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Adventure is around every corner, in every crevice, and under every rock of the Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center in Pine Bluff. There is something for everyone from scurrying animals to quilting classes.
No matter how many times my family visits the Delta Rivers Nature Center there is always a brand new experience to enjoy. We see something new or learn an amazingly cool fact about Arkansas animals, wetlands or airways each time.
Everything at the nature center can be found right in our own backyard. The Arkansas Delta exhibits include bears, minks and weasels along with a host of different birds. I’m always inspired by the new information I learn.
The nature center is a “must stop” when family and friends come to town. We all enjoy feeding the catfish and turtles in the pond just outside the center. No matter how old you are or how many times you’ve been there, it’s hard not to “ooh” and “aww” at how large the fish are. It’s easy to spend close to an hour on the picturesque bridge taking it all in.
Entering the center, creeping, crawling, and slithering things greet you just inside the door. It’s a little difficult to decide which direction to go, or what to check out first: the baby alligators, snakes or spiders. That’s when the tile mosaic of the Delta and its rivers under your feet catch your eye. And it’s necessary to start there.
Crawling spaces through trees and interactive exhibits of animal hides to touch and feel pull even the most fretful in. Who knew a nature center could be this exciting or this much fun?
The 20,000 gallon Delta Rivers Aquarium is home to the variety of fish that can be found in the Arkansas River. It’s relaxing to sit back and watch the gigantic creatures swim or just sit at the bottom. The fish and eagle feedings are a real treat for kids and adults alike.
Did I mention the gator? Yes, there’s a real, live alligator that was initially caught not too far from the nature center. During the summer you can also catch a feeding of the big fella.
More than two miles of walking trails through the forest offer opportunities to spot various birds, deer, and other wildlife. The Discovery Loop and Whitetail Trail are both paved and are perfect for bird watchers and flower lovers.
Last summer my children and I took my nieces and nephews on the Whitetail Trail. Only .25 miles long, this rather short trail took us nearly an hour to complete. We stopped to spot what we thought was an otter in the water, and hang out at the back of the trail in a little building. There was no rush and no fuss, just a leisurely stroll taking it all in.
The Armadillo and Blue Heron Trails, on the other hand, are not paved and are for the more adventurous explorer. Bring along a camera – the wooded setting makes for awesome pictures to share.
During the annual ‘Boo On The Bayou’ on Halloween, the trails are haunted! Kids and adults alike dress up and enjoy the fall festivities.
Programs & Classes
The nature center offers an assortment of programs and classes for youth, teachers, and the general public.
Classes include youth outdoor skills of archery and canoeing, bird watching and more. Boater Education and Hunter Education classes are available for those of legal age. Teacher resources include a variety of sixteen box programs, science videos, and program planning that support the state curriculum tailored for appropriate grade levels.
Plant swaps, nature crafts and other interesting workshops are also offered to the community.
The Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center is somewhat of a museum, aquarium, zoo, science lab and more all rolled into one huge adventure. Visit them online to learn more about their offerings or call (870)534-0011 to set up a tour.
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