This weekend my family and I took a trip to see the new Wildlife Museum and Aquarium at the one and only headquarters of Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, MO. For kids who grew up on farms hunting and fishing in rural Missouri like myself, Bass Pro Shops Headquarters made Disney land look like a kindergarten field trip. It truly is a one of a kind experience that is among my fondest memories from childhood. I can remember the first item my parents ever got me from there. Oddly enough it was a blue Nike baseball cap. I needed one and I really wanted something from Bass Pro. A few hundred hats and untold thousands of purchases later that one still sticks out as my favorite.
For the last ten years, Johnny Morris the founder of Bass Pro has been building and perfecting the newly opened Wildlife Museum and Aquarium that is connected to the store. For the last five years I had lost all hope of it opening at all, every time I would find myself in the area of Springfield I would look to see if the museum was open and with childish disappointment would grumble that it is never going to be completed. Well, here we are years later, with a son of my own, and I can finally experience the magic they had been perfecting for so long.
With what seemed like a lifetime of anticipation I was sure that the museum would be a bit of a let down like all things built up over such a long period of time. I could not have been more wrong. This place is a masterpiece put together with detail that can only be accomplished over years and years of perfect planning. I was feeling like a kid again – walking around ooohing and ahhhhing with my wife and one year old looking at such amazing displays of nature. The wait was well worth it.
John Morris founded Bass Pro Shops in 1972 with 8 square feet of retail space in the back of his father’s liquor store in Springfield. This was his sole location for 13 years. He has gone on to be one of the world's most influential advocates for conservation and helped give generations of kids just like myself a love for the outdoors. As winter seems to drag on forever and I navigate the many challenges of a growing business, I hope to never lose sight of the opportunity Resource Tree has to make a positive difference, in its own way, on the world around it. Heck, why not? My favorite childhood purchase and the fondest experience to date, with my wife and son, are because a young man sold worms out of the back of a liquor store.