MDC's Gorman Discovery Center offering outdoor summer programs in Kansas City

News from the region
Kansas City
Published Date

Kansas City, Mo. – Get outdoors this summer and learn a new skill or bit of nature lore. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering a series of programs in July and August at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center, at 4750 Troost Ave. in Kansas City.

For example, MDC staff will teach how to attract ruby-throated hummingbirds and about their ecology and behaviors from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, July 24. Families are welcome but participants must register in advance. They will meet the naturalist at the Discovery Center front doors. Participants will learn about the native plants, nectar, and insects loved by the tiny bird known as “nature’s helicopter.” To register, visit

A fun nature craft is making rope or cordage from plant fibers. MDC staff will teach this survival skill using the same native plants that Native Americans harvested from Missouri’s wild prairies to make bowstrings, fishing nets, and clothing. This program for all ages will be offered from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 23. Registration is required. Social distance protocols will be followed. Participants will meet outdoors on the south side of Discovery Center. To register, visit

A new frontier in ecology is citizen science, where people interested in nature contribute their observations to scientific data bases. A program teaching how to use the free iNaturalist and PlantNet will be offered for ages 9 and older from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 4. Participants are asked to bring their portable digital devices for accessing the internet and connecting with specialists in the science world. To register, visit

The atlatl is a primitive hunting tool, but also a fun outdoor skill for target throwing or even hunting in modern times. This skill involves using a crafted stick or piece of wood to hurl a long wooden dart with an overhand throwing motion. Discovery Center staff will offer two atlatl sessions on Tuesday, August 11. The first session will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and the second from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Participants should dress to be outside. A water bottle and closed-toe shoes are required. This program is open to participants age 16 and older, and advance registration is required. To register, visit

The Discovery Center building is not open due to COVID-19 precautions, but learning sessions will be held outdoors in the center’s native plant garden or on the lawn. All recommended COVID-19 prevention precautions will be followed. Face coverings or masks are strongly encouraged. Participants will need to bring their own water bottles. A portable toilet will be available outside the building.

To learn more about outdoor programs that MDC offers in the Kansas City region, visit the online events page for the region at MDC helps people connect with Missouri’s natural outdoors, to learn more visit