Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium, Springfield, Missouri, saw 1.6 million visitors in its inaugural year who have visited the immersive conservation attraction.
The museum and aquarium also revealed its plans for an expansion. According to KTTS, Wonders of Wildlife will open a 10,000 square-foot wildlife photo exhibit next year. It will feature photography and videos previously shown at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
A $15-million dollar donation from FedEx will fund the expansion in part.
The museum will also unveil a 5,000-pound black marlin statue made of bronze.
Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, opened the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri on September 21 2017.
He is the founder, majority owner, and CEO of the Bass Pro Shops, a hunting and fishing retail store chain.
The museum was in the works for nine years. The 320,000-square foot experience celebrates people who hunt, fish, and act as stewards of the land and water.
He said: “We are very grateful and humbled to everyone who has experienced Wonders of Wildlife and who shares our conservation mission. Wonders of Wildlife is an inspirational and ever-changing tribute to the hunters, anglers and conservationists who helped discover, develop and preserve the nation we love. We proudly welcome everyone to come connect with wildlife and get inspired about conservation.”
The attraction has already received a number of high-profile awards. USA TODAY named it “America’s Best New Attraction” and the “Best Aquarium in North America”.
Missouri Governor, Mike Parson, said: “Missouri is incredibly blessed to have this world-class attraction from native son Johnny Morris, who continues to give back to his hometown and the state he loves. These impressive attendance figures underscore the impact Wonders of Wildlife is making on tourism by drawing new visitors and families to the great state of Missouri.”
Image courtesy Wonders of Wildlife