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: Tuesday, July 3, 2018 - 3:00am to Saturday, July 28, 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: Friday, July 6, 2018 - 3:00pm to Friday, July 20, 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 snakes enjoy their feast every other Friday.

Register by July 14

Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 9:00am to 11:00am

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (adults)
Jelly, pickle, and preserve your way through nature’s summer bounty. You have identified and collected the plants. Now what? How do you process plants from field to plate? Join us as we demonstrate methods to preserve your harvest.

Register by July 17

Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 9:00am to 10:00am

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Alligators, stinkpots, and sliders, oh my! There are many shapes and sizes of turtles in Missouri. Crawl or swim on over to get an up-close look at our shelled friends.
Ages 3–6. Registration begins July 3.

Register by July 17

Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required.
Before you fly, dragonfly, you have to swim. You have interesting body parts. You do amazing things in the water and in the air. Join us and discover the dragonfly's life.
573-526-5544

Register by July 17

Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 10:30am to 11:30am

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Alligators, stinkpots, and sliders, oh my! There are many shapes and sizes of turtles in Missouri. Crawl or swim on over to get an up-close look at our shelled friends.
Ages 3–6. Registration begins July 3.

Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Location: Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center

Walk-in (adults) From Henry Schoolcraft two hundred years ago to the writers of today, literary minds have been trying to capture the landscape of the Ozarks in words. Sometimes those efforts succeed, and sometimes they fall prey to the stereotyping and mythologizing that so often characterizes portrayals of the people of the Ozarks. Novelist and literary critic Steve Wiegenstein, himself a fifth-generation Ozarker, looks at the efforts through the years to depict the forests, caves, springs and rivers of the Ozarks, admiring the successes and acknowledging the missteps. This program is presented in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council. A reception will be held at 6 p.m. with the program starting at 6:30 p.m.

Register by July 17

Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Ages 18-adult. Online registration begins July 1.
Kayaking can be a great way to get outdoors and see the Ozarks from a new perspective. Join instructors from the Ozark Mountain Paddlers for an introductory lesson at Lake Springfield. Equipment is provided. Class will meet at the boathouse in Lake Springfield Park.

Register by July 18

Date: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 8:00am to 5:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required.
Meet at the nature center and drive to Mark Twain State Park, and hike one or two trails. Some transportation is provided, but carpooling may be necessary. Bring lunch, water, wear comfortable hiking shoes, and come dressed for the weather. Trail Length: 6 miles. Terrain: Moderate terrain with rocks and/or roots.
573-526-5544

Register by July 18

Date: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 8:00am to 5:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required. (ages 13-17 years)
Space is limited, so register early. We will spend the day paddling, floating, and exploring one of Missouri’s nearby rivers. Runge will provide round-trip transportation from the nature center, canoes, paddles, and personal flotation devices. Pack a lunch and personal items in a dry bag. Participants must complete a permission form which can be picked up at the nature center.
573-526-5544

Register by July 17

Date: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 9:00am to 11:00am

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (ages 6-8)
Join us as we get wet and wild exploring Burr Oak Creek for wildlife and discover why creeks are an important habitat. Participants meet at the Bethany Falls Pavilion.

Register by July 18

Date: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

(Ages 3–6)
*Please register each child.

Reservations begin July 3.
Come see the topic we are exploring
this month. Families, meet in the nature
center lobby for a “nature” adventure.
Everyone will hike with the naturalist to
a special place in the forest and enjoy
a nature story under the tree canopy.
Siblings are welcome. Please dress for
the weather.

Register by July 18

Date: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 11:30am to 5:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Ages 12-17. Online registration begins July 1.
Come along as we float and explore one of the many streams in the Ozarks. Life jackets will be worn during the float trip. Sunscreen will be provided or you may bring your own. Snacks, drinks, and transportation will be provided.

Register by July 18

Date: Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 9:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (ages 12-18)
Do you like to go fishing? How about canoeing? Have you ever tried both at the same time? Join us for an exciting adventure on the pond at Burr Oak Woods! We will get into canoes and have some fun paddling around, then get the fishing poles and try to land a lunker in our boat. Participants meet at the W. Robert Aylward Educational Pond.

Register by July 19

Date: Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required.
Before you fly, dragonfly, you have to swim. You have interesting body parts. You do amazing things in the water and in the air. Join us and discover the dragonfly's life.
573-526-5544

Date: Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 10:30am to 12:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

No registration required.
A member of the blackbird family, the orange and black Baltimore oriole is the block for July. Find out more interesting facts about this colorful summer resident. Join us as we share quilting tips and nature observations.
573-526-5544

Date: Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Ages 11-adult. No registration required.
Volunteer Naturalist and outdoor photographer Bob Ball shares his personal experiences of photographing nesting birds from his own backyard to birds in the field.

Register by July 19

Date: Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required. (ages 8+ years, children accompanied by an adult)
Whether you want to go hunting or just shoot for fun, crossbow shooting is addictive! Crossbows provide an easy transition from firearms to archery and offer alternative bowhunting equipment. You will learn crossbow safety, the basics of shooting, and what equipment to use. All equipment will be provided.
573-526-5544

Date: Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

No registration required.
Stop by anytime between 5:30-7 PM to learn about and meet a resident Runge live animal or two.

Date: Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

No registration required.
A member of the blackbird family, the orange and black Baltimore oriole is the block for July. Find out more interesting facts about this colorful summer resident. Join us as we share quilting tips and nature observations.
573-526-5544

Register by July 19

Date: Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Ages 12-adult-ages 12-17 must be accompanied by an adult. Online registration begins July 1.
Come join us and learn basic canoe paddling strokes and canoe handling. Put all your new-found knowledge into practice as you paddle your own canoe. Meet at Lake Springfield Southwood Access for a great evening on the water.

Register by July 19

Date: Friday, July 20, 2018 - 8:15am to 1:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Ages 18-adult. Online registration begins July 1.
Hike at Cedar Gap Conservation Area with Volunteer Naturalist Pat Stritzel. Meet at the nature center and carpool. Bring water and snacks and wear comfortable hiking shoes. Hike is three miles and rated moderate in difficulty.

Register by July 20

Date: Friday, July 20, 2018 - 9:00am to 11:00am

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required. (ages 7-12 years)
Every Friday will offer a different exploration theme. Sign up for one or all. Bring a water bottle, appropriate clothing and shoes (no flip flops). Let’s explore!
July 20–Fishing Fun
573-526-5544

Register by July 19

Date: Friday, July 20, 2018 - 9:00am to 11:00am

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (ages 9-11)
Come down to the education pond and learn how to cast, bob and reel in fish using worms as your bait. You are sure to have a ‘reel’ good time during this catch and release program. Participants meet at the W. Robert Alyward Educational Pond.

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