United Way of Tompkins County
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Cayuga Nature Center

Who We Are

Founded in 1932, the Paleontological Research Institution(PRI) has outstanding programs in research, collections, publications, and public education. The Institution cares for a collection of 2-3 million specimens (one of the 10 largest in the U.S.), and publishes Bulletins of American Paleontology, the oldest paleontological journal in the Western Hemisphere, begun in 1895. PRI is a national leader in the development of informal (i.e., outside the classroom) Earth science education resources for educators and the general public.

In 2013, the Cayuga Nature Center became PRI's newest public venue for education. The Nature Center cultivates an awareness, appreciation, and responsibility for the natural world through outdoor and environmental education. The goal is to transform the Nature Center into a premier educational center for teaching and learning about the impact of climate change on the fauna and flora of Tompkins County.

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What We Do

The Cayuga Nature Center is a non-profit organization located on 120 acres of land overlooking Cayuga Lake on Route 89 in Ithaca, New York. On the property you will find a historic lodge that features a full kitchen and dining area, conference rooms, a Pee Wee room with environmental exhibits for young children, and an exhibit hall called the Great Room with two fireplaces and a spacious sun porch. We house live reptiles, mammals and birds in both our indoor and outdoor enclosures. The lodge serves as CNC's primary year round program site and facility for summer and school break camps, group rentals, and several educational programs including TEAM Challenge, our ropes course which promotes team-building among members of any kind of group (co-workers, classmates, family, Greek brothers/sisters, sports teams, girl/boy scouts, community or church members, etc.) Outside the lodge CNC maintains miles of hiking trails, open 365 days a year for walking, birding and nature interpretation. These trails take visitors through a deciduous climax forest, along gorges and streams, and close to habitats of a variety of native plants and wildlife. You will also find our impressive six-story tree house, TreeTops, as well as a seasonal Butterfly House, gardens, and much more. In addition to public programs and camps, local schools and researchers from Cornell University and Ithaca College regularly utilize CNC's properties. In the past twenty-five years, CNC program participants have increased three-fold, and today we welcome approximately 25,000 visitors to our property each year. Over the years, CNC has increasingly offered off-site programs that share our message not only through new media resources including the internet, but also give instruction to teachers and students alike on how to learn using their own environs. The Nature Center is a well-loved community resource, and has successfully collaborated with many organizations over the years to secure funds for special projects related to environmental education.
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Contact Information

Address Information
1420 Taughannock Blvd
Ithaca, NY 14850
Office Hours: Lodge Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 4pm Closed Monday Grounds and Trails: open sunup to sundown
Contact: Amanda Kelly
Contact Title: Volunteer and Event Coordinator
Phone: (607)273-6623 x36
Fax: (607)273-6620
Email: volunteer@priweb.org
From Syracuse / Cortland: Take Route 13 South into downtown Ithaca. Turn right onto Buffalo Street, and then make a right onto Route 89 North (Taughannock Blvd). Travel six miles, and we are on the left. From Elmira Area: Take Route 17 to Route 13 North to Ithaca. Turn left onto Buffalo Street, and then make a right onto Route 89 North(Taughannock Blvd). Travel six miles, and we are on the left.
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Directions: MAP