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“Amazing Experience”

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: "With over 100 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 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 are available from 10am until 4pm (Summer) or 3pm (Winter). The refuge is open year round (except Christmas Day) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.."
Reviewed May 27, 2014

We loved seeing these beautiful animals up close. We even got to see them at feeding time. That was sure something. Each animals story was truly inspiring. I enjoyed the tour guides and all of the information they gave. They work off donations and have plans to expand the enclosures for the animals soon. I hope they receive the amount. I will be donating to help support their amazing cause.

Thank Lauren M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,269 - 1,273 of 1,788 reviews

Reviewed May 27, 2014

As animal-lovers and cat-lovers in particular my husband and I were very excited to see this place and it did not disappoint! We were here for over 3 hours and stayed until just after feeding time finished (if you can, see them feed the animals, it's very interesting in operation!). This group clearly cares very much about educating people on the downside of the exotic pet trade and were very good about answering any questions we had. The walking tour (also a tram version offered for those that don't want to walk the half mile) is a MUST!

There are some very sad stories for many of these animals. It's a stark look at the downside of human nature in regards to our treatment of our fellow creatures. Thankfully Turpentine's staff do an excellent job providing a safe, secure and comfortable home for these animals. I also appreciated that the staff are not allowed into the cages and limit their contact severely with these animals. There are many precautions taken to keep both handlers and animals safe. Very well run operation. Every bit of admission and gift shop funds go back into the care of the animals, so really $20 admission for adults is a bargain. I would love to go back again!

Thank Amanda P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2014

For 2 adults it was $40 ($20/person). The place had a lot of good reviews so we thought we would enjoy it. First you walk in and there are small cages everywhere with big cats in them. It was kind of sad. After you walk through those you go on a tour with one of the workers. The enclosures on the tour were better...they had grass and room to move around. However, we didn't see most of the big cats because it was hot and they were hiding. I honestly couldn't hear a word she said on the whole tour because there were a lot of people talking and a lot of little kids crying. (It's a half-mile walk on gravel, so don't bring a stroller). There is also a double fence (for security reasons) between you and the cats which makes it EXTREMELY difficult to take good pictures. Overall, I didn't get to see many big cats and I paid $40 for pretty much a noisy walk with crying kids.

7  Thank Fuzzlette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2014

Lions, tigers, bears, cougars... the list goes on. What a fun experience! This is great for all ages and group activities. There is a walking tour (approx. .5-1mile), but it is a very easy walk with a guide that will talk about the different animals. If you go towards the end of the day (4pm-ish) that is when the volunteers begin the feeding and the animals are very active! It is awesome! The cougars are great to watch when they are feeding because they are active and entertaining (jumping and batting at their chicken) Thor, the lion, was very vocal and it was really neat to see and hear him. The tigers also have huge toys that they play with and it is fun to see them "handle" several hundred pound toys playfully. There is also a bear that likes to put on a bit of a show for the onlookers! Great time and worth the money.

Thank LauraSurp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2014

We arrived Thursday evening and were welcomed by the tigers "caroling". We did our first tour on Friday morning...VERY educational and interesting. Yes, it is even a bit sad; hearing about all the abuse some of these animals have been exposed to over their lives. We watched them being fed a couple of times and multiple visits allow you more and ample opportunity to see most all of the animals up and around at some time. The staff is made up of mostly interns and volunteers. They are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet as well as knowledgeable... and they WANT to share their knowledge. From Lori (the lodging coordinator) to Kaitlin and Jackie (interns) to Tanya (VP), everyone is ready to help you in any way they can.
I would STRONGLY recommend staying for a few days when you go. They have camping sites, cabins to rent as well as a cute "tree house" you can stay in. Admission to the habitats is included when you stay on site. We visited the animals at least once a day while we were there and got to see and learn so much. This is an amazing place and deserves ALL the support they can get.

Thank Sandra B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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