Spring Break….but make it Midwestern with these fantastically fun and family-friendly things to do in Springfield, Missouri!
#36 on our Deployment Bucket List was to take a road trip (to somewhere other than Florida).
So, during the girls’ Spring Break, we drove to Missouri to visit our friends. And we had the BEST time! I can’t wait to share all of the fun things we did and cool places we visited!
6 Fun Things to do in Springfield, Missouri
Visit the Wonders of Wildlife Aquarium and Museum
Springfield is home to the original Bass Pro Shop that opened in 1981.
Now, it’s also home to the largest wildlife attraction in the world: the Wonders of Wildlife Museum & Aquarium.
The kids had a ball seeing all the fish & petting sting rays. We also walked through the museum portion and saw the greatest collection of record-setting game animals ever. It was one of the highlights of our Spring Break.
Lunch at Red’s Giant Hamburg
And one of the yummiest things to do in Springfield is to stop for lunch at Red’s Giant Hamburg!
This diner originally opened soon after WWII. It was given it’s unique name because the owner couldn’t fit the -er on the end of hamburger on the vertical sign due to power lines above it. The original diner was a Route 66 legend until it closed in 1984, but the new owner’s did an outstanding job recreating it in the new one.
The whole diner from the decor to the menu is a wonderful throwback to a bygone era.
Take a Drive Down Part of the Historic Route 66
We had to take a drive down part of the original historic Route 66, since Springfield is considered the birthplace of the historic ‘mother road’.
I never really knew why Route 66 was such a big deal, but for decades it was the only highway that connected the Midwest and the West. Running from Chicago to Los Angeles, Route 66 was lined by diners, motels, trading posts, oddities, and some of America’s greatest scenic beauty. Quickly, the highway became an American icon.
On our little drive through history, we stopped for pictures with some of the murals. (Which allowed us to mark #40 off of our Deployment Bucket List!)
See the Giant Fork
Quirky roadside attractions are one of our favorite things! We try to see them every chance we get (like the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers in North Carolina).
So, when we had the chance to see the World’s Largest Fork, we couldn’t pass it up!
This fork is 35 feet tall, weighs 11 tons, and is located outside a quiet office building to signify the home of The Food Channel.
Ride Through Fantastic Caverns
There are only 4 drive-through caves in the world and one of them in is in the middle of the USA in Springfield, Missouri!
Fantastic Caverns was just that….fantastic!! You load up in a trailer behind a jeep and ride through the cave with a big group. Your cave guide stops at various places along the way to point out some of the cool features and tell stories about the cave’s fascinating past.
The cave itself is impressive, but even more interesting is it’s history! At one point, this cave was a speak-easy during Prohibition and before that, it was one of Missouri’s best-kept secrets during the Civil War.
Take a Little Side Trip to Branson
And though, technically it’s not in Springfield, we couldn’t leave Missouri without taking a little side trip to Branson.
My kids were over the moon excited as soon as we drove into Branson!
There is SO MUCH to see and do there, that you could spend multiple spring breaks there and never see it all!
We spent our day there wondering around a maze of mirrors and posing for pictures with our favorite celebrities at the Hollywood Wax Museum. Followed by a stop at Hurts Donuts for some of the most delicious doughnuts we’ve ever eaten!
Our spring break trip to Springfield was one of the best that we’ve ever had!
Not only did we do all of these fun things and marked things off of our deployment bucket list, but we got to spend time with our wonderful friends.
I’m so glad that our families get to make these memories together!