21 Jan Visitors enjoy the wonders of Arkansas
In just more than three years, the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center is approaching the quarter million visitor mark.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Little Rock nature center opened on Dec. 17, 2008. It was the fourth and final nature center made possible by the 1/8-cent Conservation Sales Tax.
The center, at 602 President Clinton Ave., focuses on a wide variety of outdoor recreation, conservation issues and the state’s fish and wildlife resources.
Witt Stephens Jr. of Little Rock is a long-time advocate for Arkansas wildlife and conservation. He served as an AGFC commissioner from 1993-2000 and helped champion the sales tax, which was approved by voters in 1996.
Tourists from dozens of countries, as well as school groups, have spent some time at the facility, marveling at the wonders of Arkansas.
Because of relationships built with other museums in the Downtown Little Rock area, the nature center has acquired one of the largest collections of mounted birds found anywhere in the state, as well as several other museum-quality items now on display.
The 16,232-square-foot facility is on 3.4 acres on the bank of the Arkansas River in Little Rock’s River Market District. A dynamic, 10-minute multimedia presentation filmed in high definition is one of the center’s highlights. Visitors follow water as it passes through a continuous series of living habitat exhibits – from a replicated mountain spring into the river’s main channel cypress swamps, delta marshlands and a bottomland hardwood forest. Each segment has been isolated with flow-through barriers that contain each habitat’s population of fish.
A lounge area offers visitors a chance to pick up a map, select brochures and sit down with a view of the Arkansas River. Outside is a variety of bird-feeding stations set among shrubbery and a gently flowing seep.
The center is open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. For more information, visit centralarkansasnaturecenter.com or call 501. 907.0636.