River Valley Nature Center
The Arkansas River Valley Nature Center is where the outdoors and learning converge. Trained experts and skilled volunteers teach a number of courses throughout the summer, as well as provide unique programs specifically designed to bring nature to life.
Daily activities include the 2 p.m. Critter Crunch feedings.
Weekly activities include:a Nature Break for children ages 3-7, Saturday morning guided hikes, canoe/kayak programs, laser shot and archery instruction.
Canoe and kayak check-outs are available from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday. All activities are free.
Summer Youth Workshops
Who: Ages 6-9 and 10-13
What: Hands-on opportunities to create art using classic mediums. Pre-registration is required. Up to three workshops per child.
When: Ages 6-9, 9:30-11 a.m.; ages 10-13, noon-1:30 p.m.
June 21, July 26 – Sketching Nature with Colored Pencils
June 22 – Watercolor Techniques for Nature Painting
July 27 – Mosaics
Who: Ages 4-7
What: Little ones are invited for a two-hour mini-day camp that will include special age-appropriate activities. A responsible parent or adult is required to stay on the premises. Registration is required.
When: 9-11 a.m. each session
June 15 – “F” is for Fish
July 6 – “B” is for Birds
Aug. 3 – “R” is for Reptiles
Who: Nature lovers
What: Family-friendly activities “after hours.”
When: 8 p.m.
June 10 – Owl Prowl 6, 7 and 8 p.m.
June 21 – Evening Education Barge Tours 8:30 p.m.
July 8 – Star Party 6 p.m.
July 19 – GPS for Hunters and Hikers 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 12 – Back to School Bash 6 p.m.
Aug. 16 – The Endangered American Burying Beetle
BB Guns and Slingshots
What: Participants will learn basic firearm safety and shooting techniques, and learn how to shoot a slingshot. Equipment is provided.
When: 9 a.m. Thursdays June 9-Aug. 12
What: Children and their families will take part in nature art activities
When: 11:15 a.m. Thursdays
What: Educators at Wells Lake will give participants fishing tips. Cane poles or rod and reel, tackle and bait will be supplied.
When: 9 a.m. Fridays
Canoe and Kayak Program
What: Staff members will assist boaters on Wells Lake. A parent or guardian must accompany children. Participants are required to wear life jackets, which will be provided.
When: 10 a.m.-noon Fridays
All activities will be held at the River Valley Nature Center, 8300 Wells Lake Road Fort Smith, 479-452-3993 rivervalleynaturecenter.com
Lake Fort Smith State Park
15458 Shepherd Springs Road, Mountainburg, Ark.
Free Fishing Weekend
Who: Families who love to fish!
What: Fish this weekend without fishing licenses. Don’t have a pole? No worries-the nature center has several poles to loan at the marina, along with everything else you’ll need enjoy a day fishing. Regulations for Arkansas waters apply and must be observed. For more information, call 479-369-2469.
When: June 10 -12
Wetlands Discovery Day Camp
Who: Ages 10-14
What: Discover nature as you kayak to the far end of the lake to observe aquatic birds and animals and use dip nets to find and observe macro invertebrates and fish. Campers will learn the basics of conservation and ecology by exploring Lake Fort Smith State Park’s varied habitat of forests, streams and lake. The park provides all the educational materials used in their explorations. Participants are encouraged to take a lunch, water bottle, hat and sunscreen. Admission is $20. Space is limited. Call the park at -479-369-2469 to register.
When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 13-14 and July 11-12
This article appears in the June 2106 issue of Entertainment Fort Smith Magazine.