MDC Runge Nature Center provides a conservation destination for spring break

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Runge Nature Center offers opportunities to discover nature this spring. Centrally located in the state’s capital city, Runge Nature Center offers five hiking trails, naturalist-led tours, demonstrations, workshops, and diverse geographies that harbor healthy populations of wildlife to watch.

“Our goal is to manage the Runge Conservation Area for an array of natural communities, which results in a high level of biodiversity, and many different ways to discover nature,” said Runge Conservation Nature Center Manager Kathy Cavender.

Visitors can enjoy bird watching, too. A list of more than 100 bird species has been recorded on the area, and the Audubon Society of Missouri provides resources for bird watchers to share their sightings with each other online here:

Additionally, the nature center boasts 3,000 square-feet of exhibits and recently renovated displays this spring, including a 3,580 gallon aquarium, live animals, and rotating lobby exhibits.

“We are in the process of renovating the exhibits which allow visitors to become immersed in our natural communities and eager to spend time in Missouri’s great outdoors,” said Cavender.

For an enriched educational experience, visitors can peruse the nature center’s bimonthly newsletter highlighting curated programs, tours, and workshops which include an Intro to Turkey Hunting course, guided Discovery Hikes, an Audubon Society seminar on purple martins, a native plant sale, and various arts and crafts activities this spring.

“Perhaps the most important thing we do at Runge is to provide personal interpretive programs to groups of all ages and interests. Our naturalists are certified through the National Association of Interpretation and provide exceptional connections to nature through their passion and expertise,” said Cavender.

A certified stop in the Passport Jefferson City program, Runge Conservation Nature Center was also recently recognized as a top attraction by the TripAdvisor company, FlipKey, in its “6 Amazing Small Cities For A Family Vacation.”

Runge Conservation Nature Center is located at 330 Commerce Drive, just north of Highway 50 in Jefferson City. To learn about all that the nature center offers, or to register for specific programs and events, call (573) 526-5544, visit the Runge Nature Center website at, or just stop in for a visit. Trails and outdoor restrooms on the area are open 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily. The nature center building is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Thursday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.