Lake Cruise (Actual dates for this event are listed in the schedule below.) –Explore the wonders of Lake Dardanelle and the Arkansas River aboard the state park tour boat. Enjoy abundant wildlife, amazing history, and astounding views of the river valley throughout this 1 hour cruise. There is no fee for the tour, but space is limited. You must register for the tour. Call 479-967-5516 to register for a seat. We will begin boarding 15 minutes before the tour, at the boat dock near the south boat ramp. (Weather permitting)
Tuesdays & Saturdays at 1:30p.m. – What’s for Lunch? –We have 8,000 gallons of aquariums, filled with many of the fish species found in Lake Dardanelle. Join park staff in the visitor center as they feed the fish live food. See for yourself, what’s for lunch?
Saturdays at 1:45p.m. – Critter Crunch – Lake Dardanelle’s diverse habitats provide homes for many creatures large and small. Join a park interpreter in the kid’s corner of the visitor center as she tells you about some of the smaller creatures. She will also be feeding these creatures; so come discover the small native wonders we have around us.
Friday, October 3rd
6:30p.m. – Life of a Pioneer – Exploration, opportunity, and progress forged the culture you find here at Lake Dardanelle State Park. The life of an Arkansas pioneer could have been daunting at times, but through courage, independence and self-reliance we celebrate their heritage today. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater where you will get the opportunity to discover how pioneer homes were built, the early Arkansas pioneer hardships and how Arkansas became the state that we know.
Saturday, October 4th
10a.m. – Sharing Nature with Wildlife – During your visit to Lake Dardanelle State Park you have the opportunity to experience our beautiful wildlife. Join a park interpreter on the Dardanelle side of the park near the playground to discover how we share nature with our wildlife in the forest, the campground, and on the water.
2p.m. – Fashion a Fish – Learn about the wide variety of shapes and sizes of fish the live in Lake Dardanelle, due to its health and diversity. After you discover the reasons for their shapes you can create a fish of your own, we will meet in the visitor center Lakeview room.
3p.m. – Nature Detectives – The diverse habitats around Lake Dardanelle create many opportunities for discovery and exploration. Explore the park by touching, seeing, smelling, and listening to the nature that surrounds you. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater as a detective investigating the forest of Lake Dardanelle State Park.
5:30p.m. – Sunset Hike – You can explore nature at this park because Lake Dardanelle’s diverse habitats sustain many living creatures. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater as we explore the Meadowbrook Trail and watch the sun set on beautiful Lake Dardanelle.
Sunday, October 5th
2p.m. –Brunch in the Basement – It is brunch time for our Arkansas native reptiles! Meet in the lobby of VIC and journey to the basement for an exciting and educational viewing as these snakes dine!
Friday, October 10th
6p.m. – Insect Orchestra – Have you heard the music that the insects here at Lake Dardanelle make in the evenings? Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater to learn more about how insects make their music and help us create our own “insect orchestra”.
Saturday, October 11th
11a.m. – Reptilian Riddles – Many creatures call Lake Dardanelle home. Many of these amazing creatures are reptiles. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater to discover some of the things that make reptiles unique.
3p.m. – Pioneer Play –You will discover what pioneer kids did to pass the time while the exploration and progress of their parents forged the culture you find here today. Meet a park interpreter in the grassy area across from the visitor center for some pioneer play.
4p.m. – Skunks: What’s all the stink about? – Lake Dardanelle State Park is home to many creatures, one of these is the striped skunk. They are known for their color and definitely for their smell. Skunks also have some redeeming qualities about them. Join a park interpreter on the Dardanelle side of the park near the playground to learn what some of these qualities are and how we can exist in better harmony with these interesting creatures.
8:30p.m. – Night Hike– You can explore nature at this park because Lake Dardanelle’s diverse habitats sustain many living creatures. At night, the park is full of sounds and smells much different than the daytime. Different animals are awake and are ready to be seen or heard. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater to explore nature at night during a hike on the Meadowbrook Trail.
Sunday, October 12th
11a.m. – Talking Turkey – The Native American tribes that historically inhabited this area were heavily dependent on nature for their livelihood. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater as she explains the importance the wild turkey had to the Native Americans who traveled through and settled this area. Learn how historical Native American uses for the turkey differ from the uses of today. Discover why turkey, is not just for dinner.
3p.m. – Home is Where the Forest is – Lake Dardanelle has diverse habitat to support many creatures. Have you ever thought of how your decisions affect these creatures? How can you help animals? Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater and discover some of our local birds and how we can help them.
Wednesday, October 15th
Friday, October 17th
7p.m. – The Stories of Lake Dardanelle – Exploration, opportunity, and progress forged the culture you find here today. Meet a park interpreter at the amphitheater to hear some stories of the past that create the wonderful and unique culture in the River Valley.
Saturday, October 18th Autumn in Arkansas
9a.m. – Morning Bird Walk – Join a park interpreter at the visitor center to take a walk through the area in search of our visiting birds. Even if you’ve never birded before, you can enjoy these creatures in a whole new way!
10:30a.m. – Nature’s Bounty Hike– The area surrounding Lake Dardanelle has a diverse history. The area had many pioneers and trappers who came and lived off the land, as well as, Cherokees who settled here when they were pressured to leave their homeland in the east in the early 1800’s. The climate was good and food was abundant. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater and we will travel down the Meadowbrook Trail and discover some of the tree species and their products that were vital for all who settled this area.
10:30a.m. – Lake Cruise
12:30p.m. – Camping Cuisine – Food never tastes as good as it does while you’re camping. Join the Park Interpreter in the grassy area across from the visitor center for some tips on building a campfire and cooking a tasty campfire dessert as we celebrate the changing of the season and Picnic in the Park. The fee for this camping cuisine is $2 per person, please register by October 15th, by calling 479-967-5516.
1p.m. –Kayak Tour – As the Arkansas River journeys through Lake Dardanelle, it continually shapes the land and creates numerous opportunities for people to enjoy from fishing to kayaking. The weather is warming up, and we’re going to see what’s emerging on the banks of Lake Dardanelle. We’ll be paddling our kayaks through some seldom closely seen shoreline of this beautiful 34,000 acre lake. Sign up at the visitor center (479-967-5516) at least one day in advance. The fee is $12 for adults, $6 for children 6-12 years old, 5 years and under ride free when with an adult. Please specify when you sign up if you want a tandem (2 person) or solo kayak. We will meet at the visitor center front desk.
2p.m. – Fall Scavenger Hunt – There is great diversity in habitat and animals at Lake Dardanelle, making it easy to explore and enjoy nature here. We will see how many of the nature items on our list you can find. There will be some interesting things on the list, so bring your thinking cap. Join a park interpreter at the visitor center front desk to get started on your search.
3:30p.m. – Candle Making– Exploration, opportunity, and progress forged the culture you find here today. Families made their own yearly supply of candles in the fall to provide the only light in their homes. Learn how to make candles the old- fashion way. This time-honored tradition of candle dipping will give you the skills to make them in your very own home. Meet a park interpreter in the Lakeview Room of the visitor center.
4:30p.m. –Fall Foliage Fun – Have you ever wondered why leaves change colors and fall off in the fall? Sometimes change can be hard to understand at first, but is beautiful in the end. Join a park interpreter in visitor center Lakeview Room to hear a story about dealing with the change of fall and to make some fall foliage of your own. Come prepared to get your hands dirty. You will need to call the visitor center at 479-967-5516 to register for this free program.
6p.m. – Creatures of the Night – Lake Dardanelle is home to many creatures. Discover some of Lake Dardanelle State Park’s nocturnal residents. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater and learn what animals come out when we go to sleep. We will be outside so dress for the weather.
Sunday, October 19th
9a.m. – The Great Migration Challenge – Each year, over 350 bird species travel hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles to find the food they need to survive. Lake Dardanelle State Park makes a perfect place for them to find this food and rest due to its diverse habitats. Can you take on that challenge? Meet a park interpreter in the grassy area across from the visitor center to try your luck!
2p.m. – River Ramble – As the Arkansas River journeys through Lake Dardanelle, it continually shapes the land and creates opportunities for people like you. The river is always changing it hasn’t always looked the way it does today. Join a park interpreter and learn some of the hazards and bounty the river has in store. You will have to navigate your way to safety in order to reap the rewards in our fun river ramble.
Thursday, October 23rd
Friday, October 24th
6:30p.m. – “Little Brother” – Have you ever thought about how people survived before there were stores to buy what they needed? Come to the amphitheater to learn about how the Cherokee used parts of a deer to get what they needed to survive.
Saturday, October 25th
9a.m. – In-seine Adventure – The Arkansas River creates many opportunities for enjoyment as it journeys through Lake Dardanelle. What all lives in the Lake besides fish and turtles? Well, here is your chance to find out. We will seine at the kayak beach for macro-invertebrates and see who is living in the lake. Come prepared to get wet and wear water shoes.
10a.m. – Leaf Prints – Fall is such a wonderful time of year. All the great colors and the crisp air make you want to savor the season. Join a park interpreter on the Dardanelle side of the park near the playground and learn how to preserve some of the fall colors by making a unique craft.
1p.m. – Nature Journals – Ever wish you had a picture of something you saw but didn’t have a camera? Well nature journals are a sure way to have that picture and never have to get a picture printed. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater and learn how to capture the memories without a camera.
3p.m. – Who goes there? – There are many creatures that call Lake Dardanelle home. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater to discover who they are and what clues they leave behind as they move about. After looking through the clues we will head down the trail and see if we discover any new clues and find out, who goes there?
9p.m. – Star Gazers Challenge –Lake Dardanelle provides a great setting for viewing the night sky. Join a park interpreter at the swim beach to learn stories and uses of the night sky objects as we explore the sky. We will see how many objects we can identify. There will be Stars, moon, and planets.
Sunday, October 26th
2p.m. – Wildlife Hike – You can explore nature at this park because Lake Dardanelle’s diverse habitats sustain many living creatures. Meadowbrook Trail is home to many of these creatures. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater and discover what animals call this area home. Then head down the trail to see how many creatures you can see or what traces of them we can find.
Wednesday, October 29th
Friday, October 31st
6:30p.m. – Masters of the Night– Bat populations are in decline due to misinformation and fear. Meet a park interpreter at the amphitheater to discover the bat myths that have given them a bad reputation and learn about which bats you can find here at Lake Dardanelle State Park. Please bring a flashlight and don’t forget your insect repellant.
Borrow a Park Adventure & Creativity Kit – (P.A.C.K.) you get all the tools you need for adventure and creativity neatly packaged in a backpack along with an adventure guide full of ideas on what to do with all the items. Our P.A.C.K.’s can be checked out at the visitor center for a $ 10 fee. You keep the pack for 24 hours and get to keep many of the items for future adventures.
Remember that all the programs count toward earning your State Park Explorer Certificate. If you would like more information on this program ask one of the Park Interpreters.
For more information about any of these programs, either call the Lake Dardanelle State Park at (479) 967-5516 or visit their website.