This premier big cat sanctuary near Eureka Springs offers visitors unique safari experiences.
Turpentine Creek is located near Eureka Springs and has been rescuing exploited animals for over 27 years. The animals live in large, open habitats and the refuge does not buy, sell, trade or breed animals, making it a true wildlife sanctuary.
A Unique Adventure
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is one of the most unique animal adventures in Northwest Arkansas. Located outside Eureka Springs, the non-profit has been rescuing lions, tigers, leopards, bobcats, bears, and other animals in need since 1991 – providing the animals with shelter, veterinary care and a healthy supply of food. The Refuge’s commitment to education, preservation and compassion is the key to its ability to offer a lifetime of refuge for abused and neglected animals. Turpentine Creek has established itself as not only a premier wildlife refuge but also an educational and entertaining experience for visitors of all ages.
The quality of life for the nearly 100 animals in the refuge is Turpentine Creek’s top priority. As a result, hands-on interaction with the animals is strictly prohibited. However, groups can participate in various tours and workshops that provide a unique perspective on these amazing animals, while furthering the organization’s preservation mission.
Some of the most popular experiences include:
- Open-Air Guided Tram Tour to see large cat habitats
- A behind-the-scenes look at refuge operations with an Exclusive Behind the Scenes Carnivore Caravan Tour (Saturdays and Sundays – limited seating, book in advance)
- Coffee with the Curator Tour to learn about the staff’s advocacy work (A two-hour early-morning tour – must reserve in advance)
- Enrichment Workshop: Hands-on opportunities to create toys that help the animals’ physical and mental health – engage with Education Team to make arrangements
- Unique on-site lodging – hear the big cats’ nighttime vocalizations in artistic accommodations
Stay in Turpentine Creek
With more than 459 acres to explore, it’s difficult to see and do everything in one day. Fortunately, Turpentine Creek makes it easy – and fun – to extend your visit with several unique lodging opportunities, including lodge suites, glamping, RV spaces and even pet-friendly options. Secluded in a grove of trees, the Tree House Bungalow provides a view of nature and the animals. Comfortable Glamping Tents feature real beds, electricity and other comforts of home. Adult-only units at the Zulu Safari Lodge offer amenities like artfully decorated suites and decks with sunset views, a fire pit and a hot tub. Family-friendly Safari Suites feature large windows to watch the big cats play. And RV and camping spots are also available by reservation. With so many different options, Turpentine Creek is the perfect spot for an unforgettable family weekend trip or a romantic getaway. We recommend booking in advance to secure your preferred accommodation.
Want to take home a memento from your visit while supporting the Refuge’s mission? Stop by the gift shop to pick up a souvenir, or even “adopt” and sponsor an animal. Items are also available through the online store, which features an extensive selection of cruelty-free and eco-friendly merchandise and apparel.
Educational, inspirational, and just plain fun, Turpentine Creek is a unique family attraction for visitors of all ages. To see some of Turpentine Creek’s current residents, check out the photo gallery.