Field studies at well-instrumented research sites have provided extensive data sets and important insights essential for development and testing of transport theories and mathematical models. This paper provides an overview of over 25 years of research and lessons learned at one of such field research sites on the Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, commonly known as the Macrodispersion Experiment (MADE) site. Since the mid-1980s, field data from the MADE site have been used extensively by researchers around the world to explore complex contaminant transport phenomena in highly heterogeneous porous media. Results from field investigations and modeling analyses suggested that connected networks of small-scale preferential flow paths and relative flow barriers exert dominant control on solute transport processes. The classical advection-dispersion model was shown to inadequately represent plume-scale transport, while the dual-domain mass transfer model was found to reproduce the primary observed plume characteristics. The MADE site has served as a valuable natural observatory for contaminant transport studies where new observations have led to better understanding and improved models have sprung out analysis of new data.