Just 30 minutes south of Joplin is the Neosho National Fish Hatchery, offering a little bit of something for the whole family: history, education, and nature. Opened in 1888, it is the oldest operating fish hatchery in the United States, raising 130 species since its founding. Currently, the hatchery primarily raises rainbow trout (which stock Branson’s Lake Taneycomo), pallid sturgeon (released each year into the Missouri River), and Topeka shiners (released into northern Missouri prairie streams).
The hatchery’s Visitor Center features interactive exhibits, fish tanks, a fossil and mineral display, and a gift shop. Calling ahead to book a tour will enable you to visit the pallid sturgeon building with a fish biologist. You can also walk the trails outside and feed the fish in the ponds, a fun activity for kids of all ages.