Bewick's Wren


Powell Gardens is a haven for wildlife of all types. Here’s your guide to enjoying the best of Mother Nature’s sights and sounds during your visit.

Bird Watching

A few of the many great places to enjoy bird watching during your visit:

Hummingbird Garden

Located right next to the terraces of Café Thyme, this garden includes flowers particularly attractive to hummingbirds. Watch the hummingbirds at feeders from late April through early October. Bright orioles join in as we feed them during their migration from late April through May. And in winter, bird feeders attract crowds, making this a perfect spot to grab lunch and enjoy the show!

Island Garden

“Fabio” is the resident male Red-winged Blackbird to look for spring through midsummer. Eastern Phoebes nest under the bridges and you’ll also find Cardinals, Orchard Orioles and Eastern Kingbirds nesting here.

Heartland Harvest Garden

Watch the Purple Martins at home in a nest box and look out for Killdeer, which nest on the ground somewhere in this area each year. The Lark Sparrow is a great songster, often singing from the barn roof. Visit the silo in the Missouri Barn to watch the Lark Sparrow in action. This also is a great spot to look for hawks and turkey vultures in action.

Byron Shutz Nature Trail

The locally rare Black-billed Cuckoo lives along the 3.25-mile trail. Your best chance to see one is between signs 19 and 20. Download printable trail guide.

Download the full Powell Gardens’ birding list here.

Good Bug or Bad Bug?

Don’t bug them and they won’t bug you! Take a closer look at the insects that help the gardens grow! Marvel at their stunning beauty and wonderful array of shapes and sizes. They pollinate our flowers and maintain the balance of nature in our gardens. We wouldn’t have such delectable produce in the Heartland Harvest Garden without them! Download The Bug Guide.

Butterflies, Butterflies and More Butterflies!

From the famous Monarch to the friendly Tawny Emperor, butterflies are abundant at Powell Gardens. The Festival of Butterflies each August is timed to coincide with peak numbers of the wild butterfly population, but a visit any time from spring through fall will offer glimpses of these "flying flowers."

Download our Butterfly Checklist and enjoy finding them all!

Turtles, Frogs and Snakes


Watch for two kinds of land turtles—the Three-toed Box Turtle in the woodlands and the Ornate Box Turtle in the open prairies and meadows. We also have two common pond turtles—the Painted Turtle and the Red-eared Slider. These two species look a lot alike but the slider has a red, ear-like mark behind its eye. You also may spot a Snapping Turtle slogging along from one water body to another. Do not handle these—they have a nasty bite!


Nine varieties of frogs form a beautiful chorus at Powell Gardens from late winter through summer. These include Spring Peepers, whose range does not reach to Kansas City, plus two species of Gray Treefrogs that can be either green or gray.

If you look carefully around the Visitor Education Center terrace walls, you almost always can find a treefrog hiding on the rocks. In the Perennial Garden they like to hide in daylily blooms. Watch for huge Bullfrogs along the Island Garden.

Water Snakes

If you’re a frequent visitor, you may have encountered a water snake on the Island Garden. Two types make their homes here: Yellow-bellied and Northern. Both are used to visitors (who rarely notice them) and they will leave you alone if you leave them alone. No poisonous snakes have ever been observed at Powell Gardens.