Thursday, March 24, 2016

Free Kansas City Activities for Kids: Burr Oak Woods in Blue Springs

It is snowing in Kansas City today, it's supposed to be Spring people! The kids and I are so ready to be outside but for now we've been frequenting some of our favorites inside places to avoid going stir crazy. This winter I discovered a hidden gem in Blue Springs that is now one of our favorite places to burn off energy.

Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area is in Jackson County, 20 miles east of downtown Kansas City. The area is composed of 1,071 acres of woodlands, fields and ponds and includes a scenic portion of Burr Oak Creek.

Burr Oaks is an amazing place for hiking, picnics, and animal watching. We've taken photos there numerous times and the scenery makes for gorgeous pics.

I need to go back and take that photo again now that they're older and might actually stand still long enough to get a good one! While we've been there many times to hike and watch animals, we'd never had the chance to go inside the nature center until this winter. We had been missing out because the inside is amazing! The Nature Center is open Tuesdays- Friday- 7 AM- 6 PM and Saturday 8 AM- 5 PM and visits are totally FREE. The kids immediately ran to this fun tree house and slide area. They could play happily here for hours.

There are lots of interactive activities that encourage your child to push, pull, and discover new things.

There are exhibits that feature different animals, Connor's favorite was this bird exhibit that showed the skeleton of the hummingbird on the back.

Connor couldn't pass up climbing on the back of this large frog sculpture.

Both of my kids love animals so we spent a large amount of time looking at all of the turtles, frogs, snakes, and fish that reside in the nature center.

One of the snakes was being particularly active and they loved watching him.

Right outside of one of the nature center windows, a large flock of turkeys roamed around eating while we watched.

Always make sure to check Burr Oaks event calendar because they have lots of fun family and kid events that you won't want to miss. We try to go to the Little Acorns program every month now. This program is exclusively for kids ages 3-5 and is free. Make sure to call and reserve spots for your children because these programs often fill up fast.  Each month features a different topic, so far we've learned about animals in the snow and bunnies. They try to get the kids outside each time and during the bunny program we walked a trail looking for bunny tracks and paper bunnies that the staff had hidden. The staff are wonderful and very knowledgeable. During the snow program it was super cold outside so they had us stay inside with fun snow based activities for the kids. Connor happily played in this icy water for about 10 minutes!

If you happen to be near the nature center on Wednesday or Saturday at 3 PM stop in to watch them feed the amphibians, turtles, and fish. The snakes are fed every other Friday but we were warned by a staff member that some of the snakes are fed live mice and I don't think our kids (or I!) are ready to watch that so we've just visited during the normal feedings. Watching them feed the turtles was definitely a highlight of our visits to Burr Oaks. We had the opportunity to touch a small turtle and the kids got a huge kick out of watching the large snapping turtle try to snap worms, crawdads and crickets right off of the staff member's tongs. They have been begging to go watch it again so I know we will be visiting a lot this spring and summer! 

We could easily spend an entire day at Burr Oaks. This summer we will take a picnic, hike and enjoy the nature center for a full day of family fun. And it's all free! I hope you visit and enjoy it as much as we do! 


  1. Looks fun - I wonder if it's worth a trip for us!

    1. They have lots of fun programs for all ages so my guess would be yes!



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