Calling all history buffs, nature lovers and curious minds! You’ll be right at home at Remington Nature Center. As one of St. Joseph’s most unique, hands-on educational experiences, this award-winning museum and attraction has everything – including Civil War items, live birds, extensive Native American artifacts, beautiful Missouri River views and a gently winding paved nature trail.
And if this wasn’t “uncommon” enough, the architecture of the building is a marvel all its own. Andrea McCoy, Remington Nature Center Manager, can’t hide her enthusiasm for the center and all that it offers – starting with its unique placement perched alongside the Missouri River. “The history of the Missouri River and the nature of the surrounding area are a perfect fit for the experience we want to convey,” she says. “The building’s placement honors the river as the heart of St. Joseph, from our early beginnings with the Native Americans to who we are today as a city.”
The view from both inside and outside of the nature center is always a show-stopper across all weather patterns. “There’s really no better place to see the seasons change,” says McCoy. “It’s gorgeous in the fall with the leaves turning and it’s not uncommon to see eagles in winter on ice caps, hunting for fish.”
Every corner of the building seems to reflect McCoy’s thoughts. Large windows allow year-round natural light to frame the surrounding trails, creating an inspiring exhibit for every season. The structure is elevated on wooden beams to accommodate the nearby water, serving to enhance the view and prevent the building from flooding. A natural sand area below the beams allows for the popular children’s archaeology digs, and a stone outdoor classroom sets the perfect stage for group activities. McCoy notes that regional school groups from across the Midwest make the journey for field trips. Programs offered to groups range from archeology to Lewis and Clark to the science of tornadoes – and each program is always connected to nature.
The Remington Nature Center team enjoys observing guests’ expressions first-hand as they encounter the center’s first big surprise – the replica woolly mammoth exhibit positioned at the entrance. Additional natural attractions include a 7,000-gallon freshwater aquarium, where guests can observe feeding time every Friday. Further exploration leads visitors to an expansive and interactive exhibit area that showcases the history of St. Joseph, from early fur trading, Native Americans, the Civil War, early entrepreneurs and the famed Pony Express. It’s a vivid and intriguing snapshot of what makes St. Joseph so memorable.
The only thing that compares to sharing the landscape and the exhibits, McCoy says, is seeing multiple generations of families enjoy the center together, often utilizing the conference room for special events. “Sometimes we have a bridal or baby shower for a family, and then a few years later, we host a birthday party package for their children. It’s really rewarding to see that the center is promoting a sense of community.”
When planning and organizing a field trip for your group, whether it be a school, garden club or scout troop, it can be overwhelming. How does one choose the best place for the best price? A visit to St. Joseph, and to the Remington Nature Center, is a great option.
In addition to the museum itself, the grounds near the Remington Nature Center feature several locations for picnic lunches with scenic views of the River as you eat. Be sure to allow time to walk the over two miles of paved trail alongside the Center that follows the natural flow of the River.
Remington Nature Center is devoted to the education and preservation of our natural world, and strives for excellence through 22 unique program options. Programs can be tailored to your group’s needs and specific age levels, and large groups are always welcome. Some of the most popular programs are “Snakes Alive” and “Missouri Insects & Spiders;” both programs feature live elements. The Recreation Education package with Bode Ice Arena allows for touring the Remington Nature Center, an educational program, provided lunch, and indoor ice skating, all for the affordable fee of $10 per participant.
St. Joseph also offers many other opportunities for a memorable visit, including 26.2 miles of paved park trails and walkways. Historic Krug Park is a great place to unwind and enjoy nature with a primitive walking trail and restored lagoon with wild waterfowl. And don’t forget our 12 other incredibly unique museums.
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