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This is 'America's best aquarium.' And it's in the Missouri Ozarks

Massive Springfield, Mo., aquarium named best in nation

Johnny Morris' Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Mo., was named "America's Best Aquarium" by USA Today on Friday. The aquarium and outdoors museum was opened in 2017, next to Bass Pro Shops’ national headquarters.
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Johnny Morris' Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Mo., was named "America's Best Aquarium" by USA Today on Friday. The aquarium and outdoors museum was opened in 2017, next to Bass Pro Shops’ national headquarters.

Another month, another national recognition for Johnny Morris' Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Mo.

The massive aquarium that opened in September was voted "America's Best Aquarium" by USA Today readers, the publication announced Friday.

Earlier this year, the same publication named the aquarium the best new attraction in the country.

The 350,000-square-foot attraction received more votes than the Florida Aquarium (third), the Dallas World Aquarium (fourth) and the Georgia Aquarium (eighth).

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Visitors watch fish in one of the observation rooms at Johnny Morris' Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium. John Sleezer jsleezer@kcstar.com

Twenty nominees were furnished by a panel of USA Today experts, and the public cast votes in April.

What's the big deal about this aquarium, anyway?

The facility — which is adjacent to Bass Pro Shops’ national headquarters — features a 1.5 million-gallon aquarium and a series of themed “4-D” wildlife galleries showcasing taxidermied animals and replicas.

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Johnny Morris' Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium opened in September in Springfield, Mo. John Sleezer jsleezer@kcstar.com

“One thing that separates it from many museums, aquariums and even natural history museums is that we very proudly salute the hunters and anglers — the sportsmen and women of America,” founder Morris said at a media day last September.

Tickets to the aquarium only are $29.95 for adults, $19.95 for ages 4-11. Tickets to the wildlife galleries only are $14.95 for adults, $9.95 for ages 4-11. A full-access pass is $39.95 for adults, $23.95 for ages 4-11. For more information, visit wondersofwildlife.org.

Here is USA Today's full list:

1. Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium — Springfield, Mo.

2. Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies — Gatlinburg, Tenn.

3. The Florida Aquarium — Tampa

4. Dallas World Aquarium — Dallas

5. Audubon Aquarium of the Americas — New Orleans

6. Ripley's Aquarium of Canada — Toronto

7. Aquarium of the Pacific — Long Beach, Calif.

8. Georgia Aquarium — Atlanta

9. North Carolina Aquarium — Pine Knoll Shores, N.C.

10. Vancouver Aquarium — Vancouver, B.C.

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