Hook & Barrel
A Lifestyle Magazine for Modern Outdoorsmen

The largest Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World in existence is in Springfield Missouri, and it’s the grandaddy of them all.

If you’ve ever been to the iconic Springfield location, you know there’s a lot of detail that goes into every element. If you’ve stopped by, there’s a good chance you missed some of these details.

Here are 14 Things You Probably didn’t know about Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium.

Wild Facts About Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, MO

Note this article was originally published in 2020.

1. There’s A Shooting Range Underneath The Store

Bass Pro Shops Gun Range

Those casually walking through Bass Pro who aren’t gun connoisseurs have probably missed the entrance of the shooting range. Head back to the camping section to test your shot at the archery and shooting ranges to try out your next buy.

2. The Wolken Brothers Painted 40,000 square feet of Wonders of Wildlife

Wonders of Wildlife painters

Aaron and Adam Wolken have spent over six years hand-painting the murals, dioramas, and wilderness scenes you can spot all across the Wonders of Wildlife habitats. You can see their work in areas such as the Great African Hall, North American Hall, Africa After Dark exhibit, The Swamp at Night environment, the “Out to Sea” mural above the shark tank, the Tracker Boat deep-sea fishing mural, Sheep Mountain, Musk Oxen diorama, and the walking tour entry and exit paintings depicting the White River in Missouri and Arkansas.

3. Mark Walhberg Went Scuba Diving In Wonders Of Wildlife

The well-known movie star known for his roles in Shooter, Ted, Invincible, The Happening, Daddy’s Home, The Transformers Franchise and others, attended the Wonders Of Wildlife opening back in 2017. Just for fun, he decided he’d take a dip in the aquarium’s Shipwreck Reef exhibit and say hi to some of the guests.

4. The Aquarium In Hemingway’s Blue Water Cafe Was Designed By The Hosts of the TV Show Tanked

Hemingway’s Blue Water Cafe

Though it never made it to live TV, the aquariums behind the bar inside the Hemingway’s Blue Water Cafe were designed by the aquarium gurus themselves.

5. There’s A Time Capsule Timed To Be Open In 2102

Wonders of Wildlife time capsule

If you weren’t looking for it, you’d probably miss it. The time capsule near the Wildlife Galleries entrance holds children’s letters about conservation and was shut November 1, 2002. We hope that we’re still around in 2102 when the time capsule plans to be reopened .

6. Students Can Attend Conservation School at Wonders of Wildlife

Wonders of wildlife

Springfield Public Schools offers fifth-graders an incredible treat if they want to learn more about conservation. Any student enrolled in Springfield Public Schools before their fifth-grade year can apply to be in the Wonders of the Ozarks Learning Facility, program, and 23 girls and 23 boys are randomly selected.

The lucky few can attend the school for an entire year taught out of the Wonders of Wildlife education center, just right next to Wonders of Wildlife. Students can learn about wildlife conservation, survival skills, outdoor skills, and more through hands-on activities and wildlife field trips.

7. Johnny Morris And Bill Dance Caught The Biggest Fish Displayed in Wonders Of Wildlife

Biggest fish displayed in Wonders of Wildlife

The largest fish inside Wonders Of Wildlife are the Atlantic goliath grouper who lay low inside the Out to Sea habitat. Weighing in at more than 400 pounds, these are the biggest fish in the entire aquarium. Even cooler, Johnny Morris and his longtime fishing buddy Bill Dance caught these incredible fish.

8. The Most Expensive Guns Sold In Bass Pro Shops Are Located In The Fine Gun Room

Bass Pro Shops expensive guns

These antique, rare, and expensive guns live in the Fine Gun room in Bass Pro. These guns most often catch the eye of collectors and can go into the six-figure range.

9. The Doors And Shingles On The Replica Of The Original Bass Pro Store Are From The Actual Store

Original Bass Pro store

Inside Bass Pro sits a replica of the original store Johnny Morris started selling bait and tackle from. Not every piece of his father’s liquor store is a replica; the doors and shingles from the roof are the originals from the store.

10. Bass Pro Shops Has A Home Section

Bass Pro Shops Home Section

Bass Pro doesn’t just sell guns and camping gear. You can actually find a section filled with home decor essentials, such as comforters, paintings, wall art, and furniture. Who wouldn’t love a camo bedspread?

11. You Can Buy A Can Of Whoop Ass In Bass Pro Shops

Can of Whoop Ass at Bass Pro Shops

Whoop Ass Chili that is. In addition to the chili, there is an array of other outdoor snacks and condiments. These include Whoop Ass barbecue sauce, canned peaches, trail mix, and you can’t forget the cheese balls.

12. Howdy The Pelican Is Always Saying Hi

Howdy The Pelican has appeared on the Wonders of Wildlife Facebook page on numerous occasions. But why is he called Howdy? After his wing was damaged in the wild, he was deemed non-releasable and sent to live at Wonders Of Wildlife. Howdy’s wing is damaged in such a way that it looks like he’s always waving at the aquarium’s guests.

13. A Face Was Painted Into The Mountains In The Africa Exhibit

You probably won’t see it at first glance, but there is a face hiding in the mural of Mount Kilimanjaro inside the Museum’s Great African Hall exhibit.

14. Two Exhibits Could Only Be Added to By Cutting A Hole In The Roof

Wonders of Wildlife

Some exhibits inside Wonders of Wildlife are so big that they can’t fit through the doors. Not only was the Penguin Cove diving tube lowered in through the roof of Wonders of Wildlife, but the ceiling of Bass Pro Shops was removed to add the 15,000-pound Dream Buck that sits in the middle of the store, and replaced with a skylight.

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Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium
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