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

Register by November 1

Date: Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 8:00am to Thursday, November 1, 2018 - 11:30pm

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, 2018. Winners will be announced in the Conservation Connections Newsletter and displayed at Powder Valley in February 2019. 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: Saturday, September 1, 2018 - 3:00pm to Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 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: Thursday, September 6, 2018 - 2:00pm to Friday, September 28, 2018 - 12:00pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

The Junior Duck Stamp is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to recognize the talents and environmental stewardship of young people throughout the United States. This competition was open to student’s kindergarten through high school to create artwork depicting North American waterfowl. First place winners from each state advance to the national competition. The final champion artwork will be produced as the National Junior Duck Stamp for 2018. Take a few moments this fall to view the artwork of these talented youth. The display will be at Burr Oak Woods in September.

Date: Saturday, September 22, 2018 - 10:00am to 2:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

No registration required.
Celebrate the amazing migrations of two famous summer residents, monarch butterflies and ruby-throated hummingbirds, and bid them farewell and good luck on their journey south. Enjoy indoor and outdoor activities and assist staff with tagging monarchs for research.

Register by September 21

Date: Saturday, September 22, 2018 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required on-line (families with children 8+)
Archery is becoming more and more popular! Discover the fun of this family activity as parents and kids learn together. We will teach and practice the basics and help you perfect your stance to shoot more consistently and accurately. All family members participating must register. Participants will meet at the W. Robert Aylward Educational Pond.

Register by September 21

Date: Saturday, September 22, 2018 - 2:30pm to 4:00pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required on-line (families with children 8+)
Archery is becoming more and more popular! Discover the fun of this family activity as parents and kids learn together. We will teach and practice the basics and help you perfect your stance to shoot more consistently and accurately. All family members participating must register. Participants will meet at the W. Robert Aylward Educational Pond.

Register by September 22

Date: Saturday, September 22, 2018 - 3:00pm to 7:30pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Ages 12-17. Online registration begins September 1. Have you ever caught a fish on a fly rod? Join us at the Bois D’Arc Conservation Area education pond and learn how to use a fly rod, then catch a few! Meet at the pond. Snacks will be provided.

Register by September 25

Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - 8:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (ages 8+ years, 8-11 accompanied by an adult, 12+ years, without an adult will need to complete a permission form. Accompanying adults must also register). Let’s Explore! Glades are interesting ecosystems that sustain curious creatures. We will carpool to Painted Rock Conservation Area where we will explore the rugged but beautiful terrain of a natural glade habitat. Wear sturdy shoes, bring a water bottle, and a snack.

Register by September 25

Date: Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required on-line (babes under 36 months with an adult)
Splash on down to the creek to learn about aquatic critters! We will take a short hike to Burr Oak Creek and explore this special watery world. Registration required for attending youngster only. Participants will meet at the Bethany Falls pavilion, dress to get wet and muddy (no swimsuits or opened toed shoes). Bring a towel and/or change of clothes.

Date: Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - 10:00am to 10:45am

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Ages 3-6. No registration required. Have you ever heard of a mudbug? Come and learn about these “crusty” creatures, also known as crayfish, and see some up close. Please, no organized groups.

Date: Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - 11:15am to 12:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Ages 3-6. No registration required. Have you ever heard of a mudbug? Come and learn about these “crusty” creatures, also known as crayfish, and see some up close. Please, no organized groups.

Register by September 27

Date: Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (ages 0-2 years).
In a single bound, you can see them leap a tall fence, flash white in the blink of an eye, snort, grunt, and stamp their feet. Calling all little “dears” to learn about the life of a white-tailed deer.

Register by September 27

Date: Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Registration begins September 1 (ages 12+)
Enjoy learning about fish while we practice the traditional art of Japanese fish printing. Each participant will make 1-3 prints during this short class which will cover the basic techniques of this beautiful art.

Register by September 27

Date: Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 6:30pm to 7:45pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Ages 7-12. Online registration begins September 1. Have you ever seen a parakeet or a passenger pigeon in the wild? While your answer is “no” since these birds are now extinct, they were once common in Missouri. Discover the stories behind the loss of these birds because “forgetting is another kind of extinction.” Please, no younger siblings and only one adult per group of kids.

Date: Friday, September 28, 2018 - 8:00am to 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. The snakes are fed Friday September 28.

Register by September 28

Date: Friday, September 28, 2018 - 9:30am to 11:00am

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

This month we will be discussing David George Haskell’s book, The Forest Unseen A Year’s Watch in Nature. This biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of old-growth forest–a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pen/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.

Register by September 28

Date: Friday, September 28, 2018 - 5:30pm to 7:30pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (ages 12+ years, children 12-15 accompanied by an adult. Accompanying adult must also register). Fly-fishing isn’t just for trout! Here’s your chance to learn basic fly-fishing techniques while catching bluegill (catch-and-release only) at County Park Lake in Jefferson City. Bring your fishing license (16+), water bottle, and your lucky fishing hat! Meet at the blue Runge tent at County Park Lake. All fly-fishing equipment will be provided.

Register by September 29

Date: Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 8:00am to 5:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (ages 18+).
Meet at the nature center and drive to Bennett Springs State Park to hike the Natural Tunnel Trail. Some transportation is provided, but carpooling may be necessary. Bring lunch, water, insect repellent, wear comfortable hiking shoes, and dress for the weather. Trail Length: 7.5 miles. Terrain: Moderate with rocks and/or roots.

Register by September 28

Date: Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 8:15am to 4:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Ages 18-adult. Online registration begins September 1. Explore the Homesteaders Trail on the Henning Conservation Area with Volunteer Naturalist Sandy Vaughn. Meet at the nature center and carpool. Bring a sack lunch and water and wear comfortable hiking shoes. Hike is approximately four miles and rated moderate to difficult.

Register by September 29

Date: Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 9:00am to 9:30am

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Bears are the big, beautiful beasts of Missouri! Come learn more about the Black bear and become bear aware. Ages 0-2. Registration begins September 1.

Register by September 29

Date: Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 9:30am to 12:30pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Ages 10-adult; 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Online registration begins September 1. Parents, grandparents, and adult mentors, bring your youngster(s) to learn a new skill and spend some time practicing. You don’t have to be a hunter to become a skilled archer. No experience is necessary and archery equipment will be provided. This program takes place on the archery range which is not ADA accessible.

Register by September 27

Date: Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 10:00am to 3:00pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required on-line (ages 11+; 11–15 years old must be accompanied by a participating adult)
Have you thought about hunting, but just don’t know where to start? Deer hunting is a challenging, yet exciting tradition here in Missouri. Come out to Burr Oak Woods and learn the basics of pursuing white-tailed deer. We will cover everything from scouting locations to hunting methods and more. Bring a water bottle. A portion of the program will be outside, dress for the weather.

Register by September 29

Date: Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 10:00am to 10:30am

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Bears are the big, beautiful beasts of Missouri! Come learn more about the Black bear and become bear aware. Ages 0-2. Registration begins September 1.

Date: Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 11:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Walk-in (ages 2+)
Join us for story hour as we lead you on fantastic nature adventures! We will meet birds, mammals and all sorts of magnificent creatures! We will cross rivers, discover mysteries within the forest and fly across the prairies. Our imaginations are the only limits.

Register by September 29

Date: Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Registration begins September 1 (ages 12-17)
Ever wonder what lies beneath the water’s surface? Join the naturalists in exploring Cape Lacroix Creek discovering what types of invertebrates inhabit the stream through a water quality survey. While you are investigating the water, you may just learn the Benthic Boogie.
Please wear closed toed shoes and bring extra dry clothes to change into back at the nature center. This program requires transporting the participants off-site using the nature center’s van. Participants will need to fill out an emergency contact form before we leave for the program. This form can be found at the front desk.

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