Spring is leading into summer, time to get out of the house with the family. You may have a big vacation planned this year or just a “staycation” near the house. Whatever your family plans are, you can afford to take at least a day or two to drive somewhere here in our beautiful state and enjoy what Missouri has to offer. You should consider heading to Springfield. Since I’m a sports guy, and we’re a sports family, Springfield has some great options, including:
The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
The Hall of Fame opened it doors in 1994 and has over 4,000 items of sports memorabilia and exhibits. The two-story, 32,000 square foot building also features a number of interactive exhibits allowing you to experience the excitement for yourself. You can race your friends in the NASCAR simulator, step into the batters box against a Major League Baseball pitcher, throw football passes, and much more. Adjacent to the Hall of Fame is the Legends Walk of Fame. The Legends Walk of Fame features busts and statues of notable Show Me State sports figures honored with the yearly Legends Award.
Every year the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame hosts several special events for avid sports fans. The annual enshrinement event inducts exceptional Missouri athletes into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. There are several celebrity golf tournaments in Lake Ozark, Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis including the Stan Musial Hall of Fame Championship in Branson. They also host the annual Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper, a stop on the PGA Nationwide Tour, that raises money for children’s charities of the Ozarks.
Jerald Andrews, President and Executive Director, tells us more about what the Hall has in store this summer for visitors in our Google Hangout below.
The Springfield Conservation Nature Center
Outside – explore 79 acres of habitat including forest, glade, woodland, prairie plantings, creeks, and frontage on Lake Springfield. Eat a sack lunch in the covered pavilion. Hike nearly three miles of trails; there are six of them varying in length from 0.2 miles to two miles. Some trails are paved and stroller-friendly. View wildlife including deer, turkey, foxes, mink, muskrat, turtles, frogs, insects, and more than 170 species of birds.
Inside – experience the multi-sensory, self-guided exhibit area. Attend one of the many public programs, guided hikes, special events, workshops, or videos offered at the Nature Center.
Linda Chorice, Nature Center Manager, takes on a guide through some of the prettiest areas inside Springfield.
Bass Pro Shops
The Grand Daddy of all outdoor stores, the original Bass Pro Shop has almost 500,000 square feet dedicated to the outdoors. There is a natural looking environment complete with waterfalls, springs and many live fish, including seven large fish tanks. The store also features two museums. There are fish feeding shows where shoppers can watch their divers feed the fish and give seminars on native fish to Missouri. The NRA national sporting arms museum and archery hall of fame are also located at Bass Pro.
From the end of May thru the end of August, the St. Louis Cardinals AA affiliate will have seven weekend homestands at Hammons Field. This summer would be a great time to catch a Cardinals game. Springfield will also hold the 2016 Texas League All-Star Game.
Some of the key players you can see this summer:
Catcher — Mike Ohlman, Springfield (103 games): Acquired from the Orioles in February, Ohlman found himself in Double-A for the second straight season, this time in the Texas League. In a new circuit, the 24-year-old was rejuvenated and knocked in a career-high 69 runs to lead Springfield.
Second baseman — Bruce Caldwell, Palm Beach (44 games), Springfield (81 games): In his fourth professional season, Caldwell found a way to get on base any way he could. Working a career-high 66 walks and improving his average 15 points to .262, the 24-year-old notched career bests with a .360 on-base percentage, 63 runs scored and seven stolen bases.