Campout to connect with Missouri’s big rivers

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Saint Louis
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St. Louis — It’s not every night you can camp out and enjoy a night of fun and adventure at the confluence of two of the world’s largest rivers. That’s what makes the Second Annual Discover Nature: Families Confluence Campout unique.

The overnight event is being held at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in Spanish Lake Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 18 and 19. Sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation MDC), it gives families the chance to experience the area in a whole new way.

Check in for the campout begins at 3 p.m. Saturday. Families of all outdoor skill levels, from beginners to experienced adventurers, are welcome. Participants are asked to bring their own camping gear. However, staff at Columbia Bottom can offer tents to loan those who do not have their own. Campers will set up near the confluence where the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers join together. The event is perfect for beginning campers, since knowledgeable staff will be on hand to help get everything up and going.

Guests can choose from several Saturday evening activities. “Let’s Get Cooking!” demonstrates how to kick it up a notch for camp cooking. “Canoe the Slough” will explore one of Columbia Bottom’s unique features by water. “Spider Sniff and Bug Sheet” sheds light on nighttime arachnids and insects.

A story telling program around the campfire is also one of the evening’s highlights. All the makings for s'mores will be provided for dessert.

Naturalist-led sunset and sunrise hikes will take advantage of the best times of day to see wildlife in action.

On Sunday morning, guest will discover how to create omelets in a pouch to go along with a supplied continental breakfast.

Other activity options on Sunday will include biking, geocaching with GPS and canoeing. All activities will wrap up by 1 p.m.

The Discover Nature: Families Confluence Campout is free. Advanced registration, and a $15 registration deposit, refundable Sunday Morning, are required. To request a registration packet, call the Columbia Bottom visitor center at 314-877-6014. The visitor center is open Wednesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Completed registration packets are due by noon on Wednesday, Sept. 15.

Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is located at 801 Strodtman Road, about three miles north of I-270 off Riverview Drive. The 4,318-acre site is owned and managed by the MDC.