Paddleboarding adventure on Lake Springfield
Enjoying milkshakes at a landmark Route 66 diner
The historic Heers building and the History Museum on the Square in Park Central Square
The 1926 Gillioz Theater, one of the top downtown entertainment venues
Family fun at the Fantastic Caverns underground cave tour
Watching an otter swim at Dickerson Park Zoo
Canoeing at sunset on Lake Springfield
- Major Airports:
- Springfield-Branson (SGF)
Plethora of pursuits for adventurous travelers
For fans of the outdoors, start at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World for more than 300,000 square feet of outdoor supplies, apparel and wildlife exhibits. After that, visitors can stroll through 80 acres of native forests and fields at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center, visit the Mizumoto Stroll Garden or camp along one of the many rivers or lakes near Springfield. The city is surrounded by nature with accessible lakes, rivers and streams.
The area also offers many attractions for the adventurous traveler. Visitors can ride through Fantastic Caverns, a 50-minute tour of a huge underground riverbed with spectacular natural rock formations; or visit the Ambler Diversity of Life Center reptile exhibits at Dickerson Park Zoo. Children adore the Discovery Center, an interactive, hands-on opportunity to learn while they play. With everything from a giant eyeball to building blocks, the Discovery Center entertains with unique educational experiences.
For sports fans, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame has 22,000 square feet of sports memorabilia and displays. Jordan Valley Park offers ice-skating at Mediacom Ice Park, green space with a unique interactive water feature and walking trails. Just next door is Hammons Field baseball stadium where the Springfield Cardinals, a Double-A franchise of the St. Louis Cardinals, play. Visitors who enjoy the greens can choose from five public golf courses, including the scenic Rivercut Golf Course.
For history buffs, a cruise along Route 66 and trips to the History Museum on the Square, the site of the Wild Bill Hickock shootout and Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield are a must. The battlefield features Civil War exhibits and visitors can walk, bike or drive through the site on a self-guided trail tour. The city’s history museum features exhibits of local Ozarks history dating from prehistoric times through the 1900s. History lovers also will want to visit the Walnut Street National Historic Register District with more than 150 historic homes and unique shopping and dining experiences.
Fine art and culture are also an important part of the Springfield scene. The Springfield Art Museum annually hosts Watercolor USA, a competitive exhibit with work from artists across the country. Springfield Ballet, Springfield Symphony, Springfield Opera and Springfield Little Theatre bring the performing arts to life in the historic Landers Theatre. The Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts also brings a wide array of high-quality performances – from Broadway plays to children’s productions – to the Ozarks. A popular activity for arts enthusiasts is First Friday Art Walk, a monthly event featuring tours of dozens of shops and galleries. And the recently renovated historic Gillioz Theatre is an amazing piece of architecture offering unique performances and entertainment.