A Travellerspoint blog

One day at the Hobbs Conservation National Park - Arkansas

Week end with Mithra, Uma and Keiran

sunny 30 °C

Hobbs Conservation National Park in Arkansas organises a lot of events thorughout the week and we decided to go today as they had 3 activities we enjoyed, all for free: historic Van Winkle Trail in the morning, multi diversity trail at 1pm and a Beaver lake cruise at 3 pm....

On the way to the park we rescued a turtle that was trying to cross the road!!!!
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The walk in the morning was interesting and short enough so the kids did not get too bored. It takes you where Van Winkle built his first mill powered by oxes. He was the first man to be known to use slaves as labour in a factory environment instead of agricultural fields... The walk shows you the different buildings that made up the site ....

The kids had fun:
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These are the few things we saw : Teo is sitting on the original toilet, the white flowers are the dogwood tree and are just beautiful in spring, the red flowers are from the paw paw tree which produces a delicious fruit at the end of summer, the tree with the kind of spider web is in fact house for a lot of caterpillars that will come out during the summer.
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Some pictures of Uma and Kieran
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Posted by ealonso 07:21 Archived in USA Tagged park historical trail van conservation arkansas winkle hobbs Comments (0)

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge - Arkansas

rescue centre for big cats across USA

sunny 28 °C

We went to visit the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge centre in Arkansas, next to Eureka Springs. The centre aims to rescue any big cats from zoos or private owners in order to avoid them being put down.

The centre has 2 sections, the first one which is the one you see when you arrive is the "waiting" area, where the cats are placed when they are received in the centre. The enclosures are quite small and I first I thought "oh my god this is tiny!!!"....

But what happens is that they are put there first so they can get used to their new environment and so that a close look can be kept on them... Then the centre tries to raise some funds to build them each an enclosure and let me tell you that this costs about $20000 to $25000 for a bob cat (as they are good climbers)... so that could take up to 2 years to get...

They have 120 cats and half of them are now in their permanent enclosures which are large and beautiful.... and the others are waiting for funds to get their houses built. They have a good idea for the permanent houses as they basically share a big outside space with 2 concrete shelters so cats can be "out" every other day ... It is amazing that with their territoriality the animals are happy to share with others of their specie but it works if they have been together previously or are brothers and sisters.

Most animals have a sad story behind them... some are here because their previous zoo could not afford to keep them any longer. Some have been found as kitten ; there are many bob cats across Arkansas and it is not unusual for a baby to be found.. people take them in thinking they will adapt to domestic life and they, through dramatic events they decide they can no longer cope.

Some of the animals were inbred by their previous owners and they present some genetical defects such as cross eyes, flat nose, blindness... These animals will never be able to go anywhere else but here and this is now their home.

Here are some pictures of the cats....
P1000881.jpg actually this is one of the brown bear they have.

One of the bob cat got the visit of a non venomous snake in its enclosure which created chaos throughout the park.
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This is the welcoming bird you see in the shop that greets the customers...
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These are some of the big cats... absolutely beautiful creatures.
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Posted by ealonso 07:04 Archived in USA Tagged springs wildlife cats creek big centre arkansas rescue eureka turpentine Comments (0)

War Eagle Cavern visit - Arkansas

Bats, maze and trails

sunny 30 °C

Today it was a lovely day and we went to one of the many caverns not too far from home... It has a maze, several trails, a guided tour to the caves, a feeding platform to feed the fish.

We did the tour first with a lovely volunteer Jim whose wife we met at the Mill last week. Jim used to be an operations manager in a factory and does 6 to 8 tours a day ....We took the trail to the caves and saw some nice trees, they have also a million fossils the kids enjoyed discovering on the way...

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The cave itself was also impressive with various stalactites, stalagmites, curtains formation, chimneys and again lots of fossils. They are inhabited by little bats which can stay put for more than 2 weeks and get covered in droplets of water... so cute .. They measure about 5 cm long (their bodies). They also have a brown bat colony but they are deeper in the cave and you cannot see them.
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The cave was used to film some old western so there are some artefacts about Jessie and Frank James who hid here after their robberies. Locals used to make moonshine drinks there and there is a display of the system they used to make it with.

We saw some bats, and salamanders as well as some swallows nest.
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The following are just random shots!
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Posted by ealonso 20:02 Archived in USA Tagged eagle war arkansas caverns Comments (0)

Saint Louis - Missouri

week end in Saint Louis

sunny 24 °C

This week end as Mithra was just back from spending some time with her dad Kieran offered to take us to Saint Louis in Missouri... so we jumped on the offer...

The 5 hours journey seemed to fly by with 3 movies (felt like an airplane ... plus popcorn!)....

We headed of at 1ish and got to Saint Louis for 6ish and went to a lovely restaurant in town.... we then went to bed to get ready for the City Museum which seemed to be a great place for kids and adults all the same...

The next day we woke up and went to have breakfast in a lovely bread place called the Saint Louis Bread company... I had a souffle with spinach and cheese and a juice.... Teo had a lovely cinnamon cake and a water, Hayden a hot cross bun (who told you he was missing UK hey????) and a chocolate chip muffin and a orange juice.... It was all lovely...

Some views of the city
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We then headed off to the City Museum a kids palace made out of recycling materials from wood, old aircraft, printing presses, trees... it is amazing to look at and has a lot to offer from a circus show, a craft room, an indoor skate board park to run on, a myriad of tunnels, a 10 storey slide, a cave, an aquarium (additional charge), a hamster wheel to exercise in, a massive ball patch where people just take each other out literally....

This is what the place looks like form outside ... pretty cool hey!
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This is the war zone of ball pit!!!!
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Some of the craft we did
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We spent from 10 in the morning till 19.30 !!!! unbelievable .... lunch was great with a giant pizza... and we had a great laugh...

The Circus show
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The slides
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The indoor skate area:
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The big hamster wheel:
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Some more of the crazy interior... all made from recycled materials:
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The next day we needed to head back early so we got a wake up call at 7.30 to see if we could get a ride in a Mississipi boat (you know the ones I mean) and also look at the arch ... a magnificent whilst imposing and simple monument by the Mississipi river....

We could not make the boat as the earliest would be 12:00 and it lasts 1hour so we decided not to go there and instead do the Arch visit....

Guess what !!!! we were early and it was shut !!!! so we headed up to town to our nice bread shop and went for breakfast....

On our return we faced some queues to get into the arch so we spent some time in the museum they had done in the visitor centre... Whao that was amazing .. a true picture of the conquest of the west with some excellent displays, variety of media, immense collection of artefacts... pretty inspiring layout for a museum...

I watch a documentary on Mrs Roosevelt who was British , did you know that??? and then did the Junior Ranger activity pack with the kids (or Teo to be more precise as Hayden gave up within 10 minutes of having to answer some questions that involved reading some of the notes!!!!)...

A very good museum...
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In the queue to the train that takes you up the Arch you have some more museum and artefacts to see:
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The trip in the arch is also great.. you get put in these minute cells that sit 5 people and get sent up 155 metres into the air!... you then come out on this corridor where you have windows that look out. We had excellent visibility and it was fantastic views!
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Views from the top
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Posted by ealonso 19:48 Archived in USA Tagged the city museum arch saint louis gateway missouri Comments (0)

Pea Ridge National Military Park - Arkansas

Trip back to the Civil War

sunny 30 °C

Today we decided to visit the Pea Ridge National Military Park not too far away...

This is again a very interesting museum with a lot of artefacts and testimonies of the soldiers who fought during the Civil War... Missouri was a key state during the war as it was the state located between the northern states in the Union and the southern states the Confederates. The Northern states were for the abolition of slavery whilst the Southern states were pro slavery.
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The Unionists decided that if they were to take the Missouri state they will be able to slip the Confederates states in 2 even further using the Mississippi river. Pea Ridge is where the Civil War sort of went in favour of the Union as they won the war.

There is a 7 miles drive you can take with more than 10 stops where information is provided about the war. There is mainly the tavern that I found very informative. An old man of about 70 volunteers every day and dresses up like a unionist and talks about the war and what they used the tavern for. This was like a hospital and you can see some nice Halloween chopped up legs and arms,. all the drugs they used ... the natural plants they also used ...

The place is pretty much as was before apart from the farms have been destroyed, but the canons are still standing and it is amazing site.
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Posted by ealonso 19:38 Archived in USA Tagged military park pea ridge arkansas Comments (0)

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