J. Bayard Clark Park & Nature Center
631 Sherman Drive [ map]
March-Oct. Mon.-Fri. 8 am-5 pm, Sat. 8-noon
Nov.-Feb. Mon.-Fri. 8 am-5 pm
Clark Park is the city’s second largest regional park and is considered a gem by those who frequent it. It was designed, and remains a natural woodland area dedicated to preserving the environment and educating the public on North Carolina plants and wildlife. Three trails wind through the park and along the Cape Fear River. The Nature Center showcases both static displays and live animals. Park rangers educate visitors at the center, along the park trails and through school visits. Rangers conduct events at the park such as nature fairs, basic astronomy and animal print tracking and much more.
A visit to the Nature Center can include a picnic at one of the eight tables on the back deck overlooking the woods andwaterfall. For those interested in walking, jogging or bicycling, use the main parking lot to start a visit to the Cape Fear River Trail, a four mile paved linear trail running between the park and the Jordan Soccer Complex. A sign at the corner of the parking lot directs patrons to the trailhead.
For information of Clark Park's Summer Camp programming, please see our Summer Camp page.
Educational Field Trips
The rangers at Clark Park Nature Center offer a variety of ranger-guided environmental interpretative programs dealing with natural history, flora and wildlife for organized groups. A ranger will guide you through the nature center as you discover the many exhibits and live animals. Your group will also learn about the native plants, animal signs, habitats and more as we traverse the park's trails. These programs are free and by reservation only.
A ranger can come to your location and lead a nature program for your class on a variety of topics. Reservation in advance required. Cumberland County Schools are free. Other groups $25 per 1-1½ hour program with a two hour minimum.
Meet the Animals: Using live and mounted animals, skulls and skeletons, this program explores the five vertebrate classes of animals, their adaptations and habitats. Length 1.5 hours; $25/program
Snakes Alive: This interactive program explores the biology and benefi ts of snakes. A live snake will be
presented. Limited to 30 students per program. Length 1 hour; $25/program
Environmental Mobile Unit (EMU)
Clark Park utilizes a twenty-four foot mobile educational trailer that enables rangers to provide outreach programs for schools and community groups and events within Cumberland County. The EMU houses wildlife pelts, skulls, and reptile and amphibian models, along with other exhibits. Some restrictions apply. Call the Nature Center for information and reservations. Public Cumberland County Schools are free. Other groups are $25/hour including travel time.
Preschool Programming - Growing up Wild Field Trips
Growing up Wild is an early childhood education program that builds on children's sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Through a wide range of activities and experiences, these programs provide an early foundation for developing positive impressions about nature and lifelong social and academic skills. These programs meet Head Start Domains and NAEYC Accreditation Criteria. Call for reservations and details. $1/student
Grow as We Go: H.S. Domains - 1A1, 1A3, 1B1, 1B3, 1B5, 3B1, 4A5, 4B1, 4B2, 5A1, 5B2, 7A4, 8C3
Seed Need: H.S. Domains - 1A3, 1A4, 1A5, 1B1, 1B3, 3A4, 3A5, 3A6, 4A1, 4A2, 4A3, 5A2, 5C2, 5B1, 6E2, 8C3
Lunch for a Bear: H.S. Domains - 1A2, 1A3, 1B1, 1B3, 2A3, 3C2, 4A4, 4A5, 4B2, 5B1, 5B2, 5D2, 8C3
Deep Blue Sea: H.S. Domains - 1A3, 1A4, 1B1, 1B3, 2A3, 3C2, 4A2, AB2, AB4, 5B2
Wildlife Water Safari: H.S. Domains - 1A3, 1B1, 1B3, 2A3, 2D1, 3A2, 5B2, 5C1, 6E3, 7A4, 8C4
Backbone Bonanza: H.S. Domains - 1A3, 1B1, 1B3, 1B4, 2A3, 3C2, 3C3, 4B1, 4B3, 5B1, 5B2, 5D2, 7C3, 8C1
Wiggling Worms: H.S. Domains - 1A3, 1B1, 1B2, 1B3, 2A3, 3A5, 4A4, 4B2, 5B2, 5D1, 6E3, 7C2, 8C3
Looking at Leaves: H.S. Domains - 1A2, 1A3; 1B1; 1B2; 1B3; 2A3; 3B3; 3C2; 4A1, 4A2, 4B2, 6C1
Tracks: H.S. Domains - 1A2, 1A3, 1A4, 1B1, 1B3, 1B5, 2A3, 3C4, 4A2, 4B1, 5B2, 8A1
Terrifi c Turkeys: H.S. Domains - 1A3, 1B1, 1B3, 1C2, 2A3, 3A6, 3C4, 4B2, 4A5, 5A1, 5B1, 5D1, 6C3, 8C2
Who Lives in a Tree: H.S. Domains- 1A3, 1B1, 1B3, 1B5, 2E1, 2E2, 3A2, 3A6, 4A3, 4A5, 4B1, 4B2, 5C1, 5D1, 7A3, 8A1
Oh Deer: H.S. Domains - 1A1, 1A4, 1B1, 1B3, 3A3, 4B1, 5B1, 6C1, 6D3, 6E4, 7B1
For NAEYC Accreditation Criteria, please call. They are too numerous to list.
The Nature Center now offers Nature Totes available for check out. Each tote is designed for children Pre-K-Grade 4. Nature totes contain books, games, lesson and hands-on activities, art and more. Totes can be kept for 1 week from the date of check out. Subjects include birds, trees, mammals, wildlife gardening, spiders/insects and amphibians/reptiles.
Cape Fear River Trail Golf Cart Tours ***SENIORS***
For seniors and persons with permanent limited physical abilities, interpretive golf cart tours along the Cape Fear River Trail are available for individuals or groups of up to five people. Riders must be able to grasp and hold safety handles.
Reservations are required; Free
Camping can be an added part of your adventure by staying overnight at Clark Park. A semi-primitive campground is available for rent that includes a fi re-ring and outdoor restrooms with a cold shower. There is no electricity. An advance reservation with payment is necessary.
Rates: Family; $10/day; Groups up to 25 individuals; $25/day ($1 each additional person over 25)
Nature Word Jumble Hike
Take a stroll around the Bear Trail and seek out the letters along the path. Unlock the mystery of the jumble by organizing the letters to spell out the words. Come to the Nature Center with your correct answer to claim your prize! Fun for the whole family.
GROWING UP WILD EARLY CHILDHOOD NATURE EXPLORATION
Growing Up Wild is an early childhood education program that builds on children's sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Through a wide range of activities and experiences, these programs provide an early foundation for developing positive impressions about nature and lifelong social and academic skills. These programs are hands-on and include a craft. Call Clark Park to pre-register.
Hiding in Plain Sight
Play a game of hide and seek to learn about important adaptations in many wild animals.
3-7 yrs; Tues., March 5; 1-2 pm; $1 (cash only)
Learn about how worms are helpful to humans and our garden.
3-7 yrs; Tues., April 2; 1-2 pm; $1 (cash only)
Observe insects in their natural habitat and find out how they move.
3-7 yrs; Tues., May 7; 1-2 pm; $1 (cash only)
Deep Blue Sea
A lot of animals make the ocean their home. We will learn about some of these creatures that live in the deep blue sea.
3-7 yrs; Tues., June 4; 1-2 pm; $1 (cash only)
We have backbones and so do other animals. Discover what we have in common and some of distinguishing characteristics that make these animals different.
3-7 yrs; Tues., July 2; 1-2 pm; $1 (cash only)
Explore animal tracks and make and compare tracks of your own.
3-7 yrs; Tues., Aug. 6; 1-2 pm; $1 (cash only)
NATURE STORY TIME
Everyone is invited to Clark Park for a nature story and craft time with a different theme each month. This program is held the 3rd Tues. of each month. Pre-registration is required.
6-under yrs accompanied by an adult; 3rd Tues. of each month; 1-2 pm; Free
March 19: Alligator at Saw Grass Road
April 16: Monarch Butterfl y of Aster Way
May 21: Ladybug at Orchard Avenue
June 18: Red Fox at Hickory Lane
July 16: Black Bear Cub at Sweet Berry Trail
Aug. 20: Firefl y at Stoneybrook Farm
HOME SCHOOL NATURE PROGRAM SERIES
Designed with the homeschooler in mind, this nature program series is presented on the 2nd Thurs. of the month. So that the full educational benefi t is realized, only the age appropriate children indicated may participate.
Learn about different trees and fl owers. Make your own sun print of your favorite leaf.
All ages; Thurs., March 14; 11 am-noon; $3/participant
All About Birds
Explore how birds fl y and make their nest as well as other interesting facts. Make your own decorative birdhouse for your house.
5+; Thurs., April 11; 11 am-noon; $3/participant
Do hummingbirds hum? Find out as we explore these fascinating birds. Afterwards, you will make own feeder to attract hummingbirds to your yard.
5+; Thurs., May 9; 11 am-noon; $3/participant
SPRING BREAK SERIES
Get to know about raptors with the assistance of some live birds of prey. They will help you learn about how they hunt, live and what makes them special.
All ages; Tues., April 2; 11 am-noon; Free
Snakes live relatively quiet, obscure, and secretive lives. At a glance, they look different from familiar animals. Add to our unfamiliarity, the myths and folklore of culture, and we have nature's most misunderstood animals. The Snakes Alive experience will provide a "get acquainted" opportunity to these fascinating, unique animals.
All ages; Tues., April 3; 10:30-11:30 am; Free
Teenager Adventure Day Camp
You have the day off of school and nothing to do. Spend it with us and fi ll your day with adventure, laughs and excitement with other teenagers. We will start the day off with archery, then paddle canoes on Rhodes Pond and finish up with a high tech treasure hunt using a GPS. All equipment is provided. No experience necessary. Bring your own snacks, lunch and water. Register at Clark Park Nature Center. Limited spots available
13-17 yrs; Thurs., April 4; 9 am-5 pm; $30
Everybody loves turtles. Come learn all the fun facts about turtle habits and biology. Live animals will be shown.
All ages; Fri., April 5; 10:30-11:30 am; Free
SATURDAY FAMILY PROGRAMS
Snakes, turtles, alligators and lizards are some of the most feared and loved animals on the planet. Explore these animals at the Nature Center led by ranger.
All ages; Sat., April 20; 10-11 am; Free
Edible and Medicinal Plants
Before the age of modern medicine, people had to know how to use different plants to treat their ailments. Native plants also served as a source of food for those who knew how to properly collect and prepare them. Join a park ranger on a guided hike to learn about the edible and medicinal plants of N.C. Call to register by June 7.
All ages; Sat., June 8; 1-2:30 pm; Free
Guided Nature Center Tour
Discover the animals that live in the Nature Center through a ranger-guided tour.
All ages; Sat., June 29; 10-11 am; Free
Everybody loves turtles. Come learn all the fun facts about turtle habits and biology. Live animals will be shown.
All ages; Sat., July 20; 10-11 am; Free
Fun with Fungi
Mushrooms, molds, puffballs and other fungi are a group of living things that are familiar to most people. Get to know these common, yet not well understood inhabitants of forests, rotten logs, and leaf litter. Learn to identify different types of fungi, how they live, where to find them, and their importance to the environment. Pre-registration required. Call to register by Aug. 9.
8+; Sat., Aug. 10; 1-3 pm; Free
Green and Growing Nature Hike
Try and see if you can fi nd a four-leaf clover and discover nature as we traverse the trails at Clark Park to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Wear comfortable shoes. Pre-registration required by March 14.
All ages; Fri., March 15; 3:30-4:30 pm; Free
Gather around the campfi re for an evening of marshmallows roasting, storytelling, skits, songs and games. Fun for the whole family! Dress for outdoors. Bring water and a fl ashlight with a red lens. We will meet at the Nature Center and take a short walk to the campground. Promptness is essential. Pre-registration required by March 21.
All ages; Fri., March 22; 6:30-8 pm; $3/participant at the door
Come out on a ranger-guided hike as we explore Clark Park and learn about flora and fauna. Wear comfortable shoes. Pre-registration required by April 11.
5+; Fri., April 12; 7-8 pm; Free
Teddy Bear Picnic
Enjoy a special picnic with your favorite teddy bear or another favorite stuffed friend as we listen to a story, play games, make a craft and have lunch. Bring your best stuffed pal and a bagged lunch. Pre-registration required by May 22.
2-5 yrs; Tues., May 23; 11:30 am-1 pm; $2 (cash only)
ACTIVE ADULTS ADVENTURE PROGRAMMING
Spring Stroll on Linear Park
Let's get together and take a stroll on downtown's Linear Park. This alluring addition to the City is beckoning you to discover its history and fl ora. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water for this 2 mile roundtrip walk. We will meet in the parking lot of Festival Park.
55+; Tues., May 14; 9:30-11 am; Free
Aroma Therapy Golf Cart Tour of the Cape Fear River Trail
May is a fragrant time of year with the Privet and Mountain Laurel in full bloom. Discover the beauty and enjoy the aroma of nature as you are driven in a quiet golf cart for this hour-long tour. Call for times and to pre-register by May 14.
55+; Wed., May 15; 9:30 am-3:30 pm; Free
Senior Archery Clinic
The archery class is designed to introduce the sport of archery to senior adults. Participants will use state of the art compound bows as they learn the basics of archery. Safety, proper stance and follow through will be taught. You will be hitting the bull's eye in no time. Call to register by May 15.
55+; Thurs., May 16; 9:30-11:30 am; Free
Be adventurous and canoe Rhodes Pond with Clark Park and the Senior Center. This fl at water pond is perfect for beginners. The magnifi cence of nature will astound you. Transportation and all equipment provided. Limited seating. Call the Senior Center to register.
55+; Fri., May 17; 10 am-noon; Free
RHODES POND ADVENTURES
Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks & Recreation and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) have
partnered to bring programming to Rhodes Pond. Located in the north eastern part of Cumberland County, a few miles from Godwin, this historical, black-water, 460-acre cypress pond is equipped with a boat ramp and fi shing piers for the sportsman to enjoy. The NCWRC have plans to update their recreation facilities at this location. From Fayetteville take I-95 N to exit 65. Turn right on Godwin-Falcon Rd. then make the fi rst left on Sherrill Baggett Rd. until it ends on Dunn Rd., turn right onto Dunn Rd and go about ¼ mile to entrance of the parking lot.
Canoeing Rhodes Pond
Park rangers will lead a canoe tour on Rhodes Pond. No experience is necessary to participate in this paddling adventure, however, it is helpful. Most of our canoes have three seats with backrests for the paddlers. For those who do not wish to paddle a middle seat is provided. The calm water of this majestic pond makes it ideal for those wanting a relaxing float. Seniors are encourgaed to particpate. You will be captivated by the nautral beauty of one of our countires most overlooked gems. All equipment is provided. Register at Clark Park Nature Center.
8+ (must be 12+ to paddle); Fri.; April 5, June 7, July 5 and Aug. 2; 6-7:30pm; $10