My daughter is in this video–she has been working on training stingrays to be touched and fed by the public in the new Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri.
This has been the grand vision of Mr. Johnny Morris, owner of Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, for the past ten years. There’s been tax controversies and opening delays over that time period, but the aquarium and museum finally debuted in September of 2017 with a grand hoopla including celebrities Kevin Costner and Mark Wahlburg, past presidents George Bush, Jr., and Jimmy Carter, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, various country artists, and many fisherman and hunters, and other conservationists. The museum is larger than the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Yes, it was a big project and the opening is a feather in the cap for conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts.
Like any plan conjured by an imaginative visionary, there are many, many people behind the scenes involved to see it to fruition. For the past few years, aquarists have provided the environment for fish to survive and thrive in this aquarium. It’s not an easy task, especially when many changes and delays are made along the way and habitats are prepared for immediate and long-term survival. People with a heart for these animals have the education, persistence, and determination to see a project like this become successful. They are the true heroes of this massive undertaking.
I haven’t visited the aquarium in person, but the reviews are tremendous. I’m looking forward to touring it sometime soon.
In the meantime, I’m simply an extremely proud mom who has watched her daughter blossom and achieve her dream.
The video link leads to Facebook, where the Wonders of Wildlife posted a live broadcast of their grand opening (it’s not on their website and the video is not mine to download). The entire production is worth watching, but at the 36:11 timestamp is where my daughter’s interview begins.
When you visit the aquarium and touch the stingrays, there’s a good chance you’ll see Dani. Please be sure to tell her that her mama is one proud lady.
Safe travels, Dawn