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“Lots of big cats and a very large bear!”

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: "With over 130+ exotic cats and other wildlife on display, 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 compound enclosures and gift shop. Each animal has its own story/history plaque for self-guided tours and over night accommodations are available via the Safari Lodge, RV park, and camping facilities. Guided tours available and popular daily feeding times are 4 p.m. (winter) to 5 p.m. (summer). The refuge is open year round (except Christmas Day) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.."
Level Contributor
49 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Lots of big cats and a very large bear!”
Reviewed July 13, 2013 via mobile

I took my daughter to Turpintine Creek and it was a good experience, not great, but very interesting. My advice is to go very early when it is not so hot. We did see a lot of tigers, lions, and some other animals. Also a very large bear who was in my opinion the main attraction. The walking trip around the sanctuary was not good due to the heat and most of the tigers were not visible, take WATER. The guide was however very knowledgable and I did learn a lot. There is a mobile guided tour for an extra $5 that we were not told about so I'm thinking that may be worth the money and it is going to a great cause. These people save mistreated animals and it is amazing to see them up close.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank Crshandbrn2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scottesmith, Manager at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
To have the best time at TCWR in the summer we suggest coming first thing in the morning. The cats are much smarter than us, they sleep during the hot sunny days until feeding time. Come early or come by at 4 PM to catch the last tour followed by feeding time! You won't be disappointed.
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English first
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A HUGE Win-Win”
Reviewed July 10, 2013

We stayed in one of the adult cabin-tents. Rustic on the outside, but beautifully appointed and air-conditioned on the inside. Deer came up in the field in the back. Free 2-day admission to the refuge, and all proceeds going for a great cause.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Bvandn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Linn, Missouri
Level Contributor
411 reviews
149 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 152 helpful votes
“Could have been better....”
Reviewed July 9, 2013

On a recent trip to Eureka Springs we decided to visit the Refuge. Our boys had loved the visit to the National Tiger Sanctuary in Branson last fall, so we figured it would be a win/win. It was hot the day we visited, so as we expected lots of the animals were not moving about. It cost approx $50 for our family of 4 to tour the facility. What the got us was a walk around the compound at our lesiure and a guided walk around the refuge that lasted about 45 minutes. The walk was miserable; in part because of the heat but otherwise I think we seen 2 tigers in our 45 minutes of walking. Several of the animals were told to be in lockdown that day and not available to see and the others were so high up in their enclosures that there was no possible way to see them from the trail we were on. There is not much shade on the walk or benches to rest on, so there was several people in our group complaining about the situation. My kids were ready to be done with the hike before we were half way into the tour. After the walking tour we walked around the compound. Again, a lot of the animals were in their dens and not available to be seeen. The bear was out and doing some comical stunts in his pool for the guests, which was nice.
My family of 4 all said that we prefer the sanctuary in Branson area better. The way the enclosures are built allows for a better view of the animals, even if they were resting in the shade. If you have to choose between the two, pick the National Tiger Sanctuary instead.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank Wolfeaj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scottesmith, Manager at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
Turpentine Creek is the premiere big cat refuge in the US. Hands down. I'm sorry you chose a hot day to come. You are right, the animals sleep in the hot sun. Most of the time they sleep in their dens on really hot days because they are kept much cooler. Most facilities do not have quality dens to protect their animals from scorching heat. To make your visit better come during the early morning hours. We open at 8 am. Also, to beat the heat come for the last tour of the day, 4 pm and enjoy the animals active and ready for dinner. I will let you know that they will go right back to sleep after eating! They are cats and that is what they do. So, be smart about visiting in the summer heat and know your animals. This will make your visit much more enjoyable. See you soon!
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Prairie City, Iowa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A must-see”
Reviewed July 9, 2013

You will learn a lot about endangered tigers and enjoy seeing the beautiful animals. You will do a little walking, but not bad.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank Wendy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Missouri
Level Contributor
21 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“A must see”
Reviewed July 8, 2013

This non profit organization has done a great job doing what they do!! Definitely a must see if your in the area. The staff is well educated and we enjoyed the walking tour and all the background information given on each cat. We were in Eureka Springs for the week of 4th of July and went back to Turpentine Creek for their display, what a fun event!! Glad we went there and the proceeds help the organization, so it was a win win!!

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank Mary427
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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