Lakeside Nature Center is located at 4701 E. Gregory Blvd.
in Swope Park. The award winning facility, designed by International
Architects Atlier, Inc., opened in 1999. Huge windows allow
you to feel as though you’re on a walk through the woods
as you explore the exciting displays. Large aquariums with
fish and turtles, a Bald Eagle exhibit, a weathering area
with owls and hawks, and numerous snake displays invite visitors
to take their time learning about our native wildlife. The
building was funded through donations from Missouri Department
of Conservation, Missouri Department of Natural Resources,
Friends of Lakeside Nature Center, and City of Kansas City,
care for the wildlife and present a variety of educational
programs for individuals and groups. Classes are presented
in the Nature Center Classroom, on the nearby trail, on the
marsh trail, and at the Camp Lake of the Woods
facilities, all also in Swope Park.
Nature Center has the second largest wildlife rehabilitation
program in the state and is the only one in Missouri to combine
wildlife rehabilitation with extensive environmental education
1966, Lakeside Nature Center opened in an old concession stand
in Swope Park that was built in 1931 as a WPA project. At
the time, it was the only facility in Missouri to house live
native mammals, reptiles, and birds of prey where the visitors
could stand within inches of the animals. Swope Park, donated
in 1896 by Thomas H. Swope, was Kansas City’s playground.
The Park continues to develop through today.
education was in its infancy. A group of forward thinking
citizens, biologists, and educators provided resident camps,
habitat exploration, and environmental science classes in
the Camp Lake of the Woods area near Lakeside Nature Center.
The tradition continues as Lakeside Nature Center Naturalists
use the new facility and Camp Lake of the Woods area to offer
unique experiences so everyone can enjoy the wilderness. Both
upland and lowland forests are the Park’s primary features,
along with the Bethany Falls Limestone cliffs and the Blue
River. Biologically speaking, Swope Park has much to see and