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

Moonlight Hikes – 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. 

Telescope Nights – 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. 

Heartland Prairie Hike – 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.

Yoga + Hike – 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.

Sunset and S’mores – Join us for a relaxing evening by the fire at The Nature Institute. We’ll take a leisurely twilight hike, followed by s’mores over the fire. This is a family friendly event with a maximum of 20 participants. Program start time varies by month. $5/person non-members, free for members. Pre-registration is required.

Rotating Programs

Pre-registration required for the events below. Click on the title of the event to go to the registration page.

Hikes for HealthNot only is hiking fun, it also has known health benefits, such as decreasing blood pressure, increasing bone density, and lowering your risk of heart disease. Join us for a bi-weekly morning hike in April and May. Hikes will be moderate intensity over uneven terrain and between 1.5 – 3 miles. This program starts at 8 a.m. every other Wednesday and runs 1-1.5 hours. FREE for members and non-members. Meet at the main trailhead.
Family Fun Day – Come one, come all to a day of family fun at TNI! Build an outdoor blanket fort on the front lawn, meet an animal ambassador from Treehouse Wildlife Center, indulge in an ice cream sundae, and challenge yourself with minute-to-win-it games and self guided activities all over the preserve. This exclusive members-only event takes place Saturday, May 1st from 1 – 3 p.m. All ages are welcome. Free. Pre-registration is preferred, but not required.
Get MOON-ed at TNIThe Nature Institute (TNI) is celebrating one of only two lunar eclipses that can be viewed in the Riverbend area this year. On May 15, 2022, from 7-11:15 PM, TNI will offer moon themed games, movies, music, guided hikes, snacks, drinks, and a prime eclipse viewing location with telescopes and binoculars on the TNI grounds. The eclipse will begin at 8:32 PM and will reach maximum at 11:11 PM. Cost: $10/member, $12/non-member
Wildflower Walk 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 on May 9th from 9 – 10 a.m. Free for members, $5/non-members.
WMA Wilderness First Aid – 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. This course takes place May 28th – 29th, 2022. $250/members, $270/non-members.