Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center
We are closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Please call 870-933-6787 for groups of 25 or more if you would like to schedule a visit. Self-guided visits are always welcome!
- 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 Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center on the southern edge of Jonesboro tells the story of a unique ridge atop the Mississippi Delta with indoor and outdoor exhibits, films and trails.
The 17,033-square-foot, three-story facility opened August 25, 2004. It features a three-story education, exhibit and meeting facility on 160 acres. The center adjoins the southern boundary of Craighead Forest Park and includes a 5.5-acre prairie, 2.5-acre pond and approximately 100 acres of woodlands.
Inside the center, exhibits reveal the natural forces that formed the 200-mile-long ridge and native wildlife, ranging from large game animals to small insects.
Outside, visitors may stroll the quarter-mile, fully accessible Habitats Trail to watch for animals that live in uplands, wetlands, ponds and prairies. Other trails take hikers across ridgetops and into deep ravines. Wildlife gardens and native plants are featured, too.
In addition to self-guided exhibits and trails, the nature center offers self-guided activities and educational classes and trainings.
Additional programs and activities may be scheduled. Call 870-933-6787 for specific times and up-to-date offerings. Groups may request special programs or specific activities with advance reservations. Many opportunities are available for volunteers who would like to assist with programs, landscaping and trails.
The center has a multipurpose meeting room that is free to education and nonprofit conservation groups with advance reservations. There is also a gift shop to round out your visit, offering outdoor related souvenirs and novelties.
Admission to the nature center is free thanks to your support of the Amendment 75 Conservation Fund.
The main level of the center features an exhibit hall and auditorium which present the story of the ridge’s formation and its wildlife through several hands-on exhibits and 2 special feature films with animation and special effects. A two-story diorama, visible from the main and lower levels of the center, introduces visitors to the special plants, animals, and hydrology of the ridge landscape.
The Crow’s Nest on the upper level of the center presents a bird’s eye view over the center’s diverse landscape to the ridge and Delta south of the site.
The facility also has a gift shop, Discovery Room, meeting room, and office space. Plus, over 30 live species of native wildlife species scattered around the facility in aquariums and terrariums!
Grounds and Trails
This diverse site offers trails through wetlands, forest and prairie.
The Habitats Trail, a universally accessible trail and boardwalk about a quarter-mile long, can be entered from either the main or lower levels. This trail loops around Willow Pond, taking visitors across a ridge top and man-made levee to the edge of the prairie and back above a seasonally flooded bottomland forest.
For those who like to venture farther, trails through the woods connect to Craighead Forest Park. Colorful blooming gardens in front of the center attract butterflies and other insects. Of course, educational programs – from animal feedings to wildlife walks – happen every day; check the schedule to see what’s going on. Keep your eyes open for amphibians, reptiles, and birds!
The nature center’s hiking trails are open every day from dawn to dusk.
There is no parking in front of the entrance, mailbox, or prairie gate. After-hours access can be granted by using the Craighead Forest Trailhead.
Make tracks to your next field trip
To schedule a class or group field trip at the nature center, give us a call at 870-933-6787.
Conservation education comes easy at the Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center. Classes in these six themes are offered to teachers and students.
- Wildlife with Live Animals
- Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping
- Arkansas Natural History
- Plants and their Wildlife Uses
- Skills (Archery, BB-Guns, Sling Shots and Casting)
Most of these programs support the state curriculum, and the staff can work with teachers to develop customized programs. Some programs are designed for all ages – lower elementary (grades K-3), upper elementary (grades 4-6), middle school (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12).
Teachers and educators, click on the link below for a list of professional development classes or workshops currently scheduled around the state.
Plan a Field Trip
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.
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. Inside, two feature films are shown with 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.
Outdoor Skills Workshops
Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center hosts a variety of outdoor skills workshops each year. These workshops are designed to inform those who enjoy the outdoors of our state about opportunities, techniques and skills that will help them be more successful.
Scheduled on a monthly basis, these workshops cover a wide range of topics including all types of fishing, trapping, hunting, and profiles of some of our large game species like black bears. The entertaining presentations are done by a wide variety of individuals including AGFC biologists, outdoor personalities and professionals with the outdoor industry. Door prizes relating to the topic and snacks are typically provided. These workshops are in high demand and seating is limited so pre-registration is required.
Please call the Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center at 870-933-6787 to find out more about these popular workshops.
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 Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge 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 Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center, or to schedule a class or group field trip, give us a call at the phone number above or send us an email and we will contact you.