Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
4.5
Nature & Wildlife Areas
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8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
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About
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest big cat sanctuaries in the United States. The non-profit USDA licensed refuge, founded in 1992, has grown to become one of the Top 10 attractions in Arkansas and the most popular in Eureka Springs. Lions, cougars, leopards, tigers, and bears are displayed in large natural habitats surrounding the main enclosures and gift shop. Over night accommodations are available via the Safari Lodge, RV park, and camping facilities. Tours are available from 9 am until 4 pm.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
2,436 reviews
Excellent
1,965
Very good
324
Average
108
Poor
28
Terrible
11

Stacey B
Overland Park, KS5 contributions
Oct 2021
I was hesitant about this due to fairly steep admission costs for a family of four, but when two teenage boys agree on something of interest on vacation ... you do what you can to make it work. ;-) I was so pleasantly surprised! On a beautiful fall day, we enjoyed 2+ hours of viewing amazing animals and learning about their behaviors and personalities and histories ... which are quite sad, but it is so wonderful to see the new beginnings the refuge makes possible for them! We spent about half our time exploring on foot and half on a tram ride with an extremely knowledgeable and personable guide. The animals are just gorgeous, and after difficult and unfair starts in life for them, it's inspiring to see how the refuge and its supporters are committed to giving them healthy, safe, happy forever homes. We enjoyed this family time together and felt great about supporting such a worthy effort. Among many beautiful animals, we especially enjoyed seeing Bam Bam the grizzly and Kyro the li-liger. Great experience.
Written October 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Stacey, thank you so much for sharing your experience and choosing to come see us! We are glad you enjoyed your time spent with our animals. Hope to see you again sometime. Take care.
Written October 19, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kelly B
Iowa4,217 contributions
Jun 2020
We visited Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge this morning.

I booked online about a week in advance. Due to Covid, they are restricting the number of people on the tours. I highly recommend booking in advance to avoid tickets being sold out when you want to go.

Our tour was at 10:00 a.m. At 9:30, the gate to the driveway opened, and we drove into the refuge grounds. Ample (and free) parking. I went up to the ticket window to confirm the tour, and get our wristbands.

While waiting for the tour, we were sent to wait in a fenced in area in front of the bear enclosure. The bear was hanging out in his night house, but we could still get a glimpse of him. There is also a small concession stand here (water, etc).

Our tour started promptly on time. I don’t recall our guide’s name, but she did an excellent job. Because it was a chilly day, some of the animals were in the night houses, and we couldn’t see them. The animals here are never forced out into view.

Because it was chilly though, a few of the tigers were active! That was incredible to see. We saw two of them chasing each other around; another pair was racing around and “playing “ with their toys.

The path they take you on is gravel, some it loose, so wear sturdy shoes. It’s a bit hilly. The tour takes about an hour.

Restrooms are located in a building near the parking lot. They were very clean, and quite nice.
Written June 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hello, kren250! Thank you so much for your concise and detailed review. We appreciate you taking the time to tell other guests what to expect! We also want to express our gratitude for your visit. After having to be closed to the public for so long due to the pandemic, your visit is giving our animal residents support they greatly need! We are so thankful you were able to spend some time with us. Chilly weather often sends our African animals inside for warmth, but our tigers are huge fans of it! They tend to be much more active on cool and even rainy days than warmer ones. We hope you can visit us again! Take care.
Written June 22, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Ash S
Biloxi, MS16 contributions
Apr 2022
We got to hear the amazing lions caroling, we watched the tigers, bears, and lions play. They are so well taken care of. Turpentine has been a special place in my heart ever since my first visit in 2015. I took my partner to see my favorite place on earth and even on a rainy day we had a blast. The staff is so friendly and nice, and they have many ways you can donate to help the animals in their care. They are a TRUE sanctuary. They do not breed, touch, or trade their animals.
Written April 23, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thanks for coming out to support our animals! Your support makes everything we do possible! Hope to see you again.
Written April 26, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Chris v
6 contributions
Dec 2021 • Family
A 2.5/5 star if I could but I rounded up. To start, they want you to book tickets online and then change a “convenience fee” which is disgusting. They force you to wear masks despite vaccination because “the cats are highly capable of catching the Corona Virus.” Stupid. Not saying it’s not true, just saying that they should ask the Feds for cat vaccines if it’s THAT serious. Tour did last the one hour it was promised but was about a 1/2 loop +- and the carrier seats are pure crap and uncomfortable. Their stories about how they rescuers the cats are encouraging and truly make me feel happy about giving it 2 more stars than I would have. The prices are obnoxiously expensive ($25 adults, $15 kids 4+) which makes the trip add up FAST for traditional families. People come to support the cause yet the Center charges an arm ad 1/2 a leg to get in. Not very fair. Besides that, we did learn some interesting tid bits about Ligers, Tigers, cross breeding, and Tiger King (wink wink.) If you had to pick this or another place, I recommend going to Gentry, AR instead where you get more bang for your buck.
Written December 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi Chris, Sorry you don't feel our mission is worthy of the cost of admission. We are a charitable organization and every cent that comes in, goes directly to providing for the formerly abused, neglected, and abandoned animals we rescue. We do not require reservations to be made online (you may phone us or just walk-up) but if you choose that option - yes, the online booking engine (an outside service) will apply a dollar or so for their service. Online booking is something that we offer our guests for their convenience, and most appreciate having that option, should they decide to utilize it. As for the facility that you have recommended - they are not a certified wildlife refuge, as we are; they are an entertainment venue, and as such, the type of facility we routinely rescue animals from. At Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, we provide a forever home for animals (such as those at the facility you mentioned) who are doomed to a lifetime of having to meet the needs of humans, in whatever form that takes; be it lifelong breeding, being made to perform tricks, having to endure substandard living conditions, and so much more... It is also our mission to educate consumers against patronizing such facilities, as well as lobbying to have them outlawed. All the best to you Chris.
Written December 31, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Elaine H
1 contribution
Jun 2021 • Couples
We visited for the 3:00 tour. The bear up front was adorable and fun. And that was the end of the positive. The first thing our guide told us was that we had just paid $50 and the animals are really only active at 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. Had we known that, we'd have waited an hour for the later tour. We rode around listening to her literally repeat the same sentences over and over at each cage, fussing and fuming about animal abuse rather than sharing interesting things about the cats...and most of said cats were sleeping in their indoor enclosure and couldn't be seen. Of the maybe 15 we saw, only 2 so much as moved a muscle. If the animals are only active twice a day, then only give 2 tours per day. And please make it a pleasant tour, not a long sermon on not abusing animals...I don't abuse animals and I don't support animal abuse, so you wasted my time, your breath, and my money.
Written June 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi, Elaine! Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry your experience wasn't what you hoped for. As a true sanctuary, it is our duty to educate the public and advocate for animals like those who have found a safe haven at TCWR. Because many people are unaware of the plights of big cats in captivity, we try to make the tour as educational and informational as possible. If you have any feedback regarding how we could better balance this information with stories about each animal, please email us at tigers@tcwr.org. We try to make it clear that during the summer months, our animal residents are most likely to be active in the early morning and later in the afternoon. As you can imagine, felines are unpredictable and we don't force them to be on a schedule since this is their home. If you email us at tigers@tcwr.org, we would be happy to set you up with a tour at a better time so you can get what you feel like is your money's worth. Thank you for supporting the wellbeing of our animal residents with your visit. Because of you, they are free to nap and play at their leisure.
Written June 22, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

douglaslgibson
Nixa, MO3 contributions
Apr 2021
We spent last night in the Siberian Suite and it was amazing! The room was spotless and the bed was very comfortable. The enclosure housing "Fergie" the tiger was adjacent to the building and she spent much of the evening on her perch outside our bedroom window. We've toured the sanctuary many times but this was our first overnight experience & the animals did not disappoint! At sunset we sat out on the deck & opened a bottle of wine. The lions began caroling at dusk & the tigers joined in shortly thereafter. At one point a pack of coyotes joined in, it was an experience we'll never forget. The night's stay was a birthday gift from my wife & I told her I want to make this an annual trip. I highly recommend Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge to everyone!
Written April 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear Doug, First and foremost - happy birthday! We are so honored to have been a part of your celebration! So glad you found your stay enjoyable. There is nothing quite like being serenaded by big cats, and we are happy to hear that the local wildlife joined in as well! We appreciate your on-going support - it really is what makes everything we do possible! Looking forward to hosting you again!
Written May 1, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Robert P
2 contributions
Oct 2021
My wife and I were having ourselves a little honeymoon in Bentonville after tying the knot on October 16th. We were looking for things to do in our hotel and saw the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. We both had heard so many great things about it and knew we had to check it out. It was a 100% worth it, I know some of the reviews talk about how having to wear the masks are stupid or what not. It is to keep the big cats safe, as someone who had COVID and then gave COVID to their house cat (who has now since recovered) I understand why they want to protect them. Our Tour Guide on October 18th was phenomenal and extremely knowledgeable about the animals. We knew going into this we probably wouldn't get to see all the animals due to this not being a zoo and it being a refuge. A refuge literally means a place to rest and that is what these animals are getting.

10/10 Visit!
We definitely will be coming back sometime in the future and plan to do one of the exclusive tours so we can see Rescue Ridge!

Thank you for all you do for these animals!
Written October 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear Robbie & New Bride, Congratulations to both of you! Thank you for making the trip to support our animals. We are so happy to learn that you enjoyed your visit and that you chose to spend such a special time with us! Thank you again, we wish you all the best! Take care.
Written October 23, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Greta B
Ozark, MO6 contributions
Sep 2021
We stayed overnight in the Serengeti Suite at the Zulu Lodge and loved it! It was comfortable, full of character and charm, and absolutely loved hearing the animals at night. Also, all the staff were extremely friendly and helpful! We took an early tour and enjoyed seeing the beautiful and regal animals and hearing about their rescues. Their stories were heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. Heartbreaking because they had such sad pasts and heartwarming because they now have a forever home for their futures thanks to Turpentine Creek and the wonderful love and care they receive there. I was happy to pay for our lodging, tour tickets and gift shop purchases knowing that the money will help take care of these magnificent species and give them a life they deserve. I hope many others will read this and will want to visit and feel the same way.
Written September 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Greta, thank you so much for supporting our animals with your visit! Lodging goes a really long way in providing for our animals! We are glad you enjoyed yourself and hope to see you again. Take care.
Written September 9, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jean C
Tucson, AZ84 contributions
Aug 2022
Very hot day....would recommend going early or later (our tour was 11-12) but we still saw bears, many tigers, and the lion out and about. Tram is about an hour, with plenty of information about the cats and their backstories (some are sad) and their "forever homes" at Turpentine Creek. Recommended for all ages...HUGE facility!
Written August 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MISTI C
9 contributions
Apr 2021
This was a cool sanctuary and the money went to help preserve the cause but could have lived without this on our trip. Someone on another one of adventures suggested so thought we would check it out could have saved our money and skipped it. We live near a very cool zoo that also participates in refuge projects so we have seen similar things.
Written April 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for coming to visit us. If you have any suggestions on how would could improve our tour, we would love to hear from you! You may send suggestions to Tigers@TurpentineCreek.org. Thank you again for your support - your visit makes a difference in the lives of our animals!
Written April 7, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (Eureka Springs) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is open:
  • Sun - Sat 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM