Come face-to-face with some of the world’s largest species of cat in this educational wildlife refuge that houses rescued animals.
While the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge officially opened in 1992, its story stems back to the late 1970s when the Jackson family rescued their first lion, Bum. Today, the facility is one of the largest of its kind in North America and is home to dozens of tigers, lions, cougars and leopards, along with a few other species of large cat. Visit the refuge to tour its various habitats, watch feeding sessions and explore the Education Station to learn more about the plight of the refuge and its big cats.
Sign up for a trolley tour for the best overview of the park. Most of the refuge’s employees are biologists or zoologists so a tour presents a unique opportunity to ask questions of the trained professionals. Learn about the different habitats and the facilities of the 459-acre (185-hectare) refuge on the daily habitat tour, hosted each morning. Visit on the weekend for informative keeper talks from members of staff.
Explore the self-guided area at your own pace to watch cats playing in their habitats. Despite being dedicated to the plight of cats, the refuge also houses a few other rescued animals, including a number of bears. Look for the grizzly bear habitat adjacent to the gift shop. Stop by the Education Station to feel examples of fur and read informative displays about the life cycles of large cats.
The refuge offers accommodation so you can spend an entire weekend becoming acquainted with the animals. Bring your own tent or caravan to make the most of camping facilities or spend the night in the Zulu Safari lodges.
The Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is located just outside Eureka Springs in northwest Arkansas. Reach the refuge by car and use the on-site parking. There is a fee to enter the refuge, with all proceeds going to its development. The refuge is closed on Christmas Day.