The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri

Summer Science Activities

Summer is here, and the kids are getting restless. What can you do? Try taking your kids on a science-related “field trip” to one of these cool places:

Discovery Center
438 E St. Louis St. Springfield, MO 65806
Admission: Kids 3-15 $7; Adults $9; Seniors $9
Hours: Tues.-Thurs 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri & Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 1-5 p.m.

The Discovery Center is a hands-on science museum. It includes exhibits on a wide range of topics and is great fun for the whole family.

Dickerson Park Zoo
1401 W. Norton Rd. Springfield, MO 65803
Admission: Kids 3-12 $5; Teens & Adults $8; Seniors $5
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily April through September

The Dickerson Park Zoo is the place to see alligators, elephants, and giraffes. The zoo also offers educational classes for kids at an additional fee.


Nature Center
4601 S. Nature Center Way Springfield, MO 65804
Phone: (417) 888-4237

Building Hours:
March 1 to October 31: Tuesday – Saturday, 8am to 5pm; Sunday, Noon to 5pm; Closed Mon.
November 1 to February 29: Tuesday – Saturday, 8am to 5pm; Closed Sunday and Monday

Trail Hours:
March 1 to October 31: Daily, 8am to 8pm
November 1 to February 29: Daily, 8am to 6pm

The Nature Center is completely free and has plenty for the whole family. The building has many educational exhibits, and the outside features several different walking trails. It’s a beautiful place to take a stroll or have a picnic. 


Missouri Institute of Natural Science
2327 W. Farm Road 190 Springfield, MO 65810
Phone: 417-883-0594

Admission: Donation
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30

This museum, located near Riverbluff Cave, features fossils and artifacts discovered in Riverbluff Cave. If you are interested in natural history, then this is the place for you.

Butterfly House
2400 S. Scenic Springfield, MO 65807
(417) 891-1515

Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday: 5:00 p.m. – dusk; Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. 

The Butterfly House, located in Nathanael Greene Park, is open from May-September. It’s a great place to watch butterflies and learn more about these beautiful creatures.


Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park
3825 W. Farm Road 146 Springfield, MO 65802
( 417) 837-5949

Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park is a great place to learn about the farm experience. Demonstrations and classes provide kids and adults with information about farming and gardening and farm animals. Activities and demonstrations are usually free, but classes usually have a fee, depending on the length.


Or check out these library programs:

Transit of Venus Star Party.
Tues., June 5 at 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Library Center Patio.
When Venus passes directly between Earth and the sun, we see the distant planet as a small dot gliding slowly across the face of the sun. This will be the last transit of Venus to occur in your lifetime. View it through solar scopes and then stick around after sunset for telescope viewing of the moon, stars and other planets. Sign up at the event for a chance to win a beginner telescope. Sponsored by Southwest Missouri Planetarium and Springfield Astronomical Society. 


Rare Jewels of the Rainforest.
For grades K-5.
Riding bikes, shooting hoops and getting wet are some favorite summer activities -- for birds! Delight in the playful antics of Gusto Bluebeard (a blue-throated macaw), Tiki Toco Toucan, Swoop (an eagle-owl and considered the largest type of owl in the world), Pickles & Apples (parrotlets) and others! Using the inherent beauty and intelligence of these rare birds, Yvonne Patterson, a naturalist and owner of Wings of Love, provides a captivating presentation that connects the audience with the extraordinary animals who share our planet.


Missouri Owls.
For grades K-5.
Whoooooo knows about our resident owls? Our friends from Dickerson Park Zoo, that’s who! Three of the four resident owls of Missouri will be present, including the smallest and largest Missouri owls.


Big Dream Machine.
For grades K-5.
Dream big -- adventure is out there! Join us for an exciting exploration of careers in life science as we take a fun and engaging look at the wild side of science with Shawn Christ of Libby’s Lizards. Shawn will take us on an imaginary science adventure including a dive to the reef with a marine biologist and digging for fossils with a paleontologist. Live animals and cool displays make Libby’s Lizards one of the best in nature education.


Constellation Exploration.
For grades K-5.
Explore the constellations, the solar system and galaxies through crafts and activities. Take a trip inside the StarLab, where you'll look at and learn about the stars in the night sky and the stories about them. Children ages 3 to 5 must be accompanied by an adult in the StarLab.


Springfield Conservation Nature Center - Nature Dreams.
Fri., June 22 at 9:00 am to 12:00 pm Springfield Conservation Nature Center for grades K-5.
What happens when the sun goes down? While you’re dreaming, an entire world is happening outside your window. Join us as we team with the Springfield Conservation Nature Center to go "in the dark." Bring the entire family and have fun while we shed some light on nighttime animals and activities. Enjoy stories, crafts and more. Drop by anytime and plan on spending at least an hour. The Mobile Library will be at the program, so bring your library card. At Springfield Conservation Nature Center, 4600 S. Chrisman Ave. Call 883-1974 for more information.


Under the Stars at Baker Observatory.
Fri., June 22 at 8:30 pm for All Ages.
Get a close-up view of the night sky during Library Night at Baker Observatory, 12 miles north of Marshfield. (Map available on We’ll look at the setting crescent moon, constellations, planets and deep-sky objects. Becky Baker, Department of Physics, Astronomy and Materials Science, Missouri State University, and students will answer questions. If it’s overcast or rainy, the program will be at 7 p.m. in the Library Center auditorium. To register or check on location, call 882-0714.


Ice Age Dreams at Missouri Institute of Natural Science
Fri., July 6 at 9:00 am to 12:00 pm for preschool-grade 5.
In 2001, charges were set to blast through a large rock outcrop obstructing the path of a new Greene County road. The blast revealed a previously unknown cave system that came to be known as Riverbluff Cave. This cave was full of formations, fossils, claw marks and tracks left behind by animals that lived during the Pleistocene Epoch, a time period more commonly known as the Ice Age. Dating techniques revealed that this was the oldest known Ice Age fossil cave in North America! Join us with our partners at the Missouri Institute of Natural Science to learn about southwest Missouri during the Ice Age, see the fossil exhibits and participate in lots of activities. You might even walk away with your very own fossil! Don’t forget your library card -- the Mobile Library will be parked nearby. Institute parking is limited, so this program is being offered for an extended time to allow our audiences to come and go. Please note: Riverbluff Cave is not open to the public. Registration is required; call 882-0714 to register or for more information. At Missouri Institute of Natural Science, located on the Riverbluff Cave site, 2327 W. Farm Road 190.

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