The Getaway
Springfield, Missouri: Discover The Hidden Gems of the Ozarks

Nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, Springfield, Missouri, is a vibrant city teeming with attractions. From art museums to historic battlefields and a diverse food scene to outdoor adventures, Springfield has it all. This city is a blend of urban sophistication and rural charm, offering a variety of experiences for every traveler. Whether you're on a solo adventure, traveling with friends and family, or enjoying the city as a couple, there's plenty to see and do. Springfield's rich history, cultural diversity, and natural beauty make it a must-visit destination on any travel itinerary.

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01 Journey beneath the Earth at Fantastic Caverns

Missouri is known as the Cave State, boasting over 7000 caves. Fantastic Caverns offers an underground excursion that is both family-friendly and enlightening. Traverse a dried-up underground river trail and marvel at the unusual rock formations, stalagmites, and other geological features on a 55-minute expert-led tour. This subterranean adventure offers a unique perspective on the region's geological history. It's a cool respite from the summer heat and a fascinating journey into the earth's interior.

02 Step into history at Wilson's Creek Battlefield

Wilson's Creek was the site of the second major battle of the American Civil War in 1861. Take a self-guided tour of the five-mile battlefield site, which includes key battle points such as John Ray House and Bloody Hill. The visitor center and museum are not to be missed. As you walk the grounds, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the conflict that shaped the nation. The battlefield is beautifully preserved, offering a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made during this tumultuous period in American history.

03 Wander through Springfield Botanical Gardens

Springfield Botanical Gardens offers year-round events and breathtaking landscapes. Stroll through the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden, or visit the Roston Native Butterfly House. Participate in art classes or attend the butterfly festival. The gardens are a haven for nature lovers, with a wide variety of plants and flowers that change with the seasons. It's a peaceful retreat from the city, offering a chance to reconnect with nature and enjoy the simple pleasures of a leisurely stroll.

04 Experience wildlife at Dickerson Park Zoo

Dickerson Park Zoo is home to over 450 animals. The Tropical Asia section features tigers, elephants, and siamangs, while the Missouri Habitats section showcases local wildlife such as black bears, wolves, and river otters. Zookeeper Chats in spring and summer offer an educational experience. The zoo is a great place for families to learn about animals from around the world. It's a fun and educational experience that children and adults alike will enjoy.

giraffes AGEphotography / Getty Images

05 Shop fresh at Farmers Market of the Ozarks

Springfield's Farmers Market is a treasure trove of fresh produce, artisan products, and local delicacies. As the seasons change, so do the offerings. Enjoy live music and explore the stalls for regional specialties. The market is a great place to sample the local cuisine and support local farmers and artisans. It's a vibrant community gathering place that offers a taste of the region's agricultural bounty.

06 Catch a show at Gillioz Theater

The historic Gillioz Theater, dating back to 1926, is a cultural gem. Check out the program for live theater performances, art exhibitions, and cinema. Take a guided tour to appreciate the architecture. The theater is a testament to Springfield's commitment to the arts, offering a diverse program of events in a beautifully restored historic building. Whether you're a fan of drama, comedy, or music, you're sure to find something that piques your interest.

07 Gear up at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

For outdoor enthusiasts, the original Bass Pro Shop is a major attraction. The store features waterfalls, a firing range, a boat showroom, aquariums, and much more. Get kitted out for your outdoor trips and vacations in the Ozarks. This isn't just a store; it's an experience. From the moment you walk in, you'll be immersed in a world dedicated to outdoor adventure. It's the perfect place to gear up for your next hiking, fishing, or camping trip.

08 Discover art at the Springfield Art Museum

The Springfield Art Museum boasts over 10,000 objects of cultural interest. Explore sections on Asian art, textiles, American art, and contemporary watercolor. Visit classic art displays and discover new artists. The museum is a cultural hub, offering a wide range of exhibits that reflect the diverse artistic traditions of the region and beyond. Whether you're an art enthusiast or a casual observer, you'll find something to inspire and intrigue you.

09 Feel the adrenaline at Lucas Oil Speedway

For an adrenaline boost, head to Lucas Oil Speedway for dirt tracks, go-kart races, and speedways. Spend a day at this exciting track and enjoy the atmosphere of a busy racing meeting. The roar of the engines, the smell of the rubber, and the thrill of the race make for an unforgettable experience. Whether you're a racing enthusiast or a first-time spectator, you'll be swept up in the excitement of the event.

go kart racing Enjoylife2 / Getty Images

10 Dive into science at the Discovery Center of Springfield

The Discovery Center is a place where all ages can enjoy learning through interactive exhibits on chemistry, physics, health, culture, and energy. It's a hands-on science center that makes learning fun and engaging. Whether you're interested in the mysteries of the human body, the wonders of the natural world, or the principles of physics, you'll find something to captivate your curiosity.

11 Cheer for the Springfield Cardinals at Hammons Field

Experience the sports spirit of Springfield at Hammons Field, home to the AA Springfield Cardinals. Enjoy the atmosphere of a match day. There's nothing quite like the excitement of a live baseball game, with the crack of the bat, the cheer of the crowd, and the thrill of the competition. Whether you're a lifelong baseball fan or new to the sport, a Springfield Cardinals game is a must-do experience.

12 Indulge at the Springfield Food Truck Park

Sample a diverse range of casual dining choices at Springfield Food Truck Park. From plant-based cuisine to BBQ and tacos, there's something for everyone. The park is a food lover's paradise, offering a wide range of cuisines from around the world. It's a great place to sample new flavors, meet local food vendors, and enjoy a relaxing outdoor meal.

13 Relax at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park

This green oasis is perfect for walking, cycling, or simply relaxing. Nathaniel Greene/Close Memorial Park has excellent walking and biking trails and is home to the Springfield Botanical Gardens. Families can spend time playing outdoors or watching waterfowl and other birds. The park is a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, offering a chance to unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature.

14 Take a sweet break at Andy's Frozen Custard

Andy's Frozen Custard offers a wide range of frozen custard desserts. It's a place where couples and families can choose flavors to share and relax with something sweet while touring the city. Whether you're a fan of classic vanilla or adventurous flavors, you'll find something to satisfy your sweet tooth. It's the perfect place to take a break and indulge in a delicious treat.

15 Visit Askinosie Chocolate Factory

For those with a sweet tooth, a visit to Askinosie Chocolate Factory is a must. This family-owned company crafts artisan chocolate and ensures ethical standards are met. Take a factory tour to learn how cocoa is produced and see how a chocolate bar is made. You'll find a wide variety of flavors that make excellent gifts. The factory tour is an educational and delicious experience, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the art of chocolate making.

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