While Springfield may be best known as the birthplace of Route 66, a travel nurse who takes an assignment in Missouri’s third-largest city will find more to do than take off on a classic road trip in-between shifts. In the “Queen City of the Ozarks” you’ll discover a wide range of delights, indoors and out. Here’s what a Springfield travel nursing assignment has in store for you.
There are multiple parks within the Springfield city limits and just a short drive away thanks to the city’s scenic locale and surroundings. The Little Sac Woods Conservation Area just north of town offers the opportunity to hike, picnic, fish or camp among 772 acres of forest—home to deer, raccoons, and turkey. At historic Doling Park you’ll find a cave, lake, walking trail, and history museum. The Doling Family Center is located here and offers the perfect place to get active when the weather doesn’t cooperate, featuring a gym, walking track, fitness classes, weights and aerobics equipment, as well as an aquatics center with lap lanes for swimming and a whirlpool for soothing those muscles after a long day on your feet at the hospital.
When the weather gets a bit warmer, head to Fantastic Caverns, where you can take a fascinating trip underground where temperatures are a constant 60 degrees year-round. North America’s only caves that are totally ride-through, visitors sit in a tram pulled by a Jeep, traversing down the path that was carved by an ancient river thousands of years ago. The caves also have an interesting recent history, having served as a speakeasy during prohibition.
History buffs will find many ways to delve into the city’s fascinating history, including a tour of the Battle of Springfield site where, in January 1863, Union forces defended the territory against Confederate attempts to gain high-ground access and supplies. The History Museum on the Square celebrates Springfield’s past, including the site of the very first Wild West shootout which involved the infamous “Wild Bill” Hickok, while 1913 Pythian Castle, originally built as an orphanage before being taken over by the military, offers both history tours and ghost tours after dark.
Travel nurses should take a walk through the C-Street Historic District along Commercial Street, developed between 1870 and 1935, to check out the impressive Victorian- and Romanesque-style architecture. Many of the buildings have been transformed into coffee shops, art galleries, bakeries, vintage clothing shops and other fun spots to pop into.
Springfield is home to the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium, which features a 1.5-million-gallon aquarium that showcases 35,000 fish, along with reptiles, mammals and birds. The highlight when it comes to close encounters with animals, however, is the Dickerson Park Zoo, which houses over 500 different creatures representing over 160 species.
The Springfield Cardinals play their home games at Hammons Field. The squad is the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, and Hammons Field offers a great way to enjoy a more a ball game and get up close to players.
Springfield has a vibrant nightlife scene with a wealth of things to do after dark, from brew pubs and fine dining restaurants to comedy clubs, theaters, and bars. You can catch a show at the Springfield Little Theatre, the Springfield Contemporary Theatre, or the historic 1926 Gillioz Theatre which hosts movies, concerts, film festivals and live theater. The city is also home to the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, which performs nine subscription concerts and two free Halloween and Holiday concerts each year.
The options here are practically endless; in fact, you might just find yourself extending that assignment for another 13 weeks!
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