In 1966, Lakeside Nature Center opened in the former Swope Park concession stand across from Lake of the Woods. At the time, it was the only facility in Missouri where the visitors could stand within inches of live native mammals, reptiles and birds of prey.
Environmental education was in its infancy and a group of biologists, educators and enthusiasts offered environmental science classes, resident camps and habitat exploration at the Nature Center.
In 1999, Lakeside Nature Center moved to its current location, remaining within Kansas City’s historic Swope Park. The award-winning facility designed by International Architects Atelier features a flat seam roof and interior metalwork provided by Zahner. The building has a unique concept and layout, often described as if it were birds in flight.
Outside the Nature Center visitors can enjoy the native gardens, rest and picnic in the shade of the pavilion or hike the Fox Hollow trail system. The trail meanders along limestone bluffs, beside the scenic Fox Hollow Creek and through old riparian forest; all the while exploring the colorful personality of a deep, primitive, wetland valley. The entire length of the trail is 2 miles.