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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. Giboney Cave Tours

    Explore the myths, facts, and history of Giboney Cave at Doling Park. Shoes get muddy on Walking Tours, and cavers get very muddy and wet on Tunnel Tours. Bring a headlamp or flashlight, or use one of ours. Dates are subject to weather and bat activity.Register by Friday prior to each tour date. Register online.

    For ages 5 yrs. and up (5-17 yrs. with an adult)
    Sept. 14, Oct. 19
    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

  2. Fall Hiking Series

    Hit the trail with us this fall, exploring some of the finest scenery in the Ozarks. These trips are moderate-to strenuous in difficulty, so physical fitness is required. Transportation provided. Bring your own lunch, snacks and water. Register online by Fri. before each hike.

    15 yrs. and up (15-17 yrs. with an adult)
    Sat., 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
    Sept. 14: Sam’s Throne (2 miles)
    Oct. 12: Yellow Rock Loop, Devil’s Den State Park (3 miles)
    Nov. 16: Sandstone Trail, Prairie State Park (5 miles)
    Dec. 7: Natural Tunnel Trail, Bennett Springs State Park (7.5 miles)

  3. Outdoor Adventure Book Club

    The Springfield-Greene County Library District is heading into the great outdoors! Join the Library and Outdoor Initiatives for this series of outdoor adventure-themed book discussions paired with a related outdoor activities in parks. Space is limited. Registration required by the day before at 417-883-5341.

    18 yrs. and up
    Thur., 5:30 p.m.-6:45 p.m.
    Sept. 12: “Missouri Caves in History and Legend” by H. Dwight Weaver, with Giboney Cave Tour at Doling Park
    Oct. 10: “Haunted Hikes” by Maren Horjus, with hike at Lost Hill Park
    Nov. 14: Discuss your favorite outdoor recipe with Dutch Oven Cooking Program, at Valley Water Mill Park.

  4. Bat Flights

    Basic information on Gray Bats, Tri-Colored Bats, and the potential to observe the twilight flight of Endangered Gray Bats from Sequiota Cave. Arrive 30 minutes before darkness.

    All ages
    Sat., Sept. 14, Sept. 21, Sept. 28 at sunset

  5. Hike and Paddle Trip

    Enjoy the trail and the river on this guided overnight adventure in Shannon County, Mo. Saturday we hike four miles from Round Spring to Echo Bluff State Park, camping there. Sunday, we hike four miles to Current River State Park, then finish with a relaxing four-mile kayak or canoe float on the Current River, back to Round Spring Access. All gear is shuttled to camp. Transportation, gear shuttling and boats included. Major gear available for rent. Suggested gear lists and meal planning help available. Register online by Sept. 19.

    15 yrs. and up (15-17 yrs. with an adult)
    Sept. 21-22
    Sat., 8 a.m.-Sun., 7 p.m.

  6. Ritter Springs Camping Weekend

    A fun overnight campout at beautiful Ritter Springs Park. Includes canoeing, catch and release fishing, hiking, archery and more. Dinner and breakfast provided. Some camping equipment available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Scholarships may be available to youth 18 years and under. Register online by Oct. 3.

    All Ages
    Oct. 4-5
    Fri., 5 p.m.-Sat., 5 p.m.

  7. Fall Backpacking Trip

    Backpack and camp on one of the most picturesque sections of the Ozark Trail at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. Includes amazing scenery in the St. Francois Mountains, passing through breathtaking Mina Sauk Falls and the Devil’s Toll Gate rock formation. This is a moderate-to-strenuous-level overnight backpacking trip, covering 13 miles over two days, so physical fitness is required Transportation provided. Major gear available for rent. Suggested gear lists and meal planning help is available. Register online by Oct. 24.

    15 yrs. and up (15-17 yrs. with an adult)
    Oct. 26-27
    Sat., 7 a.m.- Sun., 8 p.m.

  8. The Ultimate Springfield Cave Tour

    A full day of caving adventure in the Springfield area, including a hiking tour that highlights the outside of the caves at Ritter Springs Park, a walking tour through Giboney Cave in Doling Park, and a guided boat tour through Sequiota Cave in Sequiota Park. Bring your own snacks and water. Transportation provided. Register online by Nov. 22.

    5 yrs. and up (5-17 yrs. with an adult)
    Nov. 23-24
    Sat. Tour 1: 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
    Sat. Tour 2: Noon-4:30 p.m.
    Sun. Tour 1: 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
    Sun. Tour 2: Noon-4:30 p.m.