Wonders of Wildlife Aquarium and Museum

It’s been well over a year since we’ve visited our daughter in Missouri.  It was a quick trip through the area and most of it was spent loving on her.  We did get to tour the Wonders of Wildlife Aquarium and Museum in Springfield.  It was a special treat because our daughter was on staff at the time of our stopover.


Dani at the front entrance of this beautiful museum and aquarium.


The entrance is humongous.  The replicas of ocean life are the actual size of the creatures.


Dani and I shared a moment in front of the ‘bait ball’ discussing fish and her future plans.


The owner of the museum and aquarium is Johnny Morris, who also owns Cabella’s and Bass Pro Shops and a lot of attractions around Branson, Missouri.  There’s no expense spared in the artwork or displays.  It’s also why it’s a for-profit aquarium with a high admission price (approximately $24 for kids and $40 for adults).  While it says National Museum in its title, it has nothing to do with national wildlife parks, forests, national parks, or anything remotely similar.


Live pelicans are part of the exhibits.  This one was trying to retrieve and devour a water bottle cap some careless museum patron threw into the water.  Dani made sure the cap was removed to keep the pelicans and other wildlife out of danger.


Other birds were on display, as well as reptiles, turtles, and other species of wildlife.


Being an avid fisherman and hunter, Johnny Morris has many conservation awareness and positive nature affirmations throughout the exhibits.


We made our way in the aquarium habitats.  There were separate tanks for compatible fish in different types of water scenarios here in the United States and abroad, such as rivers, oceans, streams, etc.  The photo above and those below are some of the creatures we saw.




The glowing jellyfish were mesmerizing.  Just watching them float gracefully around their tank was relaxing and visually stunning.


The museum is interactive in parts to keep it educational and interesting for kids of all ages.  Here’s a crab in the foreground with Dani’s face showing in the ‘human tube’ behind it.


The stingrays were exciting to see.  Here one was crawling up the tank wall.  It’s not often we can see the underside of these creatures, and I loved its little face.


One of the final accolades to conservation as we completed our aquarium tour.


There’s a child playground and interactive area at the end of the tour.  Kids can create their own messages on paper sea turtles, scan it into the system, and their artwork will glide across a giant screen.  This was my humorous tribute to Dani, who I love very, very much.

In the video link below, please forward to position 36:11.  It’s a video of my daughter explaining how she trained the stringrays in preparation for public feedings and touching.

Wonders of Wildlife Grand Opening

Here’s a video Mike did of our visit, which has live visual stimulation of the experience:


Our visit was focused on what Dani did at work more than actually specifically to see the aquarium.  Wonders of Wildlife is remarkably well done and beautiful, but a little too commercial for our taste.  I still prefer seeing the magnificent underwater world in it’s natural habitat adorned with scuba gear.  Dani has since moved on to St. Louis and has exciting future plans caring for, training, and studying marine life.

Have you visited this museum?  Do you prefer commercial wildlife venues over our beautiful national forests and parks?   I’d love to hear your opinion.

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  1. “In the wild” is best. I prefer aquariums to zoos. At least most aquariums are low lit and peaceful feeling (if there are no screaming kids). No wonder you are so proud of Dani! HMMH

  2. Don’t visit zoos or aquariums, unless there all about rescue . Animals that are permanent need to be un releaseable. I have in the past and last time was on a girl guide trip with a grandchild ! Going vegan for moral issues 4 years ago changed my mind, dito for the other half.

  3. How fun to be able to see these animals up close and personal. I agree, the stingray’s face is really cute. Nice to be able to spend the day with your daughter and very cute message you left for her! Thanks for sharing, Dawn.

  4. The biggest aquarium we’ve visited is the one in Baltimore, which we enjoyed. John usually pays admission fees quietly, because he knows I won’t enjoy things if I’m appalled at the price.

    1. It seems I’m always appalled at the price, especially if it’s wildlife and privately owned and ‘for profit.” I’ve not been to the aquarium in Baltimore. I’m looking forward to seeing the one opening soon in St. Louis, though (’cause Dani will be there).

  5. I always love seeung animals in the wild. Now that our scuba diving days are behind us I always enjoy a trip to an aquarium. This looks like one that would be interesting to see.

  6. terrific! how absolutely wonderful you got to do this with your daughter! I’ve only been to one aquarium in the USA, that was in mall of America in minasota, I visited one in dingle in county Kerry here in Ireland last year, it was cool!

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