Lakeside Nature Center is one of Missouri’s largest wildlife rehabilitation facilities and provides educational and recreational opportunities that focus on the environment. Built in 1999, the facility is one of Swope Park’s newest additions. It typically houses about 75 animals including two bald eagles, two turkey vultures, three barred owls, three varieties of hawks and two Kestrel falcons. The Center even has a box turtle named “Wilma” that is thought to be about 80 years old.
If you have a native Missouri animal in need, please call the Center 816-513-8960 and leave a message. You will be contacted shortly and given instructions on what to do.
Looking for volunteer opportunities? Friends of Lakeside Nature Center helps support the center’s mission. Call 816-513-8960 for information.
Camp Lake of the Woods
Between 1930 and 1940 during the Depression, two dining halls and seven cabins were built through public works programs, this was the beginning of Camp Lake of the Woods in Swope Park.
What is now Camp Hope was for African-American children and what is now Lake Lodge was for Caucasian children. Integration started slowly in the 50s with a camp called Group Opto which was for boys only and taught them how to be a good citizen, worship was also a large part of the group. So a year before Brown vs. Topeka the camp has integrated programing.
Also around this time, the facility started hosting camps for kids with medical problems and the pool was put in which was accessible to these kids with disabilities. The camp in those days was mostly for boys.
Campfire Girls again started using the camp in the mid to late 50s. In 1963, a proposal to present a nature science camp was proposed and passed, and this was the beginning of the summer camps that Lakeside has been running for the pass 40 some years.
Lakeside Nature Center has been a part of the camp since the 40s on when the Nature Center was first established, but in the 60s is when the “Naturalist” and the ecology became a big part of the camp. The camp for everything from guest speakers, cultural events, camping, hunting, bicycling and so on. Today its mostly used for Scouts, Campfire USA, ERTA, rentals, and hiking.
Please contact the Lakeside Nature Center to rent Camp Lake of the Woods facilities.