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Springfield is well-known as the third largest city in the State of Missouri. By combining the small-town hospitality and big city amenities, this area has not forgotten its American Heritage. Whether you have a short business trip or a long-term vacation in Springfield, you will feel like at home here. It turns out to be an amazing touristic destination, being home to nice museums, attractions, restaurants, and shops. Let’s have a look at the most interesting things to do in Springfield.
- The most interesting thing to do 1: Feel the spirit of Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield
- The most interesting thing to do 2: Enjoy the wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium
- The most interesting thing to do 3: Check the exhibits of Route 66 Car Museum
- The most interesting thing to do 4: Have a walk along Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden
- The most interesting thing to do 5: See the Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks
- The most interesting thing to do 6: Visit Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
- The most interesting thing to do 7: Step into the Discovery Center of Springfield
- The most interesting thing to do 8: Enjoy a tram ride through mysterious caverns
- The most interesting thing to do 9: Buy something nice in the original Bass Pro Shop
- The most interesting thing to do 10: Try the craft beer tastes at Four Local Breweries
- The most interesting thing to do 11: Eat a Wild and Crazy Donut
The National Park Service (NPS) conducts tours of the site of one of the first main battles of the Civil War in Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield. In 1861, the silent area surrounding Wilson’s Creek served as the place of confrontation between Union and Confederate soldiers fighting for taking over the state. Currently, visitors to this preserved natural and historic area can tour the various important landmarks by following the story of the battle.
Interesting: Along the 4.9-mile paved tour road, there are eight interpretive spots for parking and hiking. The stop at the Ray House happens to be the only domicile reminding us of the battle.
Being adjacent to Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium has more than one million gallons of water filled with thousands of live fish. The Aquarium Adventure at the museum involves immense ocean environments, historic boating vessels, and underwater tunnels to see some river creatures. The aquariums at the Wonders of Wildlife Museum have an extensive collection of 4-D wildlife dioramas, varying from the African savanna to the Arctic tundra. Eventually, you can do nothing but admit incredible attention to detail and great impact on multiple visitors.
Interesting: The joint location of the museum to the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World was approved by the founder and owner of Bass Pro Shops and Springfield native, Johnny Morris. He worked hard to make the Wonders of Wildlife come true.
Being situated west of the downtown area, the Route 66 Car Museum was established as a privately-owned collection of cars. You simply cannot miss it. The collection varies from the Brass Era of automobiles to classic movie and television models. You can hardly find such a wide variety of vehicles under one roof. Having more than 70 cars, trucks, and Batmobiles on display, the Route 66 Car Museum will also surprise you with Jaguars, German Horch, and even the truck from the 1940 film adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath.
Interesting: Whether you are a car lover or not, the Route 66 Car Museum is an amazing place to see. Among all the exhibits, you will surely find something that catches your eye.
Being closely connected to Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden serves as a tranquil setting, lending to a particular peace of mind. Being located on the southwest side of the city, the facility features traditional Japanese garden landscaping covering more than seven acres. The most popular characteristics of the facility involve the meditation garden, moon bridge,and a big koi lake marked with stepping stones. What’s good about the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden is that it is pleasing the eyes and good for the spirit. It is the perfect place to read a book, have a date, or simply have some rest after a busy day.
Interesting: The entrance ticket to the Mizumoto Japanese Garden can be bought for three dollars for adults, which is more than a reasonable price for that.
The Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks was established in 1989 to restore, preserve, and display the military background and memorabilia of the Ozarks for the public. Being dedicated to the soldiers who fought to preserve America’s freedom and died in the Armed Forces, the museum has a collection of over 5,000 items of military history. These include vintage military equipment such as a Cobra helicopter, a T-33 jet aircraft, and Army Jeeps and trucks.
Interesting: Visitors can enjoy a practical experience at the museum by trying a fake flight in a Cobra helicopter, typing a message on an old Teletype machine, or having a customized dog tag. The museum also offers some special programs and tours for students and conducts birthday parties.
The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is intended for the celebration of the outstanding achievements of the local athletes. Also, it aims to inspire and encourage future athletes to succeed. Being situated on East Stan Musial Drive, the Sports Hall of Fame offers about 4,000 items of sports memorabilia displayed throughout two floors. Several interactive exhibits address a wide range of sports experiences, such as racing in a NASCAR simulator, fighting against a Major League Baseball pitcher, and throwing football passes.
Interesting: There is also the Legends Walk of Fame where you can find busts and statues of famous sports figures.
The Discovery Center of Springfield is considered to be a full-of-fun, interactive museum that encourages learning through exploration and discovery. By presenting a variety of fascinating exhibits, programs, and displays, it happens to be an excellent educational resource, enabling the development of critical thinking skills. Whether it comes to science, art, literature, history, or culture, the Discovery Center of Springfield can cover you on that. Once you visit the place, you will be able to explore the inner workings of an eyeball, search for dinosaur bones, explore foreign cultures, ride the HighWire bike, as well as get a sample of your own DNA. As a result, it turns out to be an excellent family attraction.
Interesting: The Discovery Center of Springfield offers some educational programs and conducts the events such as Earth Day, Pi Day, Nano Day, and scout nights.
The local caverns, discovered by John Knox in 1862, will not leave you indifferent. These are the only ride-through caves in North America where visitors can join for a 55-minute guided tour in a Jeep-drawn tram. The trams are pulled along by a Jeep by giving spectacular views. The path that you travel down was carved by ancient people many years ago. Over many decades, the caves were used as a speakeasy during the prohibition and also as a venue for cultural events.
Interesting: When you join a tour, you should pay attention to the magnitude of the splendor and tranquility of the cave where the average temperature reaches 60 degrees.
Whether Bass Pro is your thing or not, it is definitely worth a visit. Being known as “Grandaddy of All Outdoor Stores,” this shopping spot covers the territory of more than 500,000 square feet. You will have a great opportunity to spend hours shopping the amazing assortment of outdoor gear, checking the details of every display, enjoying the local nature, having a meal at Hemingway’s Blue Water Café, as well as visiting one of the available internal museums. On the territory of Bass Pro, the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum shows the progression of sporting arms throughout the decades. The Archery Hall of Fame takes a historical look at the archery world in the United States.
Interesting: Both museums on the territory of Bass Pro are available free of charge both for adults and children.
The rapid development of the beer production in Springfield has resulted in the establishment of four local breweries. Springfield Brewing Company has been on the market for almost two decades by focusing on the English, German and American style ales and lagers. Apart from beer, this place is an excellent choice for having a tasty breakfast or dinner. Mother’s Brewing Company is one more popular option among locals and tourists. Being located on the way to Route 66, this place happens to be attractive for a taproom for sampling and amazing outdoor patio with a stage, picnic tables, and bean bags. If you are more into European types of beer, you should consider visiting White River Brewing Company. They focus on traditional beers, originating from Great Britain and Germany. Lost Signal Brewing Company is the last but not the least option on Springfield’s Route 66. The facility tuned out to be the popular place not only for beer but also for barbecue enthusiasts.
Interesting: The prices in the local breweries are quite affordable, with almost $4 per a glass of light beer. If you decide to have dinner here, you will spend around $12-15 per person.
Hurts Donuts has covered many locations since the first shop in Springfield in 1999. This is where you will find a lot of over-the-top donut creations! Whether you like cereal-themed like Fruit Loop or candy-themed like Twix toppings, there are more than enough options to make your head spin around. Also, there are the most essential donut tastes like Caramel, Nutella, Oreo, Chocolate, Banana, and Cookies ‘n Cream. Don’t forget that you receive ice cream or some topping on top of your donut.
Interesting: The average price for your favorite donut is estimated at $3-5, which is more than reasonable for the taste your get.
The Rutledge-Wilson Farm Community Park is a farm park covering the area of 207 acres and addressing the rich agricultural heritage of the local land. Its major purpose was to provide educational and recreational resources for the community, so the park involves various demonstration crops and gardens, an animal and milking barn, 20-acre native prairie, a farm-like playground, and scenic Wilson’s Creek. This will be one of the best or maybe the best place for spending time with kids on a sunny day.
Interesting: During your visit to the park, you will be able to enjoy a vast array of activities such as farm animal meet-and-greets, fishing in the local pond, walking and running along the paved trails, as well as shopping in the gift shop. If you plan your trip in advance, you might catch one of the several community events conducted on an annual basis.
If you are into shopping, you should consider visiting Relics Antique Mall. It is the largest antique mall in Missouri, spreading across 90,000 square feet. Being established at 2015 W. Battlefield in Springfield with a second location in Mount Vernon, the mall provides visitors with the unique opportunity to find everything they could want here. These include furniture, home décor, souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, as well as many other old treasures.
Interesting: The local world tearoom offers delicious cuisine and serves various drinks. Also, there are some music festivals and live shows conducted on an annual basis. But you need to check the schedule in advance in order to catch one of them.