Overnights for School Groups


School Overnight Programs at Shaw Nature Reserve have been suspended for the remainder of 2020.

Come spend a night at Shaw Nature Reserve’s environmental learning campus, the Dana Brown Overnight Center (DBOC)! DBOC programs provide schools with unique opportunities to extend classroom learning while fostering awe, wonder, and curiosity for the natural world.

The DBOC campus consists of six historic log buildings dating back to the 1800s. Originally located within 100 miles of the Nature Reserve, in 2003 these historic structures were carefully dismantled, transported, and reconstructed to create the DBOC campus. With modern updates, the buildings were transformed into comfortable and unique learning and living spaces for visiting groups.

The DBOC campus is able to accommodate students grades 4–12 for overnight experiences. (DBOC classes are also available on a day-use basis for grades 4–12.)

Class Information:

  • All DBOC classes are hands-on, inquiry-based, and focus on students’ direct engagement with nature.
  • Classes are grade-level appropriate and support current Missouri Learning Standards.
  • Depending on grade level, group size, weather, and other factors, specific activities may vary for each class offering.
  • The DBOC requires a 10:1 student: chaperone ratio for all classes.


Pricing Information:

  • Class fees are $5/student with a $50 minimum.
  • Lodging fees for overnight groups are $20/student for a 1-night stay with a $200 minimum. For longer stays, please contact your DBOC school programs coordinator for pricing information.
  • Overnight and class fees are waived for one lead teacher as well as for one adult chaperone per 10 students. Additional adults are charged the same overnight rate as students.

Registration Information:

  • Groups may schedule their visit up to one year in advance.  Availability is limited and programs are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. To register and/or for more information, contact Jessie Dockins, the DBOC school programs coordinator, at (314) 577-9539 or jdockins@mobot.org.
  • Overnight trips may be scheduled Tuesday-Wednesday or Thursday-Friday.
  • To view dates currently available to schedule day programs or overnight experiences, please scroll through the below calendar. For overnights, select a Tuesday–Wednesday or a Thursday–Friday.
DBOC Overnight Sample Schedule

Day 1

9–10 a.m.   Arrive; DBOC-led orientation, cabin tour, and fire drill; unpack
10 a.m.–noon   Morning Class*
noon–1 p.m.   Lunch
1–3 p.m.   Afternoon Class*
3–5 p.m.   Free time or teacher time
5–6 p.m.   Dinner
6–7 p.m.   Free time or teacher time
7–9 p.m.   Evening Class*
9–10 p.m.   Get ready for bed
10 p.m.   Lights out


Day 2

7–8 a.m.   Wake up and shower; pack luggage; clean cabins/shower house
8–9 a.m.   Breakfast
9–11 a.m.   Morning Class*
11 a.m.–noon   Free time or teacher time
noon–1 p.m.   Lunch; clean meeting building
1–2 p.m.   Reflection Activity*
2 p.m.   Depart


*Your DBOC school programs coordinator will work with you to schedule classes during available time.

Class Time Availability

Classes may be scheduled during the following times. Your DBOC school programs coordinator will work with you to develop a trip schedule for your group


  Morning Class
  Afternoon Class
  Evening Class
Overnight Day 1   10 a.m.–noon   1–3 p.m. or 1–4 p.m.   7–9 p.m.
Overnight Day 2   9–11 a.m.   noon–2 p.m., 1–3 p.m. or noon–3 p.m.*   n/a
9 a.m.–noon   1–3 p.m.*   n/a
10 a.m.–noon   1–3 p.m.*   n/a


* Overnight groups registered for three or more classes are eligible for a free 1-hour DBOC-led reflection activity on the afternoon of Day 2. Contact your DBOC school program coordinator for more information.


The following classes can be added to the day portion of your overnight stay.

Classes are for grades 4–12.

Ecology Classes

Art and History Classes

Navigation Classes


The following classes can be added to the night portion of your overnight stay. Working with staff, classes may be customized to meet your objectives.

Classes are for grades 4–12 unless otherwise specified.

Special Opportunity


Celebrate the coming of spring! Learn about maple syrup by exploring the two processes that make it all possible: photosynthesis and the water cycle. Students will investigate the annual cycle of sap movement and the importance of sap to trees. Winter Tree ID is included in this class. After helping with sap collection and cooking, they will enjoy a sample of delicious syrup.
  • Offered in January and February
  • Grades: 4–8
  • Length: 2 hours
  • Capacity: 60 Students
  • Fee: $2 per student

To schedule a maple syrup program, call (314) 577-9523 or email kbryan@mobot.org.

Maple syruping