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Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

You don't have to travel far from Eureka Springs to find exotic big cats. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge has served as a big cat sanctuary in Arkansas for over 30 years and the public is welcome to come and see it. There are plenty of opportunities to experience the wildlife refuge and many activities to keep you busy throughout your visit. Come see one of the best animal sanctuaries in Arkansas when you visit Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge.

What is Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge?

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge offers "lifetime refuge for abused and neglected ‘big cats' with emphasis on tigers, lions, leopards and cougars." The refuge started when Don, Hilda and Tanya Jackson rescued their first big cat in 1978 in Hughes Springs, Texas. They rescued another in 1982. In 1991, black market dealer and breeder Catherine Gordon Twiss was on the run with 42 big cats. She showed up at the Jacksons' house seeking a place to leave the cats. Shortly thereafter, the Jacksons utilized the 460-acre ranch just south of Eureka Springs, eventually evolving the property into what it is today.

Where is Turpentine Wildlife Refuge?

The wildlife refuge sits 8.5 miles south of Eureka Springs off State Route 23. The address is 239 Turpentine Creek Lane.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Prices

The big cat sanctuary offers three tickets. Adults 20 and older are $25 while teens (13-19) are $20 and children (4-12) and seniors (65+) are $15. Infants 3 and under are free. Prices are the same for online reservations and at the door. Tickets cover entry into the refuge for the day.

Things to do at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Tickets allow guests to take part in a wide variety of activities at Turpentine Creek. Activities range from daily to scheduled. Guests can enjoy a half-mile guided habitat tour on any day. Tours begin on the hour throughout the week. Guests can also head over to the discovery area to see the various animals living at the refuge. Visitors can also walk through the bear tunnel.

The refuge also offers a behavior management program that happens most days before the first tour of the day. This program allows the animals to enjoy stress-reducing activities as well as staff to perform routine medical checkups. Visitors can also witness training after the last tour of the day.

Saturdays offer a unique experience for guests to explore the park from behind the scenes. This tour is private and does cost extra, adding $100 to $150 per person in cost. Guests must also schedule three days in advance if they want to try the exclusive tour. The park also hosts various educational events. These programs allow guests to learn about the various animals, conservation efforts, biodiversity, animal adaptions and many other topics.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Reviews

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is one of the most popular things to do in Eureka Springs. See what others are saying about it.

"What an amazing 2 hours we spent here! The stories we heard about the big cats we're so heartbreaking yet eye-opening. Tour was great and we understood that what we saw on the tour was up to the cats. Turned out that quite a few of the big cats were up and active. They sell food and had a wonderful gift shop." Lindy Floyd, Google Review

"This is a very cool place, with a great mission and a story behind every animal they have. They have several different types of animals even though they are a "big cat rescue." As of writing this, it was $25 per adult, which sounds pricy until you hear all of the stories. After the tour, you will learn that it is money well spent!" Dawson Watson, Google Review