As you consider the delicate balance between humans and wild animals along the river's edge, it is time to come home to Missouri. Our wetlands are vital to all living things, including us. Take a stroll along this little stream and notice how wetlands act as sponges to soak up rainwater, as filters to strain impurities and as resting places for migrating birds.
A simulated beaver dam shows how beavers act as natural modifiers of their environment, just like humans. Crayfish have made mud mounds, like tiny castles along the banks. A massasauga rattlesnake has found the mound making a nice winter den, but it sometimes comes out to enjoy the sunlight.
Along the stream, come sit on the porch of the Missouri cabin to find out about big river floods and how humans cause massive changes to their environments. The cabin is the home of a mythical "Aunt Lizzie" who has lived in the Mississippi River flood plain 45-plus years, but who was very nearly washed away in 1993. She'll tell the story of the Flood of '93 to illustrate the damaging effects that humans have had on North American rivers.
Finally, wander through a large bat cave to a 33,000-gallon Missouri River Aquarium with natives of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers including gar, bluegill and whiskered catfish.