Nature Center of Cape May
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ
Hours:September through May: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday; June, July, August: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily; open other times for special events and programs
Fee: Free
Contact:, 609-898-8848

Bathrooms: In the welcome center
Water/Snacks: Water fountain in the welcome center

Paper copies of local trails available in the welcome center

Explore a unique natural area, where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Photo by: Lori Duff

Cape May is the end of the Jersey Shore, a peninsula where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. Here the bay shore and ocean shore converge, with different plant and wildlife communities sharing adjacent spaces. It is an important point on the migratory bird flyway, where, in spring and fall, hawks and songbirds take a rest before (or after) making the long trip across the bay. Dragonflies and butterflies also migrate through Cape May. The ocean and bay are full of aquatic wildlife, as are the beaches, tide pools, marshes, woods, and meadows.

A number of nature reserves and parks in the area, many with trails, enable children to discover this fascinating environment. The Nature Center of Cape May, run by the New Jersey Audubon Society, is a family destination in itself, but also a jumping-off point for further exploration of the area’s outdoor opportunities.

The Trucksess Welcome Center has a three-story observation tower that offers spectacular panoramic vistas of the Jersey Shore and its wetlands. (You can borrow binoculars for a better view.) Inquire about programs prior to your visit; numerous family-oriented trips, events, and outdoor hands-on workshopsare scheduled throughout the year, with a focus on the diverse wildlifehabitats. Activities include hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing.

Outside are a children’s garden and additional themed gardens thatdemonstrate plantings to attract wildlife (such as hummingbirds, butterflies,and songbirds). For a meal with an ever changing view, have lunch or a snackat the picnic tables overlooking the harbor.

The Nature Conservancy’s Cape May Meadows, on Sunset Boulevard (fee charged), has level walking trails around a diked tidal meadow behind the dunes. At Cape May Point State Park nearby, walk the beach or the trails in the woods, climb the lighthouse, or enjoy the hawk-watch platform views.

Remember: Bring binoculars for the best views of birds and insects. Seasonal beach tags may be required for ocean beach access outside the state park and Nature Conservancy sections.

Plan B:

The Cape May County Zoo, north of Cape May, is free and has more than 550 animals on 85 acres.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Many restaurants are in the town of Cape May.


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