Scouts and Youth Programs

Wildlife Programs and Outdoor Skills

Looking for a fun way to meet badge requirements? Trying to find a new activity for your youth group?

Ernie Miller Nature Center's outdoor education programs provide interactive environmental and cultural educational experiences for youth. Come enjoy a day at the park with us! Some programs can be taken offsite and brought to your location. View our Youth Group Flyer for more information on the programs listed below. 

Nature Walks (All Ages)2017-10-12-10-12-36

Experience the new growth of spring or the colorful beauty of autumn on a guided nature walk through Ernie Miller Nature Park. Our walk scan be tailored for special interests and/or specific scout requirements. 1 hour walk at Ernie Miller Park. Available Spring and Fall. 


  • 5-10 people - $46 residents, $50 nonresidents
  • 11-15 people - $50 residents, $55 nonresidents

Hayrides (All Ages)hayride at sunset

Enjoy the crisp autumn air by taking a hayride through Oak Ridge at Shawnee Mission Park. Our hayrides conclude with a warm campfire where apple cider and marshmallows await you! For more information or to make a reservation call 913-831-3359. Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance. Hayrides offered Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in between the third weekend of September to the Sunday before Thanksgiving day in November. To check for Hayride rainout cancellations 2 hours or less before your reserved hayride time, call the Rainout Line at 913-686-6030 ext. 18.

Hayride Pricing:

1 hour ride and 1 hour campfire. $130 first wagon, $110 additional wagons. Maximum 20 people per wagon. Advanced payment required. Cancellations require two weeks advance notice for refund and have a $15 cancellation fee. No refunds for cancellations with less than two weeks notice. Hayrides may be cancelled and refunded by JCPRD due to inclement weather, but will proceed in the case of cold temperatures. 

Animal Scene Investigations

(Grades 4 and up)

Use detective skills and solve mysteries. This hands-on session will involve participants in the investigations of unusual animal biofacts and wildlife scenes, including mock fatalities. Working in teams, participants in this program will be engaged in scientific inquiry, critical thinking, listening and problem solving. 1 hour program. Available December, January, February and March. 

Pricing: Price is for your group, not per person

If held at Ernie Miller Nature Center:

  • 1 - 15 people: $46 Johnson County resident 
  • 1 - 15 people: $50 nonresident 
  • 16 - 35 people: $54 Johnson County resident 
  • 16 - 35 people $59 nonresident 

If we come to your location:

  • 1 - 35 people: $73 Johnson County resident 
  • 1 - 35 people: $80 nonresident

Go Green! The Dirt on Composting 

(Grades K - 4)

Unearth the mysteries of how dirt is created. Learn how simple it is to make your own dirt at home by composting. Go outside and see how dirt is formed naturally. Meet some wiggly worms and discover their secrets. Each participant will make a mini-compost bin complete with worms to take home. 1 hour program. Available in Spring and Fall. Class held at Ernie Miller Nature Center.

Pricing: Price is for 1 to 20 people, no more than 20 people per compost class.

$46 Johnson County resident; $50 nonresident

Outdoor Skills


The Outdoor Skills programs listed below can be scheduled on a weekday or a Saturday based on availability. All programs held at Ernie Miller Nature Center.

Archery Clinic (Ages 8 and up)

Experience the challenging sport of archery at Ernie Miller Park. This clinic is designed to teach safety techniques and basic fundamentals of archery. Hands-on activities will allow children to develop their skills. Equipment is provided. 1 hour clinic. Available October, November, March, April and May.

Pricing: price is for 1 to 10 people, no more than 10 people per class.

$46 Johnson County resident; $50 nonresident

Map and Compass (Grades 4 and up)

Enjoy the fun and excitement of using a map and compass. In this class you will earn the basic parts of a compass and the basics of reading a map. Combine the two through games and you will never get lost again. 1 hour clinic. Available October, November, March and April. 

Pricing: price is for 1 to 10 people, no more than 10 people per class.

$45 Johnson County resident; $49 nonresident

Survival Hike (Grades 1 and up)

Do you have the "right stuff" to survive? Using the power of imagination and real physical challenges, participants will problem-solve as they hike through Ernie Miller Park. Emphasis will be on teamwork, decision making and staying safe outdoors. 1 hour hike. Available year round. 

Pricing: price is for 1 to 15 people, no more than 15 people per hike. 

$46 Johnson County resident; $50 nonresident

Wildlife Presentations

Close-up of Red-tailed Hawk

Wildlife presentations can be scheduled weekdays or on a Saturday based on availability. Pricing is based on programs held at Ernie Miller Nature Center during normal business hours. Live animal programs conducted in Kansas only. 

Wildlife Who's Who (Grades 4 and up) 

Wildlife Webs (Grades K-3)

Meet a native amphibian, bird and mammal in this 45 minute presentation. Participants will discover the unique need and adaptations of these animals through this interactive, hand-on program. They will meet a relative of an animal who has been saved from extinction. Available year round. 

Snakes Alive (Grades 2 and up)

There is nothing quite like a walk in the woods, until you hear the word "SNAKE". Why is it that these creatures seem so terrifying? Could all the stories you have heard about snakes be true? Learn to tell the difference between the venomous species. Discover the facts and fallacies of the legless wonders of the natural world as you meet several Kansas native snakes. 

Whooo Are the Owls (Grades K to 3rd)

What makes owls kings of the night? Bring your unit to life with a visit from live owls! Students will observe the structures of the owl and learn how these help the owl live nocturnally. Discover the needs and life cycles of these unique animals. Touch and examine wings, feathers, and talons. Identify the owls by listening to real calls and see an owl pellet.

Birds of Prey (Grades 4 and up)

By day or by night, out of the sky flies a rodent's nightmare, the birds of prey. Using their powerful talons, beaks, and wings, they are some of nature's best hunters. Your group will see close-up live examples of these majestic raptors and their special adaptations. 

Pricing for Wildlife Presentations:

If held at Ernie Miller Nature Center:             

  • 1 - 15 people: $44 Johnson County resident
  • 1 - 15 people: $48 nonresident
  • 16 - 35 people: $51 Johnson County resident
  • 16 - 35 people $56 nonresident

If we come to your location: 

  • 1 - 35 people: $69 Johnson County resident 
  • 1 - 35 people: $76 nonresident

Programs with live animals can only be held in Kansas.