Interpretive Programs at Burr Oak Woods

General Information

Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center has a variety of programs developed for school age children. Each program incorporates hands-on and minds-on learning opportunities in the outdoors. Programs are designed specifically to enhance science based subjects but many are cross-curricular.

How do I schedule my program with Burr Oak Woods?

For more information or to schedule your free program, call 816-228-3766.

Registration begins:

  • Fall and Winter Programs: August 4, 2020
  • Spring Programs: January 5, 2021
  • Summer Programs: April 6, 2021

Self-guided Visits

Self-guided groups are always welcome at the nature center. We ask that you schedule your visit as you would any program. Upon arrival, please check in at the front desk. You may request a trail map to help you explore the area.

What can we expect when we arrive?

Burr Oak Woods Nature Center is managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Nestled in the heart of this 1,071-acre conservation area are six hiking trails, including two paved trails, which provide easy access to most parts of the area. The interpretive center has educational and informative exhibits, including a 3,000-gallon freshwater aquarium, the Discover Nature play area, a wildlife viewing room, and a variety of live amphibians and reptiles.

  • Picnic areas are available on a first come first serve basis. Burr Oak Woods has a trash in/trash out policy; please bring trash bags for your group.
  • All programs will be presented outdoors.
  • Please arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled program. Late arrivals will shorten your program time.
  • Let us know in advance if anyone in your group needs special accommodations.
  • If Blue Springs Schools are closed due to weather, all programs will be cancelled.

Your program

There is no limit on number of students that attend a virtual program. For an outdoors program at your school or at Burr Oak Woods, size is limited to 20 people per naturalist. Unless you have a small group, we ask for 1 adult per every 10 students


Naturally Sensational

(Outdoors at your school or Burr Oak Woods, 30 minutes)
Pack your sensing toolkit and head outside to discover how to see, smell, touch, taste, and hear just like our animal friends. This outdoors program includes a puppet show and hike.

Wild Moms

(Virtual, 30 minutes)
Can you help match a wild animal baby with its mother? Discover how we use clues such as fur, feathers, and scales, shapes and special features to learn what group each belongs to. Students will explore different animal groups and match babies to their mothers with hands on activities. Materials will be supplied to the teacher.



(Outdoors at your school or Burr Oak Woods, 1hour)
Sometimes the most interesting things in nature are found right beneath our feet! We will use hand lenses and other simple equipment to investigate the structures and behaviors of tiny plants and animals on the forest floor. As we explore these mini-worlds, students will discover patterns that help us understand how these animals are all connected and how they survive in their environment.

Nature’s Neighborhoods

(Virtual, 30 minutes)
Your school yard and Burr Oak Woods are both home to many plants and animals, but they don’t all live in the same place. We will take a hike around your school or visit a forest, a prairie and a pond at Burr Oak Woods to find out who lives there and what makes each habitat unique. Discover how plants and animals can use and change their habitat to meet their survival needs.

1st-2nd grade

Mammal Mysteries

(Outdoors at your school or Burr Oak Woods, 1 hour)
We have a mystery to solve! There are a few mammals who have been using their special adaptations to get into some mischief at Burr Oak Woods. We will become detectives and study the clues left behind while learning what makes mammals unique animals in Missouri.

Missouri’s Creepiest Residents

(Virtual, 45 minutes)
Missouri is home to many amazing animals, including some that many people think are ‘creepy’. During this game show style program, we will discover how their creepy adaptations help them survive, grow and meet their needs. Then we will go on a virtual exploration to search for Missouri’s creepiest residents in their natural habitat.

3rd-5th grade

Riddles of Nature

(Outdoors at your school or Burr Oak Woods, 1 hour)
How can we find out what animals live at Burr Oak Woods or on the school grounds? We can discover evidence they leave behind like scat and tracks. Students will learn about some of the specialized structures that herbivores, omnivores and carnivores need to survive. Your class will hike to find clues to understand who lives here, what special adaptations they have and how they fit into the food web.

The Cycle of Life

(Virtual, 45 minutes)
Discover the transfer of energy and relationships between organisms that make up food webs. Students will investigate the traits of producers, consumers and decomposers, and the special structures they need to survive. What is our role in the food web and how do our actions impact the cycles of life?

6th-12th Grades

You be the Judge

(Virtual, 1 hour)
Conservation and natural resource issues often do not have easy solutions. The Missouri Department of Conservation may need to sell off a 400-acre parcel of Burr Oak Woods to be developed into an ultra-modern shopping district. This will generate revenue for the city of Blue Springs, but there is also great value in having wild places to go and explore. Your students will be placed into one of three teams to debate this issue: Mayor and town council, pro-development and pro-conservation. Each team will be given time to develop, present and debate their viewpoint on this controversial issue. The program will conclude with the Mayor and town council giving their decision about the future of this land and how they came to that conclusion.