Cape May Nature Center
Our family just loves the Cape May Nature Center. I don’t even know how many times we took the kids there when they were little. Gerard and I still go today. Last fall we participated in a monarch butterfly tagging session. It was extremely educational—even more than we thought it would be. Tucked away on the harbor by the Coast Guard base on Delaware Avenue, it is a wonderful location for all sorts of fun activities.
The Nature Center has so much to offer it is challenging to know where to start. It was founded in 1992 and then adopted by the New Jersey Audubon Society in 1995. It is one of only 9 staffed nature centers in the state. Education is a foundation of everything that is offered at the center. It includes the Trucksess Welcome Center, a really cool three-story observation tower, indoor observation lounge, three classrooms, exhibit aquaria, a small gift shop, and several themed display gardens.
Harborside Chats are a wonderful way to learn more about Cape May and the surrounding areas from a wide range of experts. They are held on Thursdays at the Center and are free, but registration is required. Each session is 90 minutes and is conducted by college professors, business owners, Coast Guard Captains and more.
The Creative Kitchen and Creative Hands series is also available at the Center. There is a small fee for this series to cover the cost of supplies etc. It is more like a make it and take it with actual hands-on experiences than a demonstration. Registration is also required for these events. Just some examples of events are creating a unique herbal tea blend, chocolate truffle making class (yes you get to eat them), creating a whimsical felt jellyfish and more!
The Summer Camp at the Cape May Nature Center offers 9 themed weeks each summer. Most of the weeks have programs for children ages 5 – 12 years. Some of the themes are Under the Sea, Around the World, Things with Wings and more (they may vary from year to year)! What a fantastic way to help your kids learn about nature and be outside having fun! The weekly sessions are half day or full day and primarily outdoors. A NJ Audubon membership is required to register for the camp. You can download the full brochure here.
Family Fun Weeks
There are also Family Fun week programs at the Center. A full week of fun for the entire family to discover different habitats around Cape May through hands-on exploration, exciting activities, and creative projects! There are typically two different family fun weeks a summer. The sessions are from 9:00 to 12:00 each day with an evening special program on Thursdays. They visit a different nature area each day and explore on foot, wheel, and boat. What a unique and educational way to experience Cape May with your kids.
Ok, Aqua Trails is not technically part of the Nature Center, but they are a partner and located at 1600 Delaware Avenue as well. Owners Tracey and Jeff Martin are dedicated to creating a memorable experience for their customers. Jeff is an award-winning oceanography and marine biology teacher at a local high school and brings that passion to Aqua Trails. They offer a wide variety of themed tour experiences for both paddle boards and kayaks. New to kayaking? No problem they also offer clinics for those who want a little more instruction before hitting the water. There is also a Kayak and stand up paddle board camp for kids ages 12 to 16. Good to go on your own? They have you covered there too with kayak (single, double and surf) and stand-up paddle board rentals. It’s not surprise that they consistently get 5 star raving reviews on Trip Advisor and Google! Reservations are highly suggested and can be made right from their website.
In my opinion, the Cape May Nature Center is fun for all ages. If you have not visited, I truly hope I have inspired you to stop by and or register for some of their fun activities. Make sure to check out their Facebook page to stay on top of all the happenings at the center. Frankly, I’ve only scratched the surface of what they have to offer! What fun things have you experienced at the center? I would love to hear about it.
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Agreed! And the view of the harbor is such a bonus!