Nature Viewing

Nature viewing in Missouri can be as close as your backyard or neighborhood park, but conservation areas and natural areas are excellent places to spend time in nature. Take a driving tour, hike though a forest or glade, or just sit and listen to the sounds of nature.

In This Section

MRAP

You can access new places across Missouri for hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing through the MRAP program.

Nature Watching Events

Date: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - 8:00am to Friday, September 13, 2019 - 5:00pm

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

No reservations required
Trail Tales features a children’s book along the trail. Read, move, and play as you visit and engage in suggested activities at each stop. Both children and adults will love to play in nature this way!

Date: Saturday, August 3, 2019 - 3:00pm to Saturday, August 31, 2019 - 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, August 22, 2019 - 10:00am to 10:45am

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Dragonflies are dazzling creatures. Learn about this fun and fascinating insect. Please no organized groups. Ages 3-6. No registration required. Call 417-888-4237 for more information.

Date: Thursday, August 22, 2019 - 11:15am to 12:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Dragonflies are dazzling creatures. Learn about this fun and fascinating insect. Please no organized groups. Ages 3-6. No registration required. Call 417-888-4237 for more information.

Date: Friday, August 23, 2019 - 10:30am to 11:30am

Location: Walter Woods Conservation Area

No registration required. (Ages 3 – 6)
Held at Walter Woods Conservation Area.

Although ants are considered annoying pests by many people, they are some of the most fascinating and abundant insects on the earth! Bring your little ones to find out about the antics of these tiny, intelligent insects.

Register by August 24

Date: Saturday, August 24, 2019 - 9:00am to 9:30am

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Slide right in to learn about our slithering friends! Snakes don’t have legs, and they don’t even need them! That’s right, they move along on their bellies. Discover more about these fascinating reptiles that live in our area. Program is free.

Register by August 24

Date: Saturday, August 24, 2019 - 10:00am to 2:00pm

Location: Twin Pines Conservation Education Center

Do you wish you could get away and enjoy a little time as a family? Join the Twin Pines staff as we host our annual Family Fishing Day. Enjoy grilled hot dogs and lemonade. Compete to see who can catch the most or the biggest fish. Let the kids try their hand at making a fish print tee shirt or other craft. Try your luck at our free prize drawing. Or you can just relax in the shade of one of Missouri’s pines. For this event only, no Missouri fishing license is required. For further information, call 573-325-1381.

Date: Saturday, August 24, 2019 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center

No registration required (all ages)
It’s summer and beneficial bees are buzzing but so are those pesky blood thirsty mosquitos! Everyone knows them, but what do we really know about them? Why do they have a taste for blood and what is their role in Missouri’s food web?

Date: Saturday, August 24, 2019 - 10:00am to 2:30pm

Location: Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center

Walk-in (all ages) Kissing a frog won't turn them into a prince and touching a toad won't give you warts! Frogs and toads are our most common amphibians and are fascinating creatures. Let's learn about all the different species in Missouri, then go out to the pond to see if we can find some.

Register by August 24

Date: Saturday, August 24, 2019 - 10:00am to 10:30am

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Slide right in to learn about our slithering friends! Snakes don’t have legs, and they don’t even need them! That’s right, they move along on their bellies. Discover more about these fascinating reptiles that live in our area. Program is free.

Date: Saturday, August 24, 2019 - 10:30am to 11:30am

Location: Walter Woods Conservation Area

No registration required. (Ages 3 – 6)
Held at Walter Woods Conservation Area.

Although ants are considered annoying pests by many people, they are some of the most fascinating and abundant insects on the earth! Bring your little ones to find out about the antics of these tiny, intelligent insects.

Register by August 24

Date: Saturday, August 24, 2019 - 11:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Try your hand at woodcarving with members of the Southern Missouri Woodcarving Artists as they teach carving techniques and show how to transform wood into works of art. Ages 12-adult. Register online at mdc.mo.gov/SouthwestEvents or call 417-888-4237 for more information.

Date: Saturday, August 24, 2019 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Visit with members of the Southern Missouri Woodcarving Artists as they share information with the “wood-be” carver, demonstrate carving techniques, and show works in progress. All ages. No registration required. Call 417-888-4237 for more information.

Register by August 24

Date: Saturday, August 24, 2019 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Join Volunteer Naturalist Dana Tideman to learn about monarch butterfly conservation, citizen science opportunities, monarch life cycle, and how to rear and tag them. Ages 10-adult. No registration required. Call 417-888-4237 for more information.

Register by August 24

Date: Saturday, August 24, 2019 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Discover the many different plants you can harvest through the year to make jams and jellies. You will get a chance to make and take home some jams and jellies. Adult supervision is required for ages 12-17. Program is free.

Register by August 28

Date: Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

The alligator gar is called the “king” of fish. He is a wonder to behold. Not only does he have impressive teeth but scales that are like chain mail. Historically, the scales have been used for arrow heads, tools, and jewelry. We will learn some amazing facts about this “monster” and use their scales in a couple of projects. Program is free.

Date: Friday, August 30, 2019 - 3:00pm 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 snakes enjoy their feast.

Date: Saturday, August 31, 2019 - 10:00am to 1:00pm

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

(Ages 3 & up)
No reservations
Get the family outdoors for some Tree-mendous fun! Learn about trees and animal tracks, then create wearable art take home, using those leaves and tracks. Please bring you own all-cotton shirt to decorate and we will provide the rest. Children under 7 will need adult help and supervision. Come while supplies last.

Date: Saturday, August 31, 2019 - 10:00am to 2:30pm

Location: Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center

Walk-in (all ages) Insects are beneficial and an amazing part of the natural world. Grab a net and discover the insects that call the Discovery Center home. You will learn identification tips and even discover if any insects are edible! There will be activities for all ages to enjoy and the opportunity to post your insect discovery on our iNaturalist page.

Date: Saturday, August 31, 2019 - 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.

Date: Tuesday, September 3, 2019 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

Location: Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center

Walk-in (all ages) The art exhibit of Mary Ann Foster, MDC volunteer, will be on display the last half of August and all of September. This is your chance to meet her in person. Her work displays the beauty of nature in mixed media of all kinds. "My art work is seeing and depicting nature in Missouri. As sitting in a field of thistles at Nell Lake and watching the gold finch feed on the thistles." As a former art teacher Mary Ann's work includes very detailed drawings of sunflowers, succulent spring plants and impressionistic paintings in acrylics or watercolor. Make plans to visit with Mary Ann Foster and learn how she brings nature alive through art.

Date: Wednesday, September 4, 2019 - 3:00pm to Saturday, September 28, 2019 - 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.

Register by September 4

Date: Wednesday, September 4, 2019 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Enjoy learning about fish while we practice the traditional art of Japanese fish printing. Bring a plain t-shirt, bandana, or other cotton textile to create a wearable work of art. We will make up to 3 prints. You supply the textiles. Ages 10-adult. Adult supervision required for ages 10-17.

Register by September 6

Date: Friday, September 6, 2019 - 9:30am to 11:00am

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

(Ages 6 -16) When we think about intelligent animals, we don’t often think about birds. However, crows are remarkably clever. They learn quickly, solve problems easily, and can even make and use tools! We will celebrate these abilities with discussion, videos, activities and a craft. Come prepared to “be a crow” as we act out several experiments that highlight the cleverness of crows.

Date: Saturday, September 7, 2019 - 9:00am to 10:00am

Location: Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center

Meet us at the Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center’s gazebo (next to the building) for a September stroll along the Wildcat Park trails while we hunt for natural objects in a scavenger hunt. The walk will be a little more than a mile and is rated easy. Please bring strollers for toddlers.

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