The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City will reopen July 7 with public health precautions in place. Outdoor programs will resume at the nature center this month, as well as virtual offerings. The nature center has released its program schedule for the month of July at Most programs require registration in advance, and, unless otherwise noted, registration opens at 8 a.m. on July 1 for all programs.

To protect the health and safety of visitors and staff at the nature center, total building occupancy will be limited to 50 people at any time. During busy times, some visitors may need to wait outside until other guests exit the building. Visitors will need to use enter- and exit-only doors, and should bring their own drinking water, as drinking fountains will be out of service. Most public programs will take place virtually or outdoors. In any setting, guests must practice physical distancing and frequent handwashing.

July programs at the nature center will include:

Summer Surprises — Virtual Programs 

Tuesdays in July, 1–1:30 p.m. — all ages 

In Missouri’s warmest season, nature can come alive at any moment, revealing many fascinating interactions. Join a 30-minute, naturalist-led virtual program each week to explore a new and exciting summer surprise. 

Registration required at:

Animal Feedings — Virtual Programs 

Fridays in July, 1–1:30 p.m. — all ages 

Join Runge naturalists each week to get up close and personal with some of Missouri’s coolest critters. Different creatures will be featured every week as we watch and learn how Runge’s animal ambassadors eat their food. 

Registration required at:

Exploring the Flora Factory — Virtual Program 

Thursday, July 16, 1–1:45 p.m. — ages 7–12 

We rely on plants for food, fuel, building products, medicines, and even the air we breathe. Discover processes that help plants thrive so we can survive, and conduct at-home experiments to demonstrate the inner workings of the flora factory. 

Registration required at:

Night Hike @ Runge — Outdoor Program 

Friday, July 17, 9–10:30 p.m. — ages 6+ 

Relax in the cool of a summer evening as we explore how animals use adaptations to survive and thrive in the darkness. Embark on a naturalist-led hike to explore our night senses and learn more about nocturnal mysteries on the Runge trails. 

Registration required at:

Kayaking @ Binder Lake — Outdoor Program 

Thursday, July 23, 6–8 p.m. — ages 10+ 

Discover the freedom of exploring a lake from a kayak. Learn about paddling and all the basics to get you water-ready. MDC will provide all equipment. 

Registration required at:

The Hikers @ Prairie Garden Trust — Outdoor Program 

Saturday, July 25, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. — ages 18+ 

Travel to Prairie Garden Trust in New Bloomfield to hike some of the shorter trails on the area. Bring lunch, water, and insect repellent, and dress for the weather. 

Registration required at:

Nature center guests can conveniently manage program registration online at The first step in registering for a program is creating a profile, then signing up for future programs is simple. Once registrants create a profile and register for events, they will receive details about those specific programs.

Sign up for email and/or text updates from Runge Nature Center and other conservation news at