Springfield is a city in Missouri, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in this state. This is because there is such a vast array of things to see and do in and around the city. Regardless of your age or interests, you will find something to enjoy in this amazing city. Planning your vacation can help you to get the most out of your time away. To do this, you need to know what is going on in the area that you are visiting to decide which are the best activities and attractions to suit you and the experience you expect on your vacation. Here are the 20 best things to do in Springfield, MO, for first-timers.
20. Hammons Field
The residents of Springfield are generally huge sports fans, and baseball is one of the most popular sports is baseball, The best place to catch a game is at Hammons Field, which was founded by and named after John Q. Hammons. The home team at this baseball park is the Springfield Cardinals. If you are lucky enough to be in Springfield when there is a game on, then you should get tickets. The atmosphere is electric, so it is fun even if you are not a baseball fan.
19. Frisco Highline Trail
There are many great trails in Springfield, but one of the most popular is the Frisco Highline Trail. This trail connects Springfield to Bolivar, and it stretches over 35 miles. It is a designated National Recreation Trail, and it has a mixture of gravel and paved paths. Although it is a long trail, it is not challenging in terms of the terrain and it is not compulsory to complete the full length. Along the trail, there are 16 bridges and it passes through both woodlands and pastures. This is one of the best activities if you like to spend time outdoors and it will give you a different perspective of Springfield.
18. Springfield National Cemetery
There are two reasons why you should take the time to visit Springfield National Cemetery, says The Crazy Tourist. First, you should go to the cemetery to honor the veterans who are laid to rest there. There are also the graves of some Medal of Honor recipients. Second, it is a tranquil and beautiful place to spend some time during your visit to Springfield.
17. Pythian Castle
Built by the Knights of Pythias in 1913, this castle was later transferred to the U.S. Military. It was originally intended as either a retirement home or an orphanage for members of the Pythias family. There are daily tours of this castle, which is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It is a nice building to view, and it is believed that it is haunted.
16. Springfield Little Theater
There are two reasons why people visit the Springfield Little Theater, says 417 Magazine. The first is to watch one of the performances held at this four-story theater. The second reason is that it is believed that this is a haunted building. If you want to watch a show, you should check out what is on before heading for Springfield and book your tickets in advance.
15. Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden
One of the most tranquil places to spend time in Springfield is the Mizumoto Japanese Strolling Garden, which is connected to the Nathanael Greene/ Close Memorial Park on Scenic Avenue. There are seven acres of traditional Japanese landscaping, including a large koi lake with stepping-stones, the moon bridge, and a meditation garden. Unlike many gardens that are free, there is a small fee for adults to spend time in this garden.
14. Route 66 Car Museum
Although there are many museums in Springfield, one of the best to visit is the Route 66 Car Museum. You will find this museum on West College Street in downtown Springfield. It boasts a privately-owned collection of more than 70 vehicles, which includes cars, trucks, and even Batmobiles. While some of the cars are old and rare, others are significant because they have appeared in a film.
13. Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield
Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield is the site of one of the first battles of the Civil War. Visitors can take a guided tour of the site to learn about the different landmarks and events that took place there. There are eight interpretive sites to explore along a paved tour road that is 4.9 miles long. One of the highlights is Ray House, which is the only domicile that has remained since the battle.
12. Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium
If you are visiting Springfield as a family, then one of the best attractions to include in your itinerary is the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium. In the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum section of this attraction, visitors will see an extensive collection of 4-D wildlife scenes. Some examples include the Arctic tundra and the African savanna. Visitors have said that the attention to detail adds to the immersive experience. In the aquarium, there are more than one and a half million gallons of water. The highlight is the Aquarium Adventure, which has underwater tunnels, historic boating vessels, and large ocean environments.
11. Lake Springfield Park, Boathouse, and Marina
Et around the edge of Lake Springfield, this park is a natural area that also features a boathouse and marina. It is a setting where you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. There are multiple trails around the lake, including the Greater Audubon Trails and the Greenway Trails. On the lake, visitors can enjoy boating, canoeing, and kayaking. It is possible to hire a canoe to explore the James River Linear Park Water Trail. Other popular activities at the lake include fishing, cycling, and wildlife-spotting.
10. Rutledge-Wilson Farm Community Park
Spread over 207-acres, this farm celebrates the agricultural heritage of Springfield and the surrounding area. It was originally founded to give the local community a range of educational and recreational resources relating to agriculture. There is something to interest people of all ages at Rutledge-Wilson Farm Community Park as there is a farm-themed playground, various crop demonstrations, the scenic Wilson’s Creek, stunning gardens, 20-acres of native prairie and pasturelands, and a barn with animals where milking demonstrations take place. This is one of the top attractions if you have children in your traveling party.
9. Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
The best activity for sports visiting Springfield to enjoy is the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. This attraction was founded in 1994 by John Q. Hammons. When you visit this attraction, you will see an exhibition containing more than four thousand items of sports memorabilia. A lot of the focus of the exhibitions is on baseball, which is the most popular sport in this city.
8. Mother’s Brewing Company
There are several breweries in Springfield and the surrounding area, but the best-known is probably Mother’s Brewing Company. This brewery is located in South Grant in downtown Springfield. Taking a guided tour of the brewery facilities is fascinating, and visitors learn about many aspects of the beer production process, such as bottling and distribution. At the end of the tour, visitors are taken to the Tasting Room where they can sample some of the products. It is important to note that the tours only take place on Saturday afternoons and that they operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
7. Springfield Conservation Nature Center
Nature lovers will enjoy spending some time at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center, which is located in southeast Springfield with an entrance point on South Nature Center Way. The two main reasons why people visit this attraction is to hike along the many trails or to enjoy wildlife spotting. Throughout the park, there are various displays and exhibitions that aim to educate visitors about their surroundings. There are also special events held throughout the year within the park, so check what is on before you visit.
6. The Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks
Amongst the many museums in Springfield is the Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks. This museum is dedicated to those who have served in the Armed Forces to preserve America’s freedom. There are more than five thousand objects on display in this fascinating museum. These range from vintage military equipment to aircraft, jeeps, and trucks that have been used in various military operations. You will find the Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks on East Kearney Street.
5. Dickerson Park Zoo
A fantastic day out for all the family is at Dickerson Park Zoo. According to Planetware, this attraction is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the focus is on community engagement and conservation. It also has an animal hospital and rehabilitation service. Just some of the species you will see at this zoo include North American black bears, diamondback rattlesnakes, and black swans.
4. Botanical Center at Nathanael Greene/ Close Memorial Park
There are more than 800-acres of manicured grounds a Nathanael Greene/ Close Memorial Park. Originally, the gardens and arboretum were built as a learning resource for students at the university. The students used it as both a plant laboratory and as an outdoor classroom. Visitors can enjoy 2.8 miles of trails along the banks of Lake Drummond. These trails are perfect for hiking, cycling, and jogging. One of the highlights of the site is Springfield Botanical Gardens, which also houses the Dr. Bill Roston Native Butterfly House. The butterfly house is a particularly interesting element of visiting this park for children as they can learn about the life stages of butterflies and other insects. This is a great place to spend the day in good weather, and the sights and smells of the garden will stimulate your senses.
3. Fantastic Caverns
One of the most popular natural attractions in Springfield is the Fantastic Caverns. Visitors to this attraction explore the underground caverns by taking a ride on a jeep-drawn tram. This is one of only a few ride-through cave experiences in the United States, and the ride lasts for just under an hour. Tour guides travel on the tram with you to explain the various underground features you will see on your subterranean journey. Those who have visited this attraction say it is a fascinating activity and that it is a great option if you have children with you.
2. Springfield Art Museum
A top attraction for art enthusiasts is the Springfield Art Museum. This is Springfield’s oldest cultural institution, and it displays significant cultural works from both southwest Missouri and from abroad. However, the main focus is American art, and this includes printmaking, paintings, and textiles. This museum also has a Sculpture Garde that you can visit for no additional cost. Throughout the year, the art museum hosts various events, classes, and demonstrations. If you are interested in attending an event or taking part in an art session, then you will need to find out what is on before visiting the city. In some cases, you may need to book in advance.
1. Discovery Center of Springfield
According to Vacation Idea, the best thing to do in Springfield, MO, is to go to the Discovery Center of Springfield. This popular attraction is located on East St. Louis Street. This is a very interactive attraction, and it has plenty for people of all ages. It aims to encourage people to learn more about various fields of science through a range of educational resources. Visitors will also learn about topics such as art, history, and technology. Just some of the interactive activities include digging for dinosaur bones, exploring the inner eye, riding a HighWire bike, and testing your own DNA.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn