Category Archives: Turpentine Creek

NWA Gives Day Recap

NWA (& Beyond) Gave!

April 8, 2020

From the bottom of our hearts, we want to say, “THANK YOU!,” to everyone who supported us on NWA Gives Day last Thursday, April 2! Because of your generous donations, personal fundraisers, and the amount of time you spent sharing our posts and spreading the word, we were able to raise $20,289 for our animal residents! That is even more than you donated last year when things were “normal!” All of your contributions will be supplementing what is typically brought in by visitors while we are closed to the public.

You conquered some epic challenges last Thursday. We know many of you are facing financial insecurity and general anxiety about the state of the world due to COVID-19. Despite that and the fact that our NWA Gives page was inaccessible most of the day combined other technology problems, you all showed up with a full heart for our animal residents! 

We wanted the day to be focused on thanking you for all the support you have already given us. Because of that, we tried to give you extra live video content and get more creative than ever with our giveaways. We hope you had a blast participating because we had so much fun interacting with you! 

Our big cats don’t know that anything is different with the world right now. They are carrying on the same as always and requiring the same food, enrichment, medication, and well-kept habitats they always have. Thanks to you, they are not missing any meals, they aren’t  living in pain from missed medication doses, and they get to continue frolicking in their habitats with their favorite toys. You are generously stepping up to stand between them and any disruption of the lives full of safety and peace they have grown used to. Every time our team fills a water dish or food bowl, every time they lay out Boomer Balls and boxes, every time they do a health examination on an animal, we know it all comes from you. 

Thank you again for standing with our animal residents in this time of sickness and false kings. Your kindness not only cares for those who call the Refuge home, but also brings insurmountable joy and hope to our team. Thank you for being a light.

Giving and Giving Back

NWA Gives Day Is Here!

April 2, 2020

We’ve been looking forward to this day for some time now. Today, April 2, is NWA Gives Day, always known for providing 12 hours of giving from 8 AM – 8 PM. This year, we have set a goal to raise $25,000, but things are going to look pretty different than they have in the past.

As most of you know, we are temporarily closed to the public for the first time in almost three decades. Spring and Summer are typically our busiest times of the year, with almost half of the money used to care for our animal residents coming from visitors during these months. All funds raised on NWA Gives Day will provide support to every feline, bear, and all those in between as we settle into what is likely to be our new normal for at least a little while longer.

However, we know everyone is facing a “new normal” right now. Many of you are scared; you may have lost a source of income or be concerned about your future ability to provide for yourselves and your family. We understand. That is why we want you to know that yes, on NWA Gives Day, we will be asking for donations, but no, that is not our primary focus. We want to use these 12 hours to celebrate you!

You have shown up for our animal residents during this trying time either monetarily or by sending words of support, sharing our social media posts, and tuning into our videos. Even though the world is…indescribable right now, you are still educating, still advocating, and still thinking about the exotic animals we have rescued. We know many of you are missing us right now; you had plans that have already been postponed, or you have an upcoming visit to the Refuge that you’re unsure you will get to go through with. From 8 AM – 8 PM on Thursday, April 2, we want to give you the chance to feel like you’re right here with us. We want you to forget about your troubles and fears, even just for a moment, and have fun.

During NWA Gives Day, we will be doing hourly giveaways on our social media platforms. No donation required to enter! We will also be filling your feed with extra live videos, games, posts to allow you to interact with other members of the Turpentine family, and some extra creative items that are stemming from our “new normal.” We will be asking for donations, but we want to stress the fact that we understand times are hard right now, and we don’t want anyone to choose our big cats over caring for themselves or their family. This is your pass not to feel pressure or guilt to give what you do not have.

If you feel like you can’t do anything but wish to do something, perhaps consider being a dollar donor. Last year, we raised countless dollars from people coming together to give a single dollar! Those donations contributed to us being the 3rd largest fundraiser during NWA Gives Day 2019! How many people choose not to give simply because they feel $1 (or $2, $3, $4, $5) doesn’t matter? That number adds up quickly!

You can also create a personal fundraiser on Facebook. This allows friends and loved ones to donate on your behalf. This link shows you how, but if you have any questions, please reach out to us!

For those able to give a little bit more but don’t know where to start, please consider donating the price of admission, $25. If you want to go beyond, every $100 provides two interns to care for our animal residents. Two hundred dollars is the cost to provide a dental examination for each TCWR animal resident.

You can give directly through the NWA Gives official website, which will qualify us for additional “prize money” from the NWA Gives team.

We also welcome donations through our website at, via Facebook, over-the-phone, and via the mail. Please be sure to specify on your check that the donation is for “NWA Gives Day 2020.”  

For more information on NWA Gives Day, please visit

We can’t wait to celebrate with you! Stay safe.

Not Our King

A TCWR Response To The Netflix Documentary “Tiger King”

March 27, 2020

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge has recently been contacted by concerned supporters about the Netflix Docu-series “Tiger King.” Joe Exotic is one of the many animal exploiters that we are aware of and disprove of. These facilities; such as those ran by Doc Antle, Tim Stark, James Garretson, and Jeff Lowe who are also featured in this docu-series, exploit animals for profit. They do not work to conserve big cats, only use them to make money.

“We have been dealing with people like Joe Exotic for 28 + years. We are proud to give these beautiful animals a second chance by providing a great quality forever home where they can relax and live out their lives in big open habitats with great care everyday and no one forcing them to do anything but just live!” Miranda Smith, Hospitality Coordinator at Turpentine Creek, 3rd generation TCWR and daughter of President and Co-Founder Tanya Smith said.

We provide the best quality care possible in captivity, building large grassy habitats for our animals to enjoy and providing them the best food and veterinary care. Our team is composed of paid highly educated professionals with at least a bachelor’s degree in an animal related field. We have an on-staff veterinarian and a world-renowned animal care internship to make sure our animals are well cared for.

Large carnivores, like tigers and lions, are dangerous and it is for their safety and yours that you should never participate in hands-on interaction with big cats of any age. We are accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), a founding member of the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance, certified through USDA and the state of Arkansas, and a member of AAZK.

Erik Goode, co-director of Tiger King, has been quoted by Vanity Fair Magazine as to stating “The real takeaway should be to give your money to conservation programs around the world that are really working hard to save tigers in their range countries and not give your money to sanctuaries, which are really, effectively just caging tigers and cats.”

Although we fully agree that people should not support roadside zoos and pseudo-sanctuaries, this statement leaves out an entire group of people, including Turpentine Creek, which are just trying to do the right thing and save survivors of the exotic pet trade. These rescue facilities, true sanctuaries like Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, do not buy, breed, sell, trade, take off- property, or allow any hands-on interaction with big cats.

“People like Joe only want fame. At TCWR all we want is to provide quality lifetime care for the animals. It’s amazing to watch the animals we rescue who come in scared and timid realizing real quick we are there to take care of them. It’s a whole new world for them and it’s super special to see them open up,” Miranda Smith said.

We are not here to exploit the animals, but to offer life-long refuge to those who were lucky enough to survive their cubhood with abusers like Joe Exotic, only to be sold to private owners who do not know how to properly care for them. We take in the survivors and give them a safe place to live out their lives. We open our facility to the public for guided tours, not to force our animals to entertain them, but to use our experience to educate people about the exotic pet trade and conservation efforts from a safe distance while allowing our animals to be the wild animals they were born to be.

We are also aware of who Carole Baskins is at Big Cat Rescue. We have worked with Big Cat Rescue in the past, as they are also a true sanctuary. We will continue to work with Big Cat Rescue because they are also working to put an end to the exotic pet trade. They are fellow members of the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance and are also accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.

Although the docu-series focused on Carole Baskins’s past, we know the real marker of a true sanctuary is the willingness to adapt over time. Many sanctuaries got their start much like these roadside zoos in the 1990’s, with little funding or research on how to properly care for big cats. Back then, there was very little research on captive animals or how captivity and hands-on interaction was detrimental to their physical and mental health. As it became more popular to keep these dangerous wild animals in captivity, it quickly became apparent that it was not only dangerous for the humans but also damaging to the animals. Facilities, like Turpentine Creek and Big Cat Rescue, learned from this research and shifted our operational plan to no longer allow hands-on interaction, built bigger habitats, stopped taking animals off-site, adjusted how we fed the animals, incorporated better nutrition, created enrichment programs to help stimulate their minds, and hired educated individuals who went to college specifically to help these animals. We will continue to do so for as long as true sanctuaries like our own are needed. We will continue to do so until the day comes that true sanctuaries are no longer needed.

We encourage you to do your research before visiting any facility to make sure that they are not exploiting the animals and are providing them with safe, healthy environments. Thank you for being concerned about these beautiful animals and how they are cared for. We encourage all our supporters to visit our Advocacy page to learn how you can help put an end to the exploitation of big cats, end private ownership, and stop hands-on interaction with these magnificent animals. Learn more at

If you would like to learn more about what a true sanctuary is and how to tell one apart from a pseudo sanctuary you can visit our website at

If you would like to learn more about why cub-petting is detrimental to the health of big cats please visit

If you would like to learn more about Zoonotic diseases (much like COVID-19) please visit

If you would like to learn about Ligers and Tigons, that psudo sanctuaries breed only for profit, go to

If you would like to learn about white tigers and why they are not a separate subspecies and why they shouldn’t be bred in captivity you can at


Keeping It Pawsitive

Finding The Good In Each Day

March 25, 2020

Every day, at the end of our workday, our animal care team goes around and talks about their daily pawsitive. They each share one thing that happened during the day that made them smile, laugh, cry tears of joy, or just helped them make a bad day great. Some days this is easy to do, others it can take a little extra effort to find a positive through tears of sorrow, but every single day they share that pawsitive no matter how big or small it might be.

Right now, we feel that everyone needs a little pawsitive in their lives. We encourage our supporters to spend each day searching for that pawsitive and then sharing it on social media, sticky notes, phone calls, or whatever media you wish, with your friends and family. When you look for that pawsitive, spend each day waiting and wanting that, it can help make even the most difficult days just a little brighter.

Now, most of the time, our pawsitives revolve around our big cats “Daniel played with the enrichment I made” “Abigail chuffed at me” “Selbit grumbled and rolled over when I said hello” but they can be other things too “Today I got to spend a little extra time talking to my best friend” “My cat Gizmo gave me headbuts when I was feeling a little lonely” “I found a beautiful rock that just sparkled so brightly in the sunshine”. Your pawsitive is your own and can be a range of things that make you happy.

We hope that you will join us in our daily pawsitives, and perhaps even share your pawsitive with us through social media; we would love to hear them! Pawsitives don’t have to be about Turpentine Creek to share them, they can be about your kids, pets, house, rocks, you name it, if it makes you smile we want to hear about it!

We will continue to bring you fun, engaging, enriching content while we are temporarily closed to the public. We hope that with this, we can make your day a little more fun and positive. Please consider helping us through this financial hardship by donating the cost of admission, $25, so that we can keep providing our animals the best care possible.

Temporary Closure

Protecting Our Animals And The Humans Who Care For Them

March 18, 2020

For the first time in 28 years, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge has shut our doors to the public. We will temporarily be closed at least until April 1, where we will reevaluate the situation and make the call whether we will reopen or continue to stay closed for another period of time. This was a very difficult decision for the Refuge to make. We are just coming out of winter, a time where we have few visitors and funds begin to run low. Usually, Spring Break visitors boost our funds to help us make it to the summer, when we have the most business. Over half of our income during March and April comes in through admissions and lodging. To shut our doors risks financial hardship during this time, but a larger risk is allowing visitors to come from all around the country and/or world and potentially expose our team to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Our top priority is caring for the 89 animals that call the Refuge home. Above everything else, we are a big cat rescue, that is our number one priority and it has to take precedence over all other things. If one person at the Refuge were to get the virus, the animals’ care would suffer and the entire team would be quarantined since we all interact in close quarters on a daily basis. If everyone were to get sick, who would care for the animals? Much like healthcare workers, we would continue to care for the animals despite our own health issues.

UPDATE: A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for COVID-19 and many of the other big cats, including tigers and lions, are showing symptoms as well. We have taken even more precautions to protect our animals and team members from COVID-19 in recent days.

While we are closed to the public, our social media team, education team, and animal care team have been coming together to find ways to make sure our supporters get their daily dose of Turpentine Creek. We want all of our supporters to know that despite not being open to the public we are here and actively working to not only care for the animals but help make people’s days a little better.

Although we cannot come into your homes and fill it with boxes, scents, and spices, we are going to be offering digital visual enrichment for all of you in the form of extra videos on our social media accounts. This visual ‘enrichment’ should help make your time in quarantine and social isolation a little more engaging and fun. Feel free to join us and enjoy this human enrichment made by our team of enrichment experts.

At this point, most of the staff remains working on-site, if the situation progresses further we will move to remote work for the non-essential staff. If team members do get sick with the Coronavirus we will quarantine them to reduce the risk of exposure to the remaining staff and progress to a more restrictive schedule. No matter what, the animals will always receive the care that they need. They will be fed and watered daily. We are lucky enough to have a 60-day supply of food for our animal residents on-site and a reserve of food in a local cold-storage facility.

Together we will weather this storm, and we are lucky enough to have an amazing group of supporters who rally behind us when needed. They have already begun to step up and we know they will continue to support us to the best of their abilities until it is safe to reopen our doors. Thank you for your support, we will be seeing you virtually in the upcoming days and in-person once all of this settles down.

Events, Lodging, and Ticket Information

All events have been canceled for the next 8 weeks, including Kite Festival and Cats at the Castle, both events will be rescheduled at a later date in the year. If you have lodging reservations with us please reach out to lodging at or 479-253-5841 ext 1 to reschedule your visit. If you purchased any time tickets they will be valid until your next visit. If you purchased Groupon tickets we will honor them after expiration. Thank you for being so understanding during this time.

Social Live Video Schedule

  • Monday – 9am Education Live, 12pm Live Behind the Scenes, 2pm Keeper Chat live, 3pm Live Premier Tour
  • Tuesday – 9am Curator Cat Chat Live, 12pm Live Behind the Scenes, 3pm Education Live
  • Wednesday – 9am Education Live, 12pm Live Behind the Scenes, 2pm Keeper Chat live, 3pm Live Premier Tour
  • Thursday – 9am Education Live, 12pm Live Behind the Scenes, 3pm Live Premier Tour
  • Friday – 9am Education Live, 12pm Live Behind the Scenes, 2pm Keeper Chat live, 3pm Live Premier Tour

Things you can do to support the Refuge from home:

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Spring Break At TCWR and COVID 19 Precautions

March 10, 2020

Heather Klatt, DO Board Certified in Internal Medicine

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is gearing up for Spring Break! Spring is the perfect time to visit, the weather is warming up, the animals are extremely active, and the Ozark’s bloom in a spectrum of colors! But, this year, many people are changing their plans because of the Coronavirus. As a nonprofit that relies on donations and visitors, we have been keeping a close eye on the spread of this disease. Luckily, we have a brand new board member who is a doctor. Dr. Heather Klatt has been keeping us up to date on the development of COVID 19 and advising us on the best way to keep our visitors healthy! But don’t take our word for it, Dr. Klatt has been kind enough to write a guest post specifically about COVID 19 and visiting the Refuge for spring break!

Hello TCWR friends and family. You may be wondering, with all the news about COVID 19, if it is safe to venture out of the house this Spring Break. Well, I have great news – a visit to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is just the thing to wipe away the winter blues and step into spring. You can have a safe, memorable visit if you follow some simple precautions.

The news and the internet are great resources. They help us communicate and receive information at a rapid rate. Unfortunately, it can also allow a lot of false news and sensationalized coverage to leak through. Sometimes, it can be very difficult to sift through all that news! The most recent news is COVID 19. What is true? What is the risk? Is it safe to travel? Here is some information to help you make the most of your Spring Break.

First of all, it is important to know that COVID 19 is a strain of the same virus that causes the common cold. It is a more virulent strain and is new in humans so it is getting a lot of attention. However, the method of transmission is the same as the common cold. COVID 19 has a mortality rate of between 1-2%. It is difficult to know exact numbers as individuals with mild cases are less likely to request medical care. It is a more serious illness than seasonal Influenza (the flu) but less severe than SARS (Medscape March 2020). Most fatalities have been in elderly people with multiple underlying medical conditions. (The Lancet, March 2020)

At this time, one person has been tested and is awaiting CDC results in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, which is over 233 miles away from Turpentine Creek. Twelve people have been tested and all have been negative. There are currently 100 individuals under observation. The states surrounding Arkansas have had a very small number of cases diagnosed (Centers of Disease Control, 3/9/2020). Should COVID-19 reach North West Arkansas, the following precautions can greatly reduce your risk of contracting COVID 19 should you come in contact with it:

  • The biggest precaution you can take is to wash your hands. It is recommended that you wash your hands after using the restroom, prior to eating or drinking, prior to taking medication or using eye drops, after sneezing or coughing and after being in a public setting. It is advised you wash with soap and warm water for a minimum of 20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, containing at least 60% alcohol, are the next best measure but soap and water remain the most effective method (Dr. Richard Watkins, MD, Infectious Disease).
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and politely request others do the same.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • At this time, the CDC does not recommend wearing face masks unless you are already ill.
  • If you are ill, it is recommended you stay home as your immune system will be compromised making it harder for you to fight off illness, including COVID 19.

Overall, the risk of contracting COVID 19 during a visit to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is extremely low. It is an outdoor activity with plenty of fresh air and few indoor publicly shared surfaces or spaces. Even those areas are low risk with the precautions above. I hope you will make plans to come to see your favorite cat, bear, coatimundi or Rhesus Macaque! We look forward to seeing you!

Heather Klatt, DO Board Certified in Internal Medicine

Have you decided to just not take the risk to travel for your Spring Break? Please consider using a portion of your Spring Break budget to help the animals at the Refuge! Your donation goes 100% towards the care of our animals and helps keep the Refuge running! Donate the cost of admission ($25) and help us save lives!

You can also visit the Rogers -Lowell Chamber of Commerce Page for information about how surrounding communities are monitoring the virus in our area. 

Remington and Luna Update

Settling In and Wellness Exam

March 5, 2020

Remington and Luna were rescued by Turpentine Creek and PETA arriving at their forever home on January 16th, after three years of waiting in legal limbo. These beautiful tigers spent the first few months of their lives being forced to swim with people for money.

The dynamic duo has spent the last month exploring their habitat, learning the new daily routine, and being spoiled with plenty of treats and fun enrichment. The team reports that both Remington and Luna are thriving here at the Refuge.

Luna loves to say hi to visitors, especially children, stalking and chuffing happily as they pass by. She also has a fascination with her new bear neighbor, Thunder, who she will stalk every chance she gets, spending large portions of her day at the top of the habitat where she can observe him. She enjoys her provided enrichment but also likes to find her own enrichment through sticks, which are plentiful in her tree-filled habitat.

Remington is a big fan of treats and meals. He makes sure to never miss one and will come running as soon as he hears the truck that brings him dinner. He also enjoys enrichment and taking naps on his new bench.

Both Remington and Luna have a clean bill of health, are fully up on their vaccinations, and are eating well. Our Animal Curator, Emily, has been closely observing the pair and is still hopeful that we might be able to introduce them eventually.

On Sunday, the animal care team took Remington down to our on-site veterinary hospital for a checkup and to neuter him, the first necessary step if we ever want to attempt an introduction.

The neutering went well and gave us the opportunity to do a full wellness exam on Remington. Overall, he is a very healthy male white tiger. As he heals from the surgery he will be confined in his night house. This allows us to keep a closer eye on his surgical site for infection and make sure he has a clean area away from dirt during his healing process. After about a week, he will be let back into his habitat.

We are excited to have Remington and Luna here with us, where they will finally get the chance to be real tigers and enjoy their own little piece of freedom. It is only with your help we can continue to provide a lifetime of care for animals like Remington and Luna.

Offering Better Accessability

Newest “Crash The Compound” Project

February 27, 2020

Area Behind Gift Shop in 2015 after being bulldozed.

In late 2015, Turpentine Creek moved the last animal out of the original metal cages located behind the gift shop, dubbed as the “compound” by our team members. Shortly thereafter, bulldozers came in and demolished this smaller caging. That was the first stage in “Crash the Compound”, we then proceeded to build two large grassy habitats for six tigers rescued during our Colorado Project, which was the next stage in the process. For five years, we’ve let the land settle and made plans, but finally, we’ve begun the final stage of the compound crash.

Next time you visit the Refuge, the Discovery Area will look completely different! As of yesterday, February 26, 2020, construction has begun on the area for our new pavilion and paved pathways in the Discovery area!

Work on the actual wooden pavilion started weeks ago. Sal Wilson Timber Construction’s team of timber framers began cutting, sanding, treating, and preparing all the wood elements so that they are ready to be assembled after the cement has been poured and set.

Today, a team of workers are leveling the ground throughout the central part of the Discovery area so that they can pour a beautiful cement pathway running between Bam Bam, Kizmin/Tanya, and Lakota/Joey/Khaleesi/Aurora. Then it will turn and run in front of the Bobcat habitat and Goober’s habitat. They will then construct the sizeable wooden pavilion in the area between Goober and Lakota/Joey/Khaleesi/Aurora’s habitats.

This is stage one of our project to enhance our visitor experience in the Discovery area. We hope to have this completed before Spring Break starts mid-March. After Spring Break, we plan to move to stage two of this project and pave paths throughout the remainder of our discovery area, including down the bear tunnel.

Stage one is estimated to cost approximately $65,000 for the cement and pavilion construction. Supporter M. Whitt kicked off this project by offering a $20,836 match, leaving us $44,164 to fundraise to fund this stage of the project entirely. We will be fundraising for this stage of the project from now until NWA Gives Day on April 2, 2020. For NWA Gives Day, we will be fundraising for whatever amount is left for this project, and possibly for the second stage of the project if, as usual, our amazing supporters rally behind us and get this stage funded early. We encourage everyone to join us for NWA Gives Day for a day filled with fun and fundraising!

We are estimating that phase two will be approximately $55,000, and we will try to begin working on this stage of the project in late April.

Not only will this project make our property more accessible for everyone, but the new pavilion space will also give us an area to conduct our educational presentations, offer a reprieve from the weather for visitors, a beautiful event area, and picnic area near the animals. With the pavilion, we will be able to expand on our education and advocacy programs, creating a better future for the animals that we rescue.

We are very excited to be able to offer this beautiful new space for our visitors. This is another step towards expanding our educational offerings and making our Refuge a leader in the animal and environmental education community.

Thank you for your support, please pardon our mess while construction is ongoing. During construction tours, maybe rerouted around the construction site, but at this time, we plan to continue business as usual. We invite everyone to plan a trip out to not only see the animals but the beautiful new pavilion area this spring!

We look forward to seeing you here!

Donate Now for the new pavilion and pavement project.

Or join us for NWA Gives Day!

Time Marches On

Planning Ahead For Your Spring Break With TCWR

February 18, 2020

As February wraps up and March quickly approaches, we remind our supporters to plan ahead if you wish to spend your spring break at the Refuge. Not only are the animals more active in the cooler spring months, but we also have new residents to meet, events to attend, and plenty of kid friendly activities to enjoy! Spending an hour, day, weekend, or week at the Refuge is the ‘purrfect’ way to celebrate spring!

Mark your calendars, we have changes and upcoming events you should keep in mind when making your upcoming seasonal plans.

On March 1, 2020, Ticket prices rise $5 per ticket (Adults $25, Teens (13-19) $20, Kids (4-12)/Seniors (65+)/Military -$15, children under 3 still free). If you are already making your plans, you can still purchase any time tickets online for the current prices and use them when you come to visit, they will still be valid! This is a great way to save a little money on your upcoming trip.

March 8, 2020, will be the first day of our summer hours. We will be open from 9 am until 6 pm with tours running every hour on the hour from 10 am until 4 pm. Taking a tour is a great way to meet our newest residents, who live on our tour path. You can also sign up for one of our behind the scenes tours. The Carnivore Caravan tour is now offered every day of the week for $100 a person (which includes general entry), and our Coffee with the Curator tours are now offered every single Saturday! These are great ways to see all the animals at the Refuge and get a private tour by one of our highly trained animal caretakers. Learn more and book today at

March 23, 25, and 27, your children ages 6-12 can participate in an educational Fun Day at Turpentine Creek! Cost for our Fun Days is $30 per child and pre-registration is required. It is a wonderful way to celebrate spring break and help your children learn more about the amazing animals that call Turpentine Creek home! Registration is now open at If you want to stay on-property while your children participate, we suggest booking a room now before they are full!

Spend a beautiful day at the Refuge during our annual Kite Festival, which will be held on March 28 from 10 am until 4 pm. Fly a kite with your family in our front event field. You can participate in Kite Festival for free, but if you want to visit with the animals you have to pay regular admission prices. This family-friendly event is a great way to enjoy a beautiful spring day at the Refuge. Make a kite with your kids, enjoy one of the many vendors, listen to music, and spend time in the great outdoors!

Spring is also a wonderful time to get creative in supporting the Refuge- especially if you want to help our mission but can’t donate money. You could open a lemonade stand, host a rummage sale, or even organize a 5K or “fun run” to support our animal residents. These activities are great ways to participate in the 2020 pledge through our campaign, 2020 Vision: Your Focus, Their Future!

And finally, if you are wanting to make your spring break a volunteer vacation we still have some space available for volunteer groups during spring break! Reach out to our volunteer coordinator to schedule your group today and make a difference during your spring break vacation!

Love Is In The Air

Spring Is Coming

February 12, 2020

Valentine’s Day is Friday and love is in the air! This romance includes native U.S. wildlife, like bobcats and cougars. Although we spay or neuter our animals to prevent breeding, their wild cousins are entering mating season. When breeding season is in full swing, animals who are usually solitary, like cats, become more social. This socialization increases the chance for them to be sighted more frequently. Just because they may be seen doesn’t mean they are a threat; they are most likely just looking for a mate. Depending on the species, there are certain mating behaviors that occur. Once mating is over, the animals go back into hiding to start preparing for their babies to be born.

At Turpentine Creek, we spay our female cougars to prevent wild suiters from entering our property. Female cougars will call out to males, when in heat. This sound can travel for miles. It sounds a lot like a woman screaming at the top of her lungs and can be very unnerving to hear. For our safety, and peace of mind, it is better to spay our female cougars than to let them go into heat every year.

In the upcoming months, while outdoors, you might see some of these cute cat-like babies, such as bobcat and cougar kittens, “hiding” in bushes or tall grass.

If you see them, do not touch them or move them. It is very likely that their mom only left for a short time to hunt or forage and will be back soon to get them! They may also be heard from a distance yowling. Though they may sound distressed, do not go closer to them! They are calling for their mom and if people are near she will not return, leaving her babies alone even longer. Interfering with kittens of wild cats can end up hurting them in the long run, especially if they get used to people being around.

As the season of love ends, young wildlife will start appearing. Though they are cute, they are still wild animals who play an important role in the environment.

Click Here To Learn More About Mountain Lions

Click Here To Learn More About Bobcats