Kids & Families
Family Classes

Girl looks through magnifier
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.)
Kids observing crayfish
Shaw Family Adventures
Ages 3–10 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.
Child with just-caught fishNature Navigators
Ages 6–12 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. 

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!

Scheduling & Cancellation

Instructor with kidsImportant: All groups—whether led by a Reserve Instructor or self-guided—must make reservations for their visit.

We have many classes available year round to teach you about plants, animals, our trails, and outdoor skills here at the Shaw Nature Reserve. See a list of classes available now

For information on cancellations/​refunds please read our cancellation policy.

To register for a class, cancel your reservation, or if you have any questions, please contact Rachel Weller, Public Programs & Events at (636) 451-3512 x 6007 or send an email.

Children's Nature Play Areas

Girls balancing on log
The Nature Explore Classroom and Sense of Wonder Woodland are 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
Attend one of 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 guide

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
Trail Guides
Explore the wetland, prairie or forest with activities to do along mapped-out hikes.
Cost: $2; target ages: 10–16

Little Acorn Trail
Check out a free backpack to unlock activity boxes along this short trail.
Cost: free; target ages: 3–7

Guides and backpacks are available at the Visitor Center.

Youth Photography Exhibit

Butterfly on coneflower

Stop by the Bascom House July 28–December 31 to view the Youth Photography Contest exhibit. All photos were taken here at the Reserve!

For Ages 2–5

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


Teen Programs

Teen Network
Four programs to choose from and several 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.