Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center

Driving Directions

Located within the north portion of the Cape Girardeau County Park, just east of Interstate 55 (Exit 99). Take Kingshighway (State Highway 61) east 0.25 mile of I-55 to the park and nature center.


Facility includes trails, exhibits, an auditorium, classrooms, and a nature shop.

About This Area

The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is located near the Conservation Department's Regional Headquarters for the Southeast Region.

The nature center was opened in  May 2005. The facility was made a reality through close collaboration with the Cape Girardeau County Government and many private donors.

The area was intended to connect people with the land because people who are doing something outdoors tend to care deeply about what they use or visit.  Hunting, angling, hiking, gardening, bird watching, trapping and land managers all love doing what they do.  The nature center is there to spark that interest or enhance the activity or knowledge of the subject.

General Information


Cape Girardeau


Owned by MDC

  • Building hours: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday. Closed on Sundays and Mondays, and all state holidays.
  • Area hours: Grounds open daily from sunrise to 10:00 PM in accordance with the Cape Girardeau County Park Rules and Regulations.
  • Pets, horses, collecting, bicycles, skating, motorized vehicles and jogging are prohibited on the trail system.

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  Birding along the forest area provides a good site to see migrating songbirds and forest birds. The pond, marsh and swamp on site can attract waterfowl, shorebirds and water loving songbirds. Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Demonstrations  Hummingbird garden, native plant landscape, a reconstructed swamp and a demonstration marsh. 
Exhibits/Displays  Hands-on exhibits highlight cultural and natural resources of southeast Missouri including Native American artifacts, aquariums, a beehive, and interactive computers. 
Fishing - Other Good population. Children 15 and younger may fish the pond for catfish, bass, crappie, and sunfish. They may keep 2 bass (15 in. min.), 2 catfish, and 20 of the sunfish/ crappie. Fishing equipment may be checked out at the front desk while the facility is open. Returns need to be made by 4:30. An adult with a current Mo fishing permit may assist children who fish. No permit is needed by adults who are not assisting.  
Hiking  Hiking trails traverse the forested area adjacent to the Nature Center. 
Nature Viewing  Nature viewing can occur indoors from the exhibit area where a series of feeders are set up to attract wildlife. However, wildlife viewing is possible all over the site during area open hours.  
Other  Interested visitors can request to be added to a mailing list to receive the free quarterly nature center newsletter called the Tupelo Times.  
Tours  Naturalist-led programs for schools, youth groups, and community groups can be scheduled with a two-week advanced notice. Also scheduled monthly programs and events for the general public are free of charge. Call the Nature Center at (573) 290-5218 to schedule a program or request a list of activities. 

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Parking Lotaccessible   
Privy/Restroomaccessible  Restrooms inside Nature Center. 
Staffed Officeaccessible  Office is inside Nature Center.  
Visitor CenteraccessibleNature Center   

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Fishing Lake or Pond  1.00 acres Available for fishing by kids 15 years old and younger. 
Fishless Pond  0.10 acres Both ponds are designed to be fishless amphibian pools full of native vegetation from southeast wetlands.  
Named Wetland Wood Duck Swamp 1.00 acres This wetland is a young swamp in the making. Bald cypress and water tupelo trees have been planted here along with other swamp plants to provide a glimpse of the treasure trove of species found in swamps farther south in Southeast Missouri. School groups and hikers can visit the swamp daily from sunrise to 10 p.m. Bird watchers may find assorted waterfowl on the site during migration. The swamp is found northeast of the nature center on the Cottonwood Crossing portion of the White Oak Trace.  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Forest and Woodland 50.00 An oak/hickory forest exists on site with some Tulip Poplar scattered in the canopy. The site is hilly with some spectacular slopes. The site supports plant species that prefer rich deep soil, but also has places for plants that thrive on dry, rocky slopes.  
Wetland 2.00 A 1 acre marsh planted with wetland wildflowers, rushes and sedges, exists in association with the children's fishing pond. Also on site is a 1 acre swamp planted with cypress, tupelo and bottom land oaks.  
Total Area Acres:0.00 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
Ridgetop Trail (Easy)accessibleDisabled-Accessible Trail 0.30 
Maple Hollow Hiking Trail (Moderate) Hiking (Interpretive) 0.50 
White Oak Trace Trail (Moderate) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 2.00 

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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