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The Springfield aquarium is home to 1.5 million gallons displaying aquatic wildlife.
Photo provided by Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium
The Springfield aquarium is home to 1.5 million gallons displaying aquatic wildlife.

WOW named best aquarium in USA Today poll

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Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium once again was voted by USA Today readers as the best aquarium nationwide.

The award, announced July 17, marks the second time WOW has garnered the honor, after receiving it in 2018. The aquarium and museum attraction reopened in September 2017 after a nearly 10-year hiatus.

"We are truly humbled by this distinction and very grateful to every guest, member and fan for their votes and support,” said Morris, founder of WOW and Bass Pro Shops, in the release. “Wonders of Wildlife represents the collective efforts of countless individuals and organizations who share a strong passion for conservation."

Results from USA Today's 2020 10Best poll:
• No. 1 Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium, Springfield, Missouri;
• No. 2 Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg, Tennessee;
• No. 3 Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, New Orleans;
• No. 4 Texas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi, Texas;
• No. 5 Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, Tennessee;
• No. 6 Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta;
• No. 7 Adventure Aquarium, Camden, New Jersey;
• No. 8 Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, Connecticut;
• No. 9 Newport Aquarium, Newport, Kentucky; and
• No. 10 OdySea Aquarium, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Officials with 10Best cited WOW's 1.5 million gallons worth of aquariums and some 35,000 animals representing more than 800 species on display. The poll ran June 15-July 6.

In a statement congratulating WOW on the honor, Springfield Mayor Ken McClure called the attraction a driver of economic impact.

“It is one of our amenities that improves our quality of place and is a symbol of Springfield’s economic vitality,” McClure said in the statement released Friday. “These things are vital at all times, but especially now.”

WOW also separately won the 10Best poll for best new attraction in 2018.

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