Relieve some holiday stress this Thanksgiving by taking a break with nature and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). You can easily connect with the outdoors through free MDC programs, at MDC nature centers around the state, and nearly 1,000 conservation areas with outdoor recreation opportunities.


  • Discover Nature: Fireside Stories & Night Hike at Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City on Tuesday, Nov. 24 from 7 – 9 p.m. Join staff as they tell stories of lore around the campfire and lead participants on a short night hike on the Runge trails. Dress for the weather and meet at the Runge outdoor pavilion. Masks are required for this program. Registration is required at
  • Discover Nature: Fall Scavenger Hunt at Springfield Conservation Nature Center in Springfield on Tuesday, Nov. 24 from 9 - 11 a.m. and 3 – 5 p.m. Enjoy a fun, fall scavenger hunt while walking the trails of the Springfield Conservation Nature Center. A station will be set up on the sidewalk at the entrance with everything needed for this self-guided activity. Dress for the weather and plan to spend 1-2 hours to complete the scavenger hunt and receive a small prize. Remember to social distance and wear a mask. Learn more at
  • Hiking: Walk Off the Turkey at Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center in Branson on Saturday, Nov. 28 from 10 – 11 a.m. Feel the need to walk off the turkey dinner? Join MDC staff for a mile-long hike along Lake Taneycomo. This naturalist-led hike will dish up some fun facts about wild turkeys. Remember to wear comfortable walking shoes, bring water if needed, and dress for the weather. Register at
  • Discover Nature: Nature Gratitude Hunt at Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center in Blue Springs on Saturday, Nov. 28 from 1 – 1:30 p.m., 1:45 – 2:15 p.m., and 2:30 – 3 p.m. Search the trails near the Burr Oak Woods Nature Center to find hidden “pumpkins” of knowledge about special things only the natural world can do for us. Collect four gratitude pumpkins to redeem for a special prize. Register at


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