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The Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center in Jonesboro (Craighead County) was built through the efforts of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). It is one of four such nature centers that were built after the 1996 passage of a one-eighth-cent conservation sales tax. Named after Forrest L. Wood, former commissioner and longtime supporter of the AGFC, the center opened on August 25, 2004, after nearly two years of construction.
Located on the northern, wider part of the 200-mile-long Crowley’s Ridge, the center provides the public an opportunity to view wildlife in its habitat and learn about the area’s history. The facility maintains several interactive indoor/outdoor exhibits and offers two related films. Educational programs focus on Arkansas’s history of natural resources, wildlife and their habitats, and outdoor skills. Workshops are held monthly, with classes offered for boating and hunting education.
The three-story wooden and glass structure is surrounded by many types of flora and fauna. After entering the 17,000-square-foot facility on the main level, also called the Exhibit Hall, visitors can interact with the exhibits, including a two-story diorama that depicts a thunderstorm and its effects on the ridge. The films Arkansas on the Wild Side and Crowley’s Ridge are shown in the auditorium. Also located on this level is an exit to the trails, a gift shop, and aquariums for many of the habitats.
The upper level, also known as the Crow’s Nest, is an observatory with a telescope for viewing the surrounding ridge. A hands-on activity room, also known as the discovery room, is located in the lower level along with a meeting room, an aquarium, and additional educational animal habitats.
Located on the grounds is a pond surrounded by a quarter-mile-long walking trail called the Habitats Trail; the center also features another trail of just over two miles connecting to Craighead Forest Park.
The Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center is open to the public free of charge every day except Mondays and major holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.
For additional information:Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center. http://www.crowleysridge.org/ (accessed April 8, 2015).
T. French Adams Jonesboro, Arkansas
Last Updated 5/1/2015
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