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Riding through Fantastic Caverns in Springfield, Missouri

Missouri

Springfield, Missouri: Attractions, Shopping and Route 66

By: Jody Sidle Short

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Classic car on Missouri’s Route 66

Missouri

Springfield, Missouri: Attractions, Shopping and Route 66

By: Jody Sidle Short

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Elvis themed room at Route 66 Rail Haven Motel in Springfield, Missouri

Missouri

Springfield, Missouri: Attractions, Shopping and Route 66

By: Jody Sidle Short

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Fish at the Bass Pro Shop Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri

Missouri

Springfield, Missouri: Attractions, Shopping and Route 66

By: Jody Sidle Short

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Alligator pit inside Bass Pro Shop in Springfield, Missouri

Missouri

Springfield, Missouri: Attractions, Shopping and Route 66

By: Jody Sidle Short

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Stalactites in Fantastic Caverns in Springfield, Missouri

Missouri

Springfield, Missouri: Attractions, Shopping and Route 66

By: Jody Sidle Short

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Names of original explorers of Fantastic Caverns in Springfield, Missouri

Missouri

Springfield, Missouri: Attractions, Shopping and Route 66

By: Jody Sidle Short

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Historic rifles on display in Springfield, Missouri

Missouri

Springfield, Missouri: Attractions, Shopping and Route 66

By: Jody Sidle Short

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Inside the National Sporting Arms Museum in Springfield, Missouri

Missouri

Springfield, Missouri: Attractions, Shopping and Route 66

By: Jody Sidle Short

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Outside the Bass Pro Shop Flagship Store in Springfield, Missouri

Missouri

Springfield, Missouri: Attractions, Shopping and Route 66

By: Jody Sidle Short

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  • States:
    Missouri

I was really excited to be going to Springfield, Missouri, as I had heard about its great taverns, excellent restaurants and huge Bass Pro Shops.

In fact, my expectations were pretty high, so when everything in Springfield exceeded those expectations, I became a huge fan of this wonderful city.

Spending the Night Where Elvis Slept on Route 66

First, I checked into the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven Motel. It had a 1950s-style look to it from the exterior, but the rooms were modern, clean and very comfortable. There is an Elvis Presley room on the property, which is decked out with an Elvis Cadillac bed and memorabilia in honour of the times Elvis himself stayed at the motel. 

Springfield is actually the birthplace of Route 66 and even the Visitor Information Center is decked out in 1950s décor with a whole bunch of Route 66 souvenirs. Plus, just like everywhere else in Springfield, the staff is as friendly as can be!

Shopping and Dining in Springfield

There are many Bass Pro Shops all over the country, but Springfield boasts the original and the largest of them all – and this place is huge! Whether you are an outdoors person like me or not, the shop has so much to see including alligator pits, aquariums, the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum, the Archery Hall of Fame, a restaurant, café and sweets galore. Everyone can enjoy this place. 

After salivating over all the amazing camping and boating equipment at Bass Pro Shops, and wandering around for hours, it was time to go somewhere else for lunch, so I went to the Aviary Café and Creperie. Everything on the menu looked great, but I opted for beef medallions, eggs and pomme frites which were delicious. 

Exploring the Caverns by Jeep

Now fed and watered, I went to Fantastic Caverns, the only ride-through cave in the U.S. It’s much larger inside than most and there are columns going from the base to the ceiling, and tiny cave pearls in the water. This is a beautiful natural wonder and unlike any other that I have toured.

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Downtown Springfield: Nightlife, Sports & Western Lore

I popped into downtown Springfield for a look around, and found a wonderful mix of eclectic shops, restaurants, antiques, art galleries, museums and live theatres. I grabbed a quick drink at one of the bars in Springfield’s Park Central Square, which is home to the first recorded quick draw Wild West shoot out – super awesome! For dinner we headed to Nakato Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar, which was very tasty and once again staffed by a friendly crew.

A great night’s sleep followed the sushi and sake, and then the next morning, I visited Hammons Field, where the Springfield Cardinals baseball team plays. My last stop was Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, the site of the first major Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River. 

There is still so much more to experience here in Springfield. What I did get to do during my stay was so entertaining that I’ve had an absolute blast and look forward to a return visit.

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