Turtles Breathe Through Their What?

Jill Rohrbach
Labor Day weekend is a great time to visit an Arkansas State Park and take part in the interpretive programming offered. While topics vary from park to park, many programs include guided hikes, nature talks, wildlife viewing, kayaking, lake tours, and demonstrations throughout the respective parks and visitor centers.

A couple of weekends ago, I camped out with my family and some friends at the new Lake Fort Smith State Park. The kids loved the program on frogs, snakes and turtles because they got to touch them and hear funny facts like how turtles can breathe through their butt. Okay, that’s not exactly what Park Interpreter Jay Schneider said. Technically, he said, the turtles absorb oxygen through the skin around their tail during hibernation. But in my family, with two young boys, we think the first wording is much more interesting or entertaining anyway.

The entire visitor center is fun to explore with its large exhibit gallery, covered wagon, a recreated Shepherd Spring, lake diorama and more. And, this is the last weekend of the year to take advantage of the awesome pool. Most all of the state parks pools close after Labor Day. This one has some great water features for all ages, a tube slide that kept my 6 year old happy and a stair step entry that was perfect for my 2 year old.

I could go on and on about all the fun there is to have at Lake Fort Smith State Park. We fished, rode pedal boats and more. But you don’t want to sit there any longer reading about my experience. You want to go to www.ArkansasStateParks.com, find the park nearest you and make plans to make your own memories. Happy Labor Day weekend!

Join the Conversation