Our friends at Murney Associates, Realtors recently reminded us of some of the things that were unique to Springfield in the 1990’s but are now a thing of the past.
What a fun trip down memory lane — and also a reminder just how far Springfield has come over the last 16 years. Here’s a list of what’s new and exciting in Springfield since the clock turned on the new millennium.
1. Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium
Yes, it’s going to open back up and be amazing! We promise! We’ve seen it.
2. Springfield Cardinals Baseball
The minor league redbirds came to the city in 2005 and have captured the hearts of baseball fans in the Ozarks ever since.
3. Springfield's Incredible Pizza Company
While Springfield gained quite a number of new pizza places of the last few years, this one is like Mr Gatti’s on steroids and a great place to bring the kids.
4. Farmers Market of the Ozarks
Since opening in 2012, the Farmers Market of the Ozarks has grown into an amazing open-air market with vendors from around the Ozarks.
5. Diverging Diamonds
They might have taken a little getting use to but these switcharoo intersections have improved traffic flow at major intersections in the city. The first one in the U.S. opened at Interstate 44 and Missouri 13 in 2009 and now there are more than 60 nationwide.
6. The Ski Shack
Yes, we lost Hydra Slide and Wet Willy’s but just down the road, the Ski Shack Cable Wakeboard Park offers new thrills and is the only park of its kind in the state.
7. An All New C-Street and C-Street Farmers Market
Historic Commercial Street (C-Street) has gone through a major transformation over the years and is now an exciting hub of restaurants, bars and unique businesses and shops.
8. SMSU becomes MSU
If you were a student at SMSU in the 1990’s you probably still slip sometimes and refer to the university as “SMS.” In 2005, SMS became Missouri State University, giving it the credibility it deserves.
9. Coffee, Coffee, Coffee
Hipsters unite. Just one of the reasons Springfield has been referred to as a “mini Portland” recently are its wonderful coffee shops. Coffee Ethic, Kingdom Coffee, Classic Rock and Brick and Morter, just to name a few have become the place to go in Springfield for craft coffee.
10. Sky Zone
Sky Zone has taken the trampoline game to a whole other level providing a good time for little and big kids.
Springfield Brewing Company started the trend in Springfield when it began brewing in 1997. Since then, Mother’s Brewing Company and White River Brewing Company have opened up shop with another one on the way.
12. JQH Arena
JQH Arena, home to the men’s and women’s basketball Bears, opened its doors at MSU in 2008 and brings some of the biggest acts to town. Coming up: KISS July 23, PBR Rodeo Sept. 9-11.
13. IMAX and Recliners at the Movies
AMC Springfield 11 now has recliners in its theaters and operates the only IMAX in town.
14. Swing Right
Although we lost Putt Putt in the 90’s, just down the road toward Nixa, Swing Right is the new place to go for mini-golf. They also have a great driving range. Look for the larger-than-life golf club out front.
15. Jordan Valley Park and Mediacom Ice Park
Jordan Valley Park is known as downtown’s urban meadow and is a great place to relax or let the kids play in the fountains. Right next door is Mediacom Ice Park, home to the MSU Hockey Bears and Springfield Express Junior-A Hockey Team.
16. Civil War Museum at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield
The new-and-improved museum at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield brings history to life at Springfield’s only national park.
17. Hotel Vandivort
Springfield's first boutique hotel has become THE place to stay downtown and is home to the famous #hotelvandivortbathroomselfie.
18. The Trolley Bike
New this year to downtown Springfield, grab your friends and your favorite beverage and cruise around downtown on a bicycle built for 14.
19. Askinosie Chocolate
Springfield’s only bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer has become famous worldwide. Even Oprah digs it.
20. Route 66 Car Museum
The Route 66 Car Museum just opened on old Route 66 in Springfield and showcases more than 60 classic automobiles. It’s a must stop on Route 66.
21. Gillioz Theatre Reopens
The historic Gillioz Theatre reopened its doors in 2006 after an extensive renovation that began in 1990. The beautiful theatre in downtown Springfield now brings in national acts and is home to The Mystery Hour.
22. Route 66 Springfield Visitor Center
It’s where we call home and you’re welcome to visit anytime. The Route 66 Springfield Visitor opened on St. Louis street in 2004 and is the place to go to get info on the many things to do in Springfield.
23. Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park
This unique park, operated by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, is a 207-acre farm park, that celebrates the rich agricultural heritage of the area. Kids can get an educational, real-life farm experience like no other.
24. New Restaurants
While we lost some of the oldies but goodies in the 1990’s, such as Steak ‘n Ale and The Shady Inn, we’ve gained quite a few notable new, local restaurants that have made Springfield a true foodie destination. Parlor 88, Black Sheep Burgers and Shakes, Big Whiskey’s and Fire & Ice are just a few newer local restaurants that have become popular with both residents and visitors.
25. The Return of Leong’s
The city mourned when Leong’s Tea House closed in 1997 and rejoiced when Leong’s Asian Diner opened in 2010. The Leong family created the city’s signature dish, world-famous Springfield-Style Cashew Chicken.
26. Battlefield Lanes Becomes Andy B’s Restaurant and Entertainment
If you hadn’t been to Battlefield Lanes since the 1990’s and walked in today, you’d find yourself in a whole new entertainment venue that not only features bowling but also a full-service restaurant, laser tag, and arcade and more.
What's your favorite new addition to Springfield since the 1990's?