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Great Schools & More Make Springfield the Perfect Place for Families

With its unique mix of urban amenities and small-town hospitality, Springfield, Missouri has everything families need to thrive.

Missouri’s third-largest city is blessed with great schools, a plethora of housing options and a cost of living that’s 15% below the national average. The Queen City is also home to a vibrant downtown, abundant green space and recreational opportunities that promote hands-on learning and good old-fashioned fun.

If a relocation is in your future, here are just a few of the many reasons why Springfield is a great place to call home for your family. 

#1: World-Class Schools

As the largest fully-accredited school district in Missouri, the award-winning Springfield Public School district has invested over $278 million since 2000 to boost facilities. Our public school teachers average 12 years of classroom experience, and 63% have pursued advanced degrees. All five public high schools are recognized as A+ high schools, with an average ACT score outpacing state and national averages.

Local students have access to numerous innovative programs to enhance their achievement, depending on their needs and learning style. SPS Choice Programs offer unique opportunities based on a student’s passion and interests.

  • Ag Academy: Housed at the Darr College of Agriculture, the Ag Academy lets 4th through 6th graders get hands-on experience with raising plants, raising and caring for animals, cooking and knowledge of careers in agriculture.
  • Academy of Fine and Performing Arts: This integrated program enables 5th graders to explore the world through the lens of the arts, with opportunities for experience with drama, theatre, dance, music and visual arts.
  • Wonders of the Ozarks Learning Facility (WOLF): Offered in partnership with Bass Pro Shops, WOLF delivers a standard 5th grade curriculum through the perspective of a nature and conservation. Students gain hands-on, inquiry-based learning experiences.
  • Health Sciences Academy at Mercy: This program offers problem-based learning for up to 50 eighth graders each year. Students learn directly from medical professionals and complete projects to impact the health of our community.
  • Fly SPS: Housed at the Springfield-Branson National Airport, Fly SPS lets qualifying high schoolers earn a private pilot’s license through classroom learning, simulator practice and flight hours. 
  • GO CAPS: The Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Professional Studies immerses high school students in a range of professional environments. The curriculum is driven by local industry leaders and experts and includes five course strands: Engineering & Manufacturing, Medicine & Healthcare, IT & Software Solutions, Business Entrepreneurship and Teacher Education.

#2: Top-Ranked Healthcare

Springfield families enjoy easy access to a range of healthcare services, thanks to two top-100 health systems, two Level I trauma centers and dozens of medical specialties. 

CoxHealth System   

The nonprofit CoxHealth System includes six hospitals, 80 physician clinics and a network of specialty and urgent care facilities throughout Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas. Springfield families have access to Cox North Hospital, Cox South Hospital  and numerous physician clinics, specialty offices and urgent care facilities. Cox South includes a Level I trauma unit and is home to a Children’s Miracle Network hospital for those needing specialized pediatric care.

Mercy Hospital Springfield  

The nonprofit Mercy Hospital Springfield is part of a top 100 health system and is one of five Mercy Hospitals in Missouri. Ranked in America’s top 10 for patient safety, Mercy includes a Level I trauma center and burn unit, along with more than 50 pediatric specialties. Mercy offers a dedicated pediatric cancer center and is one of eight St. Jude Hospital affiliates nationwide

Jordan Valley Community Health Center  

The Jordan Valley Community Health Center offers pediatric care and other services at nine clinics and five mobile units throughout Southwest Missouri. This nonprofit connects with schools and community organizations to improve access and relationships. The Center offers sliding scale fee options and accepts private insurance, Medicaid and self-pay.

Ozark Community Health Center  

With a range of specialties including pediatrics, Ozark Community Health Center offers 45 beds along with clinics throughout the Ozarks. Ozark Community Health serves self-insured and governmental patients, with a focus on rural areas.

#3: Fun Family Dining

From fine dining to casual restaurants to fast food, Springfield offers a wonderland of flavors when it comes to eating out. Here are just a few family favorites that keep folks of all ages coming back for more.

  • America’s Incredible Pizza Company: Perfect for birthdays and other celebrations, this 80,000 square foot Family Entertainment Center features 1950s-themed dining rooms and a buffet with more than 100 delicious offerings, from pizza to homestyle cooking and mouthwatering desserts. The Fairgrounds Gameroom is loaded with fun, including Laser Tag, Go-Karts, Bumper Cars and more than 100 exciting video games.
  • Andy B’s Bowl Social: For a bowling experience like no other, Andy B’s is the place to go. Guests enjoy lounge-style seating and lane-side food service from a menu filled with party favorites like pizza, burgers, wings and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Other activities include axe throwing, laser tag, escape rooms and a video game arcade.
  • FD’s Grillhouse: Want contemporary dining for all ages in a welcoming atmosphere? FD’s has you covered. Their menu features delicious steaks, burgers, chicken and fish, along with flavorful soups, salads and sides. And be sure to leave room for dessert with their ever-popular key lime pie!
  • Downtown Steak n’ Shake: It’s not every day that you can visit a burger joint that’s also on the National Register of Historic Places. Located along the legendary Route 66, Springfield’s Downtown Steak n’ Shake is the perfect spot to satisfy your craving for burgers, fries and shakes before enjoying a Cardinals game a few blocks away at Hammons Field.
  • Red’s Giant Hamburg: You can also catch the retro spirit at this Springfield favorite featuring burgers, fries and shakes amid a classic mid-20th century decor. Although the original restaurant opened in 1947 along Route 66, you can visit their present-day location along West Sunshine Street, just a few blocks west of Bass Pro Shops.

#4: Recreational Opportunities

Local Family & Community Centers offer a safe and welcoming environment for fitness classes, personal training, swimming and more. Childcare and family rentals are also available. Competitive membership rates give you access to multiple locations around town, including the Chesterfield Family Center, Dan Kinney Family Center and Doling Family Center.

Mother teaching her son to ride a bike

Springfield offers an abundance of beautiful parks throughout the city for walking, playing, picnicking or just catching some fresh air. It’s the perfect place for kids and grown-ups to get some exercise or simply relax on the weekend or at the end of a long day. The best part of all? It’s easy to find a beloved historic park near you:

  • Doling Park
  • Fassnight Park
  • Grant Beach Park
  • Lafayette Park
  • Phelps Grove Park
  • Sequiota Park
  • Silver Springs Park
  • Smith Park
  • Washington Park

In addition to traditional parks, Springfield families enjoy a varietyof unique recreational areas for people and pets.

  • Cruse Dog Park: Springfield’s first off-leash dog park features a six-acre fenced facility where your four-legged friend can run, play, stretch their legs and socialize.
  • Jordan Valley Park: This 15-acre green oasis in Downtown Springfield features rolling hills, play features, picnic areas and walking paths along the tumbling Ozarks stream and fountain. It’s a great place to fit in a quick walk on your lunch break or savor a little weekend downtime.
  • Lake Springfield Park: If you enjoy hiking, fishing or simply catching a glimpse of wildlife, you’ll love this 158-acre landscape along the shore of Lake Springfield. Rent a canoe or kayak, go fishing during park hours or get your steps in along the scenic trails while encountering deer, turkey and waterfowl. The Hilltop Pavilion and Playground is the perfect spot for a family picnic, and you can rent their Boathouse or Northwoods Pavilion for birthday parties and other special events.
  • Valley Water Mill Park Equestrian Center: This is the place to go for introductory horsemanship classes and year-round riding lessons in a 200’ x 90’ indoor arena and 170’ x 115’ fenced outdoor arena. Activities include summer camps, pony play day camps and a first-grade Horse Tales Literacy Programs. The Center hosts school-sponsored field trips, and families can reserve space for birthday parties and other special events.

Whether you crave the thrill of competition or just want some exercise, our city offers numerous opportunities to participate in sports and athletic activities

Family with kids playing soccer in soccer field
  • Cooper Tennis Complex: Bring your racket and sign up for tennis lessons for all ages. The Cooper Tennis Complex features 12 indoor courts and 17 outdoor lighted courts, along with a full-service pro shop for all your equipment needs. The Complex is also home to the 2018 and 2019 World Team Tennis Champion Springfield Lasers.
  • Jordan Valley Ice Park: Lace up your skates and hit the ice at the Jordan Valley Ice Park in downtown Springfield. Featuring two NHL-sized rinks, the Ice Park offers open skating hours for the whole family, along with figure skating and hockey lessons. This is also the place to see the Missouri State Ice Bears hockey team in action!
  • Lake Country Soccer: This is the place to go for soccer instruction as well as youth, middle school and adult leagues. LCS hosts numerous camps, competitions and tournaments throughout the year on multiple indoor and outdoor lighted fields at their facilities along Pythian Street and Chestnut Expressway
  • Public swimming pools: There’s no better way to beat the heat on a Springfield summer day than at the pool. You can enjoy indoor and outdoor pools conveniently located throughout the city, with season passes available for individuals and families. Swim lessons and youth programs teach essential swimming and water safety skills, and water aerobics offers a fun and safe way to get fit.
  • Springfield Skate Park: Skateboards, scooters, rollerblades and BMX bikes are all welcome at Springfield’s one-of-a-kind skate park. Their indoor facility features a 13,500 square-foot park with rails, obstacles and other features. The outdoor park boasts 25,000 square feet that includes a rippin’ bowl, flow course and street plaza. All skill levels are welcome, and lessons and party rentals are available. You can purchase equipment and helmets at the pro-shop and sign up for Summer Camp for ages 6 to 14.

#5: One-of-a-Kind Attractions

When your family is up for a little sight-seeing, Springfield offers a range of local attractions to pique your curiosity and engage your senses.

  • Dickerson Park Zoo: Meet over 500 animals from around the world at Dickerson Park Zoo. Wildlife Zooniversity offers educational courses for tots through adults, and learning resources are available for teachers and parents of kids in grades 3 through 7. Families can join in special events year round and purchase memberships for exclusive perks.
  • Discovery Center: Springfield’s local hands-on science center inspires a love of science, technology, engineering and math in visitors of all ages. From dinosaur digs to the mysteries of electricity to the wonders of the human body, the Discovery Center features a variety of engaging exhibits on three floors. You can also take an exhilarating ride on the HighWire Bicycle and watch your hair stand on end with the Van de Graaf generator.
  • Fantastic Caverns: America’s only ride-through caverns takes visitors on a Jeep-drawn tram tour of this ancient underground riverbed that stays a comfortable 60 degrees year-round. Amidst the massive rock formations, you can also learn about the caverns’ colorful history as a speakeasy during the Prohibition Era and an entertainment center featuring live music in the 1960s.
  • Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park: Families can enjoy an authentic farm experience at this 207-acre park featuring animal barns, native prairie, garden plot rentals, pasture land and a fishing pond. Other highlights include a visitor center, gift shop and farm-themed playground. 
  • Springfield Botanical Gardens: Located at Nathanael Greene-Close Memorial Park, the botanical gardens features a wide assortment of flowers and native plants all maintained by Friends of the Garden. Other attractions at the park include the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden, the Roston Native Butterfly House, the Gray-Campbell Farmstead and the Play Trail Kids botanical-themed playground.
  • Springfield Cardinals: Hammons Field is a great place to enjoy a day at the ballpark with Springfield’s AA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Chow down on hot dogs, nachos and other stadium favorites, or compete for fun prizes in games between innings. It’s a great place for birthday parties, special group outings or good old-fashioned family fun.
  • Wonders of Wildlife: The world’s largest immersive wildlife attraction brings conservation to life with awe-inspiring exhibits featuring species from around the world. Meander through the Aquarium Adventure to get up close and personal with sharks, rays and other creatures inhabiting our oceans, lakes and rivers, You can also see Wildlife Galleries featuring species from North America, Africa, the Arctic and more.

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