September 21, 2017
The world's largest wildlife museum opened in Springfield, MO last night. At 350K square feet and ticket price of $250 million, the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium is the largest facility of its kind, surpassing the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in D.C., and will be the largest, most immersive fish and wildlife attraction in the world. Celebs, past presidents, outdoor enthusiasts, alongside fish and wildlife jammed into a tent outside of Bass Pro Shops flagship location in Springfield on Wednesday, September 20th for a gala and grand opening event to kick off the new museum.
Bass Pro Shops founder and CEO, Johnny Morris created the venue in the heart of America’s conservation capital in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains.
“I am proud and excited that this special facility dedicated to those who love the outdoors will open in the heart of America in our hometown, Springfield, Missouri,” said Johnny Morris. “We are deeply grateful to the many remarkably talented individuals and world-class conservation organizations that have come together for the past nine years to help make this vision a reality. It is our shared hope that the tremendous investment of time, energy and resources will have a profound, positive long-term impact on the future of hunting, fishing, and conservation in America.”
Morris went on to say that the gala “is celebrating the sportsmen and women in this country. The anglers and the hunters, who really from the time of those who came before us, the Native Americans, and the time of Roosevelt and Audubon … the impact they’ve had not just for hunting and fishing, but for all our nature.”
Attendees included former presidents, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush, NASCAR racing stars Chip Ganassi, fishing legends Billy Dance and Jimmy Houston, actors Kevin Costner and Mark Wahlberg (who did a live diving demo), and country music stars Dierks Bentley, Craig Morgan, Luke Bryan, Easton Corbin, Chris Janson and Tracy Byrd.
The Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium took almost a decade to build with a cost of $290 million. The all-new 1.5-million-gallon aquarium adventure showcases 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles and birds, and an immersive wildlife museum that brings visitors eye-to-eye with the greatest collection of record-setting game animals ever assembled. The 320,000-square foot experience celebrates people who hunt, fish, and act as stewards of the land and water.
It opens to the public Friday, September 22, 2017, in Springfield, MO. It is located next to the Bass Pro Shops flagship store and national headquarters. , the new campus is a centerpiece of America’s Conservation Capital in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains. In addition to the aquarium and wildlife galleries, there will be more than 1.5 miles of trails through immersive exhibits and displays.
According to the museum's website, “The grand opening also coincides with several significant conservation landmarks in September including the 80th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt signed legislation establishing an excise tax on firearms and ammunition to fund wildlife conservation. Referred to as the Pittman- Robertson Act, this little-known bill has generated billions of dollars from sportsmen and women to fund vital state wildlife conservation activities. It also marks the 80th anniversary of Ducks Unlimited, one of the foremost conservation organizations in the world and a key museum partner. Additionally, September 2017 is the 211th anniversary of the completion of the historic Lewis and Clark expedition, which will be one of many milestones featured inside Wonders of Wildlife.”
Key components at Wonders of Wildlife include:
• A 1.5 million-gallon aquarium adventure.
• More than a mile of immersive trails and exhibits spanning 320,000-square feet.
• 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles and birds representing 700 species.
• More than 70,000 square-feet of immersive wildlife galleries and dioramas.
• The Boone and Crockett Club’s National Collection of Heads and Horns.
• The International Game Fish Association’s (IGFA) Fishing Hall of Fame.
• The National Bass Fishing Hall of Fame.
• The NRA National Sporting Arms Museum.
• The National Archery Hall of Fame.
• Partnerships with 34 of the world’s foremost conservation organizations.
Officials are planning to share more details about Wonders of Wildlife including plans for the grand opening celebration events, pricing, hours of operation and key features in the coming weeks and months. Learn more at http://www.wondersofwildlife.org.