When visiting our National Parks — and also when visiting parks in Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage area — look at the animals. But do not approach the animals. There is a reason we call them “wildlife”.
The National Park Service has compiled some Wildlife Safety Videos to illustrate the power of large animals, and reinforce that you should never approach wildlife, no matter how calm or tame animals appear. Always obey instructions from park staff on scene, and know the rules for watching wildlife in the National Parks.
There are nature centers and parks in Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area where you can go to watch wildlife, and if you are quietly observant while walking along the battlefields, riverbanks, or the many trails that cross through the heritage area, you might see and hear more wildlife than you were aware lived there.
Look for Bison at Prairie State Park in Mindenmines, Missouri; or head to Missouri Town 1855, in Fleming Park, where there is also a Native Hooved Animal Enclosure, an 110-acre fenced area that is home to bison, elk and white-tailed deer.
At Black Jack Battlefield and Nature Park, you’ll find a variety of plants and animals, dwelling in habitats that range from woodland to tall grass prairie to stream bank.
A working beehive, and a 7,000 gallon aquarium with Missouri river fish are features of the Remington Nature Park in St. Joseph, Missouri. There is also a collection of animal pelts and antlers that can be touched.
Plan a trip to Swope Park, where you can visit the Battle of Westport Battlefield, Visitor Center and Museum. Enjoy the history exhibits at the visitor center, and then view wildlife. Swope Park is also home to the Lakeside Nature Center, with wildlife native to the area; and the Kansas City Zoo. Ask the zoo park staff if any of the animals might have relatives living in the wild in Kansas or Missouri.