Cooper Environmental Center
Cattus Island County Park
1170 Cattus Island Blvd.
Toms River, NJ 08753
(732) 270-6960
Official Website

Places Nearby:
Robert J. Novins Planetarium
Toms River Maritime Museum
Ocean City Historical Society
Ocean Gate Museum
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Other States:

With more than 500 acres of pristine wetlands, Cattus Island is the perfect setting for the Cooper Environmental Center. The area includes fields, salt marsh, upland forest, and beautiful beaches on Silver and Barnegat Bays. Actually a peninsula, Cattus Island got its name because when tides inundate the marshes, the area is effectively separated from the mainland.

The Cooper Environmental Center is a major resource for conservation and education, featuring a 5,000 square foot building with an eighty seat meeting room, major exhibit area, and various work areas. 90% of the building is open to the public.

Exhibits include live lizards and fish as well as a number of hands-on displays relating to the local environment. Throughout the year families can enjoy many special events, programs, workshops and other activities. Just a few include guided hikes along some of the many miles of trails; Bird Watching lessons (the area is an important migration stopover); Topical Slide Shows; Angler's Workshops; and many other nature-related topics.

Other activities are seasonal and include cross-country skiing, tracking, seining, foliage touring, and taking a naturalist-guided boat tour. Youngsters may want to get involved in the Junior Naturalist Program. Here they receive valuable training while helping to maintain the live animals, assisting the naturalists on guiding visitors, and perform other essential tasks.

Programs for Groups, including School Groups include Slide Shows, Nature Walks, Salt Marsh Hikes (prepare to get wet), Nature Plastercrafting, Seining, and more. Programs are adaptable for any age and provide excellent opportunities for education and adventure.

Note that all groups visiting without taking a program must be led by their own naturalist. A teacher who attends park-sponsored training sessions will qualify to lead his or her own group. Otherwise, the advance reservation time may be very long indeed -- nine months is recommended.

Call for further details on teacher training.

Hours: 8am - 4:30pm every day. Hours may vary, so call first. Park is open every day from dawn to dusk.

Admission: FREE. Group programs range in cost from FREE to about $12.00 per person, depending on program. Call for details or visit the Center's official website, linked above.

Group Reservations: As much as 9 months for group programs. See teacher training note at end of description.

Lunch: Picnic areas available for families and groups.

Handicapped Access: 500 foot boardwalk trail and center building are accessible.

Directions: Route 70 East to Rt. 37 East. Continue East on 37 to Rt. 549 Spur (Fischer Ave.) North (just before reaching Mathis Bridge). About 2 miles to Cattus Island Blvd., turn right. About 90 minutes from Philadelphia.

Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.