J. Bayard Clark Park & Nature Center

631 Sherman Drive, (910) 433-1579
Center Hours: March-Oct.: Mon.-Fri. 8 am-5 pm, Sat. 11 am-5 pm, Sun. 2-5 pm;
Nov.- Feb.: Mon.-Fri. 8 am-5 pm



Clark Park and its Nature Center join the Cape Fear River Trail and Moses Mathis “Bicycle Man” playground/trailhead to form a complex suited to hours of enjoyment and education. It is the city’s second largest regional park and considered a gem by visitors. It remains a natural woodland area dedicated to preserving the environment, educating the public on North Carolina plants and wildlife, and providing the only camping in the area. The Nature Center museum features displays and live animals. Clark Park also provides exciting education and recreation programming.

Visitors can picnic overlooking the woods and one of the highest waterfalls east of the mountains. For those interested in walking, jogging or bicycling, the park serves as a trailhead for the Cape Fear River Trail, and will feature new, dedicated mountain biking trails opening in spring/summer 2016. Well behaved, leashed pets are welcome on the trails as long you clean up after them.

Clark Park Nature Center offers programming for educators, groups, individuals and families. Programs meet at the Nature Center unless otherwise noted. You must pre-register for all programs. Register early; space is limited in most classes. If enrollment is low, the class will be cancelled.

Contact the park office at 910-433-1579 if you would like to receive a copy of our monthly newsletter with updated program information or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fcprnature.


CityofFay-2013-366School and Group Field Trips for 20+ Are you looking for an interesting field trip for your group?
Is teaching hands-on science in the classroom a challenge? Our life, Earth and physical science programs can correlate to DOD and North Carolina’s Essential Standards for Science. Programs can be coupled with a nature hike. Bring lunches to picnic on the grounds and playground after your

Choose from guided hikes, programs listed or popular subjects such as wetlands, animal adaptations, beaver ecology, tree identification, rocks and minerals, fossils, insects, the naval stores industry, Native American culture, or just a tour of the nature center. Custom programs are available. Offered by appointment only; Free For Groups of Fewer Than 20 Attend a regularly scheduled program, choose a self-guided visit, pick from a specific list of dates or attend one of our dedicated small group days. (Call for availability.)

Standards-Correlated Programs (others for K-5 Available this Spring)

Geared toward Kindergarten - The Motions and Positions of Organisms: Straight, zigzag, round and
round. Engage your young students’ bodies while practicing these concepts on the Clark Park trails. Student will also observe termites changing motions as the insects follow trails that help them locate mates and food in the wild
Geared toward 2nd Grade - Bug Vibrations: Insects produce an amazing array of sounds, all created by the vibration of body parts. Learn how mosquitos and bees buzz and listen to live insects sing and hiss. Discover how one of the loudest insects of all, the cicada, exceeds 90 decibels in volume during the “dog days” of summer. Couple with a hike to listen for nature’s sound makers on the Clark

Park trails Geared toward 8th Grade - Water Quality (Lake Rim Park)

Students gain hands-on experience predicting water quality by testing for physical factors and identifying macroinvertebrates. A stormwater demonstration will provide insight on the ways humans impact water quality. Call Lake Rim Park at 433-1018 for information.

Outreach Programs

A ranger can come to your location and lead a nature program for your class on a variety of topics.
Reservation in advance required, please call Clark Park for more information. $25/program in county; $50/program out of county within 25 miles; Free for Cumberland County Public Schools, Fort Bragg Schools and affiliates.

Preschool Programming: Growing Up Wild Field Trips

Growing Up Wild is an early childhood education program that builds on a sense of wonder about nature and invites children to explore wildlife and the world around them. Activities and a craft 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 topics. $1/student

Environmental Mobile Unit (EMU)

For groups of 100 or more, Clark Park utilizes a twenty four foot mobile educational trailer that provides outreach for schools, 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. Reservations must be made two months in advance.$25/program in county; $50/program out of county within 25 miles; Free for Cumberland County Public Schools, Fort Bragg Schools and affiliates.

Scout Outdoor Activities Badge Programs

A park ranger can help scouts earn part of their Forester, Naturalist or Geologist Outdoor Activity Badges with an after- school program that meets a portion of badge requirements. Classes can be taught at Clark, Lake Rim or Mazarick Parks.
7-12 yrs; $2/participant



Children’s Loblolly Garden Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE)

What ever happened to making mud pies, sorting rocks, digging, watching ladybugs and looking for four leaf clovers? Children are losing the hands-on experience with nature that they once had. Research, including that compiled by the Natural Learning Initiative at NC State, has shown that children’s social, psychological, academic and physical health is positively impacted by daily contact with nature. Enjoy this special play area just outside the Nature Center. Free. For more on the benefits of nature play, visit www.naturalearning.org.

Self-Guided Games and Scavenger Hunts

Guides to themed scavenger hunts and other games are often available at the Nature Center and change periodically. Games can be completed for a small prize.
All ages; pick up game sheets in the Nature Center; Free

Animal Feedings

Alligators chomping, snakes swallowing and turtles snapping; come see what is for dinner at the Nature Center.
All ages; Wed. and Sat. (Center is closed on Sat. during winter season Nov.-Feb.); 4-4:30 pm; Free


Growing Up Wild Early Childhood Nature Exploration

Growing up Wild is an early childhood education program that builds on a sense of wonder about nature and invites children to explore wildlife and the world around them.
Activities 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 to register.
3-7 yrs with an adult; First Tues. of each month; 1-2 pm; $1 (cash only)
Dec. 6: Tracks; Jan. 3: Winter Birds; Feb. 7: Vertebrates

Nature Story Time

You and your child are invited to Clark Park for a nature story and craft time with a different theme each month (generally on the third Tues.) A storyteller from the Cumberland County Public Library and Information Center reads as your child interacts with them. Call to register.
6-under yrs. w/adult; 1-2 pm; Free
Dec. 20: Reindeer; Jan. 17: Birds; Feb. 21: Groundhogs

Mountain Bike Trail Work

The Cape Fear Mountain Bike Trail is officially open but in need of upkeep. From altering some of the hairy turns to bench cutting in some new trail, there is plenty of work to do. Bring water, snacks and a bike if you want to try out the day’s progress. Meet at Clark Park Nature Center. Call to
3rd Sat. of the month (except Sept.); Dec.17; Jan. 21; Feb. 18; 8:30 am-noon

The Wild and Wonderful of the Fayetteville Area

Are you new to the area? Do you know how to get to the Taxidermy Hall of Fame, where to find a museum of animals from the Serengeti, and the grave of the “Spaghetti Mummy?” Do you know the real facts concerning the Vampire Beast of Bladenboro, and why the Sandhills ecosystem is of worldwide significance? This region is anything but boring if you know where to look. Call to register.All ages; Fri., Dec. 2; 5:30-6:30 pm; Free

Bird Appreciation Walking Group


Bring or borrow binoculars and meet other bird lovers as we walk the trails at the park and along the Cape Fear River looking for species, learning song, and collecting information about locations and behavior. Some participants may enjoy assisting park rangers in monitoring Cumberland County’s avian residents during bird surveys. This group is for adults and mature children.12+; Every Tues.; 8:15-9:30 am; Free

Plant Appreciation Walking Group


Meet other plant lovers as we walk the trails at the park and along the Cape Fear River (CFR) identifying plants, watching their development and noting their locations. Our observations will be used to compile plant lists for the Park and CFR Trail. This group is for adults and mature children.12+; Every Fri.; 3-4:30 pm; Free

Cape Fear River Trail Golf Cart Tours


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

Cape Fear River Pontoon Boat Tours


Float on down the river with park staff and Captain Freddie Mims. Learn about Fayetteville’s early importance as a colonial port city and trade center. Explore many historic features along the river and enjoy the natural beauty of the river, plants, and animals. Call for upcoming tour dates or to arrange your own date for a group.
$25/person and group tours and rates are available.



Camping at Clark Park can be an added part of your adventure. A semi-primitive campground is available for rent that includes a fire ring and outdoor restrooms with a cold shower. There is no electricity. At least a one business day advanced reservation with payment is necessary. Campground capacity limited to 50 people.
Rates: Family: $10/day; Groups up to 25 individuals:
$25/day ($1 each additional person over 25) Note: fees are double for out-of-county, Spring Lake or Hope Mills residents. Fort Bragg is considered in-county.