Adult and Family Programs

Check out the lists below to see our upcoming adult and family programs. Click on the name of the program to see more details and register.

Ongoing Events

Take your family and friends on a private, naturalist-led hike on the topic of your choice. This one hour program allows you to explore the preserve while we’re closed to the public.

Register Here

Join us on a night hike through the woods. On the trails of the Mississippi Sanctuary and Olin Nature Preserve the terrain is light to moderate (may include some elevation change) and is appropriate for families. You can expect the hike to be about 2 miles, and will include stops along the way. Guides choose routes based on the group and do not pick the route until the night of the hike. $5 per non-member adult, children 15 and under are free and advanced registration is required. Members are free.

Register Here

Have an old telescope laying around, but never use it? Always wanted to look at the universe through a telescope, but don’t own one? You are in luck! Come on out to the Talahi Lodge on the scheduled dates and we will have some set up. You can also bring your own and we can help you use it. We will talk about how telescopes work and look at the moon and other night sky objects. Limited Space available, registration required. Free for members, $5 for non-members.

Register Here

Join us at Heartland Prairie at Gordon Moore Park in Alton for these bimonthly hikes, held on every second and fourth Tuesday, April through October. These walks are free and open to the public. Walks will focus on identifying native plants and birds. We will discuss the plants in our newer sections at the observation deck until approximately 6:00 p.m. so if you are running late, you can still meet us in the front section of the prairie. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring water, binoculars and a plant identification book. FREE.

The Nature Institute is partnering with Brick City Yoga to bring you a relaxing morning out in nature. Join us for a 60 minute hike before connecting more in a 60 minute outdoor yoga practice with a view of the Mississippi River. Then, stick around for a coffee from local shop Germania Brew Haus. Mark your calendar and grab your hiking boots, along with your mat, for a nature-centric Saturday morning outing! $25/members, $30/non-members. Pre-registration is required.

Register Here

Rotating Programs

Learn to ID trees from their bark, buds, and branching! This public program takes place on Saturday, February 4 at 10 am and is led by a naturalist. $5/non-member, FREE for members. Program runs between 1 – 1.5 hours. See our private guided hikes to schedule your own private Winter Tree ID program. Pre-registration is required.

Register Here

Looking for something new this Valentine’s Day? The sparks will fly as you learn about owl breeding habits, meet Treehouse Wildlife Center’s ambassador owls, and head out to the trails to search for these nocturnal predators in the wild. This age 21+ event takes place on February 14th from 6 – 8 pm and includes wine for 2, chocolate, and a charcuterie board. $20 per couple/non-members, $18 per couple/members. Must be ages 21 and up. Pre-registration is required.

Register Here

Head to TNI after dark to discover whoooo lives in the woods! Meet Treehouse Wildlife Center’s ambassador owls, dissect owl pellets, and then take a night hike to search for owls. $15 a person for non-members, $10 a person for members. Ages 6 and up recommended due to time sitting for animal presentation. Most of the program takes place indoors. February 18th, 6 – 8 pm. Pre-registration is required.

Register Here

Many of the flowers you’ll see in the spring are known as ephemerals due to their short-lived nature. Join one of our naturalists to identify some of these plants before they’re gone! This program takes place weekly on Tuesdays at 9 am from March 21st through May 2nd. Free for members, $5/non-members.

Register Here

Calling all Pokémon GO fans! Did you know that TNI has 4 Pokémon gyms and multiple PokéStops? Head out on the trails to catch ‘em all with TNI’s education staff! Enjoy a leisurely 1.5 – 2 mile group hike with stops along the way to catch Pokémon, battle at gyms, and collect items. Use of a cell phone with the Pokémon GO app is required. Free for members and $3/non-member. Pre-registration is required.

Register Here

Bring out the entire family for a morning in nature! Family Discovery Days take place every other month on a Saturday from 10 – 12. Activities are appropriate for ages 4 and up unless otherwise specified. Parents/guardians are required to attend with children. $7/person for non-members, $5/person members. Pre-registration is required.

Register Here

This hike is not what it seems! This tricky, family friendly hike will have you identifying some interesting phenomena in nature. Bring your dad jokes and your sense of humor to this unusual, April Fool’s Day themed hike. This program takes place on April 1st from 1 – 2 pm. $5/non-member, FREE for members.

Register Here

Come out to TNI on the night of May 4th to celebrate the Star Wars fan in all of us.  We are offering a special Moonlight hike starting at 8:30pm and, if you want to bring your lightsaber to light your way in the woods, that is encouraged!  Want to wear a costume?  OK!  Want to pretend you are a Jedi walking through the forests of Endor?  We can talk…
Registration is required.  Price is $5 for non-members and free for members.

Log miles to support The Nature Institute! This month-long fundraiser is all about hitting the trails, enjoying nature, and supporting our mission of restoration, preservation, and education. From April 1st to 30th, hikers will compete for prizes by logging hikes and collecting support from their friends and family! Registrants can compete in their own time, according to their own schedule. The fee to register is just $25 + $2.50 processing fee.

Register Here

Join TNI to learn the basics of Wilderness First Aid (WFA). This two day intensive course covers essential principles and skills necessary for backcountry and isolated situations. The course is taught by a professional instructor with patient care and backcountry experience from Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA), who have been setting the standard in wilderness medicine for over 30 years. $250/members, $270/non-members. Spots are limited. This program runs on May 27th – 28th, 2022, from 8 am – 6 pm each day.

Register Here

Ready to experience the magic of camp? This 1 day camp is for the whole family and replicates our Discovery Day Camp experience! Families have the option between 2 dates and times. 1 meal is included in the registration fee. Minimum of 1 parent/guardian must accompany their child to this program.

Register Here