It has been about 15 years or more since we have seen our dear friends, Jimmy and Jo. We both used to raise and show dairy goats. Yep, GOATS. (ha ha, go ahead and laugh!) We were really looking forward to this part of our trip and were very happy when we found we wouldn't be too far away.
They have some beautiful property in the rolling hills and invited us to stay at their place. We had their address which seemed simple enough to get to. We should've asked more questions! Our GPS and maps took us the backway and once we hit a very small dirt road we stopped and walked it a bit. It didn't look promising. Of course the signal was very poor and when Jo sent Jimmy out to find us it turned into a circus. He forgot to take his phone with him and we lost our signal so none of us could contact the other! A nice gentleman drove over to us and suggested we back up on to his property and turn around. Steve ended up backing up a quarter of a mile just perfectly and thankfully we were able to turn around and pick up a signal further back. Geez, it took an hour longer but we finally made it to our destination!
Our backyard view.
They had a present ready for Hurley. So sweet.
Jo made a nice pizza for us and we talked for a couple of hours before crashing for the night.
After a yummy home cooked breakfast casserole we were off for the day. They showed us around the area and then we took a tour at Mother's Brewery.
Old Goat Buddies!
Look who joined us for the tour!
Afterwards they took us to a fun place called Lambert's Café in Ozark just south of Springfield. They told us they throw rolls at you. I thought, "Whaaat?" Turns out they don't actually throw them AT you, they throw them TO you. From across the restaurant! More like a toss actually. I was a little bit disappointed though that they said no when I asked if I could throw some back at them. Fair is fair, right? :-)
Jimmy and Jo. Just as sweet and funny as ever!
Wonders of Wildlife Aquarium and Museum created by Bass Pro Shop. While I've been to Bass Pro Shops, I'd not heard of it but we were here for the grand opening. Jo had bought an annual pass which treated us to a free entry. Thanks guys!
This place is HUGE and absolutely amazing! The Animal Galleries have state-of-the-art 4D dioramas that surround you with the sights, sounds and smells of the planet's wildlife habitats. The Aquarium is in its own section and contains 1.5 million gallons of freshwater and saltwater habitats with 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds representing more than 800 species.
It's $14.95 for adults for the Wildlife Gallery, $29.95 for the aquarium or $39.95 for a combo ticket.
As you start into the Animal exhibits you first go through some displays about the Native Americans, famous outdoor artists, adventurers, art, etc. I didn't get many pictures that came out good enough to use but the displays were wonderful. They are still working on this section.
It was sad to see just how quickly buffalo were hunted down just for sport until Teddy Roosevelt and others put some restrictions on it. There is a fantastic area here all about Conservation and preserving the environment for future generations.
|Atypical buck mount.|
I knew what a piebald was, but it was the first time I heard of a cactus buck.
The Bayou section.
After all that walking we were hungry. They have a great restaurant/bar inside the Bass Pro Shop so we went there for a break before hitting the aquarium. We decided to partake of the Buffet. The price was decent and we looked it over and the choices were fantastic. Great breakfast, lunch and dinner choices! We left very happy and full.
Right off the bat the aquarium impresses. More life-like displays and walk-through environments of different regions of the world.
Bass Force One. Love it! The actual boat is here too.
A fish "tornado".
I think this guy was happy to see us.
This guy, not so much!
Cute little sea creatures that I couldn't find the name of.
Where's my pole?
Many brightly colored salt water fish.
No Steve didn't jump into the tank. They have many tanks that you can stand up in the middle. There are also long tank "tunnels" where you walk through the tanks surrounded by all the fish.
You can see a stand up section in this picture.
There was also a large reptile section.
These cuties would "chase" me when I ran back and forth to both ends of their area. So funny!
The jellyfish tanks were neat to see to. So many shapes and sizes and colors.
Of course there are all types of sharks everywhere! I liked the heart I spotted in the background!
Off to the Bat Cave!
This place surpasses any I've been to including Atlanta. This is a must see if you're in the Springfield, Missouri area. I'd actually make it a destination. They are currently building a hotel at the Bass Pro Shop too. Our feet were sore after a full day. By time we got out of the gift shop they had the whole place shut down. I would recommend breaking this up into a two day trip.