Make a holiday connection with nature at MDC sites in the Kansas City area

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Kansas City
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Kansas City, Mo. – Families can make nature connections a part of their holidays at free Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) nature centers in the Kansas City area. Virtual online programs are an option, too. MDC staffs at both the Burr Oak Woods Nature Center and the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center have activities planned.

Several free programs are upcoming at MDC’s Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs.

  • The Burr Oak Woods annual holiday nature film festival will be from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18. This program does not require registration and is open to all ages. Nature movies and documentaries will be shown throughout the day that showcase Missouri’s forest, grassland, fish, and wildlife resources. Call 816-228-3766 for more information.
  • Rockin’ & Readin’ Nature Tales from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 18, offers a chance for youngsters and their parents ages 2 and older to hear children’s books about nature read by volunteers or staff. Readers have nature interpretive skills and tailor their presentation to the children. Registration is not required.
  • Lisa Richter, MDC naturalist, will lead a birding hike near the nature center from 9 to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 28. Participants will get help identifying birds seen. They will look for year-round residents and migrant birds passing through for winter. This program is for all ages. Registration is required. To register,
  • Naturalist Lisa Richter will offer a virtual program on midwestern birds from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 28. The program will explore the vital role birds play in our local ecosystem and their amazing diversity in habits and biology. This will be an in-depth look at various bird groups including raptors, summer and winter migrants, year-round residents, and waterfowl. An active email address is required to receive the virtual invitation. Registration is required. To register, visit
  • The trails at Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area will be open for hiking. Winter is a good time for a walk in the woods. Without vegetation, wildlife and terrain are more easily seen.

MDC’s Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center provides a nature connection in the heart of Kansas City.

  • Tune in on the computer or other digital device for a Little Acorns Storytime presentation from 10 to 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 17. A naturalist will read a story in a program aimed at children ages 3 to 6, but any ages are welcome to participate. Registration is required. To register, visit
  • Visit the Discovery Center’s native plant garden for a quick jaunt outdoors. The native prairie, woodland, and wetland plantings add color and texture to a winter landscape. Seeing the garden in winter also heightens a visitor’s appreciation of the colorful change when native plants are lush and blooming in spring and summer.

MDC also has conservation areas and river access sites within a day-trip distance of the Kansas City metro area. To find a nature destination near you, visit