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Science and the Environment

September Grand Opening Set for Bass Pros' Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium

Scott Harvey
Among the aquairum displays at Wonders of Wildlife.

The opening of Bass Pro Shops’ long-awaited Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium has a date.

The Springfield-based company announced Wednesday that the grand opening of the complex, which features a 1.5 million gallon aquarium and over a mile of immersive trails and exhibits, is set for September 21. The date coincides with National Hunting & Fishing Day.

Wonders of Wildlife
Credit Scott Harvey / KSMU
A shipwreck aquarium highlights one of the galleries.

“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,” Bass Pro Founder and CEO Johnny Morris said in a news release. “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.” 

According Bass Pro, Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium will be the largest, most immersive fish and wildlife attraction in the world.

In a statement, it says the aquarium and exhibits include 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles and birds representing 700 species. Bass Pro says it’s partnered with 34 conservation organizations on the project. Throughout the facility, visitors will observe homage to various wildlife achievements, including The Boone and Crockett Club’s National Collection of Heads and Horns and The National Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. In total, 320,000-square feet are dedicated to celebrating people who hunt, fish, and act as stewards of the land and water.

Wonders of Wildlife
Credit Scott Harvey / KSMU
Countless taxidermied wild animals are on display at the museum.

A company spokesperson tells KSMU that Johnny Morris is not disclosing the investment in the facility at this time.

Media were offered a sneak peak of the facility in March 2015, at which time it was scheduled to open in spring 2016.  

Bass Pro says September’s grand opening coincides with several significant conservation landmarks. It’s during that month 80 years ago that President Franklin Roosevelt signed legislation establishing an excise tax on firearms and ammunition to fund wildlife conservation. It also marks the 80th anniversary of Ducks Unlimited and the 211th anniversary of the completion of the historic Lewis and Clark expedition. 

“Wonders of Wildlife has the opportunity, like no other attraction before it, to have a positive national impact on wildlife and conservation,” said Colin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, a key partner organization. “Johnny’s investment in this not-for-profit facility through the Johnny Morris Foundation will establish one of the most valuable and respected conservation and education centers in the world.” 

More details about Wonders of Wildlife are expected in the coming weeks and months, including plans for the grand opening celebration events, pricing, hours of operation and key features.

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