Public Education

Education & Outreach

Education is one of the most important things we do at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. Through educating the public we hope to spread awareness about the exotic pet trade and the struggles these animals face in captivity and in the wild.

At the Refuge

We welcome the public to the Refuge every day of the year (except Christmas day) to learn about our animals and the work that we do as a non-profit sanctuary. The Refuge features a Discovery Tour beginning at 9 am and closing at 6 pm (5 pm winter hours) and Guided Habitat Tours every day beginning at 10 am until 4 pm (3 pm winter hours) for a walking tour, and a 10:30 am until 3:30 pm (2:30 pm Winter Hours) trolley tour.

In the spring and summer, Keeper Talks are conducted on weekends by our zoologists, biologists, and interns. The talks consist of a 20-minute in-depth review of a specific topic at the Refuge.

Group Tours


Schedule your class or club for a guided tour of TCWR and see the many animals that reside in our large, natural habitats. You will be able to watch our tigers, lions, leopards, cougars, bobcats, black bears, and grizzly bear play, nap, and run while learning about the history of the Refuge, animal facts, and the individual rescue stories of our all of our animal residents.

Click HERE for the Group Tour Request form. 

Outreach Programs

Classroom Learning

Outreach programs provide off-site learning where students are taught fun facts about the species of animals that live at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, as well as the issues these animals are facing in captivity and in the wild. You will get the inside scoop on how Turpentine Creek staff and interns care for big cats, bears, and our many other exotic animals on a daily basis.

Photos, videos, and props, including naturally shed fur in plastic jars, whiskers, chewed toys, and plaster paw prints are used as educational aids. Program topics can be specialized for each group to work according to age and size.

Adult Programs

Adults can get in on the action too! Need a speaker for your next meeting or social event? Stories of our big cats are sure to engage groups of all ages. Programs can be arranged to give a general overview of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge or with advance notice, specific topics of your choosing.

Booth Programs

Add a fun, educational, and unique twist to your next conference, fair, festival, or concert. Turpentine Creek Booth Programs help to spread awareness through photos, educational material, and props – including naturally shed whiskers, chewed toys, and plaster paw prints.

Contact Ike Wever for more information about our many Education Opportunities.

Media Appearances

As part of our public outreach program, we have appeared, and continue to appear regularly on a variety of television stations:

Arkansas Appearances:

  • Good Morning Arkansas in Little Rock.
  • Daybreak – Channel 7 in Little Rock.
  • KLRT Fox 16 in Little Rock.
  • 40/29 TV in Fayetteville
  • KNWA in Fayetteville
  • KPOM-NBC 14 in Fort Smith
  • KFSM – TV 5 in Fort Smith

Missouri Appearances:

  • KOLR 10 and KY3 in Springfield.  
  • KSN-TV 16 and KODE 12-TV in Joplin.

Network Television Appearances:

  • Animal Planet
  • Real TV
  • Discovery’s “Wild Animal Repo.”
  • The Travel Channel’s “Hotel Impossible.”
  • ESPN
  • The Conan O’Brien Show


  • Independent photographer George Lepp, sponsored by Canon.
  • Independent photographer Daniel Cox of National Geographic.