COVID-19 UPDATE: Lakeside Nature Center Re-Opens on April 13!
Lakeside Nature Center is currently closed to the public starting. Our hiking trails are still open from dawn to dusk. We will be offering limited, outdoor fee-based programming with additional guidelines. We are also still accepting sick or injured wildlife found in Missouri every day from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. If you bring an animal in, you will need to come to the hospital door and ring the buzzer.. If you need assistance or have questions please call our main number: 816-513-8960 and leave a detailed message. Someone will return your call as soon as we are available. Stay safe out there and keep an eye out for wildlife!
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Closed Mondays and some Holidays
Admission is free; a small fee is charged for some wildlife programs.
Lakeside Nature Center, located in Swope Park, is one of Missouri’s largest wildlife rehabilitation facilities and provides educational and recreational opportunities that focus on the environment. The center 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.
Lakeside Nature Center (Capacity 150)
$500/ 4 hour max
$35/ hour, per staff member
$100 Animal Encounter
$50 Clean-up Fee
Lakeside Meeting Room (Capacity 35): $50/hours
Camp Lake of the Woods
Inside Camping (Capacity 8): $20/day.
Inside (Capacity 20): $60/up to 4 hours | $120/ 4 – 8 hours | $175/ 8 – 12 hours
Lake Lodge (Capacity 63): $250/up to 4 hours | $325/ 4 – 8 hours | $425/ 8 – 12 hours
Camp Lake of the Woods (closes daily at Sunset)
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 programming.
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 past 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, 816-513-8960.
Looking for volunteer opportunities? Friends of Lakeside Nature Center helps support the center’s mission. Call 816-513-8960 for information.
Birthday Parties (download flyer>>)
Celebrate with Lakeside Nature Center and have an unforgettable birthday! Rent our spacious room for your party, and let our live animals entertain your guests. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity for your group to learn about wildlife and have an experience they will talk about for years! Our parties include a 2 1/2 hour room rental with 45-minute live animal presentation. There is a 20 child maximum for birthday parties and a room capacity of 25 people at this time. Masks and social distancing will be required. Call for details. Lakeside Birthday Flyer