Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Driving Directions

Located in southeast Springfield just west of Highway 65 off the James River Freeway (Highway 60). Follow brown direction signs to the center.


Outside - explore 79 acres of habitat including forest, glade, woodland, prairie plantings, creeks, and frontage on Lake Springfield. Eat a sack lunch in the covered pavilion. Hike nearly three miles of trails; there are six of them varying in length from 0.2 miles to two miles. Some trails are paved and stroller-friendly. View wildlife including deer, turkey, foxes, mink, muskrat, turtles, frogs, insects, and more than 170 species of birds.

Inside - experience the multi-sensory, self-guided exhibit area. Attend one of the many public programs, guided hikes, special events, workshops, or videos offered at the Nature Center.

About This Area

  • Building Hours

  • March 1 to October 31: Tuesday – Saturday, 8am to 5pm; Sunday, Noon to 5pm; Closed Monday

  • November 1 to February 29: Tuesday – Saturday, 8am to 5pm; Closed Sunday and Monday

  • Closed all state holidays (call for a list)

  • Area and Trail Hours

  • March 1 to October 31: Daily, 8am to 8pm

  • November 1 to February 29: Daily, 8am to 6pm

  • Building, Area, and Trail Closings The nature center building, trails, and area will be closed on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The building is always closed on Monday.

  • Address 4601 S Nature Center Way Springfield, MO 65804-4920

  • FOR MORE INFORMATION:  Springfield Conservation Nature Center, Phone 417/ 888-4237; Fax 417/ 888-4241

General Information




Owned by MDC,Leased

  • Rules:  Pets, horses, hunting, fishing, trapping, collection of natural materials, littering, fires, fireworks, and alcoholic beverages are not permitted on the area.
  • Bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, or motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trails.
  • Visitors must remain on trails at all times.
  • Running/jogging is discouraged and limited to posted times only to help reduce conflicts between the primary trail user (educational use and nature exploration) and those moving more quickly.  Running hours - Weekdays - 6AM to 9AM, 2PM to 5PM  Saturdays 6AM - Noon. No group running/jogging allowed.
  • A bimonthly newsletter is available.
  • Missouri Department of Conservation owns 53 acres; 26 acres are leased from City Utilities. 10 acres of bottomland field are being converted to native grasses and prairie forbs.
  • Commercial use, including professional photography, is not allowed.
  • Take A Virtual Trail Tour Google Earth View

    Springfield Conservation Nature Center

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  A Nature Center bird check list is available. Audubon Society of Missouri bird check list.  
Exhibits/Displays  Self-Guided displays interpret the natural communities found on the 79-acre area. Temporary photography and artwork displays are exhibited monthly.  
Highlighted Activities  Special events are held annually including Eagle Days during winter, Native Plant Sale and Seminar during spring, Insect-O-Rama during August, a Halloween-style event in October, and others. General public programs are offered monthly and advertised in a bimonthly newsletter.  
Hiking  A total of 3 miles of hiking trails are available on the area. The trail system connects with more trails operated by Ozark Greenways and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. Contact Ozark Greenways for additional information.  
Nature Viewing  Wildlife is abundant at the nature center. Deer, wild turkey, mink, muskrat, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects are common. 
Other  Online visitors can access the nature center's newsletter.  
Other  Boat access located near the Long Bridge.  All area regulations apply.  
Other  A geocache site is located on the area. Visit Nature's Best for more information.   
Other  The building features a nature gift shop and an information desk. Hunting, fishing, and trapping permits are sold here and free publications are available. 
Tours  Guided tours are available from a smart phone by scanning a QR code on a trail sign or by visiting the tour site. Audio tour, photos, captions, and videos are included. Cell phone users can access audio tour by calling 417/520-1168.  
Tours  Guided tours and programs are available free-of-charge to organized groups with at least a two week advanced notice. Call the Nature Center at (417)888-4237 to schedule. 

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Other Maintenance shop   
Parking Lotaccessible  Bus and RV parking is also available. 
PavilionaccessibleStaging Area  Pavilion includes restrooms, drinking fountains, and a soda machine. This area is suitable for sack lunch picnics. Nearby Living Memorial Park, located on Nature Center Way 1/2 mile from nature center, has picnic facilities.  
Viewing Blind Photo Blind  Viewing Blind is located at the end of the Photo Blind Trail on Lake Springfield. 
Viewing Deck/Tower   Three viewing decks/platforms are located on the trails. One on the Boardwalk Trail, one on Sycamore Cut-Off, and one on the Galloway Creek Section of the Long Trail. 
Visitor CenteraccessibleSpringfield Conservation Nature Center  The nature center features interpretive exhibits, a 147-seat auditorium, two classrooms, an information desk, and a gift shop.  

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Fishing Lake - Shoreline Lake Springfield 0.50 miles No fishing allowed on Springfield Conservation Nature Center. Fishing access available at Lake Springfield Park, Southwood Access, and Clay Henshaw Memorial Access.  
Named Glade Glade on Long Trail 2.00 acres Limestone glade with typical glade species like prickly pear cactus, treleases delphinium, rose verbena, calamint, and gum bumelia. This area is managed by removing eastern red cedar and exotic species. 
Spring  1141.22 # gallons per day A small spring and losing stream are located on the area. The Long Trail passes by both of these karst features.  
Stream - Intermittent  0.06 miles  
Stream - Permanent  0.12 miles The stream flows into a sink hole and flows intermittently beyond that. 
Stream - Permanent Galloway Creek 0.25 miles Galloway Creek flows from Sequiota Spring, located in nearby Sequiota Park on Lone Pine. The Galloway Creek Section of the Long Trail passes along the creek. Prothonotary warblers nest along this creek. 

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Savanna 2.00 Restoration on this area began in 1988 with native grasses and forbs planted.  
Forest and Woodland 63.00 Both upland woodland and bottomland forest dominate the area. Oak and Hickory are the dominant tree species on the area. 
Wetland 1.00 A marshy area exists between the backwater of Springfield Lake and Galloway Creek. 
Old Field 10.00 This bottomland field is currently being planted into warm-season grasses and prarie forbs. The area will be burned periodically to maintain the prairie vegetation. 
Glade 2.00 Limestone glade with typical glade species like prickly pear cactus, treleases delphinium, rose verbena, calamint, and gum bumelia. This area is managed by removing eastern red cedar and exotic species. 
Total Area Acres:78.79 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
Savanna Ridge Trail (Easy) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 0.20 
Long Trail (Moderate) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 1.70 
Boardwalk Trail (Moderate) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 0.30 
Ozark Greenways Connection (Easy) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 0.10 
Photo Blind Trail (Easy) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 0.10 
Sycamore Cutoff (Easy) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 0.10 
Fox Bluff Trail (Moderate) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 0.30 

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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