Quote of the week: “There are always greater fish than you have caught, always the lure of greater task and achievement, always the inspiration to seek, to endure, to find, always the beauty of the lonely stream and open sea; always the glory and dream of nature.” – Zane Grey

The quote of the week is from the Bass Pro aquarium in Springfield. I had the opportunity to go there this weekend. The expansion was 10 years in the making and you could spend 10 years just looking at everything.

It is more than just an aquarium. There are dozens of types of fish, sharks, stingrays, jelly fish, coral, birds, snakes, lizards, turtles, alligators, otters, bears and among the dozens of other animals and sea life. There is both freshwater and saltwater creatures.

There also are several displays of memorabilia from great and famous fishermen, from boats, to cases of fishing equipment, to trophies, pictures and plaques.

All throughout, there also is quotes about the great outdoors, in addition to fish replicas, a huge display of a boat with people, scenery and a body of water with fish.

There is a whole display dedicated to shark teeth, a display dedicated to sea shells, among the several the rest the many displays. You can even touch sea creatures and stingrays. I didn’t want to get my hands dirty, so I passed on that.

You can even swim with sharks. I’m not kidding. You can go scuba diving in a cage right before flesh eating sharks. I think there is an extra fee for that along with a liability agreement.

Each floor of the aquarium connects to one another. It is kind of like a maze. You start from one end, go up and down different exhibits and end up where you started in the lobby.

The best parts are when you fish are swimming over your head and a stingray a shark swims quickly across your line of sight.

It takes so long to get through; there are bathrooms along the way and a concession stand. There are benches and areas to watch wildlife videos.

The different tanks filled with sea creatures are so mesmerizing, you could practically live there and no one would realize it. I would eventually have to leave to charge my phone and maybe get some sunlight.

It also is a learning experience because there are interactive signs that have information on the different types of fish and animals you view. Some fish I had never seen before and they looked kind of gnarly.

In addition to the aquarium, there is a wildlife center, but since it took two hours to go through the aquarium, I saved the wildlife experience for another visit. In the lobby, there is a cafe and, of course, a gift shop.

I wanted to buy all of the stuffed animals and T-shirts. Luckily, I have some resistance. Seeing the amazing aquarium and wildlife exhibits are worth the long car drive. When you leave the gift shop, there is a statue of a fisherman holding a mermaid. That was interesting.

It really is entertaining for the whole family, even if you don’t hunt, fish or even like walk outside your backyard.