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Outdoor Initiatives

Outdoor Initiatives provides adventure trips, outdoor recreation programs & education at an affordable price to the community. Leave No Trace guidelines are followed on all excursions. Scholarships may be available, call 833-8647. Office location: Valley Water Mill Park, 2450 E. Valley Water Mill Rd.

  1. Spring Hiking Series

    Warm up on the trail as we make our way through some of the most scenic parts of Missouri. Trips are moderate in difficulty, so physical fitness is a must. Transportation provided. Bring your own lunch, snacks and water. Register by the Friday prior. View flyer. Register online.

    13 yrs. & up (13-17 yrs. with an adult)
    Feb. 22: Roaring River State Park
    with campfire & s’mores (2.7 miles)
    April 18: Devil’s Well & Cave Spring (4.6 miles)
    Sat., 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

  2. Ritter Springs Cave Tours

    A true caving adventure: walk, crawl, and slide your way through Bat Cave on this once-a-year caving experience at Ritter Springs Park. Requires extended amounts of crawling in tight spaces. Plan to get completely covered in mud. Bring your own headlamps or flashlights. Dates subject to weather and bat activity. Register by March 13. View flyer. Register online.

    12 yrs. and up (12-17 yrs. with an adult)
    March 14-15
    Sat. Tour 1: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
    Sat. Tour 2: 12:15-2:15 p.m.
    Sat. Tour 3: 1:30-3:30 p.m.
    Sun. Tour 1:11 a.m.-1 p.m.
    Sun. Tour 2: 12:15-2:15 p.m.
    Sun. Tour 3: 1:30-3:30 p.m.

  3. Giboney Cave Tours

    Explore the myths, facts and history of Doling Park’s Giboney Cave. Shoes will get muddy on Walking Tours, and you will get very muddy and wet on the in-depth Tunnel Tours. Dates subject to cancel due to weather and bat activity. Pre-register or sign up in person at Giboney Cave on tour day. View flyer. Register online.

    5 yrs. and up
    April 4
    Sat., 1, 2 and 3 p.m.
    Tunnel Tours are only offered at 3 p.m.
    Walking Tour: $5/Person, $16/Family of 4
    Tunnel Tour: $7/Person, $24/Family of 4

  4. WOW School at Lake Springfield Park

    This event has been canceled due to concerns of Coronavirus. Read more on Coronavirus related closures here.

    4 yrs. and up
    April 17-18
    Fri., 5 p.m. -Sat., 5 p.m.
    $32/person or
    $102/family of 4

  5. Spring Backpacking Trip

    Beautiful forests, glades and expansive views mark the scenic Bell Mountain Loop Trail, part of the Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest. Hike 11.6 miles in two days, and camp atop Bell Mountain, overlooking the scenic St. Francois mountains. This is a moderate level trip, so physical fitness is a must. Transportation included. Camping gear available for rent. Gear lists and meal planning help available. Register by Thursday, April 23. View flyer. Register online.

    15 yrs. and up (15-17 yrs. with an adult)
    April 25-26
    Sat., 8 a.m.-Sun., 7 p.m.
  6. Summer Camps

    Adventure Days

    If you are ages 11-14 and like all kinds of outdoor adventure, these day trips are for you! Each day is packed full of different outdoor activities that include hiking, cave crawling, kayaking, and more. Sign up for one day, or for the ultimate adventure, all five! Drop off and pick up at Dan Kinney Family Center outdoor pavilion. Limited to 12 kids. Register by Monday prior to each program.

    11-14 yrs.
    Dates and times vary, see table for details

    Time: Wed., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (Drop-off 7:45-8:15 a.m. & Pickup 4:45-5:15 p.m.)
    Date: June 3 Hike & Milkshakes
      June 17 Kayaking on the James River
      July 1 Hike & Tubing on the Niangua River
      July 8 Rock Climbing Skills & Climbing at Zenith Climbing Center
      July 15 Go Carts & Paddle Boarding on Table Rock Lake
      July 22 Springfield Caving Day
      Aug. 5 Archery & Survival Skills