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 September 11

Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 8:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (ages 8+ years, children 8-15 accompanied by an adult. Accompanying adult must also register). Runge volunteer Paul Winn will lead us at Lamine River Conservation Area in search of pollinators at work. We all recognize butterflies as important pollinators, and Paul will show us some other surprising members of this important natural community. Transportation will be provided.

Register by September 11

Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

Taylor Lockwood comes to Powder Valley Nature Center tour with an interesting show covering highlights of his 34- year mushroom adventure career with wonderful photos and animations of beautiful and bioluminescent mushrooms.
He is the author of two books, Treasures from the Kingdom of Fungi and Chasing the Rain and several video programs including two popular educational mushroom DVDs, The Mushroom Identification Trilogy, and The Good, the Bad, and the Deadly.

He has been published by: The US Postal Service, New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, National Wildlife Federation Magazine, Scholastic, Scientific American, and many more. For more information go to http://www.taylorlockwood.com/aa_tl_pages/about.php

Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - 7:30am to 9:30am

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

No registration required (ages 10+ years). Join MDC naturalists and area birders as we discover the avian life that call Runge home. These short birding hikes are for beginners, seasoned birders, and every experience level in between. This is a great way to learn more about birds and meet area birders. We will gather near the front doors of the nature center. Binoculars and field guides will be provided for those that need them.

Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - 11:00am to 11:30am

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Ages 2-6. No registration required. Join Volunteer Naturalist Joyce Tolliver as she reads a nature story and shares activities with your 2-6 year olds. Please, no organized groups.

Register by September 12

Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (ages 16+).
Pioneers who settled Missouri did not have leisure time for relaxing with coloring pages. A century ago people worked harder to live in their natural world. Even though such life-sustaining skills are no longer essential, we have natural things in common with those times. Come join us to learn about ancient plants and animals which still live here as you color sheets we provide.

Register by September 13

Date: Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 9:30am to 10:30am

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

It’s always a perfect time to enjoy nature
outdoors. Join us to explore mud, sand,
and water as we discover nature appeals
to our senses no matter what our age..

Register by September 13

Date: Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 5:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

Registration required (ages 13-18 years).
Learn how to safely handle and fire a shotgun. After meeting at the nature center, we will travel to an area range to discuss firearm safety and shooting technique, and to practice our newly learned skill. Participants must complete a permission form, available from the nature center.

Register by September 13

Date: Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Registration begins September 1 (ages 12+ - 17 need an adult))
Cooler weather is welcome relief in the fall. We are also glad for the many fruits and nuts nature offers in the autumn. We will learn how to identify, prepare, and use native fruits and nuts. We will also learn what wildlife use the same food sources.

Date: Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm

Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center

No registration required.
Come hear how Missouri River Bird Observatory, a prime bird research organization, is educating the public about bird conservation through local and Missouri-wide initiatives.

Register by September 14

Date: Friday, September 14, 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.

Date: Saturday, September 15, 2018 - 9:30am to 2:30pm

Location: Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center

Walk-in (all ages) The monarch is without a doubt one of the most remarkable insects we have the opportunity to enjoy in Missouri. Discover the majesty of this butterfly through various hands on activities that will leave you in a state of "Monarch Mania." There will be monarchs to tag and release, milkweed giveaways and much more for all ages. Join the mania at this annual event and learn how you can help the population of the monarch butterfly.

Date: Saturday, September 15, 2018 - 9:30am to 2:30pm

Location: Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center

Walk-in (all ages) Missouri Prairie Foundation will be on site for Monarch Mania to offer a native plant sale providing a variety of native seeds, flowers, grasses, shrubs and trees to purchase. If you wish to preorder your choices for pickup on the 15th, visit https://moprairie.org for specific vendor information. A percentage of proceeds from plants sales will benefit prairie conservation in Missouri.

Date: Saturday, September 15, 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.

Register by September 15

Date: Saturday, September 15, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:30am

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Flap your wings on down to the nature center to explore the fluttering world of Missouri’s Monarch butterflies. Discover how butterflies live their life in Missouri and throughout North America. Afterwards, join the naturalists in tagging wild butterflies to collect data on their migration.
Registration begins September 1 (ages 7-11)

Register by September 15

Date: Saturday, September 15, 2018 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Seeds are amazing! Some fly, some stick, while others roll; all are hoping for a nice spot to grow. In this program, we will explore how seeds get from place to place.
Ages 3–6. Registration begins September 1.

Register by September 15

Date: Saturday, September 15, 2018 - 11:00am to 12:30pm

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

Insect Dig and Hike
Sept 15 • Saturday • 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
(Ages 6 and up)
Reservations begin September 1.
Come see what insects live under the dirt. We will take a hike afterwards. Please dress in clothes that can get dirty and for the weather.

Date: Saturday, September 15, 2018 - 11:00am to 11:45am

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: Saturday, September 15, 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.

Register by September 15

Date: Saturday, September 15, 2018 - 11:30am to 12:30pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Seeds are amazing! Some fly, some stick, while others roll; all are hoping for a nice spot to grow. In this program, we will explore how seeds get from place to place.
Ages 3–6. Registration begins September 1.

Date: Saturday, September 15, 2018 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

No registration required (all ages)
Join us for an afternoon of fun as we learn about the monarch butterfly and its magical trek to Mexico. You will also get a chance to become a citizen scientist by tagging monarchs and tracking their journey.

Date: Saturday, September 15, 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: Sunday, September 16, 2018 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

All ages. No registration required. Drop by anytime to learn about some basic emergency items to take on your outdoor activities from avid outdoorsmen Don Brink and Roin Green. Whether you enjoy day outings or extended hiking, backpacking, or hunting trips, learn how to make your outings safe.

Register by September 17

Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 9:00am to 11:00am

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

Registration required on-line (adults)
Learn how to prepare and make delicious products from native Missouri fall fruits. Optional hike is included.

Register by September 18

Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 9:00am to 10:00am

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Seeds are amazing! Some fly, some stick, while others roll; all are hoping for a nice spot to grow. In this program, we will explore how seeds get from place to place.
Ages 3–6. Registration begins September 1.

Register by September 18

Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 9:30am to 11:00am

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

(Ages 6 and up) There are several mysteries about the familiar black and orange monarch butterfly, like where they go for the winter, why milkweed is important to them, and what their bright colors tell their predators. We’ll learn about monarchs and celebrate their mysteries with interactive discussions, games and crafts.

Pages