Looking for fun activity that may be near home? Check out these activities offered next week at state parks and historic sites in Southwest Missouri.
Sideview of head of young bison found in Prairie State ParkSaturday, Sept. 9: Guided Bison Saunter at Prairie State Park
Join park team members on a leisurely walk in the prairie. The bison have shed much of their fur and can better handle summer temperatures. Visitors may want to be prepared for a 2-mile saunter over uneven terrain while looking for the bison. Bringing water and snacks, dressing for the weather and wearing sturdy shoes is recommended. Registration is required and is limited to 25 participants, so call 417-843-6711 to register. Registered participants will meet at the Regal Tallgrass Prairie Nature Center at 10 a.m. The park is located at 128 NW 150th Lane in Mindenmines.
Saturday, Sept. 9: The Civilian Conservation Corps in Bennett Spring State Park
Join park team members at the nature center at 2:15 p.m. for a slideshow journey into the 1930s to learn about the Civilian Conservation Corps. View photos from the park’s collection and see how the CCC made the park what it is today. The park is located at 26250 Highway 64A, near Lebanon.
Side view of a black bear with head turned towards camera with foliage in the background.Sunday, Sept. 10: Bear Aware at Bennett Spring State Park
Learn about bears and how to stay safe in bear country. This program at the nature center starts at 2 p.m. and includes a video about black bears, as well as a presentation of black bear items, such as a pelt, a skull and replica scat. Visitors will learn about black bear sightings at the park and how to be more bear aware. The park is located at 26250 Highway 64A, near Lebanon.
Wednesdays, Sept. 13, 20 and 27: Community Fly Tying Demonstration with Bennett Spring State Park
On Wednesdays starting at 9 a.m. at the Bennett Spring Church of God annex building, volunteers Danny Goldsmith and Donald Ohler will provide instruction on tying a basic fishing fly and will give participants an opportunity to visit, share stories and see the art of fly tying with experienced anglers. Please feel free to bring your own equipment and supplies. This demonstration is presented by the Friends of Bennett Spring State Park and is open to all ages. The church annex building is located directly across from the park office, behind the park restaurant at 26332 Highway 64A, Lebanon.
Samuel Angst, teenager in a blue shirt holding his winning paw-paw in both hands.Sept. 13 – Sept. 23: Fifth Annual Picking Up Pawpaws Contest at Bennett Spring State Park
The pawpaw, Missouri’s official state fruit tree, grows large edible fruit up to 6 inches long. It is often described as a banana with mango flavor. Peak ripening is in September, so go for a hike and search for the biggest pawpaw you can find, then take it to the nature center at Bennett Spring State Park and enter the contest. Pawpaws will be weighed at the nature center Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the winner announced on 3 p.m. Sept. 30. Pickers will provide their name and phone number along with the Missouri county where the pawpaw was harvested. They will also have their photo taken. The contest winner will receive a special prize. The park is located at 26250 Highway 64A, near Lebanon.
Thursday, Sept. 14: Expressive Art at Bennett Spring State Park
Join the park team at the nature center from 10 a.m. to noon to express your love of nature and life through art. All materials will be provided for this free program that is open to all ages. The park is located at 26250 Highway 64A, near Lebanon.
For detailed information on any of these activities, please visit mostateparks.com/events.
For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

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