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Explore the Shore at the Nature Center of Cape May

This community treasure has great kids' programs.

Cape May Nature Center
Imagine watching your child as she squats by a fine mesh net stretched out on a harbor-side beach in Cape May, New Jersey, marveling over squirming sea life. Imagine her joy as she places the creatures gently into a container for safe keeping. Then imagine your joy as she describes to you the entire experience without benefit of a cell phone or electronic device. On a different day, she may chase butterflies with a mesh net or observe a nearby osprey through binoculars or maybe she wonders at the industry of an active beehive.


She can experience this and so much more at the Nature Center of Cape May.


The Nature Center of Cape May (NCCM) is one of seven full-time centers operated by New Jersey Audubon. Established in 1897, New Jersey Audubon is a privately funded, nonprofit organization whose fundamental mission encourages environmental awareness and a conservation ethic among all citizens. While New Jersey Audubon was established as an organization whose focus was on birding and avians, the Nature Center of Cape May broadened that focus to take in the realm of environmental education with children as our primary audience.


Situated on the very rim of Cape May harbor, the Nature Center’s overall focus is marine sciences, which takes in species protection, habitat preservation, and public education, and as stated, with a very strong emphasis on children. Regular and seasonal programming, special events as well as direct outreach into schools, civic organizations and business groups provide the means by which the Center promulgates its message of conservation & preservation to the general public.


The Center typically attracts several thousand visitors per year. Funding, of course, is always the challenge for the Center, as it is for most non-profit organizations.


Although the campus and buildings are owned by the City, the Center receives no monetary support from the City of Cape May, the county, state or federal governments. As a 501c3 organization, the Center derives financial support from individual donations and memberships, with an increasing reliance on business sponsorships.


At the Nature Center of Cape May, sponsorships deliver more than simple visibility. NCCM encourages and promotes results-oriented sponsorships that deliver not only visibility, but customer incentives and follow-up tracking.


Business partners have found that they benefit from a relationship with the Nature Center for three main reasons.


First, there is the audience: NCCM patrons, members, visitors and donors are typically people who love the outdoors. Typically, they are affluent and engaged in their passion and community.


Second is the setting: The Nature Center of Cape May is housed in a three-story structure topped with a blue-roofed observation deck that makes it readily visible from any location on the harbor. It is truly a beacon of conservation and preservation.


Finally, there is the staff:  The Nature Center of Cape May is a fully staffed, year-round facility with a strong cadre of dedicated local volunteers and supporters. It conducts programming and events throughout the entire year, in all weather.



Photographs courtesy of the Nature Center of Cape May. 

The Nature Center of Cape May was founded in 1992, with the twin goals of creating a responsible stewardship program for open space surrounding Cape May Harbor and providing environmental education for people of all ages. The Center’s focus on “hands-on” activities reflects a philosophy of personal responsibility for education.