Runge Conservation Nature Center - Visual Journey...Missouri
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Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City, Missouri has many hiking trails and exhibits. There are outdoor demonstrations of landscaping and wildlife habitat as well as naturalist guided programs for families, scouts, schools and other groups. A facility with a 200-seat auditorium, three classrooms, an indoor wildlife viewing area, a library and 3000 square feet of fun exhibits.
The scenic hiking trails at Runge provide an excellent source of exercise. There are many varied types of trees and wildflower exhibits along the trails. A pond of lilies is but one of many attractions to see while hiking. The area attracts many types of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and other wildlife. An indoor viewing area is provided with binoculars to watch the wildlife from inside the Center.

The exhibits at Runge encompass the vastness of Missouri's landscape. The Agricultural Lands exhibit lets visitors learn about barn owls and bobwhite quails. The Praire exhibit is a tribute to the 15 million acres of tallgrass prairie which once covered Missouri, of which 70,000 acres remain. The Glades exhibit shows the glades of southwestern Missouri which are the result of openings in forests where the soil is thin and the bedrock lies at the surface.
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Exhibits on Rivers, Streams, Ponds, and Lakes lets you age a fish using an enormous fish scale or view fish in the 2500 gallon aquarium. Learn why the Conservation Department produces 27 million fish in hatcheries each year.

Watch a forest renew itself after harvest, changing over time from seedlings to an old growth forest. In the Wetlands exhibit you can follow a river otter with a tracking device, learn about the value of marshes, and see a rare swamp rabbit that can swim. Missouri's many caves are home to unusual animals which are shown in the Cave exhibit.

Your own backyard can be used to create a wildlife habitat. To learn how, visit the nature center and see the demonstration landscaping along the Naturescape Trail. A bi-monthly newsletter Habitat Happenings gives activities which are available at Runge on almost a daily basis.

The Runge Conservation Nature Center building is open 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM on Thursday. Closed Sunday and Monday. (Closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.) The hiking area is open daily, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. year round. Directions: In Jefferson City, MO from U.S. 50, exit on Hwy. 179. Travel north on Hwy. 179 for 1/2-mile to the nature center entrance on the left. For more information call (573) 526-5544.

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