Springfield, MO

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WOW plans new expansion

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A new expansion to Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium has been unveiled.

The third major expansion since the attraction’s reopening in September 2017, officials now are planning to add a permanent exhibition for the American Museum of Fly Fishing, according to a news release.

“There is no better place to showcase the heritage and convey the excitement and proud history of the outdoor sport we love,” American Museum of Fly Fishing President Karen Kaplan said in the release. “We are grateful to Johnny Morris for his vision to establish a national destination of this magnitude and partnership to help expose more people to fly fishing and the outdoors.”

Construction is slated to start later this year on the gallery, which would be located on the lower level of the attraction adjacent to the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. The cost and square footage of the exhibition were not provided in the release, and officials with WOW and Bass Pro Shops could not be reached for comment by deadline.

The release points to plans for an “under-the-river” walkthrough aquarium, complete with a trout stream, that visitors would travel through to get to the American Museum of Fly Fishing. A rendering also points to plans for trout viewing and “out to sea” areas, as well as a community pond.

The American Museum of Fly Fishing’s headquarters will remain in Manchester, Vermont, according to the release.

WOW, which brought in 1.6 million visitors during its first year after reopening, in December 2017 opened its Penguin Cove exhibit. In September 2018, museum officials announced a new 10,000-square-foot space fronting Campbell Avenue was being developed to house the Windland Smith Rice International Awards and its annual Nature’s Best Photography exhibition. It’s slated for completion this year.

WOW initially launched in 2001 but closed to the public for renovations and expansions in 2007, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.


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