I am asked frequently what I consider the “must see” destinations in Arkansas, especially from those who have never been here before. Each Monday, I’ll be writing about a city, an attraction, a restaurant or an outdoor area that I consider to be “must see” Arkansas.
When I was growing up….before everyone had air-conditioning – the places that had air-conditioning used it as a selling point during the summer. You’d see signs saying….”Come on in…it’s cool inside!” Today nearly everyone has air-conditioning but it’s still nice to be reminded “it’s cool inside.” The Central Arkansas Nature Center in downtown Little Rock is cool inside…in more ways than one. From the temperature to the exhibits to the location, there is a lot that’s way cool.
Tucked off President Clinton Avenue between the Arkansas Museum of Discovery and Clinton Museum Store, the fourth Arkansas Game and Fish Commission center is a treasure-trove of nature found in Arkansas. It’s a sensory delight for both the eyes and the ears: from a
wall of watery living
to the common sounds of the area, including elk bugling, turkeys gobbling, and squirrels barking, accompanied by calls of whip-poor-wills and wood thrushes are heard.
A very large fishing lures collection plus
standing displays highlighting “Settling the Wilderness 1803-1819,” “Becoming the Bear State 1820-1836,” and “End of the Frontier 1837-1809” are other exhibits. The story of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s three major divisions — law enforcement, wildlife management and fisheries — are on the reverse side.
A watchable wildlife
that allows visitors views of the Arkansas River and the possibility of seeing some of 90 documented species of birds found on the Arkansas River Trail between the center and the Clinton Presidential Library. There is also a 10-foot-by-12-foot interactive Arkansas map station highlighting the state’s six natural regions, along with three-dimensional pieces of art, photos and art panels. The Natural State Theater shows a 10-minute multimedia high-definition presentation introduces visitors to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s mission.
Admission to the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, which is located at 602 President Clinton Avenue, is free. Visit www.centralarkansasnaturecenter.com for more information on the programs and opportunities offered by center or call 501-907-0636.