Visiting Springfield, Missouri doesn't mean you have to spend tons of money to have fun. If you're looking for something to do this afternoon, here are 20 activities to do around Springfield, Missouri that are under $20 a person.
1. Discovery Center
The Discovery Center is an interactive hands-on science center for all ages. Imagine, create, have fun and learn with hundreds of exhibits that explore physics, chemistry, energy, health and culture all in an environmentally friendly building. Explore galleries and exhibits such as the HighWire Bike, BodyWorks, Discovery Town and Energy Exchange.
2. Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden
The oldest attraction at the Springfield Botanical Gardens, the 7.5 acre, Mizumoto Japanese Stroll garden includes a large koi lake, moon bridge, meditation garden, tea house and traditional Japanese garden landscaping. Built in the 1980s in partnership with the Springfield Sister City, Isesaki, Gunma Prefecture, Japan. Visit the gardens seasonally from April through October.
3. Swing Right Golf
Swing Right Golf, home of the world's largest golf club, is between Springfield and Nixa. The course features a driving range with lights, covered tees and an 18-hole miniature golf course, 9 holes of which are handicapped accessible, and a new disc golf course. For indoor fun, they have two simulators with 41 courses from around the world.
4. Dickerson Park Zoo
Dickerson Park Zoo is a self-guided walking tour with a wide variety of animal exhibits. Learn about more than 500 animals while strolling along the 1.2 miles of paved trails. The zoo is organized geographically with animals from Asia, South America, Australia, Africa and other parts of the world. The Missouri Habitats area features animals native to the Ozarks, including playful otters, white-tailed deer, wolves and black bears. A reptile house, elephants, special events and more provide hours of fun. There’s even a miniature train ride, a gift shop, playground and cafe.
5. Renting Kayaks at Lake Springfield
If you want to try your hand at kayaking or canoeing, rent them at the Lake Springfield Boathouse. The facility offers 17-foot canoes, single and tandem kayaks and paddleboards. Fees are $10 per hour or $30 for four hours for single kayaks and $12 per hour or $36 for four hours for tandem kayaks and canoes. Rentals include life jackets and paddles.
Cost: $10-$12 an hour
6. Mini Golf At Fun Acre
For a fun golfing experience with some unique holes, golf through 18-holes at Fun Acre Mini Golf. Pick your ball and club and begin your adventure. Wind your way through an array of different holes for a low price.
7. Getaway Golf
Getaway Golf is an engaging, interactive and educational spin on miniature golf. This one-of-a-kind entertainment venue (appealing to all ages and ADA compliant) is themed around travel and will showcase the top destinations around the United States and the rest of the globe. From feeling like you're swimming in the Great Barrier Reef to walking through the Grand Canyon, this is sure to be one experience you'll never forget.
8. 1984 Arcade
Take a step back in time at 1984, a nostalgic arcade that’s home to childhood favorite video games such as Space Invaders, Smash TV and an array of pinball machines. Admission is $10 per person and gets you free play on their classic video games. Your admission is an all-night pass, with no cost for re-entry on the same night.
9. Wild Animal Safari
Wild Animal Safari includes a small walk-through zoo featuring a petting area, monkeys, a giraffe and other creatures along with a reptile house. The attraction has a ride-through tour where patrons can see - and feed - dozens of animals and learn about them from a well-versed tour guide. Another option is to drive through in your own vehicle but USDA regulations prohibit feeding the animals without a guide present and windows must be rolled up.
10. Andy B’s
Whether you’re looking for a mid-week happy hour, updated old-school date night, or Friday night out with the family, Andy B's is just the place. Enjoy a night of bowling, arcade games and virtual reality, and a full food menu and bar.
Cost: $20 for a lane
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11. Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is a fun, family-friendly environment. The museum includes more than 4,000 pieces of sports memorabilia, hands-on exhibits and interesting displays. Explore the history of sports in Missouri.
12. History Museum on the Square
Recently named “Best New Attraction” by USA Today, The History Museum on the Square opened in 2019 has more than 18,000 square feet of space to showcase Springfield’s rich history. There are three floors with eight dedicated exhibits, including a Welcome Center, six permanent galleries and a traveling exhibit space.
The museum has sections on the area’s Native American history and the city’s transportation legacy, including a ⅓-scale locomotive. Learn about the pioneers and founders of the city and surrounding area and attend educational programs. You’ll leave the museum informed and in awe of the activities that made Springfield the amazing place it is today.
13. Pythian Castle Tours
Springfield's very own castle isn't just historic; it's also certifiably haunted. Pythian Castle was originally built in 1913 as an orphanage by the Knights of Pythias. Later, it was owned by the U.S. Military for more than 50 years. Today, you can take history tours, ghost tours, partake in murder mystery dinners and enjoy a variety of holiday events.
When you go to the castle, be sure to ask Tamara about the little boy who likes Christmas lights who is haunting the second floor.
14. Shows at the Landers Theatre
Springfield Little Theatre is a volunteer-driven organization energized by the highest artistic ideals that strives to entertain, educate, and involve the community in live theatrical productions and in the preservation of the historic Landers Theatre. See theatre productions like “Willy Wonka Jr.”, “The Sound Of Music”, “Matilda”, “Cinderella”, and others.
15. Pineapple Whip
A sure sign of summer in Springfield is when Lulu’s grass skirt waves back and forth as she sways her hips. Her hula dance is an invitation to savor one of the city’s signature summertime treats: Pineapple Whip.
Each of the three stores serves pineapple flavor with a second rotating flavor. Options include mango-peach, strawberry-kiwi, grape, orange and banana-pomegranate. The stores are open throughout the summer and on select dates in fall and winter.
16. Air & Military Museum Of The Ozarks
The Air & Military Museum of the Ozarks is a hands-on museum that preserves military history and honors America's veterans. Take an imaginary flight in a real Cobra helicopter, see restored vintage military equipment, and even have a personalized dog tag made.
17. The Moxie
The Moxie Cinema is a locally owned theater that showcases various art films and popular headlining movies for an intimate movie experience. Grab your popcorn and a seat in the theater and settle in for a cozy night at the movies.
18. Sculpture Walk
Explore downtown Springfield while experiencing a museum without walls by taking a self-guided tour of the Sculpture Walk Springfield. Quality sculptures are spread throughout the downtown area and are on display year-round.
19. The Alamo Drafthouse
Movies at the Alamo Drafthouse are just a bit different. Head to the Alamo Drafthouse and see all your favorite movies hitting the big screens or your old favorites, because the Alamo shows those two. You can even get a bowl of popcorn (refills unlimited) that'll still keep your total under $20.
20. Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park
A 113-acre park, Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park is home to a number of gardens maintained throughout the year by green-thumbed volunteers. Explore dozens of themed gardens including the iris garden, herb garden, English garden, peace garden and more. Sit back and relax on a park bench and enjoy the serene setting. Not only does the park contain a number of flowers but is also home to the Roston Butterfly House and the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center.