Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, a USDA licensed refuge for Big Cats, is a short 7 miles from the historic tourist town of Eureka Spring, AR, on scenic highway 23.
Turning into the main driveway, our visitors are treated to a breath-taking view of the gorgeous Ozark Mountains on one side and a view of our beautiful event field on the other.
The drive itself feeds into our large parking area, from which visitors then enter our main Gift Shop/Reception area – a large converted barn, newly redecorated inside and out and having a large selection of gift items for all ages.
Our staff checks visitors in, briefly explains our mission, and directs guests to our main compound area where they will be treated to an up-close view of a variety of our beautiful Big Cats and other animals.
Lions, and tigers, and bears (oh my!), in addition to several of our beautiful cougars, are in the main compound area where visitors are as close as five feet away from these magnificent creatures. Each animal has its story/history plaque on the front of its cage for this self-guided tour, with visitors taking as long as they like to enjoy ‘meeting’ them.
Picnic tables and benches are in full view of the animals, making Turpentine Creek a fun adventure for individuals, couples, and families alike.
We also have lodging available!
Turpentine Creek is open every day of the year except Christmas. The self-guided area is open from 9 AM – 6 PM in the summer months and 9 AM – 5 PM in the winter months. Guided tours run every hour on the hour from 10AM – 3PM.
Starting at 10 a.m. each day, Turpentine Creek offers a guided tour of our natural habitats. Over half of our animals reside in these large enclosures. The goal of the refuge is to house every animal in a habitat on our 459 acres. The half mile walking tour is guided by one of our biologist or zoologist interns. The intern educates the public about the refuge, the different species of animals, and each enclosure. Information is provided about rescues, construction, and donations in order to keep the facility expanding. This is a great opportunity to watch the big cats running, playing, and stalking just like they would in the wild. The tours run every hour, on the hour, from 10 a.m. until one hour before feeding time.
Turpentine Creek’s goal is for every visitor to learn more about the plight of big cats in the U.S. A visit to our Education Station will ensure everyone leaves with a better understanding of the refuge’s mission. Many visual displays outline the physiology of big cats. Our “Touch and Feel” center lets you get hands on with cat fur, whiskers, toys, and more. A medical display educates you on several common ailments the refuge encounters including ingrown claws to abscessed teeth. On display are an actual tiger claw and cougar canine (removed for medical purposes). Browse through our “In the News” section as you watch our official TCWR video. A trip to the Education Station completes your experience at one of the largest big cat refuges in the world.
One of Turpentine Creek’s most important missions is education. The more informed the public is about big cats, the more likely they are to understand the importance of the refuge. Keeper Talks are designed to give the public an up close and personal look into the big cat world. The topics vary from specific information on our different species to general information on all big cats and the refuge. Keeper Talks are 20 minute presentations conducted by our biologists and zoologists in our main compound. Personal interaction with our educated staff make it easy for all your questions to be answered. The talks are only on the weekends, Saturdays 10:40 a.m. and 2:40 p.m. and Sundays 10:40 a.m.