The third largest city in Missouri, Springfield is a beautiful weekend destination, home to great museums, attractions, restaurants and shops. Visit new Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium, check out the Springfield Art Museum, and tour the Fantastic Caverns. Best things to do in Springfield, Missouri with kids include the Discovery Center of Springfield, Dickerson Park Zoo, and the Rutledge-Wilson Farm Community Park.
1. Discovery Center of Springfield
2. Springfield Art Museum
3. Fantastic Caverns
4. Botanical Center at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park
5. Hammons Field, Springfield, Missouri
6. The Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks
7. Dickerson Park Zoo, Springfield, Missouri
8. Springfield Conservation Nature Center
9. Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World
10. Mother's Brewing Company
11. Hotel Vandivort, Springfield, Missouri
12. Things to Do in Springfield: Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
13. Route 66 Springfield Visitor Center
14. Rutledge-Wilson Farm Community Park
15. Relics Antique Mall, Springfield, MO
16. Lake Springfield Park, Boathouse, and Marina
17. Wonders Of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium
18. Wilson's Creek National Battlefield
19. Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden
20. Pythian Castle
21. Route 66 Car Museum
22. Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts
23. History Museum on the Square
24. Bass Pro Archery Hall of Fame
25. Cafe Cusco
What is Springfield, Missouri known for? What to do.
What are the top attractions to visit in Springfield, Missouri?
The top attractions to visit in Springfield, Missouri according to local experts are:
- Discovery Center of Springfield
- Springfield Art Museum
- Fantastic Caverns
- Botanical Center at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park
- Hammons Field, Springfield, Missouri
- The Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks
- Dickerson Park Zoo, Springfield, Missouri
- Springfield Conservation Nature Center
- Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World
- Mother's Brewing Company
- Hotel Vandivort, Springfield, Missouri
- Things to Do in Springfield: Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
- Route 66 Springfield Visitor Center
- Rutledge-Wilson Farm Community Park
- Relics Antique Mall, Springfield, MO
- Lake Springfield Park, Boathouse, and Marina
- Wonders Of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium
- Wilson's Creek National Battlefield
- Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden
- Pythian Castle
- Route 66 Car Museum
- Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts
- History Museum on the Square
- Bass Pro Archery Hall of Fame
- Cafe Cusco
Attraction Spotlight: Fantastic Caverns
Fantastic Caverns is a vast underground network of caves carved out by an ancient river in the Branson - Springfield area of Southwest Missouri. Discovered by John Knox and his hunting dog in 1862, the caverns quickly became a popular destination to explore and today, visitors can enjoy a 55-minute guided ride-through tour in a Jeep-drawn tram.
The Caverns, which are America's only ride-through cave, were first discovered by the Ozarks farmer in 1962 and further explored five years later when 12 women from Springfield ventured into the cave after a newspaper advertised they were looking for small-bodied climbers and left their names on one of the interior walls. During the Prohibition years, the caverns have used a speakeasy and utilized by the Klu Klux Klan, who held meetings and performed cross-burnings in the Grand Ballroom. They hosted music concerts during the 1950s and 1960s, and radio shows during the 1970s.
Ride-through tours began in the Fantastic Caverns in 1961 using post-World War Two Jeeps with gas powered engines. The tours were popular, but the cave walls didn’t fare very well with all the exhaust fumes from the automobiles, and eventually the vehicles were upgraded to run on cleaner propane.
Due to the fragility of the caves, tours are offered in customized jeep-drawn trams and offer visitors the opportunity to explore and experience the magnitude, the splendor and the tranquility of these great caverns while preserving its natural features. There is also one stage of the tour where visitors can touch a section of low ceiling dead stalactites, which are thousands of years old. Inside the caves, the temperature hovers around 60 degrees throughout the year.
Fantastic Caverns is a two level branch work cave. At one stage in the caves history, each level was filled with water but drained away over time to leave the vast caverns that are seen today. The jeep tours run on the dry upper level of the caves as the lower level is a wet weather stream and acts as a channel for streams of water during the rainy season, which moves through the cave to a discharge point at the nearby Indian Spring. Sometimes during a very rainy season, water on the lower level will back up and overflow into the upper level and flood the cave, causing all tours to be canceled. The water, however, is vital for the region as it fills and supplies wells in the area.
Fantastic Caverns is America's ride-through cave that offers tailored jeep-drawn tram tours to experience the natural beauty of the caves without putting them at risk. The comfortable jeeps cater for all ages and take visitors on a geological journey back in time as they travel through vast brightly lit passageways with thousands of speleothems, stalactites and stalagmites, massive columns, little soda straws, cave pearls, and flowstones, all created by water a drop at a time. Tours are down entirely by tram, and there is no walking involved and temperatures inside the cave stay around 60 degrees, making it an excellent all-season experience.
Fantastic Caverns offers a variety of educational programs, workshops, and classes for learners of all ages ranging from home school programs and classroom study guides to adventure tours.
The Adventure Tour is an exclusive 90-minute hands-on educational experience that uses the Cavern’s ‘underground classroom’ where students are equipped with lanterns and work at a ‘fossil dig site,' exploring, uncovering and identifying different fossils. Students learn about the animals that live in caves and catch glimpses of unique creatures such as cave crayfish or blind cavefish by lantern light.
Designed for school and scout groups, and summer school, the Mastodons Program is a 90-minute program that includes the all-riding tour through the caverns and exploring the world of paleontology. The tour includes a simulated paleontology dig in search of prehistoric animal remains, exploring a Mastodon track-way and using math skills to estimate the animal's size, weight, and gait.
Back to: Best Things to Do in Springfield, Missouri
4872 North Farm Road 125, Springfield, Missouri 65803, Phone: 417-833-2010
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Attraction Spotlight: Springfield Art Museum
The Springfield Art Museum began as an art club, organized by a handful of women, in 1926. The group was led by Deborah D. Weisel, and was able to incorporate and become The Springfield Art Museum on June 26, 1928. This museum is the oldest cultural institution in Missouri and has a mission of continuing art appreciation, preservation, and education, that all began with a group of woman who loved to study art.
The Museum began hosting traveling exhibits immediately upon opening with works coming from New York, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. After 18 years of being ran by the Art club, the museum was deeded to the city of Springfield, Missouri. The city was dedicated to the growth and development of the museum and can now be found at its permanent location in Phelps Grove Park.
The Springfield Art Museum is home to over 10,000 pieces of art work that make up the permanent collection. When the museum was first founded, as an art club, there were only two paintings purchased. Both of the paintings were landscapes by Mary Butler, and thus, the museum began a focus on Contemporary American Art from the 18th century onward. Due to the diversity of the patrons and , the expansion of the museum lead to the acquisition of works from across all time periods and cultures; although there is still a heavy influence of the original focus of the museum.
The collection also contains many different types of media, from American water media, art of the Midwest and print making, to textiles, decorative arts, and pottery and ceramics from across the globe. There are even large scale sculptures to enjoy in the sculpture garden.
There are currently four exhibitions at The Springfield Art Museum.
String Theory, is a showcase of 30 textiles from the permanent collection to examine how the same construction method can be used to create different things. This exhibition shows how the use of fibers can be manipulated to create clothing, prints, and painting, and also show the different tools that make these creations possible. There are five categories, knitting, weaving, embroidery, sewing, and quilting, that highlight the versatility in the textile arts.
Creating An American Identity is a themed exhibit that focuses on American heritage through landscape. The exhibition pushes forth the idea that America was a place of plentiful land and the merging of multiple cultures. This exhibit is also a cross section of the permanent collection, which hearkens back to the original intent of the museum, to collect contemporary American art works. Works by artists such as Grandma Moses, Jackson Pollok, and Robert Motherwell are prominent features in this exhibition.
House of Art(s) is an installation piece brought about by the Art of Space and the curatorial staff at The Springfield Art Museum. This piece is an outdoor gallery featuring murals and graffiti wall panels. The piece is ever changing as it is open to the public and artists from all over the country are welcome to come and add their own piece to the art by painting part of a panel themselves. As the piece changes, the staff at the museum will document the process, and this documentation will become a part of the permanent collection of the museum.
Warhol Uncanned is a dedication piece to the seven Campbell Soup Label Prints by Andy Warhol that were stolen from the museum and have not yet been recovered. The Front lobby has artwork by Lindsey Wohlman titles Warhol Naked & Unlabeled which features a can of soup without its label. This exhibit also serves as a reminder that behind the label, notoriety, and hype, art can heal and connect with people. A food drive was also inspired by this exhibit of an unlabeled soup can, and the museum accepts donations of canned foods that it distributes across many food pantries in the local area. Visitors also feel as though this presentation starts a contemporary discussion on the labeling of GMOs and Country of origin on food labels.
Significant Objects: Contemporary Still life is a culmination of several watercolor still life paintings that have been acquired, but never been displayed at the museum, until now. The works range in style from representation to photo realism. An interesting part of this display is the still life sketching area where visitors are welcome to bring their own supplies or use the provided supplies, and sketch, inspired by the paintings around them.
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The Springfield Art Museum prides itself on its community partnerships and offers its auditorium and amphitheater space for events that are free to the public. The spaces have been used for lectures on art, theatrical performance, artist receptions, concerts, and more.
Several fundraisers are open to the public, or with paid admission, throughout the year from galas and dinners to auctions. One of the signature events is Ninety- Nine Times, an event that mixes fun, food, and fashion for an unforgettable evening.
Because The Springfield Art Museum is so dedicated to serving the community, every Wednesday, an event called "1 Million Cups" is hosted here. Business owners and entrepreneurs are welcome to gather at the event, drink coffee, and discuss different ways to better the community and help small business grow.
The SIVA Currents Artist Talk is brought to the museum by The Summer Institute for Visual Arts at Drury University. This summer lecture series features talks lead by the current visiting artists that are a part of a diverse group of international artists.
Shakespeare at the Columns is a theatrical event that is held in the Amphitheatre on several weekends every summer. The 2016 performance will be of "Julius Cesar". This play will be produced and cast by Actors Theatre of Missouri in association with Dangerous Playground and Rice Theatricals. Refreshments from Hurts Donuts and London Calling are available during this event.
Art classes for adults, children, and family are available in a wide variety of mediums. Drawing, acrylics, and ceramics are offered to adults; while pottery and art explorations are available to children. The art exploration class introduce children ages five through ten to many different mediums. The family art classes allow adults with their child to walk through the galleries to get inspired and then back to the classroom to create something together. For the especially tiny tots, ages three to four, a paint and play class is offered every Thursday that encourages parent participation as well.
Summer Art Camp is also available for ages five through ten. This Camp is divided into four sessions. The first session focuses on art that defies categorization, session two combines art with science, the third is using nature and the environment in art, and the final session focuses on art and art traditions from around the world. There is a special camp for ages 10-14 as well that focuses on the Literary art form. Kids will get to write, illustrate, and then bind their very own story in the morning. Later in the afternoon, turn that story into a movie by writing, narrating, and shooting your very own animation.
The Springfield Art Museum is unique in that they encourage you to use photography and take pictures of any art you are inspired by. There are several seating areas throughout the museum with art supplies so that you have everything at your fingertips to create art when the inspiration strikes. Staff also encourages a family atmosphere and offers free wireless internet as well! There are a few rules that they do ask all patrons to keep in mind, however.
Please do not, touch the artwork, chew gum, bring in food or drinks, use flash photography, run through the halls, make loud noises in contemplation areas, or bring in large bags or backpacks to the museum.
1111 East Brookside Drive, Springfield, Missouri 65807, Phone: 417-837-5700
More Ideas in Missouri: Enchanted Hills Weddings & Events
Enchanted Hills Weddings & Events offers couples a chance to exchange their vows and celebrate their wedding in an enchanting outdoor setting. The charming property is a family owned and family operated venue. This private estate is an ideal place for any couple that enjoys the outdoors to start their new life together. The small property has been a family owned and operated business ever since it first started providing a venue for wedding ceremonies and reception at the family estate in the year 1996.
Mature trees, gardens, a waterwheel, a large pond, spring waterfalls, and rolling terraces together create an amazing intimate setting for any wedding for a nature-loving couple, or many other special events as well. Enchanted Hills loves to share the outdoor home with others and help couples plan their perfect wedding to create a memorable and enjoyable experience. The Enchanted Hills Weddings property is a season venue since it only offers outdoor event spaces. Weddings, as well as other events, can be booked at the venue from May until October. It’s recommended to book the venue for weddings as early as possible since it books up quickly due to only be open for half the year.
Amenities and Facilities
Enchanted Hills Weddings and Events has offered a space for the best wedding in a garden setting in the area of Springfield, Missouri since 1996. The grounds boast several acres of stunning landscaped wedding ceremony and receptions sites with a pond, a new covered pavilion, waterwheel, spring waterfalls, and mature trees. The outdoor wedding venue is able to accommodate a maximum of 175 guests for weddings and events. The large covered pavilion is situated within the shade close to the property’s natural spring waterfalls.
Couples can also choose to use the venue’s elegant event tent for their wedding so they won’t have to worry about any rain ruining the reception on their wedding day. They can also choose to have both the wedding ceremony and the reception beneath the open sky. For small weddings, the covered pavilion makes for a great event space for a wedding reception.
The covered pavilion was built in 2014, and provides one thousand square feet of event space, situated in the shade and located near the property’s natural spring waterfalls. This provides the perfect site for a summer outdoor wedding out of the hot summer sun. The pavilion is best for the wedding ceremony, with a large tent used for the wedding reception if couples are worried about rain. However, if the reception is small enough, the pavilion can be used for a reception as well. The pavilion is also great for bridal showers, reunions, or other parties.
All wedding rental packages at Enchanted Hills Weddings and Events include the use of the outdoor estate, the covered pavilion and the sound system, tables, chairs, linens, set up, and clean up. Other services provided include professional photography, custom floral design, unlimited meetings with the event manager, and a small dressing room.
6649 North Farm Road 175, Springfield, MO 65803, Phone: 417-425-7948