The midwest is home to many outdoor adventures and excursions you won’t find in the big city. If you’re ready to explore the outdoors, Springfield, Missouri is the perfect place to experience nature during the day and the amenities of a city at night.
Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium
One of Springfield’s top attractions includes Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium next to Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.
The 350,000-square-foot space houses over 35,000 species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals in a series of themed areas including an ocean shipwreck, Louisiana swamp, Ozarks forest and the Amazon rainforest habitat.
Get up close and personal with some of the museum’s animal experiences such as the Out to Sea Shark Dive or the Penguin Encounters.
Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World
Outdoor lovers have to visit The “Grandaddy” of All Outdoor Stores. The 500,000-square-foot store is home to many outdoor items from camping supplies, to firearms, to your next fishing vessel. Bass Pro Shops is also home to the National Sporting Arms Museum, the National Archery Hall of Fame and the Motorsports Museum, and is adjacent to Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium.
Dickerson Park Zoo
Visitors can enjoy a quaint day at Dickerson Park Zoo and see over 160 species of animals. Not only can you feed a giraffe up close but you can also participate in the Animal RendeZoos encounters with some of your favorite animals such as tortoises, zebras, lions, cougars, bears, elephants and more.
Wild Animal Safari
The Wild Animal Safari is home to over 65 wildlife species and 325 animals to see. Whether you choose a guided tour where you can hand-feed camels, elk, water buffalo and other creatures or drive the 5-mile stretch yourself, your family will experience wildlife like they never have before
With 75+ miles of trail, the Ozark Greenways are a dynamic network of connected streams, parks, trails and bike paths built to help you enjoy the outdoors.
Popular trails include the Frisco Highline Trail, James River Greenway & The Trail of Honor, Sac River Mountain Bike Trail, Wilson’s Creek Greenway Trail and others.
Canoeing & Kayaking
For a day out on the water, there are several waterways around that make great float trips.
The closest to Springfield is the James River Water Trail between the Joe Crighton access and the Lake Springfield Boathouse where you can rent canoes, kayaks and paddleboards.
Springfield Botanical Gardens
Walk through the various botanical gardens of Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park. Enjoy the beautiful flowers and Japanese architecture in the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden, or walk the trails along Lake Drummond. There are over 20 themed gardens to explore along with the Roston Native Butterfly House.
Home to several lakes, there is no shortage of fishing spots in the Ozarks. Lake Taneycomo, Lake Springfield and James River are the most popular. For guided fishing trips, head to Captain B’s or Mountain Springs Trout Park.
Explore Springfield’s Caves
Missouri is known as a cave state, and there are plenty of caves to choose from in the area.
No need to bring your walking shoes here; just north of Springfield, Fantastic Caverns is North America’s only completely ride-through cave.
Open year-round, its constant 60-degree temperature provides welcome coolness in summer and a warm respite from winter’s cold, making it an attraction that’s perfect to see in any season.
Further south sits Smallin Civil War Cave. Discovered in 1818, Smallin Civil War Cave features a breathtaking 10-story arch that leads you into rich human history and rare cave life that begins all the way back with the Native Americans.
Visitors can walk through the cave and see rare bristly cave crayfish, blind cave salamanders, an array of bats and fossils embedded in the cave’s walls.
About an hour from Springfield sits Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, a 10,000-acre paradise full of adventures. Guests can walk or bike the four-mile trail or take a variety of tours such as Segway and tram tours.
Anglers can also take self-guided or guided fishing tours to catch all the rainbow trout they possibly can.