11 Things to Do for Summer Fun in Cape Girardeau

It’s summertime. The kids are out of school. Vacation time looms. What to do? If you’re planning to keep your summer vacation close to home, or want to spice up your weekends with activities, check out our handy list below.

Photo: Cape Riverfront Market on Facebook

1. Farmers’ Markets abound! Make a trip to one of Cape Girardeau’s fabulous farmers’ markets, pick up things for a lovely meal with friends and family, then enjoy each other’s company over the yummy concoctions you’ve made with the produce and meats from right here in the heartland! The Cape Farmers’ Market opens shop on Thursdays from 12-5 p.m. in the parking lot of West Park Mall. The Cape Riverfront Market is open for business Saturday mornings from 8 a.m.-noon, through October, in the parking lot at 35 South Spanish Street. Both markets offer vendors with wares that make great gifts, crafts, baked goods, and more. Come check them out!
Fort D Days
Reenactments at Fort D in Cape Girardeau.

2. Fourth at the Fort – On July 4 at Fort D, join the Turner Brigade for a re-enactment in celebration of our country’s birthday. Soldiers  will celebrate the special holiday by firing rifles and cannons, eating a special meal with friends and civilians, and flags flying proudly. Come share a patriotic day! The event is absolutely free to the public.
logo with date13. Great American 4th of July, Downtown Cape Girardeau and Riverfront –There’s no better way to celebrate the July 4 holiday like a dark sky full of colorful lights, patriotic music, a naturalization ceremony, and the Spirit of America award. Events kick off near the Common Pleas Courthouse about 6:45 p.m., and the free fireworks display over the Mississippi River in Downtown Cape Girardeau starts start at 9 p.m., and all are invited.
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Lots of fun and activities at Parks and Rec Day!

4. Parks and Rec Day – On Friday, July 8, the City of Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department will host Parks and Rec Day at the Osage Centre. This totally free day of fun for all ages begins at 11 a.m. and lasts through 3 p.m. Event activities include games, crafts, exhibits, prizes, water activities, and much more. Come hang out with our lovable mascot, Playmo! Hang around after the event and check out Cape Splash, another gem on our summer fun list. Check out the ad on page 6 of Play Cape! magazine or call 573-339-6340 for more information.
Tunes at Twilight takes place on select Friday evenings in Downtown Cape Girardeau.

5. Tunes at Twilight – Tunes at Twilight is an award-winning, outside concert series that is held on Friday nights. Located at the Common Pleas Courthouse Gazebo, Tunes at Twilight holds a concert every week for six weeks in the late spring and late summer/early fall. The spring concert series for 2016 runs through June 17, and with the second segment of the series beginning again in August. Tunes at Twilight is a great opportunity to come enjoy the comfort of music while relaxing on a blanket or lawn chair on the courthouse lawn with your kids, pets, friends and family for free.
6. Lazy L Safari Park – Lazy L Safari Park is a walk-through zoo located in Cape Girardeau, home to more than 50 species of exotic animals. Visitors can explore at leisure, walking through the park’s main barn, petting zoo, and grounds. The park also has a gift shop, picnic shelter, and snack shack. Come join in the fun, explore and learn about all the animals with a small admissions fee of $7 per person plus tax (age 2 and up). Lazy L Safari is open for their summer season from Memorial Day through Labor Day, with fall hours in September and October. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily for the summer season.
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Overlook at Trail of Tears State Park.

7. Trail of Tears State Park – Trail of Tears State Park is dedicated to telling the stories of nine of the 13 Cherokee Indian groups being relocated to Oklahoma during the 1830s. During harsh winter conditions, the groups crossed the Mississippi River near the area. Trail of Tears State Park is a certified site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. The park’s visitor center features exhibits that interpret the forced relocation, as well as the park’s many natural features. Beyond learning about a tragic point in our history, the park also offers shaded picnic sites, hiking and horse trails, and opportunities to fish in both the Mississippi River and Lake Boutin.
2015 Cape Splash Lazy River New Slides II
Keep cool at Cape Splash this summer.

8. Cape Splash Family Aquatic Center – Every city has to have that one place to cool down, have an adventure and have some summer fun. In Cape Girardeau, Cape Splash is just the place! Cape Splash features include a 700-foot lazy river, flume slides, swirl and leisure pools, a spray pad for the kids, bath house, changing facilities and lots of places to rest in the shade. New speed slides and mat racers added in 2015 have “upped the ante” on Cape Splash excitement for the older kids, teens, and even adults. Family season passes are offered, and a daily admission pass is available for $6-$7 based on the entrant’s age. Cape Splash is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, starting on Memorial Day weekend. Limited hours begin in August, with the last chance to splash for the season on Labor Day weekend.
Come check out the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center. (Photo via Missouri Department of Conservation.)

9. Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center – The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is an extraordinary exhibit to see for all ages. It features a 160-seat auditorium, three classrooms, hands-on exhibits for all ages, a scientific research laboratory, freshwater aquariums and an indoor wildlife viewing area. On top of all these things, the Nature Center it also has a wonderful gift shop and great staff that are eager and willing to show everyone around. The best part about the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is that it is completely FREE!
Image source: Discovery Playhouse on Facebook
Image source: Discovery Playhouse on Facebook

10. Discovery Playhouse, a childrens’ museum, is a fun and educational experience ideal for ages 11 and under. Located in Downtown Cape Girardeau along Broadway, Discovery Playhouse offers many exciting, interactive exhibits where children can learn about the world around them. Come shop in the grocery store, become a dentist, splash in the Secret Water Garden or learn about money at the bank! Visit “Grandma Ruth’s Farm” where you can milk a cow, harvest veggies or sell your produce in the near by grocery store! Young children can join in the fun as they uncover the magic of “Pollywog Pond” in their kid-sized fishing boat.  Kids can become caregivers for the newborn babies in “Southeast Health-y Beginnings.”  Discover the Power of Air as you watch balls zoom and whoosh through the tunnels of Air-Maze-ing Fun.  Spend hours laughing, playing, and learning at Discovery Playhouse. Admission for children under 1 is free; children ages 1 and up are $6. Discovery Playhouse is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday, Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.
Boat docked11. Riverboats. Another of Cape’s favorite pastimes, occasional riverboat docking along the riverfront make for a picturesque stroll reminiscent of times gone by in our lovely downtown. Eleven different docking events are currently planned by the cruise lines operating these historic treasures, starting in July, averaging about one stop every two weeks through early November. All docking dates and times are subject to change by the cruise lines and river levels. Keep watching for the majestic arrival of these amazing boats!