Branson’s Silver Dollar City has been voted America’s best theme park and Springfield’s Wonders of Wildlife has been voted America’s best aquarium by USA TODAY’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards following a nationwide poll of USA Today readers and fans of each attraction.
“We recognize the importance of this type of recognition from our guests who visit from all over America,” said Brad Thomas, president of Silver Dollar City Attractions. “Having the distinction of being No. 1 theme park and Wonders of Wildlife as No. 1 aquarium, speaks to quality of experiences that each attraction delivers to our guests.”
“We are truly humbled by this distinction and very grateful to every guest, member and fan for their votes and support,” said Johnny Morris, noted conservationist and founder of Bass Pro Shops and Wonders of Wildlife.
“Wonders of Wildlife represents the collective efforts of countless individuals and organizations who share a strong passion for conservation. Together we hope the awareness generated by this recognition, for both Silver Dollar City and Wonders of Wildlife, encourages even more people to visit the Ozarks and get inspired to enjoy and protect the great outdoors.”
The two family-owned businesses from Southwest Missouri have entertained millions of guests and celebrated the beauty and heritage of the Ozarks. Silver Dollar City offers world-class rollercoasters, seasonal festivals and demonstrations by expert craftsmen. Wonders of Wildlife provides experiences that nurture a love for the outdoors and wildlife conservation. Both are popular family destinations that appeal to all ages.
“Missouri is filled with incredible attractions for all types of travelers,” said Stephen Foutes, Director of the Missouri Division of Tourism. “Silver Dollar City and Wonders of Wildlife’s top ranking is a testament to fantastic experiences that tourists can expect while visiting the state.”
Governor Mike Parson recognized this achievement with a proclamation issued on May 5, 2023.
Silver Dollar City and Wonders of Wildlife Aquarium were nominated by a panel of museum, aquarium, amusement and theme park experts consisting of USA TODAY editors, 10Best.com editors and additional high-profile influencers from across the country.
About the Missouri Division of Tourism
The Missouri Division of Tourism works to showcase Missouri experiences through compelling storytelling to inspire travel, support healthy communities and strengthen the state’s economy. In fiscal year 2022, Missouri welcomed 40 million visitors and saw $16 billion in tourism-related spending.
Since 1994, Missouri Outdoor Communicators have been telling stories about, as well as promoting, the great outdoors. MOC is a group of professional journalists, authors, bloggers, photographers, videographers, biologists, naturalists, companies and communities intent on celebrating the plethora of outdoor adventures that can be enjoyed in the great state of Missouri and throughout the Midwest.