Southeast Missouri is best known today for mile after mile of corn and soy farms, scenic rolling hills and the Mississippi River. Lesser known is the rugged beauty and varied species of plants and animals which inhabit the more primitive portions of the region.People love to commune with nature and learn more about these features, but they often are tied to their everyday duties which put them closer in touch with their homes and schools and further from nature. Enter the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center.The Cape Conservation Nature Center resides under the auspices of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDC). MDC protects and manages Missouri’s fish, forest, and wildlife resources. They also facilitate participation in resource-management activities, and provide opportunities to use, enjoy and learn about nature.
The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center, located within Cape Girardeau’s North County Park, showcases the rich cultural history and diverse natural resources of Southeastern Missouri. It also offers the opportunity to explore the two mile White Oak Trace Nature Trail that winds through rolling river hills with its sinkholes, ravines, and deep hollows.
Visitors can enjoy wildlife-viewing areas and see how native plants provide habitat for various wildlife species. The facility and its knowledgeable staff offer a chance to encounter nature’s wonders through hands-on exhibits including an indoor honey bee exhibit, a two-headed snake, a scientific research laboratory, freshwater aquariums, an outdoor butterfly garden, and a fishing pond.There is also an Exhibit Gallery where the curious can visit Paul Corbin’s collection of Native American artifacts as well as enjoy interactive exhibits featuring habitats found in Southeastern Missouri. One could even discover where to go for their own adventure. Also located in this beautiful building is a 160 seat auditorium as well as three classrooms. There are programs, workshops, special events and accommodations for school and youth group visits. The Nature Gift Shop features books, calendars, DVDs, toys and other nature-related gifts.Best of all, the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is always free and open to public.