This crisp fall weather doesn’t just appeal to humans — plenty of other species love it, too. Why not go visit them? Boundless natural resources attract animals and onlookers at the Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City — underscoring the ecological importance of our state. Take in the splendor of the forest habitat, and catch a glimpse of the many woodland creatures and fish that call this place home. Soak up the scenery and some knowledge on a guided tour led by a naturalist through 3,000 square feet of indoor exhibits.
Walk right into the middle of nature, quite literally, at the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House. This beautiful structure, in Chesterfield's Faust Park, houses hundreds of tropical butterflies, flitting and darting around you as you walk through their habitat. The Butterfly House offers many hands-on learning opportunities and sights for kids, such as a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis frequently amaze guests.
The Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure in Branson, also celebrates these winged wonders. The experience includes a 3-D film about the life of a butterfly, the chance to meet other rainforest creatures, a fun “coconut tree climb,” and more.
After spending time among these tiny beings, take a trip to Valley Park to visit larger creatures at the World Bird Sanctuary. Beauty takes flight at this renowned wildlife area, where eagles, owls, hawks, falcons, vultures and parrots soar overhead. Nature-loving kids can even have their own “bird-day” parties at the sanctuary; guided bird-watching tours are also available.