Interpretive Programs at Burr Oak Woods

Building hours

Tuesday – Saturday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm [closed all state holidays]

Area hours

  • Daylight Savings Time: open daily from 7:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Central Standard Time: open daily from 7:00 am – 6:00 pm

General Information

WELCOME! At Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center, you will find 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.

Choose Burr Oak Woods for your field trip this year. We guarantee that your students will be engaged, learn something new and continue to discuss their experience long after they leave the nature center.

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 Programs: August 3, 2017
  • Winter Programs at your school: November 2, 2017
  • Spring Programs: January 4, 2018
  • Summer Programs: April 5, 2018

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.
  • Your program contains an outdoor component. In case of inclement weather, an indoor program may
    be substituted.
  • 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.


At Burr Oak Woods 1 hour

10 - 25 students

Walking Wild

We all need to get from one place to another, but different animals move in very different ways. Learn the secrets of how animals walk, swim, fly and slither. This program will include live animals and an outdoor hike.

Naturally Sense-sational

Pack your sensing toolkit and head out to the trails at Burr Oak Woods as we discover how to see, smell, touch, taste, and hear just like our animal friends. This program includes a puppet show and trail hike.

Nature’s Hide & Seek

“Now you see me! Now you don’t!” Discover the strategies animals use to avoid predators or search for prey. Observation skills will be put to the test as we play interactive games and hike down a secret trail.

At Your School (December-February)

For School District Locations Only

30 minutes Per 15-20 kids 30 - 80 students

Wild Moms!

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 animals groups and match babies to their mothers with hands on activities. This program provides children the opportunity to see live animals up close.


At Burr Oak Woods 1.5 hours

10 - 80 students


Just as Horton discovers Whoville, sometimes the most interesting things in nature are found right beneath our feet. Students explore mini-worlds that help make the Earth an amazing place to live. Out in the field, students use simple equipment such as hand lenses to observe and compare the structures and behaviors of different kinds of plants and animals.

That Makes Perfect Sense

Wild animals use their five senses to survive just like we do. This interactive program will help students understand just how animals use their senses. Then we’ll head outdoors and use our own senses as we search for signs of wildlife along the trail.

Are You My Mother?

How does a young animal know its mother from other animals or even objects made by people? Discover how to match baby animals with their mothers based on clues such as animal body coverings (fur, feathers, scales, etc.) and behaviors. Students will investigate as we head out on the trail to help the baby animals find their mother!

At Your School 1.5 hours (December-February)

For School District Locations Only

2-4 classes (max 80 students)

Nature’s Naming Game

We use classification in our everyday life to group objects together based on common characteristics. We classify clothing, books, and even food! Classification is also an important tool scientists use to examine the natural world. Participate in hands-on activities to learn exactly what classification is.

1st-2nd grade

At Burr Oak Woods 2.5 hours

10 - 80 students

Missouri’s Creepiest Residents

Missouri is home to many amazing wild animals, including some that might seem kind of ‘creepy’. During this program, students will participate in an interactive game show to learn about some of the amazing adaptations of these animals and to better understand and appreciate their diversity. We’ll head outside in search of some of Missouri’s creepiest residents in their own
wild habitat.

Mammal Mysteries

Join the nature detectives to help solve a Burr Oak Woods mammal mystery. Your students will go outside to look for clues to solve the case. We will work together find out the basic needs (food water shelter and space) of the resident mammals at Burr Oak Woods.

Habitats: Nature’s Neighborhoods

Burr Oak Woods is home to many plants and animals, but they don’t all live in the same place. We will visit a forest, prairie, pond and glade to find out who lives there and what makes each habitat unique. Discover some of the adaptations the inhabitants use to survive in their own natural neighborhood.

At Your School 2 hours (December-February)

For School District Locations Only

2-4 classes (max 80 students)

Going Batty!

Bats have been misunderstood, mistreated, and shrouded in mystery throughout time. Discover the cool physical and behavioral adaptations that make bats such unique creatures. This interactive program will leave students and teachers with a better understanding of the important role that bats play in nature.

3rd-5th grade

At Burr Oak Woods 2.5 hours

10 - 80 students

Riddle of the Woods

Wild animals leave clues everywhere they go. Students will play an interactive game to learn how to “read” animal signs. Simply by studying the animal’s scat, we can categorize them as one of three types of consumers: herbivore, omnivore, or carnivore. Head outside for a hike of nature discovery and play a new role in the food web to understand the flow of energy through ecosystems.

Strange, Extraordinary, and Champion Trees

Become a giant hunter! Our assignment is to find the biggest, most incredible tree on the conservation area, and we need your help! Using cross-curricular, hands-on activities, students will learn to identify, age, and measure a tree. Your class will help to determine the Burr Oak Woods Champion Tree!

At Your School 2 hours (December-February)

For School District Locations Only

2-4 classes (max 80 students)

The Cycle Of Life

Discover the transfer of energy and the relationships between organisms that make up the natural world. Students will check out producer, consumer, and decomposer interactions, and examine predator/prey relationships. What is our role in this cycle of life?

Mixed-age Programs

At Burr Oak Woods

ages 6 and up

Fur, Feathers & Scales

(10-140 students) 1 hour

Whether it is slimy, scaly, furry or feathered, an animal’s body helps it survive. This exciting program will help your students discover more about the amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds that live in Missouri. Students will meet a Naturalist and get an up-close visit with some of our live animals.


(10 - 25 students) 1.5 hour

Enter a fantastic new world! Students will marvel at the incredible adaptations of insects as they become entomologists. Students will venture into a prairie and a forest to closely examine these strange and wonderful creatures!

Discovery Hike

(10 - 25 students) 1.5 hour

Explore the trails with a Naturalist and discover some of the wildlife secrets of Burr Oak Woods. Every hike leads us on a new adventure! Students will also meet a live animal and learn about the unique adaptations it uses to survive.

Summer Programs

At Burr Oak Woods 1.5 hours

(10-90 students)

Amazing Adaptations

Can an owl turn its head all the way around? Why do some plants have thorns? Animals and plants have developed special behaviors or unique physical traits that promote the survival and reproduction of their species. Let’s learn about these amazing adaptations together!

Backyard Neighbors

You might think you already know your neighbors, but do you really know everyone who lives nearby? There are many wild animals that visit our backyards when we are not looking. Join us as we search for clues that help us discover and appreciate the remarkable animals that call your neighborhood home.

Cold-Blooded Critters

Slither, crawl or swim in to the exciting world of Missouri’s reptiles and amphibians. These cold-blooded animals are unique, diverse and very important to our ecosystem. Join us as we learn about these wonderful creatures and get an up-close look at some of them!

Special Needs Groups

At Burr Oak Woods 1 hour

Minimum 10 students

Programs are designed to meet the needs of emotionally, physically, or educationally challenged groups and will focus on a variety of sensory experiences. Flexible, hands-on programs offer a nurturing developmental approach to the study of nature.

Reptiles Rock!

Reptiles move about their world exploring with senses very different than our own. Discover their amazing adaptations.

Incredible Mammals of Missouri

What makes a mammal a mammal? If you don’t see them when you explore in nature, how do you know they were there? Discover their incredible story through the signs they leave behind.

Discover Nature Schools

Hands-on experiences in nature can help Missouri’s k-12 students become life-long conservationists. For more information or to learn about teacher training, instructional units, and funding for equipment and field trips contact your local Conservation Education Consultant at 816-759-7300 or at