The Nature Center at Bennett Spring State Park, Missouri is a rich learning opportunity established to showcase the park’s varied environments, diverse wildlife, and show its history from a small settlement founded around a spring-powered grist mill to one of Missouri’s top recreation destinations.
There are exhibits detailing the numerous springs in Missouri, how those springs function, and how Bennett Spring compares to the others. (Test answer: It’s the third largest, pumping out sixty-five million gallons of fresh water per day, enough to supply all of Kansas City, Missouri.
The center is free, open to the public, and offers educational programs for kids and adults throughout the peak season - March through November. There is a staff naturalist on site* to provide ongoing content and manage the park’s educational resources, including the park’s seven hiking trails.
There are several dioramas detailing the life and structure of caves, area wildlife, and insect life; a bubble-top look at the microscopic denizens of a drop of river water, and a large, fresh-water aquarium stocked with native species.
The center is a quality learning environment, with professionally-designed and constructed displays. It is ADA compliant and fully accessible.
The Bennett Spring State Park Nature Center is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. The Center is closed Monday and Tuesday.
For more information, you can call the Nature Center at (417) 532-3925 or visit on the web: https://mostateparks.com/location/56431/nature-center
*As of this writing, there is a temporary vacancy for the park naturalist position at Bennett Spring. The former staffer retired after many years. A new naturalist is due to start soon. Until then, Kath and I have the run of the place and have been working as best we can to provide the best answers for the park’s visitors’ questions.