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« Better Bass Fishing Is About More Than The Know-How That You Accumulate; It's About What You Pass On | Main | »

Former Presidents, Legendary Anglers, Celebrities Help Celebrate Opening of Wonders of Wildlife Museum



With two former presidents in attendance, Johnny Morris opened his Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium, a tribute to fish and wildlife conservation, in late September.

Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush joined the founder of Bass Pro Shops (BPS) for the festivities, along with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. Additionally, actor Mark Wahlberg did a little SCUBA diving in one of the aquariums, while a "Concert for Conservation" featured Kevin Costner, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bently, and John Anderson.

Fishing legends Bill Dance, Roland Martin, and Jimmy Houston also attended, as did racing's Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Billing the new facility as "the largest, most immersive, wildlife conservation attraction in the world, a major new destination in the heart of America," Bass Pro shops reported that more than 400 conservation leaders came to the opening, "along with significant donors and guests."

Morris added, “Wonders of Wildlife is an inspirational journey around the world that celebrates the role of hunters and anglers as America’s true conservation heroes.

"We proudly invite families and sportsmen to come share the wonder with an unforgettable experience meant to inspire generations of future conservationists.”

Located next door to BPS national headquarters, the museum features 1.5 million gallons of fresh and saltwater aquariums, along with 1.4 miles of trails spread across 340,000 square feet. About 35,000  fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds representing more than 800 species from around the world bring life to the exhibit. Plus, 4D dioramas highlight fully immersive wildlife galleries, providing sights, sounds, smells, and climates from around the world.

"You'll feel the chill of the Arctic, the cold winds of the Himalayas, the dry sun of the African Savannah and more," BPS said.

The aquariums honor legendary anglers, with boats from Earnest Hemingway and Zane Grey, and 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 Fishing Hall of Fame and the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame.

Also, with assistance provided by more than 40 conservation organizations, the museum shares the story of American conservation, from Native Americans to modern-day wildlife management.

"Johnny’s signature creativity and attention-to-detail ensures there are surprises around every corner to amaze guests of all ages," BPS said. "From stepping inside a massive 'open ocean' ring-shaped aquarium, trekking across a sprawling 50,000-square-foot re-creation of the African Savannah and going underwater and eye-to-eye with piranha, the entire adventure is full of special touches you’ll have to see to believe."

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