Burr Oak Woods Interpretive Programs for Schools and Organized Groups


At Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center, you will find a variety of programs developed for school age children. Each program incorporates hands-on and minds-on learning opportunities in the outdoors. Programs are designed specifically to enhance science-based subjects, but many are cross-curricular.

How to Schedule a Program:

For more information or to schedule your free program, call 816-228-3766 or email Burr.Oak@mdc.mo.gov

Registration Begins:

July 1 for the school year and January 1 for the summer season

Programs Presentation Format:

Presented at Burr Oak Woods - Naturalist lead programs at Burr Oak Woods

Presented at Your Location - Naturalist lead programs at your school or education center

Presented Virtual - Naturalist lead programs via WebEx or meeting platform of your choice

Self-guided Presentation -Teacher lead tours at Burr Oak Woods with accompanying activity guide or scavenger hunt OR request a thumb drive with select pre-recorded grade level program.

Self-Guided Visits:

Self-guided groups are always welcome at the nature center. We ask that you schedule your visit as you would any program. Upon arrival, please check in at the front desk. You may request a trail map to help you explore the area.

What to Expect While Visiting:

Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center is managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Nestled in the heart of this 1,071-acre conservation area are six hiking trails, including two paved trails, which provide easy access to most parts of the area. The interpretive center has educational and informative exhibits, including a 3,000-gallon freshwater aquarium, the Discover Nature play area, a wildlife viewing room, and a variety of live amphibians and reptiles.

  • Picnic areas are available on a first come first serve basis. Burr Oak Woods has a trash in/trash out policy; please bring trash bags for your group.
  • Most programs contain an outdoor component. In case of inclement weather, an indoor program may be substituted.
  • Please arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled program. Late arrivals will shorten your program time.
  • Let us know in advance if anyone in your group needs special accommodations.
  • If Blue Springs Schools are closed due to weather, all programs will be canceled.

at Burr Oak Woods; at Your Location; Virtual; Self-Guided


Walking Wild

Format: at Burr Oak Woods

We all need to get from one place to another, but different animals move in very different ways. Learn the secrets of how animals walk, swim, fly and slither. This program will include live animals and an outdoor hike.

Naturally Sense-Sational

Format: at Burr Oak Woods

Pack your sensing toolkit and head out to the trails at Burr Oak Woods as we discover how to see, smell, touch, taste, and hear just like our animal friends. This program includes a puppet show and trail hike.

Nature’s Hide & Seek

Format: at Burr Oak Woods

“Now you see me! Now you don’t!” Discover the strategies animals use to avoid predators or search for prey. Observation skills will be put to the test as we play interactive games and hike down a secret trail.

Wild Moms!

Format: at Your Location; Virtual; Self-Guided

Can you help match a wild animal baby with its mother? Discover how we use clues such as fur, feathers, and scales, shapes and special features to learn what group each belongs to. Students will explore different animal groups and match babies to their mothers with hands on activities. This program provides children the opportunity to see live animals up close.



Format: at Burr Oak Woods

Sometimes the most interesting things in nature are found right beneath our feet! We will use hand lenses and other simple equipment to investigate the structures and behaviors of tiny plants and animals on the forest floor. As we explore these mini-worlds students will discover patterns that help us understand how these animals are all connected and how they survive in their environment.

That Makes Perfect Sense

Format: at Burr Oak Woods

Wild animals use their five senses to survive just like we do. This interactive program will help students understand how animals use their senses to meet their needs in their environment. Then we’ll head outdoors to investigate and use our own senses as we search for evidence of wildlife along the trail.

Nature’s Neighborhoods

Format: at Burr Oak Woods; Virtual; Self-Guided

Burr Oak Woods is home to many plants and animals, but they don’t all live in the same place. We will visit a forest, a prairie and a pond to find out who lives there and what makes each habitat unique. Discover how plants and animals can use and change their habitat to meet their survival needs.

Nature’s Naming Game

Format: at Your Location

Patterns can be found everywhere we look - at home, at school and in nature. We use patterns to classify and group objects together. We can also use patterns to classify the natural world. Participate in hands-on activities to learn exactly what classification is and how scientists use it to study animals in their natural environments.

1st – 2nd Grade

Missouri’s Creepiest Residents

Format: at Burr Oak Woods; Virtual; Self-Guided

Missouri is home to many amazing animals, including some that many people think are ‘creepy’. During this game show style program, we will discover how their creepy adaptations help them survive, grow and meet their needs. Then we will explore outside to search for Missouri’s creepiest residents in their natural habitat.

Mammal Mysteries

Format: at Burr Oak Woods

We have a mystery to solve! We have some mammals who have been using their special adaptations to get into some mischief at Burr Oak Woods. We will become detectives and study the clues left behind while learning what makes mammals unique animals in Missouri.

The Plant & The Pollinator

Format: at Burr Oak Woods

Plants and pollinators have relied on each other for a long time. This special relationship comes with rewards for both plants and animals. Join us as we explore a plant’s needs, plus investigate how plants and pollinators trade services to survive.

That’s My Baby!

Format: at Your Location

Most babies do not look exactly like their parents. So how does a baby know its parent from other animals? During this interactive program we will investigate the similarities and differences between animals and their offspring to discover just how much they have in common.

3rd – 5th Grade

Riddle of the Woods

Format: at Burr Oak Woods

How can we find out what animals live at Burr Oak Woods? We can discover evidence they leave behind like scat and tracks. Students will learn about some of the specialized structures that herbivores, omnivores and carnivores need to survive. Your class will hike to find clues to understand who lives here, what special adaptations they have and how they fit into the food web.

Giants of the Forest

Format: at Burr Oak Woods

Some of the largest living things on earth are trees! Students will learn about the life cycles of trees, how they produce food using air, water and photosynthesis, and how they fit into the forest food web. We will head outside to investigate trees and collect data by measuring a tree to help estimate its age. Your class will also play a game using specialized tree structures to help them identify different trees growing here.

The Cycle of Life

Format: at Your Location; Virtual; Self-Guided

Discover the transfer of energy and relationships between organisms that make up food webs. Students will investigate the traits of producers, consumers and decomposers, and the special structures they need to survive. We will find out about our role in the food web and how our actions impact the cycles of life.


Your group is important to us. Contact us with your topic of interest and we will strive to meet your needs for a presentation on your topic of choice.

Special Needs Groups

Programs are designed to meet the needs of emotionally, physically, or educationally challenged groups and will focus on a variety of sensory experiences. Flexible, hands-on programs offer a nurturing developmental approach to the study of nature.

Reptiles Rock!

Format: at Burr Oak Woods; at Your Location

Reptiles move about their world exploring with senses very different than our own. Discover their amazing adaptations.

Incredible Mammals of Missouri

Format: at Burr Oak Woods; at Your Location

What makes a mammal a mammal? If you don’t see them when you explore in nature, how do you know they were there? Discover their incredible story through the signs they leave behind.

Mixed-age Programs

Fur, Feathers & Scales

Format: at Burr Oak Woods; at Your Location; Virtual

Whether it is, furry, feathered or scaly, an animal’s body helps it survive. This exciting program will help your students discover more about the mammals, birds and reptiles that live in Missouri. Students will meet a Naturalist and get an up-close visit with some of our live animals.

Backyard Neighbors

Format: at Burr Oak Woods; at Your Location; Virtual

You might think you already know your neighbors, but do you really know everyone who lives nearby? There are many wild animals that visit our backyards when we are not looking. Join us as we search for clues that help us discover and appreciate the remarkable animals that call your neighborhood home.

Cold-Blooded Critters

Format: at Burr Oak Woods; at Your Location; Virtual

Slither, crawl, hop or swim into the exciting world of Missouri’s reptiles and amphibians. These cold-blooded animals are unique, diverse and very important to our ecosystems. Join us as we learn about these wonderful creatures and get an up-close look at some of them!


Format: at Burr Oak Woods

Enter a fantastic new world! Students will marvel at the incredible adaptations of insects as they become entomologists. Students will venture into a prairie and a forest to closely examine these unique and wonderful creatures!

Discovery Hike 

Format: at Burr Oak Woods

Explore the trails with a Naturalist and discover some of the wildlife secrets of Burr Oak Woods. Every hike leads us on a new adventure! Students will also meet a live animal and learn about the unique adaptations it uses to survive.