Spend your summer outside with MDC Cape Nature Center’s free programs

News from the region
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Get outside and enjoy nature in July with Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center’s free programs!

  • Discover Nature: Nature Center Game Night | When: 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. on July 13 | Where: Cape Girardeau Nature Center | Registration not required

Here’s your chance to join the boardgame club for nature lovers! This monthly program will begin with a short program highlighting a different nature-themed board game and how it relates to Missouri’s mission to have world class fish, forests, and wildlife. After the intro… let the games begin! Games will be available for all experience levels (ages 12 and older), though on average these games have a higher complexity level than family board game players may be used to. Participants are welcome to bring snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as nature-themed board games to share.

Fishing is a great way for families to have fun outdoors, learn about conservation, and make happy memories! Our Discover Nature – Fishing program is a hands-on, four-part fishing instruction series that helps you gain the skills and confidence to go fishing on you own.

This program will cover the Discover Nature – Fishing Lessons 1 and 2, which are best completed before Lessons 3 and 4 (hosted later). Participants will learn about fishing equipment, casting, rigging a fishing rod, baiting a hook, and proper fish handling. The Discover Nature – Fishing program is available for ages 7 and older. Participants will not be required to have a valid fishing license for this program.

This program will cover Lessons 3 and 4 which are best completed after Lessons 1 and 2. You’ll learn about Missouri freshwater ecosystems, common fish, artificial lures, and the regulations regarding fishing in Missouri. The Discover Nature-Fishing program is available for ages 7 and older. Participants will not be required to have a valid fishing license, and those who have already completed Lessons 1 and 2 will receive fishing related rewards.

  • Special Event: Wild About Water Festival | When: 1 – 3 p.m. on July 15 | Where: Cape Girardeau Nature Center | Registration not required

Summer is in full swing, so let's get wild about water! Join us as we explore how water keeps Missouri's ecosystems working, from swamps to streams and everything in between. Participants can enjoy crafts, activities, water games and plenty of wet and splashy fun. You may wish to dress in clothing and shoes which can get a little wet.

Wild About Water

Join us this year for a guided kayak or canoe experience, stomp through a stream looking for the critters that call creeks home or explore the mysteries of a southeast Missouri swamp. To whet your appetite even more, each program attended will enter you in a chance to win the “Wild About Water” grand prize drawn in December. We can’t wait to see you downstream!


Check out details for all of MDC’s free July events online at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4xf. And don’t forget to register your kiddos for Little Acorns and Babes in the Woods story times this month!

Advance registration is required for most programs and can be completed online at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4xf. All family members that plan to attend in-person and virtual events must be registered. First, create a profile. Once a profile is created and event registration is complete, additional details about programs will be sent via email. If you’re having difficulty registering online, you may contact the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center at (573) 290-5218.

Stay Connected

Questions about events can be emailed to MDC Cape Nature Center Manager Laci Prucinsky at Laci.Prucinsky@mdc.mo.gov.

The Cape Nature Center sends program registration reminders and updates to those who sign up by texting “MDC Nature” to 468311. An online subscription is also available to “sign up for updates” at www.mdc.mo.gov. A variety of updates are available at this option, but Cape Girardeau specific updates are available under facility updates and news for southeast region.

Cape Girardeau Nature Center is located at 2289 County Park Dr. in Cape Girardeau, and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. White Oak Trace Trails are open daily, from sunrise – 10 p.m.