People enjoying a hot afternoon at the Jordan Valley Park fountains. (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

With summer upon us, Missouri is rife with heat and humidity. Even walking a short distance can leave a person drenched in sweat. Despite this, there are multiple ways to beat the heat both inside and outside throughout the Springfield area.

Staying cool outdoors

Three kids prepare to jump into the pool at Fassnight Park in an undated photograph (Photo by Springfield-Greene County Park Board)


Despite a shortage of lifeguards during the 2022 summer season, Springfield public pools will remain open. There are several outdoor pools for all ages, with the McGee-McGregor wading pool free for children with adult supervision. Public pools will remain open with a set fee of $5 for adults and $4 for ages 3-17 and seniors until Aug. 14, 2022.

Jenny Fillmer Edwards, the public information administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, said hours may be affected by a heat advisory. If the National Weather Service declares one, outdoor pools will remain open until 8:30 p.m.

Public pool addresses and GPS directions

The Springfield-Greene County Park Board published an operating schedule for its outdoor pools for the 2022 summer season. (Graphic by Springfield-Greene County Park Board)

Galloway Creek Greenway Trail passes through Sequiota Park and is one of the most heavily used trails in the greenway system. (Photo: Ozark Greenways)

Shaded Hiking Trails

Springfield is home to many hiking trails open to the public. However, running under the sun poses a risk of overheating. Shaded trails provide a cooler atmosphere to enjoy nature. Trails in Springfield include the Wilson’s Creek Greenway Trail, South Jordan Creek Trail and the Galloway Creek Trail which runs through Sequiota Park. 

All trails are open to the public during daylight hours.

People enjoying a hot afternoon at the Jordan Valley Park fountains. (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

Jordan Valley Park

Located just across the street from Hammons Stadium, Jordan Valley Park is home to the  Ozarks Stream and Fountain. The water feature includes the main fountain in the center of the park, fed by a stream sloping downhill. The treated water — which smells more like a pool than stream — flows down several small waterfalls and allows families to climb through the shallow water. 

The base of the man-made stream is laid with uneven brick, so guests are encouraged to wear water shoes while climbing.

The fountain displays a 30-minute show every hour. This runs from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The fountain also runs continuously from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to allow for children to play.

Busiek State Forest

While not technically in the Springfield area, Busiek State Forest is only a 35 minute drive from the city center and offers guests multiple things to do and see through its 2,700 acre woodlands.The area has over 18 miles of trails as well as campsite sprawling through the underbrush. 

Guests are also able to take their dogs with them on the hike. Two rivers, Camp Creek and Woods Fork, separate trails throughout the area. The creeks can flood during rainy seasons, so be prepared to ford them to resume hiking.

Those wishing to camp must fill out a permit at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Southwest Regional office.

The permit is free and lasts until the end of the camping trip.

For further questions, the MDC Southwest Regional office is located at 2630 N. Mayfair Ave.and can be contacted at 417-895-6880. A full map of the area can be found on the MDC website.

Gibbony Cave Tours

Those looking to brave the underground can register for a cave tour in Doling Park on July 6 and Aug. 3. The park has over a century of tourism, dating back to 1907. Within the property lies the Gibbony Cave, said to stretch all the way to Downtown Springfield.

The tour will travel through the cave and educate spelunkers on types of creatures living there. Edwards cautioned those who attend the tour to have a change of clothes ready.

“It’s slippery inside that cave, expect your shoes to get muddy,” Edwards said.

Spelunkers must register and pay $5 by the Friday prior to the tour. They must also bring their own headlamp or flashlight.

Springfieldians also might check out Fantastic Caverns or Crystal Cave for a longer (and more expensive) tour options.

Ways to spend a hot day indoors

The Wonders of Wildlife Aquarium and Museum. (Photo by Dean Curtis)

Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium

Voted “America’s Best Aquarium” for four years, Wonders of Wildlife is a nonprofit organization run by Johnny Morris. Connected to the Grandaddy Bass Pro Shops, the museum and aquarium house countless artifacts and creatures under one roof.

This summer the museum portion will host the Boone and Crockett’s 31st Big Game Awards from July 21-23, 2022. Recently Boone and Crockett loaned the exhibit to WOW, who placed it alongside its National Collection of Heads and Horns exhibit.

Alamo DraftHouse and Regal College Station

For those looking forward to the next blockbuster, the two main cinemas in Springfield have you covered. Alamo Drafthouse allows guests to order and eat food right in the theater. Regal College Station is located right off Downtown Square for those looking to kill some time before the next screening.

Both also have unique showings of older movies throughout the year. Upcoming new movies this summer include “Jurassic World Dominion,” “Thor: Love and Thunder,” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru.”

Visitors to the Jordan Valley Ice Rink practice their hockey skills during drop-in hours (Photo by Tinsley Merriman)

Jordan Valley Ice Park

Located near the Missouri State University campus, Jordan Valley Ice Park is literally the coolest spot in Springfield. Edwards said the park is kept at a consistent 58 degrees for public skating, figure skating and hockey.

The ice rink allows for drop ins throughout the summer weeks, all for a small fee. Activities this summer include drop-in hockey sessions and figure skating classes.

Tinsley Merriman

Tinsley Merriman is a general assignment intern at the Springfield Daily Citizen. He’s currently a senior at Missouri State University studying journalism, and most recently worked as section editor of Campus Life for the student-led newspaper The Standard. More by Tinsley Merriman