Scheduling Your Visit
Teachers and group leaders are requested to schedule their visit to the nature center by calling during business hours. Scheduling should be planned well in advance due to the high volume of groups that participate in the educational programs each year. When you call with your reservation, staff members can help you plan a visit that meets your needs and time frame. Allow time for shopping, lunch, and restroom breaks in addition to the presented programs.
When you call to schedule a reservation for your group, please be prepared to provide the following information:
- Several options for dates (have your calendar ready)
- Your name
- Organization name, address and phone number
- Number of children and number of adults
- Expected arrival time and departure time
- Desired programs/educational objectives
- Lunch plans and length of time required for lunch
- Any necessary accommodations for children or adults with disabilities
- Grade level, age, or general description of audience
What Should We Wear?
We suggest that your group wear comfortable walking shoes and clothing appropriate for outdoor activities and inclement weather. If it should rain, the tour will still be offered unless there is severe weather. If, for some reason, you would prefer to keep your group indoors on the day of your visit, please contact a staff member prior to your reservation date for other programming options.
Can We Shop?
Yes. Our gift shop is well stocked to reinforce your educational experiences here at the nature center. We offer a wide selection of gifts, books, and nature supplies. If you would like to allow your group time to shop, please plan to spend additional time here beyond the time allowed for scheduled programming. We can also plan a shopping visit as one of the stops provided in your visit plan.
Can We Eat Lunch There?
Yes. We have outdoor areas available for lunches and picnics. These areas, however, have limited space and are only available on a first come, first serve basis. Pavilions and picnic areas also are available at Craighead Forrest Park, which is connected to our grounds. You may reserve a pavilion by calling 870-932-6905.
What if it Rains?
We will not cancel your reservation if it is raining. It is up to you to contact the park if you prefer to cancel and reschedule due to rain. Many alternate activities can be planned inside. Groups with more than 60 people should contact the park to discuss programming options. All groups should contact the park to discuss options prior to the day of your arrival if you would like alternate programming.
Accessibility for People with Disabilities
The nature center is designed to be as accessible as possible. An elevator provides access to all three levels inside. The ¼-mile long Habitats Trail is universally accessible from either the main level or lower level of the building. Doors and hallways meet ADA standards. Crowley’s Ridge, a 16-minute feature film with special effects, can be shown with or without captions. Exhibits in the main hall feature touch and audio exhibits as well as much to see.
Please let us know if your group has anyone with special physical or behavioral needs. This will enable our staff to plan the best experience for your group.
Discipline of Your Group
Teachers and adult chaperones are responsible for the discipline of your group. This allows staff to spend their energy providing quality programs and responding to questions. We suggest that your group have one adult chaperone for every 10 to 15 children.
Rules and Regulations
To help protect your group and your nature center, please make sure every member of your group follows the rules of the center:
- All plants, animals, minerals, artifacts and other features on the center’s grounds are protected. Please leave them for the next person to enjoy.
- Please dispose of trash properly. Trash containers are located near picnic tables and inside the building.
- While on tour, all members of the group should remain with the group unless they are instructed by staff or a chaperone to leave the group for some reason.
- The group will be asked to stay behind the staff member on the interpretive trails unless instructed otherwise.
- Fishing is not permitted on the grounds unless part of a planned instructional activity.
- Pets must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet and attended to at all times. Pets are not allowed in the building. Controlled, leashed pets may be taken on guided hikes, but understand that this may reduce the chance of seeing wild animals.