As the official kickoff to the summer travel season is here, we thought we’d share this interesting article from the USA Today as part of the publication’s 10Best series, that names the top public aquarium in North America the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri. The selection tops aquariums like the Georgia Aquarium while leaving legendary ones like Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium off the list.
Springfield’s Wonders of Wildlife was founded by Johnny Morris, the CEO of Bass Pro Shops, so its no wonder the premise and location behind it. According to the story, the Wonders of Wildlife “celebrates hunting, fishing and stewardship of the land and water through 1.5 miles of immersive galleries featuring 4D dioramas and a new 1.5-million-gallon aquarium.”
The aquarium features over 35,000 animals representing over 800 species including saltwater and freshwater. One of the unique draws to the aquarium is a collection of historic boats used by fishing legends and celebrities including Jimmy Buffet and Ernest Hemingway and Zane Grey.
The rest of the list included:
- Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium – Springfield, Mo.
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies – Gatlinburg, Tenn.
- The Florida Aquarium – Tampa
- Dallas World Aquarium – Dallas
- Audubon Aquarium of the Americas – New Orleans
- Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada – Toronto
- Aquarium of the Pacific – Long Beach, Calif.
- Georgia Aquarium – Atlanta
- North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores – Pine Knoll Shores, N.C.
- Vancouver Aquarium – Vancouver, B.C.
Now before we get up in arms about our favorite aquarium missing, this is a travel article and they put together a diverse panel of travel, family and wildlife experts 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Kyle McCarthy (Family Travel Forum), Mommy Nearest , Eileen Ogintz (Taking the Kids) and Alan Sironen (Zoo Consultants International) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of America’s aquariums.
We’d like to hear your perspective. Have you been to any of these aquariums? From a reefer perspective, which are your favorite? Which ones do you like best for family travel? Sound off in the comments!