After nearly a decade of waiting, Springfield’s $290 million Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium opened Wednesday night.
More than 3,000 people attended a grand opening gala, including former presidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush.
Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, the man whose vision for a conservation-focused venue gave Springfield the 350,000-square-foot aquarium and museum, touted the facility’s 34,000 live fish, 1,000 live animals and halls of mounted wildlife.
Springfield Mayor Ken McClure said he had seen the massive facility as it was being built, calling it, “a game changer for Springfield.”
Read more: Springfield News-Leader