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Wonders of Wildlife ranks No. 1 this morning on USA Today’s poll of the best new attractions.
SBJ file photo
Wonders of Wildlife ranks No. 1 this morning on USA Today’s poll of the best new attractions.

WOW tops USA Today poll with 5 days to go

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With five days to go, Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium this morning topped USA Today’s poll of the best new attractions.

The Springfield wildlife museum and aquarium attached to Bass Pro Shops’ flagship store sits ahead of 19 other finalists on the poll by, a USA Today travel and lifestyle website.

As of 9:30 a.m., the top five were:
1. Wonders of Wildlife
2. Morgan’s Inspiration Island, San Antonio, Texas
3. Elvis Presley’s Memphis, located in Tennessee
4. Evel Knievel Museum, Topeka, Kansas
5. Museum of the Bible, Washington, D.C.

USA Today has since closed the leadership board, saying “otherwise, there wouldn't be any surprises once the winners are announced” on Jan. 5. Users can vote here.

No other Missouri attractions are on the list, though Queen City-area interior designers and manuscript translators, among others, worked on the Museum of the Bible, according to Springfield Business Journal reporting.

For Wonders of Wildlife, Springfield Mayor Ken McClure yesterday joined calls to vote for the attraction in the USA Today poll.

“It is a world-class amenity that we are proud of beyond measure,” McClure said in a news release. “It inspires people of all ages to learn, experience and support nature and all of its glory.”

Others who have voiced support of the Springfield attraction include actor Mark Walhberg, angler Bill Dance and country music singer Luke Bryan.

The SBJ newsroom ranked the Wonders of Wildlife opening on Sept. 22 as the top story of the year affecting Springfield businesses and the economy.

The opening followed 10 years, more than five rescheduled dates and investments to the tune of an estimated $290 million.


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