Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium Set for Friday Opening

Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium Set for Friday Opening

Largest most immersive wildlife conservation attraction in the world a major new destination in the heart of America

Springfield, Mo. – Noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris will be joined by former Presidents and hundreds of North America’s conservation leaders to unveil the all-new Wonders of Wildlife National Museum Aquarium, located in the center of America’s heartland in Springfield, Missouri. Nearly ten years in the making and unprecedented in scale and scope, Wonders of Wildlife is larger than the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and an inspirational tribute to the adventurers, explorers, outdoorsmen and conservationists who helped discover, develop and preserve the nation we love.

With 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds, the 350,000-square-foot complex is a wonder in and of itself. It contains more than 1.5 miles of trails through authentic, immersive habitats and features 1.5 million gallons of freshwater and saltwater aquariums and immersive wildlife galleries. Signature galleries include a massive “open ocean” ring-shaped aquarium and the two-story Shipwreck Room where guests can touch stingrays on the ocean floor. Immersive wildlife galleries feature 4D dioramas that transport guests through sights, sounds, smells and climates to some of the wildest places on earth, including a trek across the African savannah, the Amazon rainforest, the Arctic and America’s National Parks and more in a multisensory celebration of conservation and craftsmanship.

The all-new museum and aquarium is located next to Bass Pro Shops National Headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, one of many signature nature-based attractions in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, a region emerging as America’s Conservation Capital.

The visionary behind the project is noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, sometimes referred to as “the Walt Disney of the Outdoors” for his knack for creating amazing experiences that connect people with nature. Morris, who grew up fishing with his family on Missouri’s White River before founding Bass Pro Shops in 1971 with eight square feet of space in the back of his father’s liquor store, created the not-for-profit Wonders of Wildlife as a gift to the nation intended to inspire people of all ages to engage with the natural world.

“Wonders of Wildlife is an inspirational journey around the world that celebrates the role of hunters and anglers as America’s true conservation heroes,” said Johnny Morris. “We proudly invite families and sportsmen to come share the wonder with an unforgettable experience meant to inspire generations of future conservationists.”

Celebrating those who hunt, fish and act as stewards of the land and water

Morris convened 40 leading conservation organizations to help tell the American outdoor story from the Native Americans to Lewis and Clark and beyond. The story extends to modern-day wildlife management with a celebration of people who hunt, fish and act as stewards of the land. For the past 80 years, hunters in America have funded America’s modern conservation system largely through self-imposed federal excise taxes on outdoor equipment, and by purchasing hunting and fishing permits.

Beyond its sheer scale and quality, what’s most impressive about the museum and aquarium is its powerful message to inspire everyone to connect with the outdoors. As the world advances and more people live and work in major metropolitan areas, it is more important than ever to preserve and promote outdoor experiences. In a stress-filled world of traffic jams, endless emails, calls and constant pressure, the best medicine is a peaceful, rejuvenating experience in nature. The museum and aquarium pay homage to the sportsmen and women of yesterday, today and tomorrow with the knowledge that the surest way to preserve our rich outdoor heritage is to expose more people to its awe-inspiring beauty.

A world class aquarium adventure

At the heart of the Wonders of Wildlife experience is a world-class aquarium adventure, home to massive aquatic habitats teeming with life. There has never been an aquarium as immersive, interactive or engaging as this. Guests of all ages can immerse themselves inside a river full of piranhas, discover what it’s like to touch a stingray, traverse an underwater tunnel surrounded by giant river monsters and come face-to-face with sharks, jellyfish, snakes, iguanas, eagles, owls and more.

The experience begins with the breathtaking Great Oceans Hall, bringing the excitement of the ocean to the middle of America. Visitors will step inside a 300,000-gallon circular “open ocean” habitat, teeming with life, including zebra sharks, leopard rays and goliath grouper; look in awe at a mesmerizing living bait ball; and discover the Great Barrier Reef, a towering saltwater aquarium showcasing colorful reef fish, including Maori wrasse, potato cod and more. Additional noted exhibits include Shipwreck Reef, which plunges guests to the depths of the ocean floor where they can touch stingrays and explore a sunken shipwreck now home to colorful reef.

The aquarium also honors legendary anglers with boats from Earnest Hemingway, Zane Grey, personal fishing artifacts and mementos from U.S. Presidents, and some of fishing’s most accomplished sportsmen and women at The International Game Fish Association’s (IGFA) Fishing Hall of Fame and the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame.

More fun surprises await around every corner as visitors traverse cypress swamps, tropical rainforests, Ozarks waterways, craggy caves and more. The aquarium’s unique design ensures visitors are constantly surprised and amazed by where they might end up next, and the creatures that await to be discovered around the bend.

Immersive wildlife galleries transport visitors around the world

Visitors can pack their bags for adventure as state-of-the-art 4D dioramas completely surround them within the sights, sounds and smells of the planet’s most extreme wildlife habitats. Each environment features meticulous attention to detail including massive hand-painted murals, native foliage and special effects that deliver the chill of the Arctic, the cold winds of the Alps, the dry sun of the African Savannah and more.

Signature exhibits within the wildlife galleries include The Great African Hall, immersing guests in the African savannah with animals including elephants, giraffes, rhinos, crocodiles, zebra and more and Sheep Mountain, with more than 40 record-setting sheep from around the world.

Visitors will relive conservation’s history with The Boone and Crockett Club’s National Collection of Heads and Horns. Founded by our nation’s leading conservation hero Theodore Roosevelt, the Club’s legendary exhibit gives visitors the chance to step back in time and see more than 40 historically significant North American game animals that helped spark America’s conservation movement when it debuted at New York’s

Bronx Zoo in 1908. Guests will encounter World Record bears, bison, caribou, elk and other big game species while learning about these iconic animals and how science, sportsmen and regulated hunting saved them from exploitation and near extinction. One remarkable display is the famous Chadwick Ram from British Columbia taken in 1936 featuring 51-inch horns and considered to be the finest North American big game specimen ever collected. The influential collection relocated to Wonders of Wildlife from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming.

The majesty of the outdoors captured by the world’s finest artists and craftsmen

Wonders of Wildlife is instantly recognizable for the signature imagination, creativity, quality craftsmanship, authenticity and attention to detail that goes into all the projects dreamed up by Johnny Morris, but on a much larger scale. As the largest immersive attraction of its kind in the world, the project’s massive size called for an expansive team who spent more than nine years creating the elaborate details that make the experience so rewarding for visitors.

More than 2,000 painters, sculptors, woodworkers, iron workers, taxidermists, illustrators, designers, scientists, biologists, engineers and others contributed to the facility, which is home to some of the most sophisticated life support systems in the country as well as some of the largest and most elaborate nature-based artwork ever created.

Every wall within the 350,000-square-foot attraction features hand-painted murals painstakingly created by a team of painters who embody the talent and quality of true Ozarks craftsmanship. Painters spent more than a year painting the Great African Hall alone, resulting in a photorealistic re-creation of the great African savannah.

After the mural work was completed, imagery specialists consulted with experts to stage 3D landscape elements, including rockwork, native foliage and water effects to match the season and habitat being depicted. Each experience is grounded in the elements of the natural world, ensuring every detail is as lifelike as possible.

Grand opening features historic salute to conservation leaders

In honor of its grand opening on September 22, 2017, Wonders of Wildlife is hosting a historic event welcoming the most significant gathering of prominent North American conservation leaders and influencers ever assembled in our nation’s history. The very special tribute dinner honoring America’s conservation leaders will feature guests including President George W. Bush, President Jimmy Carter, U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and Missouri Governor Eric Greitens amongst other dignitaries. The evening concludes with a special “Concert for Conservation” for invited guests featuring music from Kevin Costner, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, John Anderson and many other popular performers. All artists are avid outdoorsmen who are donating their time to help honor the conservation leaders in attendance. More than 400 conservation leaders are anticipated to be in Springfield for the landmark occasion along with significant donors and guests.

Share the Wonder

Wonders of Wildlife is now open daily except Christmas. For additional information including admission, hours of operation and directions visit www.wondersofwildlife.org.

Largest most immersive wildlife conservation attraction in the world a major new destination in the heart of America

Springfield, Mo. – Noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris will be joined by former Presidents and hundreds of North America’s conservation leaders to unveil the all-new Wonders of Wildlife National Museum Aquarium, located in the center of America’s heartland in Springfield, Missouri. Nearly ten years in the making and unprecedented in scale and scope, Wonders of Wildlife is larger than the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and an inspirational tribute to the adventurers, explorers, outdoorsmen and conservationists who helped discover, develop and preserve the nation we love.

With 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds, the 350,000-square-foot complex is a wonder in and of itself. It contains more than 1.5 miles of trails through authentic, immersive habitats and features 1.5 million gallons of freshwater and saltwater aquariums and immersive wildlife galleries. Signature galleries include a massive “open ocean” ring-shaped aquarium and the two-story Shipwreck Room where guests can touch stingrays on the ocean floor. Immersive wildlife galleries feature 4D dioramas that transport guests through sights, sounds, smells and climates to some of the wildest places on earth, including a trek across the African savannah, the Amazon rainforest, the Arctic and America’s National Parks and more in a multisensory celebration of conservation and craftsmanship.

The all-new museum and aquarium is located next to Bass Pro Shops National Headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, one of many signature nature-based attractions in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, a region emerging as America’s Conservation Capital.

The visionary behind the project is noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, sometimes referred to as “the Walt Disney of the Outdoors” for his knack for creating amazing experiences that connect people with nature. Morris, who grew up fishing with his family on Missouri’s White River before founding Bass Pro Shops in 1971 with eight square feet of space in the back of his father’s liquor store, created the not-for-profit Wonders of Wildlife as a gift to the nation intended to inspire people of all ages to engage with the natural world.

“Wonders of Wildlife is an inspirational journey around the world that celebrates the role of hunters and anglers as America’s true conservation heroes,” said Johnny Morris. “We proudly invite families and sportsmen to come share the wonder with an unforgettable experience meant to inspire generations of future conservationists.”

Celebrating those who hunt, fish and act as stewards of the land and water

Morris convened 40 leading conservation organizations to help tell the American outdoor story from the Native Americans to Lewis and Clark and beyond. The story extends to modern-day wildlife management with a celebration of people who hunt, fish and act as stewards of the land. For the past 80 years, hunters in America have funded America’s modern conservation system largely through self-imposed federal excise taxes on outdoor equipment, and by purchasing hunting and fishing permits.

Beyond its sheer scale and quality, what’s most impressive about the museum and aquarium is its powerful message to inspire everyone to connect with the outdoors. As the world advances and more people live and work in major metropolitan areas, it is more important than ever to preserve and promote outdoor experiences. In a stress-filled world of traffic jams, endless emails, calls and constant pressure, the best medicine is a peaceful, rejuvenating experience in nature. The museum and aquarium pay homage to the sportsmen and women of yesterday, today and tomorrow with the knowledge that the surest way to preserve our rich outdoor heritage is to expose more people to its awe-inspiring beauty.

A world class aquarium adventure

At the heart of the Wonders of Wildlife experience is a world-class aquarium adventure, home to massive aquatic habitats teeming with life. There has never been an aquarium as immersive, interactive or engaging as this. Guests of all ages can immerse themselves inside a river full of piranhas, discover what it’s like to touch a stingray, traverse an underwater tunnel surrounded by giant river monsters and come face-to-face with sharks, jellyfish, snakes, iguanas, eagles, owls and more.

The experience begins with the breathtaking Great Oceans Hall, bringing the excitement of the ocean to the middle of America. Visitors will step inside a 300,000-gallon circular “open ocean” habitat, teeming with life, including zebra sharks, leopard rays and goliath grouper; look in awe at a mesmerizing living bait ball; and discover the Great Barrier Reef, a towering saltwater aquarium showcasing colorful reef fish, including Maori wrasse, potato cod and more. Additional noted exhibits include Shipwreck Reef, which plunges guests to the depths of the ocean floor where they can touch stingrays and explore a sunken shipwreck now home to colorful reef.

The aquarium also honors legendary anglers with boats from Earnest Hemingway, Zane Grey, personal fishing artifacts and mementos from U.S. Presidents, and some of fishing’s most accomplished sportsmen and women at The International Game Fish Association’s (IGFA) Fishing Hall of Fame and the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame.

More fun surprises await around every corner as visitors traverse cypress swamps, tropical rainforests, Ozarks waterways, craggy caves and more. The aquarium’s unique design ensures visitors are constantly surprised and amazed by where they might end up next, and the creatures that await to be discovered around the bend.

Immersive wildlife galleries transport visitors around the world

Visitors can pack their bags for adventure as state-of-the-art 4D dioramas completely surround them within the sights, sounds and smells of the planet’s most extreme wildlife habitats. Each environment features meticulous attention to detail including massive hand-painted murals, native foliage and special effects that deliver the chill of the Arctic, the cold winds of the Alps, the dry sun of the African Savannah and more.

Signature exhibits within the wildlife galleries include The Great African Hall, immersing guests in the African savannah with animals including elephants, giraffes, rhinos, crocodiles, zebra and more and Sheep Mountain, with more than 40 record-setting sheep from around the world.

Visitors will relive conservation’s history with The Boone and Crockett Club’s National Collection of Heads and Horns. Founded by our nation’s leading conservation hero Theodore Roosevelt, the Club’s legendary exhibit gives visitors the chance to step back in time and see more than 40 historically significant North American game animals that helped spark America’s conservation movement when it debuted at New York’s

Bronx Zoo in 1908. Guests will encounter World Record bears, bison, caribou, elk and other big game species while learning about these iconic animals and how science, sportsmen and regulated hunting saved them from exploitation and near extinction. One remarkable display is the famous Chadwick Ram from British Columbia taken in 1936 featuring 51-inch horns and considered to be the finest North American big game specimen ever collected. The influential collection relocated to Wonders of Wildlife from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming.

The majesty of the outdoors captured by the world’s finest artists and craftsmen

Wonders of Wildlife is instantly recognizable for the signature imagination, creativity, quality craftsmanship, authenticity and attention to detail that goes into all the projects dreamed up by Johnny Morris, but on a much larger scale. As the largest immersive attraction of its kind in the world, the project’s massive size called for an expansive team who spent more than nine years creating the elaborate details that make the experience so rewarding for visitors.

More than 2,000 painters, sculptors, woodworkers, iron workers, taxidermists, illustrators, designers, scientists, biologists, engineers and others contributed to the facility, which is home to some of the most sophisticated life support systems in the country as well as some of the largest and most elaborate nature-based artwork ever created.

Every wall within the 350,000-square-foot attraction features hand-painted murals painstakingly created by a team of painters who embody the talent and quality of true Ozarks craftsmanship. Painters spent more than a year painting the Great African Hall alone, resulting in a photorealistic re-creation of the great African savannah.

After the mural work was completed, imagery specialists consulted with experts to stage 3D landscape elements, including rockwork, native foliage and water effects to match the season and habitat being depicted. Each experience is grounded in the elements of the natural world, ensuring every detail is as lifelike as possible.

Grand opening features historic salute to conservation leaders

In honor of its grand opening on September 22, 2017, Wonders of Wildlife is hosting a historic event welcoming the most significant gathering of prominent North American conservation leaders and influencers ever assembled in our nation’s history. The very special tribute dinner honoring America’s conservation leaders will feature guests including President George W. Bush, President Jimmy Carter, U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and Missouri Governor Eric Greitens amongst other dignitaries. The evening concludes with a special “Concert for Conservation” for invited guests featuring music from Kevin Costner, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, John Anderson and many other popular performers. All artists are avid outdoorsmen who are donating their time to help honor the conservation leaders in attendance. More than 400 conservation leaders are anticipated to be in Springfield for the landmark occasion along with significant donors and guests.

Share the Wonder

Wonders of Wildlife is now open daily except Christmas. For additional information including admission, hours of operation and directions visit www.wondersofwildlife.org.

New Cap Causes Big Blast with Plastic Bottles

FORT SMITH, AR – New Big Blast Caps turn used plastic bottles into reactive targets with a boom! An innovation from Umarex USA, Inc., the Big Blast Target Inflator Cap is now available at various retail stores and ready to turn your trigger time into a big blast!

The Big Blast Cap Target Inflator is a fun way to turn your used plastic soda bottles into a non-explosive, boom-making reactive target that merely operates by air pressure. With a Big Blast Cap, you can pump air into a plastic bottle using a standard bicycle pump or 12-volt tire pump and an athletic ball needle. The amount of air pressure you can pile up inside depends on the weather and size of the bottle. Recommendations and tips can be found atBigBlastCaps.com. Then just place it down range at least 60 feet away and shoot it with a fast-moving projectile. The pressurized air immediately disperses to normalcy creating a “big blast” as the air molecules rush out into the normal atmospheric pressure.

They’re perfect as a fun target for the whole family. Fill with almost anything you want! Shimmering explosions with glitter, spectacular booms with colored liquids or simple air-only “detonations” are just a few examples of visually loud fun! There are many ways to shoot bottles with a Big Blast Cap Target Inflator – .22s, 9mms, bows, dart guns, and airguns to name a few. Read more

Coast Guard Rescues More than 100 in Jacksonville

Coast Guard Flood Punt Teams conduct rescue operations in Jacksonville, Florida, Sept. 11, 2017. The Coast Guard has deployed assets and resources from across the country to assist in rescue operations for Hurricane Irma. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo/Released)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Coast Guard Flood Punt Teams rescued more than 100 people Monday in Jacksonville.

The Coast Guard has deployed assets and resources from across the country to assist in rescue operations for Hurricane Irma.

Flood Punt Team from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Paducah, Kentucky, saved 91 lives and 41 pets.

Flood Punt Team from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Huntington, West Virginia, saved 18 lives, 5 pets and conducted 150 wellness checks.

Flood Punt Team from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Sector Lower Mississippi River, Tennessee saved 9 lives, a pet and conducted 900 wellness checks.

Michigan: Vandals Deface Sanilac Petroglyphs

Earlier this year, Michigan Department of Natural Resources staff at Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park discovered that vandals had broken in and carved three images on the rock that holds carvings made hundreds of years ago.

“We are all deeply saddened by this disrespectful act,” said Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan History Center, which interprets the petroglyphs for the public at this state park near Cass City, Michigan. “The petroglyphs were created by people who lived in what is now Michigan centuries ago. They are part of all of our history, and they have a deep spiritual meaning for many Anishinabek who live in the Great Lakes Region today. Read more

Outdoorsmen Support Texas in the Wake of Hurricane

Mossy Oak t-shirt sales go to support Hurricane Harvey Victims

WEST POINT, MS – Mossy Oak, Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), B.A.S.S., Ducks Unlimited (DU), National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) have come together to produce specially-designed “Rise Above” t-shirts with all proceeds going to support victims of Hurricane Harvey.

“Texas is a special place to the outdoors community, and seeing the devastation left from Hurricane Harvey and the many hurting people, we had to do something,” said Daniel Haas, New Media Coordinator for Mossy Oak. “We have joined conservation organizations, and with the help of Gildan that donated the t-shirts for screenprinting the ‘Rise Above’ design, to step up and help the people of Texas with 100% of the t-shirt purchase price going to help those affected by the hurricane.”

Share the link with your friends and family and help Harvey victims by buying your Hurricane Harvey Relief T-Shirt at the Mossy Oak online store. Read more

MI DNR Law Enforcement Division 2017 report available online


Highlights include recreational safety, educational outreach initiativesAn annual report highlighting program accomplishments of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division is available at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

The 2017 Annual Programs Report is based on calendar year 2016 information. It illustrates the division’s successes in protecting Michigan’s natural resources and citizens and in educating outdoor enthusiasts on recreational safety.

The report includes a statewide map of Law Enforcement Division districts, a statistics table showing the number and types of interactions between conservation officers and the public, the number of students certified in hunter, boating, snowmobile and off-road vehicle safety, and a summary of each program area. Read more

Boat Explosions Highlight Crucial Role of Proper Ventilation Systems

PHOENIX — The occurrence of two boat explosions two days in a row at Lake Havasu is an important reminder of the crucial role of ventilation systems, which work to remove flammable gases. Properly installed ventilation systems greatly reduce the chance of a life-threatening explosion.

A properly functioning ventilation system circulates air through the engine and fuel tank compartments to remove fuel vapors from the bilge. A best practice to follow is to always open an inboard engine compartment and let it air out before starting an engine — this allows you to smell for gasoline fumes. Read more

ARGO Unveils 2018 Lineup of XTVs featuring the Frontier Series in Mossy Oak®

WEST POINT, MS – ARGO, the world’s leading amphibious Xtreme Terrain Vehicle (XTV) manufacturer, today unveiled its XTV lineup for the 2018 model year adding all-new models, features and options to its expanding line of industry leading powersports products.

Offering incredible versatility and value, the revamped ARGO 6×6 Frontier models make off-road riding approachable, easy and fun. With six different models to choose from including the Frontier 6×6/8×8 Scout outfitted with a number of hunting specific accessories including Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades® camo or Break-Up Infinity® camo, customers can further customize their ride with multiple color, transmission, accessory and seating packages – all new for the 2018 lineup. Read more

Take a free ride during Michigan’s Free ORV Weekend

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources invites residents and out-of-state visitors to enjoy Free ORV Weekend Aug. 19-20. During the weekend, Michigan residents and nonresidents legally can ride DNR-designated routes and trails without purchasing an ORV license or trail permit.

Free ORV Weekend not only offers access to nearly 3,700 miles of off-road trails, but also includes use of the state’s five scramble areas, including St. Helen’s Motorsport Area, Black Lake Scramble Area, Silver Lake State Park, Bull Gap and The Mounds. All ORV rules and laws still apply. Read more

New Michigan exhibit explores mystery behind Copper Country’s 1844 epidemic

A new exhibit at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park in Copper Harbor takes visitors into the actual hospital ward where sick soldiers were cared for during a mysterious epidemic there more than 150 years ago. The “Ward Room” exhibit, which opened recently in the park’s former U.S. Army post hospital, also looks at the health care methods of that time.

Over the winter of 1844-45, an unknown disease with flu-like symptoms hit the garrison at Fort Wilkins. According to the fort doctor at the time, at least 13 cases were reported, and one soldier eventually died from the disease.

“We were excited to have the opportunity to create a new exhibit focusing on the stories of the epidemic,” said Fort Wilkins site historian Barry James. “It allowed us to open a space that the public has never had access to before, the hospital ward where those sickened by the epidemic were treated.”

Visitors stepping into the ward room will find patient beds, tables and medical instruments that re-create the original hospital environment. They will meet Charles Isaacs, the fort doctor who worked diligently to heal the infected patients. Read more

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