Experience the Runge Conservation Nature Center
At the Runge Conservation Nature Center, come and enjoy the wonders of Missouri's habitats and the fish, forest and wildlife resources found in the Show-Me State. Get acquainted with beauty as we travel from the rugged prairies of the north to the swamplands of the Bootheel.
Something for everyone
- Hiking trails (one trail is accessible to people with disabilities)
- Outdoor demonstrations of landscaping and wildlife habitat
- Naturalist guided programs for families, scouts, schools and other community groups (reservations required)
- Habitat Happenings, our bi-monthly newsletter
- Pull-through bus and RV parking
- A facility with a 200-seat auditorium, three classrooms, and indoor wildlife viewing area, a library and 3,000 square feet of fun and exciting exhibits--all indoor facilities are accessible to people with disabilities.
Create a habitat
Chances are your own backyard contains some of these Missouri habitats. Learn how you can create backyard wildlife habit by visiting our nature center and seeing our demonstration landscaping along the Naturescape Trail. You'll also see some of the wildlife you can attract to your backyard.
Experience Missouri Habitats
Missouri's landscape is constantly changing. Come and explore our habitats and wildlife, from the Big Rivers to the depths of the Ozark caves. You'll find the whole countryside here to experience at the Runge Conservation Nature Center.
Follow a river otter with a tracking device as you learn how valuable marshes are to people and wildlife. Discover the mysterious world of swamps with us and see a rare swamp rabbit that can swim.
You may not think of barns, fencerows and crop fields as wildlife habitat, but barn owls and bobwhite quail would disagree. Properly managed farms can provide homes for many of Missouri's wildlife. See for yourself in our barn and farm exhibits.
Rivers and Streams
Life in the fast lane is not easy, but fish living in rivers and streams have met the challenge. Age a fish using an enormous fish scale and learn how and why we tag fish.
Ponds and Lakes
Get a close-up look at pond and lake fish in our huge 2,400-gallon aquarium! Learn why the Department produces 27 million fish in hatcheries each year. Have you ever caught a hatchery fish?
See our prairie plot, a tribute to the 15 million acres of tallgrass prairie which once covered Missouri. Prairie chickens and prairie mole crickets are just two of the fascinating creatures residing on the 70,000 acres of prairie left in Missouri.
Desert wildlife in Missouri? That's right! They're found on glades. Glades primarily occur in southwestern Missouri and are openings in forests where the soil is thin and the bedrock lies at the surface. Explore the land of "mountain boomers." Plus, we'll show you how we use fire to maintain glades.
Watch a forest renew itself after harvest, transforming over time from seedlings in the sun to an old growth forest.
Dark, chilly and wet doesn't sound like an inviting place to live, but Missouri caves host many unusual animals. Explore our cave exhibit and see how some cave animals survive.