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: Saturday, February 3, 2018 - 3:00pm to Wednesday, February 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. For more information email burr.oak@mdc.mo.gov

Register by February 20

Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 9:30am to 11:00am

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

(Ages 6 & up) Woodpeckers are wonderfully adapted to their way of life. If we had to pull out tasty bugs from inside the wood of tall trees, we might need ladders, safety harnesses, listening devices, hammers, chisels, drills and forceps or tweezers. All the woodpecker needs is the special adaptations of its head, beak, tongue and tail. Come learn about wonderful woodpeckers with an interactive presentation followed by hands-on activities and a craft.

Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center

Walk-in (adults) If you're a new homeowner, beginning gardener or just "native-plant curious" - this is the workshop for you! We'll cover the basics: importance of native plants in your garden, tried and true favorite species and simple garden templates you can try at home. Once you get your feet wet you'll never look at your yard the same again!

Register by February 21

Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 8:00am to 5:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Call to make your reservation. Adults. Registration required. Join our volunteer-led program designed to provide opportunities for people to hike Missouri trails and learn about our plants, animals, and natural communities. Meet at the nature center, drive to Lake of the Ozarks State Park, in Miller County, and hike the Woodland Trail.
Some transportation is provided, but carpooling may be necessary. Bring water, wear comfortable hiking shoes, and come dressed for the weather. Trail Length: 6 miles. Terrain: Moderate inclines and/or occasional rocks/roots. Notes: Bring lunch. 573.526.5544

Register by January 12

Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Call to register. Ages 0-2 years. What is black and white and smells all over? Missouri skunks, of course. Missouri is home to two species of skunks and each has its own fantastic facts. So don’t mind the smell - wander in to learn more about this fragrantly misunderstood mammal. 573.526.5544

Register by February 20

Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (babes under 36 months)
Nurture your child's attitude toward nature by being a great role model as we introduce you and your little one to a family friendly snake. We will shed some light on facts and myths about these slithery creatures to help you gain confidence and a deeper understanding. For more information email burr.oak@mdc.mo.gov

Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 10:00am to 10:45am

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

CALL 417-888-4237 TO REGISTER. REGISTRATION BEGINS FEBRUARY 1. Where do opossums live? Do they swing by their tails? What do they have in common with kangaroos? "Trot" on over to find out the answers to these questions as well as many others. Ages 3-6.

Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 11:15am to 12:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

CALL 417-888-4237 TO REGISTER. REGISTRATION BEGINS FEBRUARY 1. Where do opossums live? Do they swing by their tails? What do they have in common with kangaroos? "Trot" on over to find out the answers to these questions as well as many others. Ages 3-6.

Register by February 21

Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

Learn more about current tree health problems and emerging invasive tree pests that are likely to affect the trees you work with in Missouri in the coming years. Tree professionals working as arborists, foresters, nurserymen, landscapers, and public servants should attend this seminar.
Registration is required.
ISA Certified Arborist CEU will be available.

Register by February 22

Date: Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:30am

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

Winter Birds
February 22nd • Thursday • 10am to 11:30am
(Ages 3 to 6)
Register each child only
Reservations begin February 8th
What makes a bird a bird? Come and learn all about birds we see during the winter in Missouri! We will even create some binoculars and home-made bird feeders for you to take home! We will use pine cones, lard and bird seed for our home-made bird feeders.

Date: Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 6:30pm to 7:45pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

CALL 417-888-4237 TO REGISTER. REGISTRATION BEGINS FEBRUARY 1. Even though we’re not at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, we can celebrate Olympians right here in Missouri. Learn about some true survivors as we discover the Olympic-like feats of some of Missouri’s wildlife species. Ages 7-12. Please, no younger siblings.

Date: Friday, February 23, 2018 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

CALL 417-888-4237 TO REGISTER. REGISTRATION BEGINS JANUARY 2. Gayle Harper, travel photographer and author of Roadtrip with a Raindrop: 90 Days Along the Mississippi River, is captivated by the Mississippi River. Join us as Gayle takes you on the adventure of a lifetime as she shares photography and tales from her 90-day trip along the Mississippi River—the third largest watershed in the world and “aerial superhighway” for many North American birds on their annual migrations. The changes in the natural world that occur on this journey from Minnesota to Louisiana are astounding, as are the cultural and lifestyle changes of the people that live along her banks. A book signing by the award-winning author will follow the presentation. Ages 10-Adult.

Date: Saturday, February 24, 2018 - 8:15am to 5:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

CALL 417-888-4237 TO REGISTER. REGISTRATION BEGINS FEBRUARY 1. Volunteer Naturalist Sandy Vaughn leads this six-mile hike at Bennett Spring State Park. Meet at the nature center and carpool. Bring a sack lunch and water and wear comfortable hiking shoes. Hike is rated as moderate to difficult. Ages 18-Adult.

Register by February 24

Date: Saturday, February 24, 2018 - 9:00am to 9:30am

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

What’s black and white and smells all over? Skunks! These well-known furry mammals have more to say than just spray. Bring your little one in to hear all about skunks through a puppet show and activities.

Register by February 24

Date: Saturday, February 24, 2018 - 10:00am to 10:30am

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

What’s black and white and smells all over? Skunks! These well-known furry mammals have more to say than just spray. Bring your little one in to hear all about skunks through a puppet show and activities.

Register by February 24

Date: Saturday, February 24, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:30am

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

(Ages 7 and up)
Reservations begin February 10.
*Register each participant**

Stop by Powder Valley to become a great fur trapper! Capture “furbearers”, barter with the post staff, and learn about the importance of fur trapping in Missouri. Learn why conservation pays by enriching our economy and quality of life.

Date: Saturday, February 24, 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. For more information email burr.oak@mdc.mo.gov

Date: Saturday, February 24, 2018 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Stop on by to learn about the importance of milkweed species in Missouri. Milkweed is a host for a multitude of wildlife, most notably Monarch butterflies. Let’s dive into the bug-eat-plant kind of world that milkweed is a part of.

Register by January 16

Date: Saturday, February 24, 2018 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required beginning January 2 (all ages)
In our culture of a supermarket in every neighborhood, it is almost magical to make something delicious to eat out of liquid flowing out of a tree. Savor this wonder of nature by learning how to tap trees, collect sap, and make syrup from native trees. For more information email burr.oak@mdc.mo.gov

Date: Saturday, February 24, 2018 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Lori O’Dell began photographing nature around ten years ago as a hobby. A seminar by a National Geographic photographer lit a fire in her to get more into photography. Photographing the Missouri Ozarks is one of her obsessions. Besides working for MDC, Lori volunteers for the National Park Service at the Ozark National Scenic Riverways (Van Buren) in the interpretation division.

Register by February 1

Date: Monday, February 26, 2018 - 8:00am to 8:30am

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

All ages. Call to make your reservation. Registration required.
End of February/Early March • Evening
Spring brings warm, wet weather...which means salamanders are coming. The best time to find
spotted salamanders is during their annual migration to their breeding ponds during the first warm, evening rain of the spring, in late February
or early March. Join us at Runge as we explore the migration and breeding habits of these slimy, secretive salamanders. Due to our inability to accurately forecast the weather in the future, this will be a short- notice program that may be any day of the week. We are asking participants to provide a telephone number during registration; we will then call participants the morning of the program with a specified start time. Please wear clothing and footwear that is appropriate for the wet weather. 573.526.5544

Register by February 28

Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Call to register. Ages 3-6 years. What is black and white and smells all over? Missouri skunks, of course. Missouri is home to two species of skunks and each has its own fantastic facts. So don’t mind the smell - wander in to learn more about this fragrantly misunderstood mammal. 573.526.5544

Date: Friday, March 2, 2018 - 3:00pm to Friday, March 30, 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 are fed every other week on Mar. 2, 16. For more information email burr.oak@mdc.mo.gov

Register by March 2

Date: Friday, March 2, 2018 - 6:00pm to Saturday, March 3, 2018 - 2:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

March 2 • Friday • 6-10 PM and March 3 • Saturday 8 AM-2 PM (must attend both sessions)
Registration begins February 15 and ends February 27. Cost for materials is $15. (registration is not complete until a check is received at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center made out to Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation) (ages 8+)
Make a beautiful cork decoy to use for waterfowl hunting or as unique art. Learn duck identification, duck ecology and decoy history as you sculpt and paint your own decoy. Children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

Please wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty or getting paint on. May not be best activity for those with asthma or respiratory difficulties.

Date: Saturday, March 3, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center

Walk-in (ages 3-8; all welcome) Join volunteer naturalists for a fantastic journey through forests, streams and other magical places as they read select books. Children will participate in a hands-on nature activity.

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