training to attendees who want the latest in
water-bound adrenaline rushes.
Springfield Conservation Nature
Located within the city limits of Springfield
are 79 acres of natural beauty waiting to
be explored. The Springfield Conservation
Nature Center and surrounding grounds
are an excellent spot for relaxing downtime,
and they also offer a number of interactive
programs for groups, including guided
hikes and workshops, or attendees can take
things at their own pace with six different
hiking trails totaling three miles.
“There’s a visitor center with educational
displays, and trails that take you through
different native habitats,” said Susan Wade,
public relations manager for the Spring-
field CVB. “It’s operated by the Missouri
Department of Conservation, so the center
is a great source of information whether
you’re into birdwatching, wildflowers or
just love nature.”
A covered pavilion is also on the
grounds, making it the perfect spot for a
catered box lunch.
Top of the Rock, Branson
It’s hard to determine which is more popular in Branson: fun on the lake or the area’s
prizewinning golf courses.
“We always have groups asking for golf
outings,” said Cohen, of the Branson/Lakes
Area CVB. “One thing they usually want is
to have something close to their lodging.”
Two such courses, Buffalo Ridge and Top
of the Rock, are part of the Big Cedar Lodge
brand. The courses are regular stops for
the PGA Tour Champions Legends of Golf
and have earned numerous accolades for
their design and beauty. The lodge is happy
to help planners set up a golf tournament
or an event at the Arnold Palmer Driving
Range as well.
After a few rounds in the sun, guests can
take a golf cart tour at Top of the Rock’s
Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail. The
cart tour takes guests past beautiful bluff
formations and waterfalls, and there is
even a walking trail for those who want to
forgo the cart.
Other golf courses in the region include
the Thousand Hills Golf Club, part of the
Thousand Hills Golf Resort, and Point
Royale Golf Course, just down the road
from the Chateau on the Lake.
Nathanael Greene Park/Close
Memorial Park, Springfield
“Nathanael Greene Park is a large city
park with several gardens throughout,
including a rose garden, daylily garden
and even a vegetable garden,” Springfield
CVB’s Wade said.
SPRINGFIELD CONSERVATION NATURE CENTER
Latest + Greatest
➜ Best Western Vib Springfield (www.
bestwestern.com) is currently under
construction and slated to open this
September. The 92-room property is
part of Best Western’s new urban boutique brand.
➜ The 98-room Moxy Springfield (http://
moxy-hotels.marriott.com) is currently
in development at the historic Great
Southern building downtown. The new
Marriott brand caters to Millennials and
can feature a selfie elevator along with
two bars and a restaurant.
➜ A 99-room Home2Suites by Hilton
( http://home2suites3.hilton.com) is also
under construction, and is slated to
open in September.
➜ The 103-room Fairfield Inn and Suites
Springfield ( http://fairfield.marriott.
com) is currently under construction
and slated to open January 2018. The
property will have an indoor pool and
will be adjacent to the Double Tree by
Hilton Hotel Springfield.
➜ Construction will start this summer
on a 110-room Holiday Inn Express
and Suites ( www.ihg.com), located
northwest of the I- 44 and the Glenstone
Avenue interchange. The property is
slated to open next June.
➜ A four-story, 96-room SpringHill Suites
by Marriott ( http://springhillsuites.mar
riott.com) property is currently under
construction. The property is slated to
open next February.
➜ The Wonders of Wildlife National Muse-
um and Aquarium (http://wondersof
wildlife.org) will open this September.
The museum closed for construction in
2007 and recently announced its fall
debut. Located next to Bass Pro Shops,
the addition of the aquarium brings a
new side to the attraction, with a saltwater aquarium feature and many new
fish species for guests to enjoy.
➜ Plans are underway for a new entertainment district called The Alley, which
will be adjacent to Grand Village shopping complex and across the street from
the Grand Palace theater. The Alley will
feature a microbrewery, shops, restaurants and a hotel. Current plans have an
opening date slated for 2020.
➜ The new La Quinta Inn & Suites
Branson-Hollister ( www.lq.com) opened
last spring with 94 rooms, an indoor
swimming pool, a spa, fitness center
and a meeting room.
➜ Fritz’s Adventure ( www.fritzsadventure.
com), a new attraction, opened last
November with a family-friendly focus
on physical activity. The indoor attraction features a ropes course, zipline,
underground tunnels, warped walls, a
climbable water tower and more. The facility is also available for private rentals
➜ The 115-room, full-service Holiday Inn
Joplin ( www.ihg.com) is expected to
open later this summer with an indoor
pool, restaurant, fitness center and
3,500 square feet of meeting and event