Springfield, Missouri

If you run toward things that go bump in the night instead of running away, you’re going to love Springfield and the surrounding area. All over the Ozarks, you’ll find enduring ghost stories that thrill and chill and will get you in the mood for Halloween.

You can start your exploration of the eerie with the Haunted History Walking tours available through Oct. 30  from the History Museum on the Square in Springfield. You’ll get to know the city’s history and some of the spooky stories connected to it.

Pythian Castle (pictured above) was originally built as an orphanage and retirement home for members of the Knights of Pythias and was later owned by the military and served as a prisoner of war camp. People report seeing, sensing, and hearing spirits of the young and aged, especially in the basement. This certified haunted castle offers ghost tours year-round. It’s been featured on a number of TV shows about haunted places, including “Ghost Adventures” on The Travel Channel.

After newlyweds were killed in a car crash while driving through Phelps Grove Park, people began seeing a bride in a white wedding gown and lacy veil by a bridge that leads to the park. No one has reported seeing the groom’s ghost. Maybe it will be you.. . .

Walnut Street Inn

If you dare, make reservations to stay the night here. Guests have reported feeling a ghostly presence at this three-story Victorian bed and breakfast. After a 1998 renovation, a guest reported seeing an apparition of a woman sitting at a table against the wall. They spoke to one another before she disappeared. Other guests have reported a woman sitting on the edge of their bed and people often feel an unexplained cold draft on the backs of their necks.

Home of the first and Largest Bass Pro Shop

Dozens of taxidermy mounts on the walls and massive wooden support poles greet upon entering. Witness the huge handcrafted metal light fixtures featuring antlers and wildlife and the bronze statue of a buck that is 20 times bigger than the real thing. The amazement doesn’t stop at the entrance. Throughout the nearly 500,000-square-foot outdoor megastore are displays, aquariums, art, a four-story waterfall, an alligator pit and more that will enthrall any outdoor enthusiast or interior decorator. Be sure to look up as you walk by the cash registers. You’ll discover a spectacular ceiling mural and diorama that makes it appear as if you’re underwater. You’ll get a fish-eye’s view of the bottom of a boat, fish, tree limbs, duck feet and even human feet hanging down from the riverbank above.

Now, there is even more reason to visit because Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops and leading conservationist, recently opened Wonders of Wildlife adjacent to Bass Pro. It is reputed as one of the largest, most immersive conservation attractions in the world. The attraction consists of an all-new 1.5-million-gallon aquarium adventure showcasing thousands of live fish, mammals, reptiles and birds in a tour through the world’s underwater habitats; completely immersive wildlife galleries that bring visitors eye-to-eye with the greatest collection of record-setting big game animals ever assembled from North America, Africa and the Arctic; and a conservation education center for youth programs, conservation groups and events. Primarily funded and operated by the Johnny Morris Foundation and located on the campus of Bass Pro Shops’ iconic flagship store in Springfield, Mo., Wonders of Wildlife is poised to become America’s Conservation Capital and a must-see destination for everyone who loves the outdoors.

Museums at Bass Pro

While Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World is known for its large selection of outdoor gear, it’s also gaining notoriety as the home of two fascinating museums – The NRA National Sporting Arms Museum and the adjoining Archery Hall of Fame. The NRA National Sporting Arms Museum showcases the progression of sporting arms throughout history along with displays of arms once owned by famous people, such as Jesse James’ revolver and holster, Teddy Roosevelt’s hunting rifle and Annie Oakley’s gun.