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24 Best Things to Do in Springfield, MO for a Family Getaway  

If you’re looking for your next family vacation, Springfield, Missouri is a must see! Springfield offers a ton of exciting attractions that are perfect for families. From exploring the Wonders of Wildlife to indulging in delicious local cuisine, there are so many things to do in Springfield, MO. Here is a list of all the best places for your next weekend family getaway to Springfield!

A girl walking through a tunnel with a ram overhead at Wonders of Wildlife

Things to do in Springfield, MO:

a girl looking at a penguin at Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, MO

Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium

The Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium is the largest immersive wildlife attraction in the world. It will feel like you are touring the globe as you walk through oceans, rainforests, caves, swamps, safaris, and arctic animal habitats. This was truly one of the most incredible places our family has ever been. It felt like we were walking through the world with wildlife because the exhibits were so grand and detailed.  

This attraction has two parts: the aquarium and the wildlife museum. The aquarium showcases a mesmerizing array of marine creatures, from graceful sea turtles to elusive jellyfish. The 1.5 million gallon tank is a multi-story wonder. There are nearly 350,000 animals and 800 different species.  

The wildlife museum features animal displays from around the globe, including elephants and giraffes in an African safari setting and polar bears, walruses and live penguins in the Arctic. Interactive displays engage visitors of all ages, making this attraction an educational and entertaining experience for the whole family. 

There is a photography exhibit connecting the aquarium and museum that features stunning wildlife photography from around the world. There is also a Bass Pro Shop, so you can gear up for your next outdoor adventure.

girl feeding giraffes at Dickerson Park Zoo

Dickerson Park Zoo

Our family loved Dickerson Park Zoo! A few things that make this zoo unique from others are the elaborate habitats, animal encounters, and the peacocks which have free reign of the zoo and kept things interesting as they would walk along the paths and jump into trees and on fences.  

There are more than 500 animals from around the world, but my kids’ favorite was feeding the giraffes. It was such a fun and memorable experience to see their long tongues grab the food. My kids also enjoyed feeding the goats (although one silly goat stole my son’s entire bag of food) and riding the miniature train around a small lake. If you’re looking for family-friendly things to do in Springfield, MO, this is a must-see!

Caverns in Fantastic Caverns in Springfield, MO

Fantastic Caverns

They don’t call these mediocre caverns for a reason. Fantastic Caverns is a truly unique and beautiful experience that is, well, fantastic! This guided tram tour takes you through the caves and teaches you about the history of the caves, how they were discovered, and how they were made.  

The formations in the cave are truly impressive. They have formed over millions of years, adorned with breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites. Our kids were in awe of how big these formations are, and I couldn’t believe how long it has taken them to transform.  

This attraction is great year-round, in any weather as it remains cool in the caves. I love that this cave is accessible, and the tram makes it easy for families with little kids who don’t want to walk very far yet but want to experience the beauty of a cave! If you’re looking for things to do in Springfield, MO this is a must-do- after all no trip to Missouri would be complete without a visit to a cave.

a cup of cider at Mother's Brewing Company in Springfield, MO

Mother’s Brewing Company

Springfield has an impressive craft beer scene, but if you’re looking for a fun family-friendly brewery Mother’s Brewing Company is the perfect place! You can take a behind-the-scenes tour of the brewery and gain insight into the art and science of beer-making or relax in the brewery’s inviting taproom and sample a selection of handcrafted brews, but what the kids and you will love most is the outdoor playground. This was the most relaxing part of our whole trip for us because the kids played happily while we sat and enjoyed our drinks. 

the dinosaur exhibit at the Discovery Center in Springfield, Missouri by Sarah Reed
Photo by Sarah Reed

The Discovery Center of Springfield

The Discovery Center of Springfield has hands-on exhibits that invite exploration and experimentation, allowing children to learn about science through engaging activities and educational programming like story times. The Discovery Center sparks curiosity, making each visit a fun and educational experience for families looking for things to do in Springfield, MO. 

Sequiota Park in Springfield, Missouri by Sarah Reed
Photo by Sarah Reed

Nature Spots in Springfield:

There are so many things to do in Springfield, MO for outdoor seekers. Springfield Conservation Nature Center has miles of scenic trails, interactive exhibits, and educational programs, while the nature center offers a wealth of opportunities for outdoor recreation and environmental education. Or if boating or fishing is your preference, Lake Springfield is a recreational paradise that offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. 

Springfield Botanical Gardens at Nathanael Greene Park is a free attraction, with a Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden and walking trails. This park also has the Dr. Bill K Roston Butterfly House (open April-October), Gray-Campbell Farmstead- the oldest cabin in Springfield, Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center with restrooms and a gift shop and walking trails that connect to the South Creek Greenway. Sequiota Park has scenic walking trails, shaded picnic areas, and a charming historic bridge. This park is the perfect spot for a leisurely day out in nature. Visitors can also enjoy fishing, birdwatching, and kayaking in the creek. 

Rutledge Wilson Farm Park in Springfield, Mo by Sarah Reed
Photo by Sarah Reed

Family-Fun Spots in Springfield:

If you’re looking for things to do in Springfield, MO for family-friendly fun, consider going to Andy B’s for bowling and arcade games. BigShots is a fun spot if you’re looking for an epic driving range with yard games and food. Getaway Golf is a fun miniature golf course. With themes throughout the course like Las Vegas, Paris, and Stonehenge, you get to work your way through the world while you golf.  

Rutledge Wilson Farm Park features interactive exhibits, barnyard animals, and educational programs that offer insight into the agricultural heritage of the Ozarks. Feed goats, pet ponies, or explore historic farm buildings with your family. There are so many family-fun things to do in Springfield.

a girl looking at art at ArtsFest in Springfield, Missouri

Festivals

If you’re looking for things to do in Springfield, MO always check to see if there are any festivals going on. Our family enjoyed attending ArtsFest put on by the Springfield Regional Arts Council. They had food trucks, live music and performances, a kid’s station where kids could tie dye shirts, and tons of craft booths. It was fun to see the vibrant arts culture in Springfield and the way the community got together to celebrate the arts. 

Where to Eat:

Breakfast Skillet from Gailey's Cafe in Springfield, MO

Gailey’s Breakfast Cafe

Some of the best breakfast food I have ever had was at Gailey’s Breakfast Cafe. I loved the skillets, but they have traditional breakfast foods too. Pro tip: This is a popular spot. Some people waited for over an hour to be seated, but you can join the waitlist virtually from home before you go so you don’t have to wait as long in person.

Truffle fries from Black Sheep Burgers and Shakes in Springfield, MO

Black Sheep Burgers and Shakes 

Treat yourself to gourmet burgers and handcrafted shakes at Black Sheep Burgers and Shakes, a popular dining destination in downtown Springfield. My husband loved parmesan fries and I loved my burger with a gluten-free bun and cocktail. Next time we go we’ll get a shake as well! You’ll love visiting this restaurant while you look for things to do in Springfield.

PaPPo's Pizza in Springfield MO

PaPPo’s Pizzeria 

If you’re looking for a fresh and delicious pizza, PaPPo’s Pizzeria is a great spot! Our family loved the chocolate chip cookies which were so warm and gooey they practically fell apart! I had a gluten-free pizza. The crust had a great texture. The whole family loved this spot! 

Kids looking at donuts in Mudhouse Coffee, Springfield, Missouri

Mudhouse Coffee

Fuel up for your adventures in Springfield with a visit to Mudhouse Coffee, a cozy cafe serving artisanal coffee and delicious pastries. This cute cafe was the perfect pit stop for our family. I got a delicious chai, my husband got a mocha latte, and our kids enjoyed donuts with sprinkles. It was a great place to recharge and get our caffeine fix, it’s a can’t miss spot on this things to do in Springfield, MO list!

tacos and nachos from Team Taco in Springfield, MO

Team Taco

Team Taco is a cute outdoor eatery in a trendy neighborhood. They serve fresh and flavorful tacos inspired by global cuisine. Families can indulge in an array of creative taco creations, from traditional street-style tacos filled with homemade salsas to innovative fusion tacos with an Asian influence.

A strawberry and chocolate crepe from Aviary Cafe in Springfield, MO

Aviary Cafe

Aviary Cafe is a cute and modern eatery with excellent crepes, breakfast foods, sandwiches, and salads with fresh ingredients. Our family enjoyed the crepes. I got a savory crepe with maple syrup on the side and the kids dug into crepes with Nutella and strawberries. If you are looking for things to do in Springfield, MO, don’t miss this delicious spot.

A stone path and beautiful jungle-like courtyard at Oasis Hotel & Convention Center in Springfield, MO

Where to Stay:

Oasis Hotel and Convention Center is the perfect place for families to stay if you’re looking for things to do in Springfield. The rooms were cute, clean, and spacious and the staff was helpful and friendly, but the best part in my kids’ opinion was the pool- complete with a splash pad! We swam for hours, and they still didn’t want to leave. The pool was warm, which made swimming much more enjoyable.  

Breakfast is included and there is a restaurant, bar, and gym. There is also a coffee bar that serves Starbucks.  There is a beautiful jungle-themed atrium with waterfalls, a huge skylight, tall trees and tropical plants, and winding stone paths throughout. It was truly a beautiful and relaxing area, making it the perfect place to unwind between fun activities in Springfield. Book your stay.

Kids playing at the splash pad at Hotel Oasis and Convention Center in Springfield, MO

A Short Drive from Springfield:

If you are looking for things to do in Springfield, Missouri here are some ideas that are only a short drive away and could be done in a half-day trip.

A golf cart driving by a waterfall at Lost Cave Canyon and Nature Trail

Top of the Rock and Lost Cave Canyon and Nature Trail

No trip to the Ozarks is complete without visiting Top of the Rock and the Lost Cave Canyon and Nature Trail. Top of the Rock is a part of the Big Cedar Lodge resort complex which is about a 1-hour drive from Springfield. It offers breathtaking views of the Ozark Mountains and Table Rock Lake. Visitors can enjoy various activities such as golfing, dining at top-notch restaurants, exploring walking trails, the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum, the Cathedral of Nature, and can’t-miss Lost Cave Canyon and Nature Trail.  

The Lost Cave Canyon and Nature Trail are another wonderful stop around Springfield. You tour the nature trail on a golf cart, which makes the experience extra fun and unique. There are multiple places to park, and you can stop and get off the trail anywhere you want except in the cave. There were countless waterfalls throughout the loop.

A waterfall at Lost Cave Canyon and Nature Trail at Top of the Rock, Missouri

You drive through a cave that has a “Bat Bar” inside where you can purchase snacks and drinks. There are waterfalls within the cave as well. You’ll drive over bridges connecting the two sides of the canyon as well. This is definitely a must-see for anyone looking for things to do in Springfield, MO or a quick easy drive on their trip.

Dogwood Canyon

Dogwood Canyon is an hour and 15 minutes from Springfield, Missouri. The park showcases impressive Ozark mountains and spans over 10,000 acres. It features stunning landscapes, waterfalls, streams, and wildlife. 

The tram tours through the park are a popular way for families to explore and see the wildlife, but you can also hike, bike, and ride horses to explore. The park is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, including deer, bison, elk, and various bird species.

Smallin Civil War Cave near Springfield, Missouri
Photo by Sarah Reed

Smallin Civil War Cave 

Smallin Civil War Cave is a historic cave that served as a refuge for Civil War soldiers. Guided tours offer a glimpse into this tumultuous period in American history. The wide cave mouth makes for impressive photos. There is a river running through the cave. In the fall they offer lantern-lit tours, complete with era-actors and a dinner of ham, beans, and cornbread. 

Wonders of Wildlife is one of the best things to do in Springfield, Missouri

Book a Trip:

Springfield, Missouri is the perfect destination for a family-friendly vacation. With its diverse array of attractions, delicious dining options, and welcoming hospitality, there are so many things to do in Springfield, MO. Plan your trip today and discover all that Springfield has to offer! 

If you’re looking for some adventures closer to Kansas City, check out these 10 Best Day Trips from Kansas City.

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2 Comments

  1. I love the way this is set up perfectly and all together. The pictures make a good attention grabber!

  2. Wonderful Wildlife seems so amazing!! The various colorful lights seems so eye-opening and calming

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