2024 Mornings at the River

Making Connections: Mornings at the River 2024

When it comes to establishing a child's love of nature, we believe the earlier the better. Parents and caregivers are often the key to forging that connection. Designed for children ages 0 to 5 years old, our Mornings at the River series creates opportunities for little ones and their parents, grandparents, or caregivers to spend one-on-one time exploring, discovering, and making memories together at the Missouri River.

We love seeing all of the new and returning faces each year. This year, we were able to make deeper connections with even more families by providing both ASL and Spanish interpreters! In total, there were 1,346 attendees over the course of six Mornings at the River event days in June. We would like to extend a Big Muddy thank you to our volunteers and partners who donated a collective total of 436 hours of their summer to help setup, lead and breakdown each event.

Each year, Missouri River Relief hosts this program along the banks of the Big Muddy. June 2024 saw Cooper's Landing Riverside Resort & Marina transformed into a fun fest of activities and crafts on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

For two short hours between 9:30am and 11:30am across five event days, hundreds of children and their caregivers were able to explore, relax, and learn under the shade of the Cottonwood trees.


"Our little one keeps asking When can we go back to the River?"

Weekly Recap

For three weeks in June families spent their Tuesday or Thursday mornings gathering down at Cooper's Landing Riverside Resort & Marina. Each of the three weeks featured a different river theme that encouraged different modes of exploration for our attendees.  Events included a themed nature craft, a fun special guest, sensory tables, a scavenger hunt and our pretend play camping area. 

Week One: Boogie with River Bugs

  • Tuesday, June 4th (rained out!)
  • Thursday, June 6th

The first week's theme was Boogie with River Bugs. We called in some bug experts from the University of Missouri's C.V. Riley Entomological Society and from local entomologist Eze Pojmann-Ezeonyilo. Violet Vonder Haar brought the boogie with some river tunes. Little ones painted rock bugs and used their detective skills to find bugs on the nature scavenger hunt!

The Daniel Boone Regional Library Bookmobile joined us for a riverfront book checkout and helped lots of young readers find their next pick!

Photos: Check out photos from Thursday.

Week Two: Beautiful River Birds

  • Tuesday, June 11th
  • Thursday, June 13th

The second week of Mornings at the River was all about the birds! The University of Missouri's Raptor Rehabilitation Project brought out the world's cutest screech owl, red-tailed hawks, and turkey vultures to give families an up-close and personal look at some of our most intriguing local raptors. Guests from the Missouri River Bird Observatory and the Columbia Audubon Society helped kids identify bird calls, both real and plush, on the trail.

We saw a lot of young birders putting their newly made binoculars to good use. We even saw a bald eagle gliding over the river!

Photos: To view more photos from Week Two, click for Tuesday and Thursday.

Week Three: Fabulous Fish and Frogs

  • Tuesday, June 18th
  • Thursday, June 20th

This week we loved getting to know some live aquatic critters with the help of guests from the Missouri Department of Conservation. Families played percussion frogs along the Katy Trail and made their very own fish print. We couldn't have asked for a better way to wrap up this year's Mornings at the River!

Photos: To view more photos from Week Three, click for Tuesday and Thursday.

"My family and I are moving back to Kansas City after 2 years in Columbia and Mornings on the River will be one of our most cherished Columbia memories. We enjoyed ourselves SO much. It was something we all looked forward to."

How Can I Sign-up for Next Year?

Registration for next year will open during April of 2025. The online registration form will be available on the updated Mornings at the River webpage.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Kristen Schulte, Education Director at kristen@riverrelief.org or call 636-288-5570.

Sponsors & Partners

Missouri River Relief has partnered with First Chance for Children and AmeriCorps to bring this year's Mornings at the River to Columbia. Support for this event has been provided by Carol Grove and Cooper's Landing Riverside Resort and Marina. This program is also partially funded by American Rescue Plan Act Funds distributed by Boone County.

Carol Grove

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This website is created and maintained by Missouri River Relief, P.O. Box 463, Columbia, MO 65205
MRR is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Federal Tax ID (EIN) 03-0425187
© 2024 Missouri River Relief | Website development and design by Pixel Jam Digital
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