Roaming Reporter: Runge Nature Center


Lucia Howser

Opened in 1993, the Runge Nature Center offers many educational opportunities regarding Missouri’s flora and fauna, as well as numerous activities and ample space for families to experience Missouri’s wildlife in real life.  The Runge is located at 330 Commerce Drive, Jefferson City Missouri.

There are currently 5 hiking trails open to the public. Naturescape, Bluestream ridge, and Racoon Run are paved while Towering Oak and Moss track Race are woodchipped. While hiking you can visit the Fire tower, the pond, or simply enjoy the beautiful scenery of Missouri’s flora and Fauna. Unfortunately, pets are not allowed on the trails in order to protect the delicate balance of the park’s ecosystem. The trails are open from 6 am to 9 pm every day year-round.

Inside the main building, you can find various exhibits featuring live plants and animals found in the state as well as multiple hands-on activities. My personal favorite is the big frog that croaks when you push a button. There is also a 3,580-gallon fish tank that you can view. The observation Area provides a perfect indoor space for birds (and various other animals) watching. You can oftentimes see Wild turkeys roaming the grounds of the Center.

A fan favorite of the Runge Center is the large statue of a three-toed box turtle located at the entrance of the building. The Statue was created by Tom Schulte in order to honor the numerous volunteers that have spent thousands of hours supporting the center and helping educate visitors on conservation.

Al Griffin Photography