The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center showcases the cultural history and natural resources of southeast Missouri. The center features hands-on exhibits for all ages, freshwater aquariums, wildlife viewing areas, classrooms, and an auditorium.
Explore the White Oak Trace; two miles of trails winding through oak-hickory and river cove forest ecosystems, sinkholes, and a small, man-made swamp. This includes the .25 mile asphalt-paved handicap accessible Ridgetop Trail. The grounds around the nature center feature several demonstration garden beds planted with an array of native species, specialized beds include a rain garden, sand prairie, and shade garden.
At the accessible Kids Fishing Pond, children younger than 16 can try their hand at fishing for a variety of species. Poles and worms are available for use at no charge.
To arrange a naturalist-guided program please call (573) 290-5218 or email CapeNC@mdc.mo.gov at least two weeks in advance. Field trips in the spring may require scheduling at least two months in advance.
We request at least 24-hours notice of cancellation.
Please let us know in advance of any special needs to accommodate physical or learning abilities.
Staff will greet you outside or at the entrance of the building.
We request a ratio of one adult per ten children. Additional adults for groups with younger children or special needs are recommended. Adults are expected to remain with the group and are responsible for group management.
Many of the programs do not occur in the exhibit gallery or on the trails. Additional time to explore these areas can be added to your visit. Please let us know if you plan to spend time in addition to the scheduled program.
A confirmation letter will be mailed approximately two weeks prior to your visit.
If you are unable to schedule a guided program, your group is welcome to visit anytime during our regular business hours. We ask that all groups notify us before visiting the nature center the approximate number of students and time of arrival.
Programs range from 1 to 2.5 hours and, unless otherwise specified, consist of an indoor and outdoor portion (weather permitting) which may take place on paved or gravel sidewalks and trails or grassy areas. Most programs meet at least one Missouri Learning Standard for Science.