Looking for hours of free family fun in Springfield MO? Bass Pro Shops, “The Grandaddy” of all outdoor stores houses 500,000 square feet of homage to outdoor life. The Springfield location is unlike other Bass Pro Shops stores. Enjoy live animals, two free on-site museums plus a full service restaurant and the unforgettable decor the outdoor sports store is known for. Prepare to be wowed at this “outdoor” indoor amusement park!

Bass Pro Shops, The Grandaddy of all outdoor stores provide hours of free family fun in Springfield MO with live animals and free on-site museums.

Hours of Free Family Fun at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield MO

As a family, we have always been fans of the Bass Pro Shops stores. Their sign on the front entryway says “Welcome Fisherman, Hunters and Other Liars.” I can really get behind a store with a great sense of humor and a healthy appreciation for conservation and wildlife.

Every visit to Bass Pro Shops is like stepping into a free amusement park featuring the great outdoors. They are well known for their eye-catching store displays, but I’ve never been to a store quite like the one in Springfield, MO.

The live alligator exhibit at Bass Pro Shops offers hours of free family fun in Springfield MO.

Alligators! Photo Credit: Audra Rogers, Encouraging TravelingMom

What’s Special About the Bass Pro Shops in Springfield MO?

The store in Springfield is the official Bass Pro Shops headquarters, also known as “The Grandaddy” of all outdoor stores. It’s also a great place to stop and wow the kids for free on a road trip. You are guaranteed to find something here that you don’t get to see every day.

We usually all need to take a break after several hours on the road. My husband is a “go big or go home” kind of guy and his suggestion of visiting Bass Pro Shops in Springfield certainly fit that bill. It’s easily the biggest Bass Pro Shops we have ever seen.

Where can you see polar bears and alligators? At outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops! The best part? It's free family fun in Springfield MO!

The beautiful “outdoor” lobby at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield. Photo Credit: Audra Rogers, Encouraging TravelingMom

Why Is It The Grandaddy Of All Outdoor Stores?

It houses nearly 500,000 square feet of all of the outdoor gear you could ever want and amazement for kids. We heard “Whoa!” and “Look at that, daddy!” as we walked into the lobby. There is a huge elk statue at the top of the stairs, surrounded by multiple dioramas, wildlife mounts and an aquarium.

Where can you see polar bears and alligators? At outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops! The best part? It's free family fun in Springfield MO!

Now that’s an elk! Photo Credit: Audra Rogers, Encouraging TravelingMom

Everywhere you look there is something to point at and learn more about. This particular store boasts 4 million visitors per year, and I believe it. We stopped in on a random Wednesday afternoon after the holidays and it was crawling with families, especially with younger kids. There is so much to see!

Are There Live Animals At Bass Pro Shops?

We saw an alligator exhibit nearby and headed over to watch them. For a second it looked as though they weren’t real because they didn’t move very much. Suddenly, the big one raced off of the rock and splashed into the water, drawing a crowd with the excitement.

After a short swim, the alligator got back on the rock with the others and was still again. We made our way nearby to the part of the store where the boats are sold. We stopped next to a mounted boar positioned at kid-level and took turns feeling its bristly, coarse fur. There are several mounted animals peppered throughout every section of the store to observe.

Where can you see polar bears and alligators? At outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops! The best part? It's free family fun in Springfield MO!

Popular aquarium stop inside Bass Pro Shops. Photo Credit: Audra Rogers, Encouraging TravelingMom

What Else Can Kids Learn at Bass Pro Shops?

There are a total of seven intricate aquariums in the store and also live turtles. Fish feeding shows are scheduled daily at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in Uncle Buck’s Auditorium on the ground floor. Divers feed fish and give an educational talk on fish that are native to Missouri.

Where can you see polar bears and alligators? At outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops! The best part? It's free family fun in Springfield MO!

Underwater ceiling view. Photo Credit: Audra Rogers, Encouraging TravelingMom

One of my very favorite things at the store? The ceiling near the aquarium is decorated to look like you are underwater. It’s so cool because when you look up you see the bottom of a small boat along with fish in the water, tree roots, moss – the whole works!

After we watched the fish in the aquarium we made our way down the walkway and found a polar bear! A grizzly was close by too.

Where can you see polar bears and alligators? At outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops! The best part? It's free family fun in Springfield MO!

“Whoah! Look at that thing!” Photo Credit: Danny Rogers

What Can Adults Learn at Bass Pro Shops?

There are several more dioramas and mounts and two nice waterfalls along with something I was not expecting: two real-deal historical museums and a conservation exhibit.

The first museum we went through was the National Archery Hall of Fame, which houses more than 1,500 display items.

Where can you see polar bears and alligators? At outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops! The best part? It's free family fun in Springfield MO!

Geronimo’s handmade bow. Photo Credit: Audra Rogers, Encouraging TravelingMom

It was a nice surprise to see such a prized artifact encased in glass: a handmade bow created by Native American Apache leader Geronimo.

The second museum was the National Rifle Association Sporting Arms museum which displays the evolution of hunting arms from colonial times to present day in America. The spindles in the long staircase leading up to the door of the museum were rifles! One particular item of note on display: Teddy Roosevelt’s hunting rifle.

What Else Can You Find at Bass Pro Shops?

If you are hungry, the store houses a full-service restaurant named Hemingway’s, a snack bar and also a coffee shop. Outdoor seating is available at several locations.

There are also archery and shooting ranges, a banquet space for events and a 50,000 square foot education center. Not to mention all of the great photo opps!

The signature fireplace is in the front lobby with comfortable chairs if you need a little down time before leaving. There are also bathrooms near the lobby. The trim in the ladies room along the sink was lined with shotgun shells, a fun detail one might expect from Bass Pro Shops.

What Should Parents Watch For at Bass Pro Shops?

It’s obviously still a place of business, and they sell a lot of adorable items for kids.  You might want to set some grounds rules on that before you head into the store if your aim is to keep the stop free. If that’s not a concern, there is a ton of fun stuff to choose from!

We did not buy souvenirs but had I known there was a restaurant on site before we arrived, I would have made this our lunch stop! We will definitely plan for that the next time we come through Springfield on our usual road trip. This will be a regular road trip stop for us.

So if you’re looking for a huge, free venue packed with a ton of pleasing things to see and learn about, The Grandaddy of all outdoor stores might be the perfect stop for you too!