Sunshine, Stripes, and Safety
June 3, 2020
For the first time in two months, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge has welcomed visitors onto our property. On June 1, 2020, the Refuge reopened to the public with some limitations and restrictions in place to protect our animals, team members, and visitors from the COVID-19 pandemic. Temporarily, things will look very different around the Refuge.
Turpentine Creek has used the two months of closure to make some changes, improvements, and temporary adjustments to protect our animals. Temporary gates and a temperature-checking station at the entrance have been set up to encourage social distancing and protect our team members. Everyone ages 3 and up are required to wear a mask. If guests do not have their own, we can provide them.
Tours are being operated at a limited capacity, but it does have some perks! We are capping tours at 60 participants each, broken up into groups of 10 and limiting tour times to 10 AM, 12 PM, and 2 PM. While walk-ins will be welcome, the only way to be certain you can go on our desired tour is to reserve ahead of time at tcwr.org/visit.
Because we do not have a safe way to conduct riding tours, guests will not have the option to ride our tram or take a speciality in-person tour at this time. We hope soon being in close-quarters will not pose as much of a risk as it does now. For the time being, those wishing to take a speciality tour can do so from the comfort of their own home with private virtual tours.
We have reopened our lodging accommodations as well for overnight stays at the Refuge. Masks must be worn when guests are outside their rooms within the vicinity of our animal residents. We are following Arkansas State Health Department Guidelines for the hospitality industry, meaning we have raised our cleaning and sanitizing procedures, which is requiring a 24-hour gap between check-outs and check-ins. This means lodging dates are more limited than usual, but you can expect a safe, clean environment when you visit. You can view our rooms, pricing, and make a reservation here.
We are very thankful to our donors who stepped up and helped us get through the last two months. Without your support, we would not have been able to spend this time working to protect our animal residents and team members from COVID exposure. The decision to close was easy to make, since we are here to protect the animals, but it did leave us with some challenges for financial stability. Because we are at a limited capacity for the numbers of guests we can host daily, your donations continue to be vital to our animal residents. Please visit tcwr.org/donate to see how you can provide support; you can also “visit” the Refuge from the comfort of your own home by taking a private virtual tour or send a message to a loved one through our Big Cat Call-Out program.
Thank you to everyone who has been so gracious regarding our temporary regulations. We appreciate your commitment to the health and well-being of our animal residents and look forward to seeing you on your next “Africa in the Ozarks” adventure.
For more information on our guidelines, or to purchase tickets, click here.