Kids & Families
Family Class Series:
Child digs in soil
Little Nature Explorers
Ages 3–5 with an Adult
Hands-on indoor and outdoor activities help strengthen your child's connection to the natural world. (Part of the Little Years early childhood series.)
Children and parents wading in the creek
Shaw Family Adventures
Ages 3+ with an Adult
Join us for an adventure and get hands-on with nature! Outdoor activities help you learn together about plants, animals and outdoor skills.
Girl with fishing poleNature Navigators
Ages 6+ with an Adult
Learn about nature as you have fun outdoors! Each program involves an outdoor activity where you use your senses and master a skill.

Our classes for kids and families have been designed for children and adults to experience together. Instructors strive to engage children in age-appropriate activities, while providing adults examples of ways to learn about the natural world at home. Many other classes are available, in addition to the series listed above.

Go to class listings and online registration
Download our refund and cancellation policy

Check out upcoming youth and family programs at the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Butterfly House. We also have opportunities for scouts and summer camp groups!

Nature Explore Classroom

Girls balancing on log
The Nature Explore Classroom is designed to help children develop a sense of wonder for the natural world through unstructured and creative play with natural materials in an outdoor setting.
Learn more
Geocaching & GPS Hiking

Boy looking at GPS unit
Geocaching: Attend our Geocaching classes or come enjoy the sport on your own. Please keep all geocaches in their original location. Download a list of our geocaches.

GPS Hiking: We have created a guide for people familiar with using their GPS unit to explore new areas of the Reserve. Download the GPS-based hiking brochure.
Outdoor Adventures for Teens

Paddlers learn to stand up
Families with teens can enjoy fishing or climbing into the tree canopy. Older teens can learn to fly fish, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard. Preregistration is required for these exciting classes!
Learn more
Family Self-guided Activities

Visitor Center
Treasures of Nature Map
Use your five senses on a scavenger hunt along the one-mile Wolf Run Trail.
Cost: $1; Target age: PK–Grade 1

Wetland Trail Guide
Explore the wetlands with activities to do along the one-mile Wetland Trail Loop.
Cost: $2; Target age: Grade 5 & up

In addition, activity guides (prairie, wetland, forest) and the Little Acorn Trail backpack rental are available for free. All the above activities are available at the Visitor Center.

Programs for Youth & Teens

Girl in woods The Shaw Nature Reserve is excited to offer three unique ecology programs for students in grades 4–12!

Habitat Helpers
Grades 4–5
Running strong for 20 years and counting, this ecology program builds knowledge of the natural world by exploring prairies, woodlands and aquatic communities. Participants also assist with special events at the Reserve. 

Grades 6–8
Running strong for 10 years, this fun and educational opportunity fosters appreciation for science and nature through games and activities that focus on the plants, animals and ecosystems of the Shaw Nature Reserve.

TREES (Teen Reserve Environmental Educators)
Grades 9–12
Part of the MBG Teen NetworkThis group, specifically for high school students was formed in 2013, when it split from the H2O's group. TREES use the knowledge they have gained over the years spent in the H2O's and Habitat Helpers programs to educate others. TREES help with special events, lead portions of the Reserve’s family programs and help teach participants in the ecology programs for younger kids (Habitat Helpers and H2Os).

All programs meet once a month from September to May, plus have a few special events. Applications for the 2014–2015 school year are due September 24, 2014. Download an application

If you have questions about Habitat Helpers, H2Os or TREES, please contact Karen Bryan at (636) 451-3512 x 6008.

Also available:

Part of the MBG Teen NetworkSIFT (Shaw Institute for Field Training
Students entering Grade 11
The SIFT program is a one-week summer field training experience at Shaw Nature Reserve combined with additional training and paid field work activities during the rest of the summer and following school year.Learn more

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For Ages 2–5

Little Years logo Early childhood programs designed for today's busy families.
Learn more


Teen Programs

Teen Network
Five programs to choose from and many places to learn!
Learn more


Stay Overnight

Assembly building

Groups can stay in historic lodges at our Dana Brown Overnight Center.
Learn more!
Book now! Call Aileen at (636) 451-3512 x 6081.