Places to Go

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From Missouri Conservationist: August 2016

Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area and Nature Center

Located just a few miles from downtown Kansas City, this urban conservation area and nature center provides indoor and outdoor opportunities to beat the heat and discover nature.

Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area and Nature Center in Jackson County is a 1,072-acre jewel positioned in the center of a growing suburban area. The nature center is a state-of-the-art facility with interactive exhibits, a children’s play area, a 3,000-gallon aquarium, and live reptiles and amphibians. Visitors will love participating in a wide variety of monthly programs and special events that help families discover nature.

The conservation area showcases the variety of natural habitats unique to Missouri and boasts six hiking trails to explore. The Bethany Falls Trail is award-winning due to its intriguing maze of rock outcroppings of Bethany Falls limestone. The trail has been featured in Backpacker magazine and was also voted the No. 1 trail in Kansas City.

Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area and Nature Center is located 20 miles east of downtown

Kansas City. The land was purchased in 1977, and the nature center is the first of its kind in the state, built in 1982.

The history of the area dates back to the Civil War and was the site of guerilla warfare along the Missouri-Kansas boarder. William Quantrill, a Confederate, and his men camped on the Burr Oak Woods property many times while hiding from the Kansas Jayhawkers militia during the war.

The conservation area prides itself on the unique wildlife viewing opportunities it has created with a matrix of habitats and food sources, including native grassland restorations, food plot demonstrations, and healthy forested areas. The area is an urban oasis that provides visitors with the opportunity to experience nature close to Kansas City.

—David Doyle, area manager

Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area and Nature Center

  • Recreation Opportunities: Wildlife viewing, hiking, bird watching, nature center exhibits
  • Unique Features: Limestone outcrops, native grassland, forest, food plots
  • For More Information: Call 816-228-3766 or visit

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler