Nature Centers

Missouri's nature and interpretive centers help you and your family connect with nature in a variety of ways.

  • Take a walk on an interpretive trail or nature trail.
  • Learn about wildlife through live exhibits.
  • Attend workshops or classes on a multitude of topics, including outdoor skills.

Nature Center Events

Date: Wednesday, January 2, 2019 - 8:00am to Friday, November 1, 2019 - 8:00pm

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

Powder Valley Photo Contest
Powder Valley wants to see what our visitors love about discovering nature! This photo contest is for amateur photographers (all ages). It is free and open to all visitors of Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center, Emmenegger Nature Park & Possum Woods, and Claire Gempp Davidson Memorial Wildlife Area. Deadline for all entries will be November 1, 2019. Winners will be announced in a Missouri Department of Conservation press release and displayed at Powder Valley in February 2020. For more details and an entry form, please contact Shelly Colatskie at shelly.colatskie@mdc.mo.gov , 314-301-1506 ex 4222 or stop by and pick one up at the front desk.

Date: Friday, March 1, 2019 - 8:00am to Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 5:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Come view Missouri, Naturally paintings in our lobby by artist Dave Carter, during the months of March and April.
Artist’s Statement
“Nature is a revelation of God; Art is a revelation of man”.
This Henry Wadsworth Longfellow quote effectively describes the two paths my artwork has traversed these past few years. On the one hand I enjoy producing traditional paintings of land and seascapes, portraits, and wildlife—surface considerations of what is pleasant to the eye and comforting to the spirit. On the other
hand I am moved by a desire to produce larger, abstracted works of strident colors and bold design—efforts to tickle the eye and stimulate the soul with something unexpected.
The “job” of the visual artist is to react and respond to any and all aspects of existence as it appears materially, as it is experienced rationally/intuitively, and as it is discerned metaphysically. None of these very different approaches to depiction is superior to the others. As a culture, we need all of them to maintain a balance of familiar expectations, exploratory comprehension, and adventurous surprise.

Date: Friday, March 1, 2019 - 3:00pm to Friday, March 29, 2019 - 3:30pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Walk-in (all ages)
Discover what’s for dinner at Burr Oak Woods as the captive snakes enjoy their feast every other week. March 1, 15 & 29.

Date: Saturday, March 2, 2019 - 3:00pm to Saturday, March 30, 2019 - 3:30pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Walk-in (all ages)
Discover what’s for dinner at Burr Oak Woods as the captive amphibians, fish and turtles enjoy their feast every Wednesday and Saturday.

Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - 8:00am to Monday, May 13, 2019 - 8:00am

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

Trail Tales features a children’s book along the trail. Read, move, and play as you visit and engage in suggested activities at each stop. Both children and adults will love to play in nature this way!

Discover Nature with Trail Tales this month on Broken Ridge Trail (to the right)!

Register by March 20

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 8:00am to 4:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

There are few experiences that compare to the tug of a fish on your line! Join us for an all-day fishing experience at Bennett Springs State Park. We will be fishing for trout in the cold waters. You can ride with us or drive separately. All equipment will be provided, or you may bring your own. You must provide your own lunch, drinks, and snacks. Registration is open to ages 10+. Ages 10-12 require a parent or adult mentor to register and accompany the child. Ages 13-17 will not require a parent or mentor to accompany them but need to return a permission slip that can be picked up at the nature center. Ages 16+ will need a fishing license and everyone will need to purchase a daily trout permit at Bennett Springs.

Register by March 20

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 8:00am to 5:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (ages 18+).
Meet at the nature center and drive to Mark Twain National Forest. We will hike the Cole Creek Trail.
Bring a water bottle, lunch, and dress for the weather.
Terrain: Moderate
Length: 5 miles

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 10:00am to 10:45am

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Missouri toads are colorful, harmless, vocal, and valuable. We’ll have fun learning about these “toad”-ally cool creatures. Please no organized groups. Ages 3-6. No registration required. Call 417-888-4237 for more information.

Register by March 19

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 10:00am to 11:30am

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (ages 6-8)
Digging, tunneling, crawling and sliding are all good ways to get around if you live underground. Find out who is living under your feet and how they have uniquely adapted to their subterranean life. Dress to be outside for this program.

Register by March 19

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 10:00am to 11:30am

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (age 12-18)
Digging, tunneling, crawling and sliding are all good ways to get around if you live underground. Find out who is living under your feet and how they have uniquely adapted to their subterranean life. Dress to be outside for this program.

Register by March 19

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 10:00am to 11:30am

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (age 9-11)
Digging, tunneling, crawling and sliding are all good ways to get around if you live underground. Find out who is living under your feet and how they have uniquely adapted to their subterranean life. Dress to be outside for this program.

Register by March 19

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required for youngsters only (ages 3-5 with an adult)
Winter is coming to an end; the weather is getting warmer and nature seems brand new. From baby critters to budding trees, March is a month of transition for Missouri’s creatures and plants big and small. Come on in! Let’s go spring peepin’! Dress to be outside, weather permitting a portion of the program will be outside.

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 11:15am to 12:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Missouri toads are colorful, harmless, vocal, and valuable. We’ll have fun learning about these “toad”-ally cool creatures. Please no organized groups. Ages 3-6. No registration required. Call 417-888-4237 for more information.

Register by March 19

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (age 9-11)
Digging, tunneling, crawling and sliding are all good ways to get around if you live underground. Find out who is living under your feet and how they have uniquely adapted to their subterranean life. Dress to be outside for this program.

Register by March 19

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required for youngsters only (ages 3-5 with an adult)
Winter is coming to an end; the weather is getting warmer and nature seems brand new. From baby critters to budding trees, March is a month of transition for Missouri’s creatures and plants big and small. Come on in! Let’s go spring peepin’! Dress to be outside, weather permitting a portion of the program will be outside.

Register by March 19

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (age 6-8)
Digging, tunneling, crawling and sliding are all good ways to get around if you live underground. Find out who is living under your feet and how they have uniquely adapted to their subterranean life. Dress to be outside for this program.

Date: Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 10:30am to 12:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

No registration required (ages 18+).
The third block in our series, Flying Jewels, is the mourning cloak butterfly. Watch this large butterfly in early spring when it emerges from dormancy. Join other quilters to share quilting ideas and tips.

Date: Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

No registration required (ages 18+).
The third block in our series, Flying Jewels, is the mourning cloak butterfly. Watch this large butterfly in early spring when it emerges from dormancy. Join other quilters to share quilting ideas and tips.

Register by March 21

Date: Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Registration begins March 1 (ages 16+)
Pinecones are not just holiday décor. Create your own springtime wreath using pinecones cut into flowers, painted, and attached to small grapevine wreaths. All supplies will be provided including wreaths.

Register by March 21

Date: Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Fisheries Management Biologist Jason Crites will discuss site selection, pond construction, watershed management, leaking ponds, fish stocking, population management, aquatic vegetation control, and other pond issues.

Register by March 22

Date: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

This Is a rescheduled program from February 22, 2019.

St. Louis has many quality lake and pond fishing opportunities, but most St. Louis anglers don't know about them. Did you know that within a one-hour drive of the Arch, there are over 80 public lakes comprising over 1200 acres of water?

Come learn about these overlooked St. Louis fishin' holes on March 22, 2019 (7 to 8:30 pm) at the Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center. Missouri Department of Conservation fisheries management biologist Kevin Meneau, will present information on STL area fishing lakes including:
- locations, regulations
- what to fish for and some ways to catch them
- findings of Conservation Department fish surveys
- "Top Three" fishing picks
- special happenings for the 50th anniversary of the St. Louis Urban Fishing Program during 2019.

Register by March 23

Date: Saturday, March 23, 2019 - 9:00am to 3:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Registration begins March 1 (ages 14+)
Our first hike of spring will be to Tywappity Lake. The trail loops the lake crossing a few creeks. We may be able to see some signs of wildflowers. Hike is ~2.5 miles and rated moderate. Children ages 14-17, accompanied by a registered adult, are welcome.
If riding with us, please select that event.
If driving on own, please select that event. Parking may be limited.
Dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes.
Bring water, a snack, and any comfort items

Register by March 23

Date: Saturday, March 23, 2019 - 9:00am to 3:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Registration begins March 1 (ages 14+)
Our first hike of spring will be to Tywappity Lake. The trail loops the lake crossing a few creeks. We may be able to see some signs of wildflowers. Hike is ~2.5 miles and rated moderate. Children ages 14-17, accompanied by a registered adult, are welcome.
If riding with us, please select that event.
If driving on own, please select that event. Parking may be limited.
Dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes.
Bring water, a snack, and any comfort items

Register by March 22

Date: Saturday, March 23, 2019 - 10:00am to 12:30pm

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

Reservations begin March 9
Come to Powder Valley and experience the age-old tradition of Dutch oven cooking. Together we will create a few different recipes and then sample them. Please bring a camp chair and meet at the nature center building.

Date: Saturday, March 23, 2019 - 10:00am to 2:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

No registration required.
Want another way to enjoy nature’s beauty in your home or yard throughout the year? Ann Grotjan’s pottery is it! Choose from beautifully decorated mugs, leaf trays, bowls and bird feeders to name a few. Made with food safe glazes, microwave safe and dishwasher safe as well. She will be demonstrating how she decorates her functional pottery with native plants and other elements from nature during the Grow Native! Plant Sale. Ann will also have items for purchase on that day.

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