Sailing News & Views

Wonders of Wildlife, 
The American National Fish and Wildlife Museum to Open its Doors Fall 2001

Wonders of Wildlife, The American National Fish and Wildlife Museum, located in Springfield, MO., will officially open its doors to the public Nov. 2001. The $50 million facility will be unique among museums and aquariums, as it will feature a combination of live fish, birds and mammals, natural history exhibits and hands-on interactive activities.

“Wonders of Wildlife is not simply an aquarium; nor is it simply a museum - it is the best of both,” explains Vickie Hicks, public relations and development coordinator for Wonders of Wildlife. “This project is truly the Smithsonian of the outdoors.”

The 91,000-square-foot, immersive, interactive museum and aquarium will feature 500,000 gallons of water in aquaria, 160 different live animal species, hunting and fishing displays and videos, and numerous interactive exhibits enhanced with computer simulators.

The facility was designed to mirror the interconnectedness of the outside world, with exhibits and habitats flowing seamlessly into one another. The aquarium and museum will offer visitors a peek into many of North America’s natural habitats, including the deep woods, freshwater streams, Ozark hills, open ocean, underground caves and several river habitats.

Visitors can use spotting scopes to discover various species of waterfowl, gamebirds, and songbirds in Wonders of Wildlife’s Walk in the Woods, featuring a suspended walkway that carries travelers through the Ozark’s woods. Along the way, guests can admire stately trees and hear the rush of a 19’ waterfall and the live calls of geese, doves and quail.

At the museum’s Underwater Perspectives gallery, visitors will come face-to-face with sharks and an extensive collection of fresh and saltwater fish. The gallery will also include a 140,000-gallon fresh water tank housing beavers, bass and other fish; and a 220,000-gallon saltwater ocean tank full of exotic aquatic life, including nurse sharks and stingrays. Children of all ages will have the chance to experience the thrill of reeling in their very own trophy fish.

Limestone bluffs and intricate caves surround a deep, cool water Community Pond home to beavers and several varieties of fish in the museum’s Ozark Hills Habitat. The area also includes a 14,000-gallon Otter Pool and special viewing windows that allow visitors to get a closer look at the happenings below the surface.

Visitors can take a 90-foot long cavewalk through Tumbling Creek Cave, containing blind cavefish, crawfish, salamanders and a colony of live bats, all behind Plexiglass. Emerging from the cave, guests will discover an upland Ozarks stream teeming with animals and fish. If they continue on, they will walk along a succession of river habitats, moving from cold and swiftly flowing, to languid lake and ending at a still pond.

Interactive exhibits throughout the museum will introduce visitors to the natural world. The exhibits will offer explanations of how feathers operate, demonstraions of birdcalls, lessons on how to tie a fly, how to fish and more.

Along their trek through the wild, visitors also have the opportunity to learn about the role hunting and conservation programs play in wildlife management, preservation and the restoration of natural resources at side galleries throughout the facility. After a long walk through the museums’ galleries, they can relax in a cozy, wood-lined library and hear stories about the contributions of famous sportswomen and sportsmen.

“The museum will celebrate our heritage of hunting and fishing, and the importance of conserving that heritage,” explained Hicks. “The Wonders of Wildlife concept is unique from other wildlife facilities, in that it focuses both on the animals and on conservation.”

Wonders of Wildlife, The American National Fish and Wildlife Museum is located in Springfield, MO. The 91,000-square foot museum will provide education and entertainment for the whole family while teaching the importance of understanding, appreciating and protecting the natural world. The idea of Wonders of Wildlife was fathered by John L. Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops. The museum was designed by Cambridge Seven Associates of Boston. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George Bush serve as honorary co-chairmen of the board of Wonders of Wildlife. 


Sunsail, the charter market leader in the United Kingdom with significant market share in North America, is now merging with Stardust Yacht Charters, the European market leader. Since February 2000, Sunsail and Stardust have been owned by First Choice PLC. Until now, they have operated as two separate organizations. This union will bring both companies under the brand name Sunsail, forming the largest charter service company in the world. 

The merging of these companies will provide major benefits to our Sunsail and Stardust customers. Sunsail customers will now be able to charter in Corsica, Tahiti and Cuba (US citizens will not be able to book Cuba charters through the US office). Stardust customers may now add these great destinations to their plans: Greece, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Thailand, Malaysia, Annapolis, Tampa Bay and Vancouver. The unification will also bring higher levels of customer service and will allow customers to benefit from the strengths and knowledge of both companies.

Commenting on the merger between Stardust and Sunsail, Andrew Howard, Sales & Marketing Director for both companies, said: "It is a natural progression for us to bring Stardust and Sunsail under one roof. We can now offer 1200 yachts in 23 countries with 39 bases. The benefits to our customers are considerable, as they can now see a wide range of destinations available from one company committed to offering the best service. I am confident that our thousands of clients will welcome the changes and the greater number of charter options available to them as they go about choosing their next sailing vacation."

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