Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

White Tiger

Nestled in the scenic Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas, the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is home to more than one hundred exotic as well as native animals. Among the largest and most respected large cat sanctuaries in North America, is a nonprofit with a mission to provide care and forever homes to victims of the exotic animal trade.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Lions, Tigers, Bears…and more

Sometimes I stumble onto an amazing attraction on my way to another “amazing attraction,” such as in this case. Looking forward to shopping in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, I came across the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge and turned off Highway 23 when I saw a sign pointing the way to the refuge.

Inside the visitor center I joined a small group of tourists for a walking tour of the large animal compounds at the refuge. The chuffing of tigers, and the caroling of lions echoed through the Ozark Mountains. One tiger in particular followed us behind his fence as we filed across the front of his habitat. Every rescued animal has a story. Every story is heart wrenching. To see these magnificent animals and hear their stories of rescue and recovery is inspiring.

I have to say that walking the touring trail was a little challenging at times. But the only way to see the large cats in their habitats is by guided tour. (The trail was only 1/2 mile long.) Still, I’ll take the trolley next time. I will admit that the walking tour was worth the trek.

Guided Walking and Trolley Tours Schedule

Guided walking tours leave the visitor center every hour from 10 am – 4 pm during the summer; and from 10 am – 3 pm in the winter. There’s also a guided trolley tour from 10:30 am – 3:30 pm during the summer months for an additional cost of $5. Biologist and / or zoologists lead the guided tours.

Private tours are available on Saturdays for a behind the scenes look at the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge for an additional cost of $100 – $150 per person. *These tours must be scheduled at least three days ahead of time.

Stay at the Refuge

Visitors can stay a day or a week at TCWR. RV/Tent spaces are available on site for $65. Or stay in one of their unique

Adults Only Lodging

  • Kilimanjaro Suite at the Zulu Lodge
  • Congo Suite at the Zulu Lodge
  • Okavango Suite at the Zulu Lodge
  • Serengeti Suite at the Zulu Lodge
  • Kalahari Suite at the Zulu Lodge

Family Friendly Lodging

  • Siberian Suite
  • Bengel Suite
  • Treehouse Bungalow
  • Bam Bam Bungalow
  • Tigris Tent


Adults (19+) $20
Teens (13-18) $15
Kids (4-12) $10; Seniors (65+), and Military
Infants are free (0-3)


If you’re like me, and you love animals the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is worth a visit. If you’re in the Eureka Springs, Arkansas area stop in to see the amazing animals and the herculean efforts made by the staff to improve and maintain a high quality of life for these formerly abandoned and abused animals.


Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Courtesy of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
Scroll Up
%d bloggers like this: