MDC’s Runge Nature Center in Jeff City to host family event on Black Friday

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Escape the holiday hustle and bustle to relax and discover nature at the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Runge Nature Center's annual shopping alternative event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 28.

"This has become a tradition for many families in the Jefferson City area and surrounding communities," said MDC Naturalist Trana Madsen. "Each year we choose a different conservation topic and create a theme to connect people to the Missouri outdoors. This year our theme is elk."

The free public event will host activities for children, teens and adults. Make an elk clay track, learn how elk communicate through calls, browse an interactive table that will include touchable elk pelts and antlers, learn about elk in Missouri, and much more.

Once common throughout most of Missouri, elk disappeared from our state about 150 years ago due to over-hunting and habitat loss. MDC has reintroduced an elk herd to a large restoration zone in a portion of three counties in southeast Missouri near the Current River. While elk will never roam the entire state as in pre-settlement times, wildlife watchers are able to see free-ranging elk in the 346-square-mile elk restoration zone, which includes Peck Ranch Conservation Area (CA) and Current River CA.

Runge Nature Center is located on Hwy 179 in Jefferson City approximately .5 mile north of Hwy 50. Building hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. The building is closed on Sunday and Monday. The outdoor trails are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more, visit

For more information on this or other programs in mid-Missouri, call 573-526-5544 or visit