Mission: The Botanical Center has been established for enhancing people's lives through plant demonstrations and education. The Gardens at the Botanical Center are a resource for leisure, teaching, and public service missions of University of Missouri Extension’s Greene County office, Friends of the Garden and other park partners.

Nathanael Greene/ Close Memorial Park; 2400 S. Scenic Ave, Springfield, MO 65807

Contact Information:

By appointment; All groups must register their group with the Botanical Center prior to arrival.

Guided Programs

These programs are available Monday through Thursday, from April until October.

Paid, guided programs should be scheduled no less than 72 hours in advance. Applications must be submitted to reserve your program. Pre-payment is preferred. If paying day of, group leader should collect all fees prior to the program and submit payment in the gift shop as 1 transaction. Refunds for cancelled tours can be submitted in writing 5 days prior to the event, and are subject to a $10 processing fee.

Guided Garden Tours

A guide can lead you through the different gardens, botanical collections and attractions. Fee: $25/groups under 12 people.

Dr. Bill Roston Native Butterfly House 

Mid-May-September – Discover the lifecycle of the butterfly from egg to larvae to pupae to adult. Learn the basic needs of wildlife & special relationship of butterflies and host plants used to raise young. Fee: $3/student 

Seeds & Scavenger Hunt 

Learn more about how plants reproduce and scatter their seeds by wind, water and wildlife. After a 30 min program, students are invited to hunt for seeds around the gardens and share their observations.

Plant Parts & People 

Learn more about the plants and plant parts we eat as well as the plants we use to make everything from shoes and baseball bats. Students will be invited to see these plants growing around the gardens. 

Alien Invaders

Away from normal foes, insects, plants and pathogens from foreign lands have potential to change our environment. Discover exotic invasive species thriving in MO and discuss the secret to their success. 

Gray-Campbell Farmstead 

Life in 1860s, especially for 5th grade! Course offered 6 weeks in fall and spring. Guided programs for other groups are available by appointment. Contact Kathy Hutchison via email or by calling 417-882-2890. Visit the farmstead website for more information.

Guided Tram Tour

A guide can drive small groups to key garden locations. Fee: $50/groups minimum charge. Limit 20.

Online Forms

Self-Guided Programs

The following programs are available anytime!

Play Trail

Discover nature by play! Designed to engage rigorous exercise for the body and mind; 5 playgrounds can be found from the butterfly house around Lake Drummond. See plants and nature and follow the activities found at each play pod. Group size: 12 or less. Activity stations include: the butterfly, leaves, trees, pond life and mushrooms. Walking trail approximately 1 mile.


Many trees have been identified and labeled with added information about the plant. Trees are marked by 4’ tall paddles. Green labels designate native species, brown labels identify non-native species. A great resource for plant identification projects! Visit

The Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden

Fee:$4/adult; 12 under free. Guides available for an additional $2/pr. open April-October.

Host Lions Club History Walk

Nearly 30 granite markers commemorating historical American figures. A scavenger hunt can be downloaded from under education or guided tour can be arranged by contacting a Lions Club representative at: 417-833-9879.

Nature Explore® Site

follow the Nature Explore curriculum, Groups can stage various activities, tree cookies and log decomposers, wildlife observations and more at the Kickapoo Edge Prairie, South Creek, Audubon Bird Site and Lake Drummond. A map can be downloaded from:

Self-Guided Youth Activities & the Play Trail

In a broader initiative to get kids moving and interacting with our gardens and nature, 5 play pods have been installed along the trail and around Lake Drummond. Smaller groups and families are encouraged to start from the Botanical Center and discover more about butterflies, trees, leaves, pond life, and mushrooms. Interpretive signage accompanies each Playpod, so small lessons can be incorporated in each play experience. The walking distance for this trail is approximately 1 mile for a full circle.

Downloadable Resources

Special Activities

Volunteer work projects including tree and flower planting and garden maintenance can be arranged with the Botanical Center. Katie Keith or 417-891-1515
Age/ Grade Level: All ages!
Group Size: 25/ guided programs; larger groups will be divided and rotate through different activities. Combined groups, especially home school should be within 2 grades levels.
Fees: Vary per venue and activity
Lunch: Picnic tables and pavilions are located throughout the park. Refreshments available in the Botanical Boutique and Marketplace.