Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium marked its first anniversary this week, and the facility saw 1.6 million visitors in its first year of operation, management announced.
Springfield Mayor Ken McClure said the facility was “a game changer” for tourism in the city.
For the sake of comparison, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium drew 1.9 million visitors in 2017. The Monterrey Bay Aquarium in California attracted 1.8 million.
The tourist destination is named for Johnny Morris, the billionaire Bass Pro Shops founder, and it’s located adjacent to a Bass Pro facility in Springfield.
The museum and aquarium have plans for additional growth. A new wing being constructed at the facility will house the Windland Smith Rice International Awards and its annual Nature’s Best Photography exhibit.
The gallery, which has 10,000 photographs and 50,000 images, is currently housed at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington.
Read more: Springfield News-Leader