The center is now open to the public 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. We are closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holidays. The public will be required to abide by social-distancing protocols in AGFC buildings and events, such as wearing masks while indoors.
Elk are one of the largest members of the deer family in North America and many of us associate this animal with western states. However, the eastern elk was a native of the Natural State. Unfortunately, this subspecies disappeared from our state after 1840 and for almost one hundred years, a bugling elk could not be heard throughout the hills of Arkansas. Between 1981 and 1985, elk were re-introduced to the Buffalo River area, and have become one of Arkansas’s most successful re-establishment programs.
Don't miss the opportunity to see elk in their natural habitat along Arkansas Highways 43 and 21 in Boxley Valley. You'll have greater success at dawn and dusk when the elk frequent the grassy fields along the highways. Be alert! It is common for elk to cross highways.
Today, an elk herd of about 600 animals makes its home along the Buffalo National River. To learn more about this animals' recovery, biology and history, check out the Elk Education Center in Ponca. You and your students will find exhibits and meeting space to assist you as you delve into the world of Arkansas elk as well as the other flora and fauna of the Ozark Mountains. Stop by for the latest sightings and area information, or just to relax and enjoy the exhibits and activities for all ages.
Relax in rustic log rockers or benches on a shady wraparound deck overlooking Ponca Creek while observing some of the area's flora and fauna. A lazy trail along the creek offers a closer look, while nearby picnic tables, covered pavilion and large grassy area provide room for fun and games.
For an educational and fun souvenir, shop our gift corner for books, videos, shirts and more. Hunting and fishing licenses also are available. The center is within easy access to some exceptional camping, canoeing, swimming and fishing on the Buffalo National River, along with some of the finest hiking trails in the state. Cabin and canoe rentals are available in the area through private sources.
An exhibit room, complete with full-body mounts of elk in natural settings and an Arkansas black bear, helps you explore and enjoy the environment. Visitors find hands-on displays of hides, skulls and other interesting artifacts, a geology display, interactive computer quizzes, as well as a birding window to view the many species of birds that frequent the feeders. An interpretive native wildflower garden provides wonderful opportunities to observe butterflies, dragonflies, birds and other critters amid an array of seasonal color.
Groups may schedule time for use of the facility for a customized program. All educational materials and supplies are provided free of charge. Call for details and scheduling.
Relax in rustic log rockers or benches on a shady wraparound deck overlooking Ponca Creek while observing some of the area’s flora and fauna. A lazy trail along the creek offers a closer look, while nearby picnic tables, covered pavilion and large grassy area provide room for fun and games.
Click on the Calendar tab above to find Professional Development classes currently scheduled at different locations around the state.
Facility and Program Documents
Arkansas Outdoor Skills Network
Have you ever wanted to try hunting or harvest your own food? The Outdoor Skills Network is your one-stop resource for events offered by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and a network of partners who conduct opportunities to engage your outdoor skills in hunting, fishing, trapping, safety, wildlife, marksmanship, and more!
Event types and descriptions are merely guidelines to help you choose what is best for you -- they are not prerequisites.
Ponca Nature Center
4642 AR Highway 43, Ponca, AR 72670
P.O. Box 31
Ponca, AR 72670
For more information regarding the Ponca Nature Center or to schedule a class or group field trip, please contact us at the phone number above, or send an email.