Community Accessibility Program

The Paleontological Research Institution, its Museum of the Earth and Cayuga Nature Center are dedicated to Earth science and environmental education. CAP was developed and continues to grow, based on our community’s needs and our capacity to fill them, to ensure that Earth science and environmental education is available to everyone regardless of resources or special needs. CAP consists of five ways to experience all we have to offer:

Winter Free Days

Visit the Museum and the Nature Center on the third Sunday of January, February, and March for free! Last year we had over 850 visitors on our Winter Free Days.

Community Day

Typically the second Sunday in May, Community Day is a day of free admission to explore the Museum and Nature Center. At the Museum, volunteers are stationed at each of the Discovery Labs to assist visitors in hands-on exploration of fossils, dinosaurs, and more! Public tours of the Museum will be offered by our staff and volunteer docents every hour. Last year we had over 100 visitors.

Agency Memberships

This unique membership level allows community agencies to give the individuals and families they serve access to the Museum and Nature Center. Agency memberships are available to select 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations and government agencies offering human and/or social services. Benefits of Agency Membership include: unlimited free admission passes to pass on to constituents, unlimited group admission with advance notice, and discounts on programming, events and field trips with advance reservation, plus the opportunity to award one week of Summer Camp at the Cayuga Nature Center to a child in the agency’s service area. Last year we had nearly 400 visitors through the Agency Membership Program.

Summer Camp Scholarships at Cayuga Nature Center

In the summer of 2012, PRI offered 14 full and 5 partial need-based Summer Camp Scholarships to children in Ithaca and the surrounding community.

This year we hope to offer 20 need-based scholarships. These scholarships are made possible through generous donations from the community. To donate to the Summer Camp Scholarship Fund, please enter your gift here:


Partnership with Food Bank of the Southern Tier

PRI had the opportunity to coordinate with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier for the 2011-2012 school year on a very exciting program. The Food Bank’s BackPack Program™ discreetly provides packs of nutritious, easy to prepare, child-friendly food distributed each Friday during the school year, as well as before school breaks, to children who have been identified as being at-risk for food scarcity at home. PRI offered a "make your own free day" coupon to each of the children participating in the BackPack™ program enabling them and their family to come to the Museum and the Nature Center for free.