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 June 1

Date: Saturday, June 2, 2018 - 8:15am to 12:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Online registration begins May 15. Ages 18-adult. Hike at Busiek State Forest and Wildlife 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.

Date: Saturday, June 2, 2018 - 9:00am to 4:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Spend a couple of hours hiking and testing your nature knowledge to celebrate National Trails Day! Trek our trails and answer nature-related questions along the way. Stop by the nature center between 9-4 to pick up your question sheet and then return to check your answers and claim your prize. Youth and adult groups welcome.

Date: Saturday, June 2, 2018 - 9:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Twin Pines Conservation Education Center

Help celebrate National Trails Day and enjoy the wonders of nature at Twin Pines Conservation Education Center. Hike the trails at the center that roam through a variety of natural Ozark settings, scout for signs of animals that have passed through, do some birding and check out the wildflowers as you wander along. You never know what awaits you at trails end. For further information, call 573-325-1381.

Date: Saturday, June 2, 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.

Date: Saturday, June 2, 2018 - 10:00am to 1:00pm

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

Nature Artisan Series
Watercolors and Nature with Lee Walter
June 2nd• Saturday • 10am to 1pm
(All Ages)
No registration required
Come and enjoy some demonstrations of beautiful artwork and even take home your own nature art.
Lee Walter believes that we experience nature every time we walk outside. Her watercolor paintings highlight nature close to home. Instead of using a brush to create her work, she pours six or more layers of paint on the paper. In between each pour, she masks out areas to resist paint. This results in layered glazes of watercolor after she removes the masking.

Date: Saturday, June 2, 2018 - 10:00am to 2:30pm

Location: Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center

Walk-in (all ages) Dive into the wet and wonderful world of aquatic ecosystems to discover macroinvertebrates. These small organisms live in our ponds and rivers. We'll identify different types and learn their unique behaviors: some spend their whole lives in water, while others are underwater part of their life and them transform to live out of the water. Discover how the mighty macros can teach us important lessons about water quality and what we can do to help them thrive.

Date: Saturday, June 2, 2018 - 11:00am to 12:00pm

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.

Date: Saturday, June 2, 2018 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

No registration required (all ages) Turkey vultures are nature’s flying clean-up crew. They find and eat dead animals most of us would not touch. Soar in to learn more about these unique birds and discover how their unusual habits are beneficial to us all.

Date: Saturday, June 2, 2018 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

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.

Date: Saturday, June 2, 2018 - 3:00pm to Saturday, June 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 amphibians, fish and turtles enjoy their feast every Wednesday and Saturday.

Date: Sunday, June 3, 2018 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

No registration required. Ages 12-adult. Volunteer Naturalist and primitive skills specialist Don Brink returns to demonstrate how to start fires without matches and butane. Different primitive fire-making techniques will be demonstrated by Don and his grandson Roin Green. Afterwards, try your hand at starting a fire the primitive way.

Date: Sunday, June 3, 2018 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

No registration required. All ages. Here is your chance to see a ruby-throated hummingbird up close! Join master hummingbird bander Sarah Driver to learn more about this winged jewel while attempting to capture some for banding.

Register by June 4

Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center

Registration required beginning May 5 (adults) Remember shooting a bow and arrow at summer camp as a kid? The comradery of shooting with friends and challenging each other to hit the bullseye? Bring your friends and relive the fun as you learn the basics of shooting a compound bow. There will be plenty of time for shooting and some fun games for those who want to challenge their friends.

Register by June 6

Date: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Call to register. Ages 3-6 years. These beautiful orange butterflies make a long and dangerous journey as they migrate across North America. Fly in to learn what makes the monarch butterfly so loved and so marvelous! Reservations required. 573.526.5544

Register by June 5

Date: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

(Ages 3-6) 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.

Please register each child attending the program.

Date: Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Ever wonder what it takes to keep all of the nature center reptiles, amphibians, and fish happy? Thanks to some amazing animal care volunteers, they are fed a delicious smorgasbord of crickets, worms, minnows, and more! Drop by to visit with the volunteers and staff as they feed the hungry critters. Youth and adult groups welcome

Register by June 7

Date: Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

The native trees of Missouri are some of the prettiest woods found. We will be discovering how beautiful trees are on the inside. Tree cookies are thin slices of tree branches or trunks revealing the rings and lines that can tell a story. After learning about how to read tree rings we will use the cookies to create a trivet or unique piece of wall art.

Register by June 7

Date: Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Our native flora is really quite dazzling. After learning about some of our lovelier plants, we will explore the basics of flower arranging. Bring a small vase and you will create your own small, but unique arrangement to take home.

Register by June 8

Date: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Call to register. For this program, you need one child in the 0-2 years age range AND one child in the 3-6 years age range. These beautiful orange butterflies make a long and dangerous journey as they migrate North America. Fly in to learn what makes the monarch butterfly so loved and so marvelous! Reservations required. 573.526.5544

Date: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 3:00pm to Friday, June 22, 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.

Date: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required. (ages 7-12 years)
You are invited to our annual stream team clean-up at Runge on our section of Wears Creek. Let’s wade in the water, pick up trash, and scoop for live aquatic insects, fish, or amphibians. Then take a break for a quick snack. Don’t forget to wear old clothes and shoes to get wet and muddy.
573-526-5544

Register by June 8

Date: Saturday, June 9, 2018 - 8:00am to 3:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required. Please call to register. Ha Ha Tonka State Park is a birding hotspot on the Great Missouri Birding Trail, and it is often ablaze with wildflowers. Last year we saw many colorful and unique species of birds and flowers, so we are returning to explore one or two of the trails. Bring water, lunch, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, and bring your binoculars or borrow a pair of ours. Transportation will be provided. 573.526.5544

Date: Saturday, June 9, 2018 - 9:00am to 3:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

All ages. No registration required. Come to this fun, family-friendly event to learn about the monarch butterfly and other pollinators in Missouri. Take a native plant home. Talk to experts on butterflies, gardening, and butterfly habitats! Discover how you can help monarch thrive! Activities include: Games, crafts, and scavenger hunts; Butterfly hand painting; Guided walks on trails; Presentation and videos; Booth display by Missourians for Monarch members. 573.526.5544

Register by June 5

Date: Saturday, June 9, 2018 - 9:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Registration begins May 15 (ages 11+) This student is open to youth and novice archers.
We will meet at the Maintz Conservation Area Archery Range. Spend the morning shooting on a field archery trail shooting targets very similar to actual bowhunting shots. If you are not a hunter, field archery is a great recreational sport challenging your archery skills in a woodland setting. Participants will learn basic archery fundamentals then shoot the field archery course.
Parent or guardian must attend but only the registered particpants will shoot during the morning. The range will be setup for everyone beginning at 12:30 p.m. Equipment is available to use or archers may bring their own bow with field points. No crossbows permitted on the range.
Pre-registration is required and 4 students must be signed up by June 5th to have the course. Please make sure to bring bug spray.

Date: Saturday, June 9, 2018 - 10:00am to 2:00pm

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

(Reservations not required; Participants are free to come and go).

What is a naturalist? Test your knowledge and understanding of some things found in nature. See where your naturalist knowledge is ranked. After completing the fun quiz, explore Powder Valley with a photo scavenger hunt to discover more.

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