Admission to the nature center is free thanks to your support of the Amendment 75 Conservation Fund.
Witt Stephens Jr. Nature Center
We are closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Please call 501-907-0636 before you come unless you are planning a self-guided visit of the area.
- Sunday: Closed
- Monday: Closed
- Tuesday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Wednesday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Thursday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Saturday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Nature Center Offerings
The Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center opened December 17, 2008. The 16,232 square foot building on 3.4 acres in Little Rock, overlooks the Arkansas River and is within the Julius Breckling Riverfront Park. The site is a part of the River Market District, and is adjacent to the Museum of Discovery and the Clinton Presidential Library. Visitors to the State House Convention Center may access the grounds by choosing one of several walking routes.
The center focuses on the wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities that our state’s fish and wildlife resources provide. Exhibits highlight the role of fish and wildlife management and many of the projects conducted throughout the history of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The location along the Arkansas River allows many watchable wildlife activities within an urban area. Basking water turtles, butterflies and migrating pelicans are common sights. A portion of the Arkansas River Trail crosses the site, offering more options for exploration. The grounds of the center include beds of native plants found throughout the state, while the main building includes an exhibit hall, aquariums, gift shop, theater and special educational programs.
A dynamic, 10-minute multimedia presentation filmed in high definition – is one of the center’s highlights. It appears on a large screen that 60 people can view. The show also focuses on the AGFC and the role it plays in conservation.
After the show, visitors can pass through an old trapper’s cabin, which appears nestled in the woods.
Visitors will follow water as it passes through a continuous series of living habitat exhibits – from a replicated mountain spring into the river’s main channel cypress swamps, delta marshlands and a bottomland hardwood forest. Each segment has been isolated with flow-through barriers that contain each habitat’s population of fish.
Since this area is rural and includes the Ozark National Forest, the region is represented with a pool with large rocks and river-bottom pebbles at the base of a series of springs and falling water. Visitors hear the natural sounds of the region, including elk bugling, turkeys gobbling, squirrels barking, whip-poor-wills and wood thrushes.
Geologic forces crushed the mid-continent region in Arkansas, forming one of few east-west ranges in North America. Because of this orientation, pine and hardwood forests alternate on the north and south faces of ridges. These trees are represented with a stream along a rock-lined course.
A large aquarium with moving water displays larger fish found in the river. The river itself is seen just yards from the center. The site has great blue herons, belted kingfishers and waterfowl as regular visitors. White pelicans stop by during fall migration.
Cypress tree bases and knees recreate a swamp and bayou environment.
Visitors are first engaged in this vast bottomland forest region by a large, fallen tree with a snake among its roots. Large fish, turtles, ducks and geese are featured in this wetland marsh region. Natural sounds of the delta – such as Chuck-will’s-widows call and frogs – can be heard.
Delta Country/Big Woods
Interpretation of the Big Woods conservation story are incorporated into this exhibit with information about the AGFC’s role in preservation and management.
The AGFC’s three major divisions – Law Enforcement, Wildlife Management and Fisheries – are highlighted in display cases where visitors may learn about the roles of agency personnel through interactive components.
Nature Gift Shop
Are you looking for a unique gift item? Make the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center your first stop. Our gift shop features nature-related books, outdoor-themed gifts, toys, games, animal guides, jewelry, educational items and more. There’s something for everyone on your list.
Grounds and Trails
Outside is a variety of bird-feeding stations set among shrubbery and a gently flowing seep. The location along the Arkansas River allows many watchable wildlife activities within an urban area. Basking water turtles, butterflies and migrating pelicans are common sights.
A portion of the Arkansas River Trail crosses the site, offering more options for exploration. The grounds of the center includes beds of native plants found throughout the state.
Regularly Scheduled Programs
10-11 a.m. Wild Tales Story Time
2-2:30 p.m. Fish Feeding
2-2:30 p.m. Alligator Feeding
Every Third Saturday
Noon-2 p.m. Range Day
Teachers and educators, click on the link below for a list of professional development classes or workshops currently scheduled around the state.
Planning Your Visit
Please call us at 501-251-1083 to schedule a group tour of our facility. You are welcome to take a self-guided tour at any time during our normal business hours.
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please go to the Contact Us page to send us an email.
With help from the AGFC, the University of Central Arkansas has created social narratives that provide information about what guests can expect during their visit to the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center. Three different versions were created in order to allow readers to choose the one that best fits their needs and comprehension level. All three narratives include both pictures and text to describe the nature center experience. Feel free to choose one version to work through in the weeks/days leading up to your visit, or take a look at all three!
Below are short descriptions of each social narrative, so that you can decide which story best fits your needs.
Level 1: This version includes general tips for caregivers on how to read and use the story as well as more specific tips on each page about the different spaces of the nature center. Level 1 might be best for individuals who will have a caregiver read the narrative to them and visit the nature center with them.
Level 2: This version includes general tips for caregivers on a single page at the beginning of the narrative. Level 2 might be best for individuals who can read the story on their own, but will have a caregiver with them during their visit to the nature center.
Level 3: This version includes more specific and in-depth information about the nature center. Level 3 might be best for individuals who can read the story on their own and may visit with or without a caregiver.
Nature Center Event Calendar
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!
The Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center offers a volunteer training program for people interested in assisting or presenting educational programs to school groups. Come and enjoy working with children and teach them about nature.
Get in Touch
For more information regarding the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, or to schedule a class or group field trip, give us a call at the phone number above, or send an email and we will contact you.