It's A Natural!

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Published on: May. 2, 2002

Last revision: Nov. 12, 2010

People travel every which way to experience nature and enjoy the outdoors, sometimes logging thousands of miles in order to escape the hubbub and stress of urban life.

Missourians who travel that far are passing plenty of tourists seeking the same experience. Only they are coming to Missouri to enjoy our natural beauty.

Missouri is unique among other states. It's the melting pot of northern conifers, western plains, southern swamps and eastern hardwoods. Our state is carved by the country's largest rivers. Our soils are a mix of river sediment, glacial till and remnants of ancient sea floors. Our wildlife and native plant species mirror this outstanding diversity. Missouri's rivers include some of the best float streams in the country, and our many reservoirs offer great fishing and outdoor fun. Best of all, Missouri offers visitors plenty of public land for recreation.

Most Missourians, including those who live in our biggest cities, can enjoy an outdoor experience within an hour of their homes. Conservation Department facilities are located near or in population centers. Urban nature centers and conservation areas offer a doorway into the natural world.

Nature Centers charge no admission to visitors, and most of their programs are free. Bring a sack lunch and enjoy the day amid naturally beautiful surroundings. Use our facilities to relax, to learn about nature and to meet new friends.

Runge Conservation Nature Center

Enjoy the natural wonders of Missouri and the fish, forests and wildlife found there.

Inside the nature center building, you will find a 200-seat auditorium, three classrooms, an indoor wildlife viewing area, a nature library and a small gift shop. You can also explore more than 3,000 square feet of exhibits that lead you through an assortment of Missouri's myriad habitats. Featured in the exhibit area are a 3,580-gallon freshwater aquarium, live amphibians and reptiles, hands-on activities for children and much more.

Venture outside to explore two miles of hiking trails that wind through prairie, wetland and forest habitats. The Naturescape Trail is accessible to people with disabilities and provides examples of backyard landscaping to help attract wildlife to your property.

Runge Conservation Nature Center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Runge Programs

Summer Splash - July - Join us for special "Summer Splash" programs. These two-hour programs involve lots of hands-on activities, and snacks are provided. Check

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