Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) sites in Kansas City will offer free activities that give families a chance to get outdoors during the yuletide holidays or learn about nature in indoor warmth.
MDC’s Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs will host a Nature Film Festival from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 28. Movies and short documentaries about nature will be shown throughout the day. All ages are welcome and registration is not required. Also on Dec. 28, the center welcomes toddlers and adults for readings of nature tales from 11 a.m. to noon.
Visitors are welcome to watch the staff at Burr Oak Woods feed captive amphibians, fish, and turtles at 3 p.m. every Wednesday and Saturday. Also, winter hikes on the center’s outdoor trails can provide a chance to see wildlife in the woods and the restored grassland.
A special Bird in the Hand program from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4, will provide visitors a chance to help identify and track birds that come to the outdoor feeders. In partnership with the Missouri River Bird Observatory, the Burr Oak Woods staff nets and puts identification bands on birds that visit the feeders. Registration is not required and all ages are welcome.
MDC’s Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center in the heart of Kansas City will offer a Beaks and Skulls program from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 27. This program for all ages will let visitors examine bird beaks and mammal skulls on display. Staff will also talk about what the animals eat, where they live, and whether the features indicate if the creature is predator or prey. The same program will also be offered from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 28. Registration is not required.
Snakes in the wild are in sheltered location during winter, in a dormant state of low metabolism and little movement that biologists call brumation. But the Discovery Center has a few captive snakes for display that are active in terrariums through winter, and the staff will present a program about snakes from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4. The program will explore facts about the many types of snakes that live in Missouri’s prairies, ponds, swamps, and forests. Registration is not required.
For more information about Burr Oak Woods Nature Center, including hours and maps, visit http://mdc.mo.gov/burroakwoods.
The Gorman Discovery Center at 4750 Troost Ave., near the Country Club Plaza, is now open every Saturday. For complete hours and activities, visit http://mdc.mo.gov/discoverycenter.