After you check out of the lodge, drive back to Springfield. Stop in at a local favorite, Hurt’s Donuts
, where the 70 varieties include some surprising toppings like maple bacon, Andes mints, and cotton candy.
Missouri might not be the first place you’d look for a world-class aquarium, but Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, created the captivating, 350,000-square-foot Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium
. A variety of tanks house different aquatic environments: the deep ocean, underwater caves, the rivers and streams of the Ozarks, and more. Wildlife galleries give a nod to land-based animals across the American West, Africa, and Antarctica, among others.
Reorient yourself back on terra firma with a burger lunch…but not just any old burger. The patties at Black Sheep
come with unique ingredients like jerk seasoning and pineapple jalapeño jam mayo (the “Jamaican Me Crazy”) or topped with short ribs cooked in Dr. Pepper (the “What the Dr. Ordered”). While you’re at it, sample their boozy shakes—hey, you’re on vacation!
End your day at Hotel Vandivort
. This 50-room boutique hotel celebrates Springfield’s rich history, beginning with the building—a Masonic temple originally built in 1906. The industrial-chic décor gives the rooms a personality that’s contemporary and retro all at once.
Spend the afternoon exploring historic Springfield. By the time of the Civil War, the town had emerged as an important trading post, a gateway to the West and the unofficial capital of the Ozarks. Stroll along Historic C Street (short for “Commercial”) to admire the 19th-century buildings, many of them now home to boutiques and galleries.
As you wander around town, keep your eyes peeled for the three Pineapple Whip
locations, where you can enjoy an only-in-Springfield treat. The shop’s non-dairy, juice-based, soft-serve dessert was invented in 1974 and has become a Springfield summertime tradition. It’s available in the original pineapple flavor as well as five others, including mango-peach, grape, and orange.