MDC’s Runge Nature Center recognized as top destination for family vacation

News from the region
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.  – The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Runge Nature Center has landed on a list of top attractions in the United States. FlipKey, a company operated by TripAdvisor and named the “Top Vacation Rental Site” by Travel + Leisure, published the list of “6 Amazing Small Cities For A Family Vacation” this week. The company listed Columbia as one of the top six cities to visit, and names Runge Nature Center as a top area attraction.

“The [Runge Nature Center] is known for its peaceful nature viewing and includes five hiking trails of varying difficulty for visitors to explore,” according to the FlipKey listing. “Catch your breath while looking at an exhibit highlighting Missouri habitats or sit down for a picnic lunch at the park’s pavilion. Be on the lookout for white-tailed deer, wild turkey and [more than] 100 species of birds while exploring.”

Runge Conservation Nature Center also offers naturalist-led tours for families, scouts, schools, and community groups, in addition to monthly programs and events for all ages. Other activities include interactive nature play-areas for children, interpretive hiking trails, and a visitor center with 3,000 square feet of exhibits, a 3,580 gallon aquarium, and live animals.

Located on 97 acres just north of Highway 50 in Jefferson City, Runge Nature Center is free and open to the public, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Thursday. Trails on the property are open daily from 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.

For more information about the nature center, or to sign up for a free newsletter listing events and programs, call (573) 526-4496, or visit