LITTLE ROCK — With kids out of school throughout most of Arkansas next week, many parents may be looking for a way to get them out of the house and off the electronics for a day. A trip to one of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s nature centers may be just the answer to keep families entertained with wholesome outdoors fun.
The AGFC operates nine nature centers throughout the state as well as a fully staffed shooting range in Mayflower. Each location offers a variety of experiences from archery, kayaking and canoeing, bb gun shooting and nature-themed arts and crafts for people of all ages. Trails with interpretive signs teach hikers about some of their surroundings, and indoor displays offer visitors an outdoor-themed experience even when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
According to Eric Maynard, AGFC assistant chief of education, each center offers a variety of outdoor activities every day, but with schools out and the regular traffic from field trips lessened, they take an extra effort to load up some fun classes and activities for parents and grandparents to bring the kids out for a day of fun.
“More and more people seem ready to get out and do something, whether that is from COVID or just being inside too much during the winter,” Maynard said. “Nature centers offer you that chance to get outside and walk trails, birdwatch and get fresh air if you still want to social distance or you can go canoeing, shoot a bow and arrow or do a nature craft while learning a new outdoor skill. There is something for all ages and interests.”
Admission to AGFC nature centers and regular programs are absolutely free thanks to Amendment 75 and the Conservation Sales Fund, which helps the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Parks and Tourism, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and Keep Arkansas Beautiful.
Each center has its own website and Facebook page to keep you up to date on the latest programs going on and a profile of the many exhibits and trails you will find during your trip. Visit www.agfc.com/naturecenters to learn more about each center, view their calendar of events and link to their Facebook page. The AGFC Event Calendar also lists all workshops the AGFC offers, including some that aren’t held in nature centers. Visit www.agfc.com/events for a complete list.