Ozark Plateaus, Ouachita Mountains and Arkansas River Valley
On your way to the main exhibit area, you’ll walk between rock outcroppings. They represent the Ozark Plateaus and the Ouachita Mountains. Interactive displays teach about how the mountains and valley were formed.
Arkansas River Aquarium
A huge aquarium between the “mountains” contains fish and turtles from the Arkansas River. Models of fish and an information-filled display let guests try their hand at catching fish replicas and learning about the variety of fish swimming in our waters.
The Oak Forest
An enormous oak tree spreads its branches in the main exhibit area. Models of forest animals surround the woodland giant. Interactive displays let visitors press buttons and move levers to learn about different animals in the oak forest. The main exhibit floor also features live animals for guests to view.
The Life of Birds
Watch a video showing how birds fly, listen to their songs and learn how birds use their feet and beaks to eat. Smaller guests can even climb into a giant nest to get a young bird’s perspective.
Keep a sharp eye out for scissor-tailed flycatchers near the nature center during summer. It is the bird on the nature center’s logo and a popular temporary resident in the valley.
Wildlife Watching Area
Large windows in this area offer a close-up view of native birds and wildlife. An artificial stream and feeders attract a wide variety of animals for visitors to enjoy from the comfort of the center.
Grounds and Trails
Wells Lake is a twelve acre man-made lake. It was built in the 1940s. Its purpose was to collect water needed during the construction of Fort Chaffee. This type of lake is called an impoundment.
Visitors of all ages are welcome to fish in Wells Lake. Even novices can enjoy this sport. Give it a try! Poles and tackle boxes are available as loaners. You will need to supply the bait.
Remember, if you are 16 or older, you need a fishing license to fish at Wells Lake and in all Arkansas waters. You can purchase one here at the nature center.
The Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center offers more than four miles of trails, two of which meet Americans With Disabilities Act requirements.
Don’t forget your binoculars and camera –you might see raccoons, beavers or even deer. The fishing piers around Wells Lake makes for some exciting angling. Keep your eyes and ears open for signs of wildlife. More than 140 species of birds have been spotted on these trails.
You may notice some areas on the trails that are affected by prescribed burning. Why do we burn? It stimulates native plants, improves wildlife habitat, controls tree diseases, and reduces fuel on the ground and unplanned fires.