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Former US presidents applaud realisation of dream

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George W Bush was one of two former US presidents to attend the opening.
↑ Bass Pro Shops owner Johnny Morris talked of his ten-year dream to open the museum.
↑ The opening of the museum was marked by a $1 million donation to the Convoy of Hope charity.

Two former US presidents, the current Secretary of the Interior and two of the world’s best known actors joined Bass Pro Shops founder, Johnny Morris, at this week’s recent opening of his new Wonders of Wildlife Museum.

The conservation gala saw both Mark Wahlberg and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke dive into one of the museum’s huge tanks, while Kevin Costner, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter all paid tribute to a vision that has been almost ten years in the making.

The star-studded event was also attended by Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, Senator Roy Blunt, Congressman Billy Long, pro anglers Bill Dance and Jimmy Houston, country music stars Luke Bryan and John Anderson, and a throng of conservation leaders and other celebrities.

The museum, located next to Bass Pro Shops HQ in Springfield, Missouri, features 1.5m gallons of aquariums, more than a mile of trails and exhibits and 35,000 fish, mammals, reptiles and birds.

“Somehow you have managed to touch us all,” Costner told Morris. “Your friendship, your attention to detail and love of the land are legendary.”

Morris, who is close to completing the deal to buy rival retailer Cabela’s, gave credit to the people behind the scenes. “The number of remarkable people – the artists, craftsmen, the people who study fish and wildlife, the biologists – have all worked together and been a big inspiration to me.

“Wonders of Wildlife is an inspirational journey around the world that celebrates the role of anglers and hunters as America’s true conservation heroes.”

The occasion was also marked by a $1m donation by Bass Pro Shops to the Convoy of Hope in aid of hurricane relief in Texas and Florida.

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