RobyLane Kelley
Editorial Intern

Youth summer activities fill up quickly, however, Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, is finds free ways for families to get outside and learn.

This discovery center, located at 4750 Troost Ave., offers Kansas Citians across the metro a chance to see native plants and animals environmental impact. The landscaping uses native plants to surround a small pond visitors can walk around during daylight hours. An on-site playground offers children up to the age of 10 a chance for hands-on learning. Inside the center, patrons can visit animals, learn about the environment or obtain permits for summer activities like fishing.

Another way for families to interact with nature is the Discover Nature Sticker Challenges, which can be completed throughout the year. The five separate challenges encourage participants to get outside to learn or interact with nature. These challenges include hiking, identifying fungi, cleaning up near a body of water, learning about native trees and discovering native wildflowers or shed antlers. With no age limit, the sticker challenges are a way for families to engage together.

“A lot of folks, myself included, unless you have a reason to do something it’s like ‘oh yeah that’d be nice,’ but you don’t ever do it,” said Stacy Davis — Discovery Center Nature Center Manager at the discovery center. “It gives people that extra incentive to just get out and get outside in nature.”

Davis suggests Northeast residents check out Kessler park to work toward litter pick-up near its pond. She said future events, like monthly movie night or the Historic NE hike, come out in the monthly electronic newsletter, but those interested can also check the discovery center website.

These challenges can be completed anywhere with nature, but families can go to the discovery center for hiking, looking for wildflowers or visiting animals who live in the center. For added exploration, anyone can pick up a free copy of the “Kansas City’s Passport to Adventure” and complete the first question at Anita B. Gorman.

The annual passport, a tradition that has lasted over a decade, is an interactive guide to the metro’s available facilities and activities. Complete at least 12 of its 24 questions, get the coordinating stamp and the passport will qualify for the drawing — held by the Interpretive Site Coalition (ISC) in November. 

ISC recommends calling the facility you wish to get a passport from,as they may run out. The passport provides information on each site’s hours and fees. There are enough free sites to visit to complete the challenge without having to pay.

Anyone unable to make it to the discovery center, can catch the group and an animal ambassador at Pop-in at the Park — hosted by the Kansas City Public Library — in any participating location. Each week will host a new critter and hands-on activities for children. Lykins Square Park will host its pop-in event from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., every Friday through Aug. 15, weather permitting.

Davis said everything at the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center is free to the public. She invited young nature enthusiasts to register for the free kid’s Xplor Magazine. Adults can also join in on the fun with the Conservationist Magazine.

Adults missing the summer fun can learn archery skills and safety, with adult summer camps. Learn2Aim has free summer sessions available to anyone at least 10 years old.