Runge Interpretive Programs

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How do I schedule a field trip or program at Runge?

Call the nature center at (573) 526-5544 or e-mail Runge@mdc.mo.gov (link sends e-mail) to make your reservation.

  • Programs may be scheduled on the hour from 9 - 11 am and 1 - 4 pm Tuesday through Friday.
  • Make your reservation as early as possible. We require a minimum of two-week notice.
  • Twenty-four hour notice of cancellation is required.
  • Even if you are unable to schedule a program your group is welcome to visit anytime during our regular business hours.
  • Runge Nature Center has many resources available, including exhibits, movies, trails, and a library.
  • Programs with outdoor components are limited to 30 participants. Groups up to 60 can
    be split if two naturalists are available.
  • Groups of 61-200 are limited to an indoor program.
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Amphibians (Grades K-5) Frogs and their family members need water to start their life. Live amphibians along with a variety of props will be used to discuss the characteristics and life cycle of frogs. We will also visit a small pond and look for frogs and tadpoles.

Owls (Grades K-5) These elusive night time predators are fascinating creatures. Learn about their unique adaptations. Owl mounts, sounds, and artifacts will be used to enhance the Missouri Owls presentation.

Reptiles (Grades K-5) Missouri reptiles are a classy group of animals! Props, artifacts, and live animals will be used to familiarize students with the class of animals known as reptiles.

Sensory Exploration (Grades K-5) This is an exploration/observation hike using your senses to discover nature.

Mammals (Grades K-5) Learn about Missouri mammals through their clues. Students will discover the characteristics of mammals by studying furs, tracks, scat, and other signs.

Naturalist Pick (Grades K-5) Can’t decide what topic you’d like to explore? Let the Runge
staff pick one for you. It is sure to be exciting.

Bat Echolocation (Grades 2-5) Missouri bats depend on sound to survive. We will use slides, sounds, activities, and even a bat detector to help students better understand Missouri bats and how they rely on sound.

Predators (Grades 2-5) Predators aren’t mean or vicious–they’re just trying to survive. Students will be introduced to a few Missouri predators and learn about some of their special adaptations through slides, props, and live animals.

Food Chain (Grades 2-5) Starting with the sun, all living organisms are linked together. Various props, activities, and a live animal will help students explore the elements of food chains and how they fit into the larger web of life.

Snakes (Grades 6-8) Snakes depend on color and behavior to survive in the wild. Slides and live snakes will be used to help students better understand the purpose of color and behavior to snake survival.
Seasons: All

Intro to Natural Communities (Grades 6-8) This program focuses on how natural communities are formed and how they can be managed. We will explore Missouri natural communities using taxidermy mounts, slides, and a hike.
Seasons: Spring, Summer, and Fall

Ponds (Grades 6-8) The delicate balance of nature is revealed by peering into a pond. Students will examine a small pond using nets and other tools to better understand the interdependence found in this water ecosystem.
Seasons: Spring, Summer, and Fall

Discovery Hike (Grades 6-8) Hiking,exploring, and playing in nature leads to discovery. Groups will be led through various observation and awareness activities as they hike one of the nature center trails.
Seasons: All

Grades 9-12: Contact the Nature Center for program topics.

Mixed Ages

Interactive auditorium programs are designed for groups with multi-age participants and are available upon request. The target grade-level range is second through eighth grades. Programs are 50-60 minutes. Seasons: All

Amphibians/Reptiles–These animals are often studied together by scientists called herpetologists. In this program, participants will learn about the similarities and differences of the two classes. Live animals will be used to observe and discover the characteristics.

Owls–These elusive night time predators are fascinating creatures. Learn about their unique adaptations. Owl mounts, sounds, and artifacts will be used to enhance the Missouri Owls presentation.

Snakes–So often, these reptiles are misunderstood and maligned. We will put them in a perspective to help you understand the important role they play in our ecosystems. Live snakes will be used.

Naturalist Pick–Can’t decide what topic you’d like to explore? Let the Runge staff pick one for you. It is sure to be exciting.

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Friendly Reminders

  • Preschool programs are limited to 20 participants, who must be at least 3 years old.
  • We require a minimum of 1 adult per 10 children for supervision and recommend 1 adult for every 5 children.
  • Please let us know in advance if anyone in your group has special needs such as learning or physical disabilities.
  • Whenever possible, we try to go outdoors. Please make sure children are dressed for the weather.
  • Programs are approximately one hour long.
  • A group may schedule a maximum of one program per day with a limit of two programs per group per calendar year.

Nature Center Programs

A different program is developed each month for preschool-age children called Little Acorns. Find the current programs on our Events Calendar.

If your group is focusing on a certain topic or theme, please let us know. We just might have a program that fits right in!

Programs at Your School

  • Conducted only during January, February, and December
  • Conducted within a 50-mile radius of the nature center

Snakes Sense

It only makes sense to be curious about an animal that “smells” with its tongue. We will investigate our five senses and see how they compare to a snake. Live snakes will be brought.

Nature Tales

Listen to stories about nature and experience first hand an animal or object from the story. Stories will change seasonally.

Boisterous Bugs

What’s all that noise? Bugs! Bug sounds are as distinct as bird songs. Learn about bugs and join the bug chorus!

Animals Wrappers

Animals Should Definitely NOT Wear Clothes, but what do they wear? Touch and see different animal “wrappers” in this program. A live animal or two will be shared.

Frog Frenzy

Frog and toad are friends. Add salamander to the mix and you have a group of fascinating amphibians. Puppets, books, live animals, and more will introduce us to these unique critters.

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Runge is happy to provide programs for adult groups and will consider topics other than the ones listed. If there is an outdoor component to the program, please dress appropriately.

Mammals–Missouri is home to many species of mammals. This presentation will introduce you to just a few using taxidermy mounts, pelts, slides, and more.

Owls–These elusive night time predators are fascinating creatures. Learn about their unique adaptations. Owl mounts, sounds, and artifacts will be used to enhance the Missouri Owls presentation.

Seasons of Nature–After a brief introduction inside about the specific season, the group will be led on a short walk to explore and discover the richness of the outdoors. This program is offered in the Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons.

Naturalist Pick–Can’t decide what topic you’d like to explore? Let the Runge staff pick one for you. It is sure to be exciting.