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Discover 10 acres of gardens, wetlands, walkways and wildlife that surround the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center building, located near the banks of Brush Creek at Troost in Kauffman Legacy Park, about eight blocks from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and within 10 minutes of the Country Club Plaza.
Located in the heart of the urban core, the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center focuses its educational programs on helping urban children and adults appreciate the bounty and beauty of nature, and learn outdoor skills such as hiking, camping, wildlife viewing and growing native plants. Hunting and fishing permits, books, videos and educational materials highlighting the natural resources of Missouri can be purchased in the Missouri Outdoors Nature Shop.
The Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center provides a unique educational experience as well as a quiet place of reflection for residents and visitors alike to enjoy and appreciate nature's offerings.
Our basic hours are Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m., with extended hours first and third Tuesdays of each month. The building is open until 9 p.m. for programs and meetings, and to 7 p.m. for permit and Nature Shop sales. First and third Saturday of each month, our hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Trails are open daily during daylight hours.
The 9,143-acre Bell Mountain Wilderness is part of the St. Francois Mountains, one of the oldest landforms in North America. This is mostly old-growth, oak and hickory forest, with pine and elm, grassy glades, and granite outcroppings. The rugged 12-mile Bell Mountain Trail (rated More Difficult) is recommended for experienced hikers only. Steep slopes are encountered throughout the area. Elevations on the trail range from 1,702 feet, at the peak of Bell Mountain, to 970 feet at the base, in the area of Joe's Creek. Groups are limited to a maximum of 10 people, to help protect wilderness values.
Horses are allowed; no motorized/mechanical transportation allowed. No camping within 100 feet of trails and water.
Shut-in Creek, a year-round, spring-fed stream, crosses this area; there are several shut-ins along its path.
The U.S. Congress designated the Bell Mountain Wilderness in 1980.
ALERT: Feral hogs are degrading the natural habitat within the Bell Mountain Wilderness. The Missouri Conservation Department asks all hunters who encounter a feral hog to shoot it on sight.
Two crucial rules: 1> Do Not Carry in Your Own Firewood! (Moving firewood around the country spreads forest pests like the Emerald Ash Borer and Gypsy Moth.) 2> On and near any waterway, glass containers and glass bottles of any kind, and all foam-type food and beverage coolers are prohibited by Missouri law.
Note: the address and phone shown are for the Mark Twain National Forest office responsible for this wilderness area; however, the map pointer indicates the approximate location of this Wilderness Area.
On average, more than 278 million gallons of water flow from Big Spring each day, making it one of America's largest springs.
Enjoy hiking, fishing, camping and picnicking. Four miles south of Van Buren.
The spring, which is part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, feeds the Current River.
This spring really lives up to its name—the vivid blue water makes this Missouri spring a sight to see; well worth the half-mile walk from the parking area. The spring is 310 feet deep; that is deep enough to cover the Statue of Liberty.
At approximately 81 million gallons of water per day, this spring definitely adds its share to the Current River. Blue Spring is one of the many springs that feed the Current River.
The spring may be reached by boat/canoe from the Current River; also by hiking the trail from the parking area located off Route 106 at County Road 535, 12 mile west of Eminence—watch for the Blue Spring sign. Picnic tables are available. Don't forget your camera.
Note: The steep approach road is not paved and is not recommended for large RVs and buses.
Part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
Discover Nature at Burr Oak Woods! Burr Oak Woods is a showplace for Missouri's fish, forests and wildlife -- a natural oasis in your own backyard, just 1 mile north of I-70 and minutes from downtown Kansas City.
Join us for a youth, adult or family program or special event. Teachers, contact us to schedule a program for your field trip that will enhance the Next Generation Science Standards. Explore on your own by hiking one of six beautiful trails. Experience the Nature Center as you come eye to eye with some fantastic wild animals, encounter nature's wonders and secrets with hands-on exhibits and catch a glimpse of resident wildlife in the wildlife-viewing room. Step just outside the backdoors and into the all new, all natural Nature Explore Classroom.
No fees are charged at the Nature Center.
Visit Branson's rainforest and walk among more than 1,000 live, tropical butterflies.
Each self-guided journey includes: a 3-D movie about the life of a butterfly; a visit to the Rainforest Critter Center; a chance to get lost inside the Emerald Forest Mirror Maze; and the Coconut Tree Climb.
This is an interactive, educational and entertaining adventure for the family.
Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 non-profit big cat rescue facility, licensed by the USDA. Our mission is to give animals a voice by serving as a leader in wild cat conservation and education. We provide permanent lifelong care for abused, neglected, and unwanted big cats. Crown Ridge strives to maintain our animal's integrity by providing exceptional physical and mental care. We help give animals a voice by advocating for conservation of the species in the wild and the well being of captive big cats.
Through both on and off-site presentations, tours, educational programs, Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary increases public awareness and inspires a change in the big cat crisis.
Bring your family for a general, V.I.P., or feeding tour or you can schedule your school group for an educational tour. Our cats are playful year round, so it is always a good time to come watch them. Don't forget to ask how you can Adopt-A-Cat to help keep them healthy and happy.
A long, narrow ridge—known to early settlers as The Devils Backbone—is the main attraction in this 6,687-acre Wilderness. Elevations reach from 1,020 feet at the highest point to 680 at the lowest. Thirteen miles of trails (rated Moderate) follow the Backbone (and four other ridges), dropping off into surrounding forested hollows. Horses are allowed; no motorized/mechanical transportation allowed.
The area is ideal for day-hikes and overnight backpacking. Four trailheads offer good entry points. Three springs in the area flow into the North Fork of the White River, which transits the area. On the northern boundary are campsites and a canoe launch. Do not build rock fire rings.
The U.S. Congress designated the Devils Backbone Wilderness in 1980. Check the area’s website for details, a map, and restrictions.
Many opportunities await you within this 10,000 acre slice of unspoiled Ozark paradise. The rugged landscape has been modified to provide access to our guests. Step aboard open-air trams for a guided tour. Try various activities: biking; walking; horseback riding; trout fishing; private jeep tours; and Segway tours. You may see waterfalls, caves, bison, elk and Texas longhorn cattle. Group functions are welcome; catered meals available.
Native butterflies swoosh around you in the delightful enclosure. The Butterfly House looks like a greenhouse, but instead of glass it is covered in fine netting that keeps the butterflies inside for your enjoyment. If the house is not open, butterflies can be viewed from outside.
See the butterflies laying their eggs. See the caterpillars emerge and develop into pupa. You might even see the magic moment when the adult butterfly emerges from the pupa.
The Butterfly House is located in Close Memorial Park, next to the Ornamental Grass Garden. Volunteers take you inside the screened-in house, point out the various species and answer questions.
Open early May through September.
Grant's Farm is the 281-acre ancestral home of the Busch family, located of the city of St. Louis. The Farm is home to more than 900 animals representing more than 100 species from six continents. Grant's Farm, operated by Anheuser-Busch, Inc., has been a St. Louis tradition for more than five decades.
The Farm takes its name from our 18th president, Ulysses S. Grant. In the 1850s, Grant founded and farmed a portion of the 281 acres. Today, this land is preserved as a living symbol of the Busch family's love for animals and Anheuser-Busch's commitment to wildlife conservation and preservation.
Admission to Grant's Farm is free to all ages. Open some Mondays on holiday weekends. There is a lot going on at Grant's Farm.
Our hours vary seasonally; see our website for details and schedules.
The 12,413 acres of Hercules-Glades Wilderness encompass some of the most scenic and unique landscape in the Midwest. The area is crisscrossed by 32 miles of maintained trails (rated More Difficult to Most Difficult); additionally, off-trail, cross-country hiking is allowed. No camping is allowed within 100 feet of an established trail, stream, body of water, cave, rock shelter, and other occupied campsites. Do not build rock fire rings. Horses are allowed; motorized and mechanical transportation is not allowed.
Long Creek Falls affords panoramic views of the Ozarks. The sparsely marked trails include steep terrain, stream crossings, and elevations from 600 feet to 1,200 feet.
The U.S. Congress designated the Hercules-Glades Wilderness in 1976. Check the area’s website for details, a map, and restrictions.
Wildlife education programs for all ages. Llocated at Swope Park. The center has a hiking trail, picnic pavilion and native Missouri wildlife exhibit; plus rental facilities in a wooded area for corporate events, receptions and retreats.
Lakeside Nature Center is an incredible place to enjoy learning about local native wildlife, including birds of prey, snakes, amphibians, turtles, fish, and invertebrates. Whether you wish to explore the exhibits on your own, or sign up for a wildlife program, your visit is certain to be enjoyable.
Maramec Spring Park contains the fifth-largest spring in the state, averaging 100 million gallons of water daily. The resulting Meramec River provides excellent trout fishing. The Missouri Department of Conservation stocks the stream with trout daily. Fishing at Maramec Spring Park is a relaxing and fun experience for the family. A Missouri fishing permit and a daily trout tag are required.
The 200-acre public use area includes, among other attractions: cafe; general store; camp sites (some with elect.); wildlife viewing; fish feeding; picnicking; shelters; playgrounds.
The area contains the remains of the Maramec Iron Works, which operated from 1826 until 1876, and a museum which chronicles history and operation of the iron works.
The park is open year-round; an entry fee is charged mid-February through October. Annual passes may be purchased at the park.
Maramec Spring Park is privately owned and operated by The James Foundation, a not-for-profit organization.
The Nature Sanctuary is a multii-acre retreat with an Interpretive Center, natural habitat, and miles of nature trails. A wide range of children's and family programs are held throughout the season.
The 21,592-acre refuge lies in a basin formed in an ancient channel of the Mississippi River. Mingo National Wildlife Refuge is recognized as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society as the refuge supports bird species and habitats that are of conservation priority.
Mingo National Wildlife Refuge includes the 7,730-acre Mingo Wilderness Area, designated as Wilderness by the U.S. Congress in 1976. Hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife observation, and wildlife photography are encouraged in the Wilderness Area; it is the largest remaining tract of bottomland hardwood forest in Missouri.
Motorized recreational activities are prohibited inside the Mingo Wilderness Area; however, motorized traffic is allowed on non-wilderness corridor roads, alongside a network of waterways.
Hiking, backpacking, fishing, wildlife observation, environmental education and interpretation are allowed, as well as biological research as approved through refuge management.
Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Call or see the website for hours and entry costs.
Have you ever made eye contact with a 750-pound tiger? You can at the National Tiger Sanctuary, where we strive to educate children and adults alike. National Tiger Sanctuary adopted five sibling tiger cubs in July 2001. The tigers serve as ambassadors for the environmental education programs we provide. To learn more, visit our website, or find us on Facebook: National Tiger Sanctuary. We are now located about 15 miles north of Branson, or 20 minutes south of Springfield, in Saddlebrooke. If you'd like to tour the facility, please call to verify hours of operation and admission rates. Tours last anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours.
If you are using an online mapping tool or a GPS device, you may need to enter Chestnut Ridge in the "city search" to find our location.
Slightly more than 7,035 acres of hardwood forest, steep cliffs, streams, caves and rocky outcroppings make up Paddy Creek Wilderness. There are 18 miles of trails, with elevation changes of 500 feet. Signs and trail marking are minimal; the use of a map and a compass is highly suggested.
Group size is limited to 10 persons. No camping is allowed within 100 feet of an established trail, stream, body of water, cave, rock shelter, and other occupied campsites. Do not build rock fire rings. Horses are allowed; motorized and mechanical transportation is not allowed.
The U.S. Congress designated the Paddy Creek Wilderness in 1983. Check the area’s website for details, a map, and restrictions.
Piney Creek Wilderness occupies 8,178 acres, with numerous springs and waterways. The ridge-tops rise more than 400 feet above hollows.
The major east-west trail follows Piney Creek for approximately four miles. From Pineview Tower Trailhead, two paths of approximately 1.5 miles each lead south to Piney Creek; two other foot and horse trails leave the main trail to head south for a grand total of 13.1 miles of trails (rated Moderate), portions of which utilize old logging roads. The use of maps and a compass is recommended.
The U.S. Congress designated the Piney Creek Wilderness in 1980. Check the area’s website for details, a map, and restrictions.
An ancient circle of granite rocks, erected by early man, marks Missouri’s smallest Wilderness area. The 4,238-acre Rockpile Mountain Wilderness is primarily a broken ridge, with steep limestone bluffs, rock formations, and caves along the St. Francis River.
From the trailhead there is a two-mile section of maintained trail which is often steep (rated Moderate), where elevations range from about 1,300 feet to 520 feet. The rest of the area is accessed by old roads and by cross-country hiking. The area is within the St. Francois Mountains.
No camping is allowed within 100 feet of an established trail, stream, body of water, cave, rock shelter, and other occupied campsites. Do not build rock fire rings. Horses are allowed; motorized and mechanical transportation is not allowed.
The U.S. Congress designated the Rockpile Mountain Wilderness in 1980. Check the area’s website for details, a map, and restrictions.
Enjoy the wonders of Missouri's habitats, and the fish, forest and wildlife resources found in the Show-Me State. The Runge Nature Center includes hiking trails (one is wheelchair accessible); outdoor demonstrations of landscaping and wildlife habitat; naturalist-guided programs; pull-through bus and RV parking (no overnight); a 200-seat auditorium; classrooms; wildlife viewing area; and 3,000 square feet of indoor exhibits. All indoor facilities are wheelchair accessible.
This 2,400-acre nature reserve is located in the rolling terrain along the Meramec River, 35 southmiles west of St. Louis. Established by the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1925, the reserve features extensive tracts of tall grass prairie, glades, wetlands, savannas and woodlands. It includes 14 miles of hiking trails.
Closed Christmas day.
I-44, exit 253. Admission: $5; ages 65+ and students, $3; younger than 13 and members, free. There is a special admission charge for some events.
More than 1,000 tropical butterflies, in 60 species, fly freely in the 8,000-square-foot glass conservatory. Watch a butterfly emerge from a chrysalis; visit the outdoor Butterfly Garden; enjoy indoor insect exhibits. Also enjoy more than 150 tropical plants. Located in Faust Park.
Learn how to create a butterfly garden in your own yard. In addition to the plants, insects and animals, we hold many special events suitable for all ages. Visit our website for details and event schedules.
Last ticket sold 30 minutes prior to close. Admission: $6; ages 65+, $5; ages 3-12, $4; younger than 3, and Missouri Botanical Garden members, free.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Closed Mondays, Labor Day to Memorial Day.
This 80-acre slice of the Ozarks outdoors, within the city limits of Springfield, is a place to connect with nature and learn the importance of conservation. Enjoy: three miles of walking trails; educational and informative programs and events; nature and conservation exhibits.
The Visitor Center features an information desk, where visitors learn about the facility and its schedule of programs. Hunting and fishing permits are sold. The building includes a self-guided exhibit area, a gift shop, a 150-seat auditorium, classrooms and restrooms.
The grounds include a covered picnic area. There is pull-through bus and RV parking. Camping, hunting and fishing are not allowed on the grounds.
Trails open daily: March-Oct., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Nov.-Feb., 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed. Jogging is allowed only during specific hours.
The Visitor Center is closed January 1, Thanksgiving, and December 25.
Squaw Creek is a 7,350-acre refuge, established in 1935 as a resting, feeding, and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. It is home to 301 bird species (including nesting bald eagles), 33 mammal species, and 35 reptile and amphibian species. During spring and fall migrations, Squaw Creek's wetlands attract as many as 400,000 snow geese and 100,000 ducks. During the fall and winter, as many as 400 bald eagles have been spotted.
Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge is more than marshes; it includes forest, grassland, cropland and wetland. It is an Internationally Important Bird Area (IBA.) A 10-mile, self-guided driving tour is available.
At the headquarters, you can view exhibits, watch an informative video, and get the latest survey counts for bald eagles, waterfowl and shorebirds.
Visit the Friends of Squaw Creek Nature Shop, located in the headquarters building. To learn more about Friends of Squaw Creek, visit www.SquawCreek.org.
A Day at the Capital
Enjoy a visit to Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri.
Branson Family Friendly Adventure
Looking for the perfect place to plan a fun family vacation in the Midwest? Branson is the place to go! Plan your trip to Branson today.
Critter Crawl-St. Louis
Take a walk on the wild side of St. Louis.
Following Grant's Footsteps
Explore these locations on or near the U.S. Grant Trail.
Springfield's Great Outdoors
Springfield, Missouri's third largest city, is full of outdoor excitement.
The Civil War: Grant and Gray Ghosts
Explore Civil War sites with ties to the Ulysses S. Grant and Gray Ghost Trails.
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Listings of businesses and events appearing on this site are supplied by the entities themselves. All information is subject to change without notice. Listings are posted for information only. The Missouri Division of Tourism (MDT) assumes no responsibility or liability for the accuracy or the content of individual listings or for the validity of any Web links included therein. A listing appearing on VisitMO does not imply endorsement or recommendation by MDT, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the State of Missouri or any department/division thereof.
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