Zoos and Wildlife Parks in NW Arkansas
The wildlife in the woods of Northwest Arkansas can sometimes be pretty reclusive. Head to a zoo or animal park instead, and see some exotic creatures, or be around animals you can pet--especially if you're traveling with kids. Here are several places in Northwest Arkansas that fit the bill.
Wild Wilderness Safari
Only half an hour west of Lowell. 400-acres are home to exotic and domestic animals --big cats and rhinos, farm animals and birds. The drive-through section is 4 miles long, and you can visit the petting parks and walk-through areas as well. 20923 Safari Rd, Gentry. 479-736-8383.
The Parsons family farm in Springdale turned part of its land into a fun place for kids to learn about domesticated animals. Pony rides, petting zoo and friendly farmers who tell you about each animal and let you feed them in the petting zoo. Only open to the general public on Fridays and Saturdays from September to November, but worth the trip if you're in the area in the fall. 5350 Parsons Rd., Springdale. 479-799-5033.
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
More wildlife adventures await seven miles south of Eureka Springs on Hwy. 23. The refuges offers lifetime care for abandoned, abused or neglected big cats--tigers, lions, leopards, cougars--as well as some other big mammals and smaller wild cats.
Take the self-guided tour, or join a guided tour of the natural habitats. Don't miss feeding time, when more than 1,000 lbs. of meat turns into supper for these big, wild creatures. Call ahead to be sure of feeding time; it's usually around 4 pm in the winter and 5 pm in the summer, but can vary.
Promised Land Zoo
Another drive-through wildlife adventure, 10 miles north of Eureka Springs. A four-mile track takes you past roughly 500 animals in the comfort of your own vehicle. When it's feeding time at the petting zoo you and the kids may be able to help bottle feed the baby animals. Open daily 9-6. 32297 Hwy 86, Eagle Rock, MO. 417-271-3324.