive outdoor learning school operated in partnership with Springfield Public Schools, Missouri Department of Conservation, and Bass Pro Shops, is a national model for outdoors education.
National Outdoor Recreation & Conservation School: Which runs outdoor conservation education programs for families across Missouri.
Elaborate Banquet Spaces: With a signature wilderness atmosphere are available for national conservation organizations as well as local community groups throughout the year.
Additional Conservation Partnerships
Additional Conservation Partnerships include the National Archery Hall of Fame and the NRA Sporting Arms Museum which complements its neighbor, Bass Pro Shops’ iconic flagship store. Known as the “Grandaddy” of all Bass Pro Shops locations, this is the largest Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, and the number one tourist attraction in Missouri, attracting four million sportsman and outdoors enthusiasts each year as Missouri’s most popular tourist destination.
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.