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Wildlife Festivals & Events

Arkansas is home to 16 species of bats, a fact that is routinely noted on the second weekend of each June as Devil’s Den State Park hosts its "Bat-O-Rama." Activities include audio/visual programs, a bat house building demonstration and a crevice hike.

Two of Arkansas’s best-known, annual wildlife festivals are held on the fourth weekend in June. The annual Buffalo River Elk Festival in Jasper features an elk-calling contest, elk conservation programs and demonstrations and many other activities.

The annual Mount Magazine International Butterfly Festival is also held the fourth weekend in June at Mount Magazine State Park and in the town of Paris. Among numerous activities are Arkansas butterfly hikes and a program on gardening to attract butterflies.

Queen Wilhelmina State Park near Mena hosts a North American Butterfly Association Butterfly Count on the second Saturday of each July and a "Wings of Wonder" weekend for butterfly enthusiasts on the weekend prior to Labor Day that includes a butterfly conservatory and butterfly-related interpretive programs.

The White River Wildlife Festival is held annually on the second Saturday in October at the White River National Wildlife Refuge’s visitors center at St. Charles. Activities for children include birdhouse building and lessons on making a bird feeder. Free boat tours are offered on the White River and wildlife programs and guided walks are offered.

More wildlife festivals, events and programs–from birdhouse building to canoe tours–can be found on the Arkansas State Parks’ calendar of events.

Tours

In all, nine Arkansas state parks offer boat and canoe tours on lakes at various times of the year that may yield results for general Arkansas wildlife observers as well as for those specifically interested in birds. The parks are DeGray Lake Resort, Moro Bay, Lake Dardanelle, Millwood, Lake Catherine, Pinnacle Mountain, Bull-Shoals-White River, Lake Charles and Lake Chicot. Lake kayak or canoe tours are available at Cane Creek, Lake Ouachita, DeGray Lake, Lake Dardanelle, and Davidsonville Historic state parks.

Tours to see elk along the Buffalo National River are provided by Arkansas Outdoor Adventures, located in Eureka Springs. Little Rock Tours also offers Arkansas wildlife tours.