The Birthplace of Route 66, Springfield, Missouri, is a hit with group travelers looking to experience the heart of the Midwest

For an ideal Midwest group excursion, look no further than Springfield, Missouri – the gateway to the great outdoors, the heart and soul of the Ozarks and the birthplace of the historic Route 66.  Here you’ll find pristine parks and trails, boutique shopping, diverse wineries, breweries and distilleries and countless group-friendly attractions. Springfield showcases its unique past while also providing entertainment and eyes on the future. Check out this itinerary to help plan your next group adventure.

Duration: 3 Days

Available: Year-round

This Itinerary is Ideal For: Adults

Day 1 – Aquarium and Bass Pro Shops

Arrive mid-morning at Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium, voted America’s Best Aquarium and Best New Attraction by USA Today readers. The facility includes 1.5 million gallons of water in multiple aquariums and the immersive wildlife museum experience showcases more than 35,000 live fish, animals, reptiles and birds. Visitors see the wild with state-of-the-art 4D dioramas surrounding them with the sights and sounds of wildlife habitats. Your one-of-a-kind aquatic adventure spans the world’s water taking you to oceans, lakes, rivers and streams.

Springfield, Missouri is home to the top-rated aquarium in the United States

Lunch is at Hemingway’s Blue Water Cafe, located inside Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, where you’ll enjoy a great menu of seafood and down-home cooking.

The NRA National Sporting Arms Museum inside Bass Pro is the most historically significant gun museum in the Midwest. You’ll see almost 1,000 incredible sporting artifacts from the 1600s to modern-day. Included are some of the finest firearms from the NRA Museum Collection.

The next stop at Bass Pro is the Archery Hall of Fame Museum. The world’s finest archery museum honors outstanding figures in archery and preserves the sport’s history.

There will be time for shopping in the “Grandaddy of All Outdoor Stores,” Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World. It’s almost 500,000 square feet of shopping fun at the first and largest Bass Pro store in the world.

Just off Route 66 is the largest Bass Pro Shops location in the United States, which also serves as the headquarters

After a full day of activities, select a group-friendly dinner option; Springfield’s culinary options scene is diverse — including everything from elegant to family-style dining. Check-in at your Springfield group-friendly hotel. From value to luxury you’re sure to find the accommodations for your stay.

Day 2 – History Along Route 66

Springfield, Missouri is full of history and its museums reflect this unique past

After breakfast at the hotel, meet your step-on guide for a Route 66 Guided Driving Tour. Springfield has a full history with Route 66. There will be a stop at the all-new History Museum on the Square where the “Birthplace of Route 66 Gallery” is a must-see. Next, it’s Park Central Square in downtown Springfield. There are some cool boutiques and galleries for shopping and a historic site of the first wild west shootout where “Wild Bill” Hickok and Davis Tutt faced off.

Lunch is at Steak ‘n Shake on Historic Route 66 before touring Springfield’s only castle, Pythian Castle. Schedule a history tour with an optional 15-minute escape room, or a ClueKeeper History Hunt Game. Depending on when you visit, ghost tours, murder mystery dinners and holiday events are offered. Reservations are required for all Pythian Castle activities.

Enjoy delicious local cuisine and treats along Route 66

Relax for the remainder of the afternoon taking the “C Street Stroll” through the Commercial Street District. It features six blocks of turn-of-the-century architecture, houses, art galleries, boutiques, a chocolate factory, flea markets and more.

It’s back to the hotel for some rest and refreshments before dinner at the Metropolitan Grill. A group favorite, the menu changes with the seasons. Chef Pat Duran works with local growers and purveyors to bring you the finest dishes.

Day 3 – Springfield, Missouri Past and Present

Breakfast and checkout of the hotel are followed by a short drive to Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield where, on August 10, 1861, the first Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River was fought. There’s a 4.9-mile paved tour road with eight interpretive stops. Five walking trails off the tour road vary in length from ¼ to ¾ mile.

Springfield, Missouri was the site of historic battles, and today visitors can learn about the past through museums and reenactments

Lunch is at Leong’s Asian Diner. You cannot leave the city without some of their famous Springfield-style cashew chicken.

At Leong’s Asian Diner, off Route 66 in Springfield, Missouri, diners are in for a treat

This afternoon you’re off to Fantastic Caverns, “America’s Ride Thru Cave.” A 55-minute guided tour follows an ancient underground riverbed filled with massive formations. The cave stays a comfortable 60° year-round.

Depart for home with great Springfield memories.

Springfield, Missouri is home to the Double-A affiliate Springfield Cardinals

OPTION: If the Springfield Cardinals are at home, a visit to Hammons Field for a game with the Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals is a fun evening of entertainment and ballpark food.

If you’d like more great group travel ideas in Missouri, check out the Missouri Group Tour Guide and be sure to Subscribe to Leisure Group Travel to stay up to date with our latest travel news.