Exploring Nature in Kansas City

Kansas City's Nature Centers     Do you feel like winter will never end? Needing a little something "green" to remind you that spring is just around the corner? Kansas City's Nature Centers offer great FREE Family Outings in Kansas City perfect to beat the winter blues. Take a class, participate in a puppet show, storytime, or program, go for a nature hike, or enjoy indoor activities watching aquariums, animal exhibits, and playing with hands-on learning centers for children. Every Nature Center in Kansas City is free and open to the public.

Nature Centers in Missouri

  • Burr Oak Woods (one of our TOP PICKS!)

    7:00-6:00 Tues-Fri, 8:00-5:00 Sat. (1401 NW Park Rd, Blue Springs, MO). 816.228.3766. Burr Oak Woods is one of our FAVORITE Family Field-Trips in Kansas City! Burr Oak Woods is one of the largest nature centers in the area. With an animatronic Smokey the Bear teaching children fire safety, a large aquarium of Missouri's fresh water fish, snakes, turtles, toads, and more, and wonderful hands-on educational exhibits for children, Burr Oak Woods is a great place to spend an afternoon. The Nature Center also features miles of beautiful trails for walking or bicycling. The Little Acorns programs for preschoolers, and family nature programs, offered throughout the month are FREE and fantastic!
  • Burroughs Audobon Nature Center

    12:30-4:30 Tues, 10:00-5:00 Thurs-Sat, 1:00-5:00 Sun. (7300 W. Park Rd., Blue Springs, MO). 816.795.8177. Located in Fleming Park and Lake Jacomo, the Burroughs Audobon Nature Center is a library and bird watching center complete with guides to identify local birds, binoculars, and great viewing areas.
  • Cave Spring Nature Center

    10-4:00 Tues- Fri, (8701 E Gregory Blvd, KCMO). 816.358.CAVE. Cave Spring Nature Center is a small nature center with historic exhibits on the Little House on the Prairie and Kansas City. The scenic walking trails lead to a cave and a wildlife habitat pond.
  • Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center

    8:00-5:00 Mon-Fri., 9:00-4:00 1st & 3rd Sat, 1st & 3rd Tues open till 9pm. (4750 Troost Ave. KCMO). 816.759.7300. The Discovery Center offers terrific educational programs. The trail leads to Kauffman Gardens (a beautiful free garden where something is always in bloom). At the center, learn about wildlife through environmentally friendly activities.
  • George Owens Nature Park

    8:30-5:00 Tues-Sat, Noon-5:00 Sun. (1601 S. Speck Rd. Independence, MO) 816.325.7115. Enjoy a small nature center, programs for children, fishing dock, and trails. One of the features is a "Storybook Trail" where you read pages from a giant children's book as you walk the trail. The stories are updated regularly.
  • Kemper Outdoor Educational Center

    8:00-4:00 Mon-Fri (May 1- Aug 1), 12:00-4:00 1st Sun of each month. (8201 Jasper Bell, Blue Springs, MO) 816.229.8980. The Kemper Outdoor Educational Center is situated near Blue Springs Lake and surrounded by beautiful gardens! Enjoy reptile displays, rock and fossil exhibits, trails, butterfly and water gardens, an arboretum, pond, and more.
  • Lakeside Nature Center (one of our TOP PICKS!)

    9:00-4:00 Tues-Sat, CLOSED Sun & Mon. (4701 E. Gregory Blvd, KCMO) 816.513.8960. Lakeside Nature Center has one of the BEST animal exhibits in the area. The staff at the center rescue injured animals and keep them in a safe environment. See falcons, owls, eagles, toads, frogs, fish, insects, and wonderful exhibits on the animals in our city and in our homes. The Nature Center also features a gravel trail for walking and exploring. 
  • Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Center

    8:00-5:00 Mon-Sat, (407 N. Lafrenz Rd., Liberty, MO)816.781.8598. Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary offers terrific educational programs, nature displays featuring plants and animals, and nature trails. 
  • Parkville Nature Sanctuary

    Daylight Hours Daily (12th and East Streets, Parkville, MO) 816.741.7676. Wildlife preserve and education site featuring hiking trails.

Nature Centers in Kansas

  • Ernie Miller Nature Center

    9:00-5:00 Mon-Sat, 1:00-5:00 Sun. (909 N. Hwy 7, Olathe, KS) 913.764.7759. Ernie Miller Nature Center offers children's activities and programs every week. You can also walk-in for a visit any time to see live animal displays, participate in hands-on activities and nature trails.
  • F.L. Schlagle Nature Library

    10:00-4:00 Mon-Fri, 10:00-4:00 3rd Sat of the Month. (4501 West Drive Wyandotte County Lake Park, Kansas City, KS) 913.299.2384. Located at Wyandotte County Lake Park, this is a branch of the KCK Public Libraries. The F.L. Schlagle Nature Library is a year-round interactive library, nature center, and nature trail offering scientific, educational, cultural, informational, and recreational opportunities to visitors of all ages. The library also features special art exhibits related to nature and the environment and a variety of programs for children and adults.
  • John Barkley Visitor Center

    9:00-5:00 Mon-Fri, 10:00-6:00 Sat & Sun. (7900 Renner Rd., Shawnee KS) 913.888.4713. Local and national parks exhibits, fishing dock, and trails.
  • Prairie Park Nature Center (one of our TOP PICKS!)

    9:00-5:00 Tues-Sat, 1:00-4:00 Sun. (2730 Harper St. Lawrence, KS) 785.832.7980. This nature center features MANY fantastic animal exhibits, from reptiles (iguanas, alligators, snakes and more!), to amphibians (several species of frogs and toads), to birds (including native birds of prey) and mammals. The hands-on center for preschoolers features nature puppets, puzzles, and hands-on activities. The park includes grassland, forest, and lake with trails for walking and exploring.
  • Prairie Oak Nature Center

    10:00-5:00 Mon-Sat, 1:00-5:00 Sun. (14701 Mission Rd, Leawood KS) 913.681.0902. The small nature center in Ironwoods Park is home to live animals, displays, hands-on activities and nature trails.
  • Overland Park Arboretum (one of our TOP PICKS!)

    8:00-7:30 Daily, (8909 W. 179th St, OPKS) 913.685.3604. For Kansas City's most beautiful and abundant FREE Botanical gardens outing, the Overland Park Arboretum is the place! With acres of gardens including a children's exploration garden, water gardens, the new beautiful Monet garden, and many many more, learn about natural ecosystems at the environmental education center and explore the trails. In the winter months, the Arboretum offers educational classes, live concerts, and holiday programs.
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