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

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

The evil Denaturizer has struck at The Nature Institute. He has placed poison bombs across the preserve, which can only be accessed by solving an ensemble of crafty puzzles. If allowed to explode, these bombs will wipe out all living things in the Mississippi River from here to the Gulf of Mexico! Can you solve the clues and stop the explosions before it’s too late? 

This Outdoor Escape Room is suitable for ages 16 and up and takes place entirely outdoors. This program runs for up to 4 hours and may only be booked for one group at a time. Group size must be 4 – 8 people. $30/person for members, $35/person for non-members. Pre-registration is required.

Learn more and 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.

Rotating Programs

Roaming Naturalists is a monthly hike designed for adults that want to learn more about the natural world. Topics will range from birds to plants to insects and beyond. While each hike will have a topic of focus, we will allow the interest of the group and the surprises that nature throws at us to determine what we learn on our hike.

Hikes will range from 1-2 miles (rarely 3 miles) and easy to moderate terrain.

Learn more here.

Join the author of Missouri’s Wild Mushrooms, Maxine Stone, to learn all about mushroom identification! This program will begin with an indoor presentation and end with a hike to find some mushrooms on the preserve. This program takes place on Saturday, May 18th at 11 am and will last roughly an hour.

$5/members and $15/non-members. Pre-registration is required and spaces are limited. 

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 6th starting at 1 pm and lasts about an hour. $5/non-member, FREE for members. Pre-registration is required.

Register Here.

Let’s hop over to our ponds to find some frogs! Join guest naturalist, Paul Shetley, to search for frogs and toads on the preserve. The program will begin with an indoor presentation on frogs and toads of southern Illinois, followed by an outdoor portion to search for amphibians out at the pond. This program takes place on Saturday, March 16th at 6:30 pm and will run 1 – 1.5 hours. Flashlights and waterproof boots are encouraged! $5/members and $15/non-members. Pre-registration is required.

Register Here

Join Jess Thenhaus, a certified Forest & Nature Therapy Guide, for a unique outdoor experience at The Nature Institute. Forest Bathing is a practice that supports health and wellness through guided immersion in forests and other environments to promote the well-being of both people and the land. Unplug and unwind as you connect with nature and the ‘more than human world’ in this immersive sensory experience. Experience the healing and wellness- promoting effects of Shinrin-Yoku (forest bathing), the practice of bathing in the senses in the atmosphere of the forest.

This is not a strenuous hike in the woods, but rather a gentle, leisurely walk designed to allow time and stress to melt away as you sink comfortably into the peace of presence that nature can provide.

Learn more and 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.

This program runs from May 25-26, 2024 (Memorial Day weekend) from 8 am – 6 pm each day.

Learn More & Register Here.