Lake Cruise (dates and times listed within the following calendar) – 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, May 2nd
7p.m. – Fun with Fur– You can learn a lot about an animal just by looking at its fur. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater to examine animal furs and learn about some of the mammals that make Lake Dardanelle State Park their home.
Saturday, May 3rd
10a.m. – Bicycle Rally – Join us in celebrating the great outdoors. This bicycle rally will be for age 2-13. Helmets are required. We will have age divisions and a limited number of helmets that can be borrowed. You must register, either before the event at the visitor center or the morning of at the registration table at the weigh-in pavilion.
2p.m. – Beavers: Nature’s Engineers– Lake Dardanelle offers diverse habitat that allow many different and unique animals to live here, including the beaver. Everyone is familiar with the phrase, “busy as a beaver”, but how did they get the reputation of being such hard workers? Meet a park interpreter in the grassy area across from the visitor center to learn more about these water-loving mammals.
3:30p.m. – Lake Cruise
4p.m. – Opening Arkansas Wilderness – The Steamboat played an important role in Arkansas from the earliest days of Arkansas Territory. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater to learn how the Steamboat industry opened the Arkansas wilderness to new settlers and commerce.
6p.m. – Packing Primer –Tonight we will learn some of the necessities for hiking and backpacking. We will learn basic safety measures. There are so many wonderful places to hike and see amazing sites in this great state. A backpacking trip is a great and inexpensive way to spend the day. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater for your packing primer.
Tuesday, May 6th
3p.m. – Lake Cruise
Thursday, May 8th
4p.m. – Lake Cruise
Friday, May 9th
6p.m. – Know Your State– How well do you know the history and folklore of Arkansas? Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater for this fun quiz game where teams will compete for prizes. All ages welcome!
Saturday, May 10th –International Migratory Bird Day
10a.m. – Eye Spy– Come explore the natural and cultural history of Lake Dardanelle State Park while learning and playing a spy game in the visitor center. Start your adventure at the visitor center front desk.
2p.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? Help us celebrate International Migratory Bird Day and meet a park interpreter in the grassy area across from the visitor center to try your luck!
5p.m. – Adaptation artistry – Birds have many special adaptations that make them especially suited for the area they live in as we celebrate International Migratory Bird Day we will look at some of these adaptations. Meet a park interpreter in the Lakeview Room to create birds of your own with their own special adaptations and create a habitat for our special friend.
8p.m. – Night Flight – We will wrap up our International Migratory Bird Day programs by joining a park interpreter at the amphitheater to learn about our silent hunters that come out when the sun goes down. We will talk about some of their unique features and then walk the Meadowbrook Trail as we try to catch a glimpse of these stealthy raptors.
Tuesday, May 13th
4p.m. – Lake Cruise
Friday, May 16th
7p.m. – Evening 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. 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. Meet a park interpreter at the visitor center front doors.
Saturday, May 17th – National “Kids to Parks” Day
10a.m. – Lake Cruise
12:30p.m. – Native American Games – This area historically was inhabited by Native Americans. They settled this area before the removal. They made decisions here that changed their lives. Have you ever thought about what their daily lives were like? Have you ever wondered how Native Americans spent their free time, back in history, way before this area was a state park? Are you curious about how their hunting skills were perfected? Meet a park interpreter in the grassy area across from the visitor center to learn some of the games Native Americans developed, played, and perfected. All ages welcome!
1p.m. – Fish prints– Lake Dardanelle’s fishery is healthy and diverse. We’ll be using the fishery as inspiration to make some beautiful creations. Meet a park interpreter in the Lakeview Room to create some fishy art.
3p.m. – Little Armored One– Diverse habitats, such as the Lake Dardanelle area, have many different kinds of animals. Some are cute and cuddly looking, while others are simply odd. One of these truly unique looking creatures is the armadillo. Meet a park interpreter at the amphitheater to learn about why they look like they do.
4p.m. – Fishing Fun! – Lake Dardanelle’s fishery is healthy and diverse, offering you the thrill of nature and the success of the catch. Join a park interpreter at the kayak beach near the visitor center to learn about some of the fish found in Lake Dardanelle.
7:30p.m. – Fireside Stories – Telling stories is a centuries old tradition created for pleasure, as well as to pass down the history and oral traditions of an area or group of people. Meet a park interpreter at the amphitheater to hear some stories, share some stories, and enjoy the fire light. Bring something to sit on. Bring a chair or a blanket with you to sit on.
Thursday, May 22nd
4p.m. – Lake Cruise
Friday, May 23rd
8p.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. Make sure to wear insect repellent and bring a flashlight.
Saturday, May 24th
9:30a.m. – Birding Basics– Bird watching is a hobby for all ages. To get started you only need the 3 B’s: Binoculars, a Bird book, and Birds. Lake Dardanelle has plenty of birds, so come out and meet a park interpreter at the visitor center front desk and learn just how easy bird watching can be.
11a.m. – Lake Cruise
12p.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 front desk of the visitor center.
3p.m. – Unclean Scene– The Arkansas River journeys through Lake Dardanelle, creating opportunities for you and providing habitat to many wildlife. Caring for our water resource is a challenge for each of us, but through conservation we can learn ways to protect our precious water. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater to discover solutions in preventing water pollution.
4p.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 for macro-invertebrates and see who is living in the lake. Come prepared to get wet and wear water shoes, we will meet at the kayak beach near the visitor center.
7p.m. – Game Scene Investigation: G.S.I. – When you walk around in nature and you see a track, do you take the track at face value as just a foot print, or do you look around to see what the big picture holds? Join a park interpreter in the grassy area across from the visitor center and see what you can determine about the game scene in the area.
Sunday, May 25th
9a.m. – Lake Cruise
12p.m. – Weaving – Fiber weaving is a disappearing art. It was once a part of everyday life but today has gone by the wayside. Join a park interpreter in the Lakeview Room and discover how easy this art can be. We will put our own spin on this fun and easy to learn skill. The fee for this program is $2. Please sign up by May 23rd by calling 479-967-5516.
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!
2:30p.m. – What is it? –Come on down you’re the next contestant for “What is it?” Park interpreters have been busy exploring the minute details of Lake Dardanelle State Park. Test your knowledge of Lake Dardanelle State Park by looking at obscure photos of the natural world and figure out “What is it?” Join a park interpreter in the orientation room at the visitor center to begin your challenge.
4p.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.
5:30p.m. – Fish Feature– Lake Dardanelle has a healthy and diverse fishery. There are over 90 species of fish in the lake. Each of these fish are specially adapted for their niche in the environment. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater and see if you can match the face and fins of some of these fish as we learn about some of these sought after species and how we can catch them.
8p.m. – Wetland Metaphors – Wetlands are a vital part of the ecosystem. They are beneficial to wildlife and humans alike. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater and discover what these benefits are.
Monday, May 26th – Memorial Day
9a.m. – Soft Walk – Learning about the diverse habitats and the many living creatures they support at Lake Dardanelle doesn’t have to include a lot of lecture or books. Sometimes just being in nature and looking at things that someone points out can teach you a lot. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater visitor center as we walk softly and immerse ourselves in nature and take in new experiences.
11a.m. – Don’t Let them BUG You! – Learn about some of our tiny friends in nature. Discover how they help us and why we shouldn’t let them bug us. You can even create one of your very own to take home with you. Join a park interpreter in the grassy area across form the visitor center.
12p.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. Join a park interpreter in the grassy area across from the visitor center for some pioneer play.
2p.m. – Great American Camper Quiz– Meet a park interpreter in the Lakeview Room at the visitor center to see how in tune you are with the natural world. We’ll be testing your skills about furs, tracks, and some mystery items! Bring your whole family, and see how much you know!
Tuesday, May 27th
3p.m. – Lake Cruise
Friday, May 30th
7p.m. – Slithery Symbols– Historically this area was home to several Native American tribes. Nature was and still is for many Native Americans a big part of what makes up their culture. We will look at a small bit of nature that helped shape many of the cultural artifacts of many of the tribes from this area. We will explore the many meanings snakes had for Native Americans and how they were incorporated into everyday life. You will learn about the characteristics that made these snakes feared and revered. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater to meet some of these creatures.
Saturday, May 31st
10a.m. – Hiking Safety – Being prepared can make your hike safer, memorable, and more enjoyable. Join a park interpreter at the amphitheater for a program on hiking safety. Afterwards, we will celebrate Arkansas Trails Day and take a hike down the Meadowbrook Trail to see what’s springing up.
12:30p.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 in the grassy area across from the visitor center 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.
2p.m. – The Stories of Lake Dardanelle – Exploration, opportunity, and progress forged the culture you find here today. Meet a park interpreter in the grassy area across from the visitor center to hear some stories of the past that create the wonderful and unique culture in the River Valley. Bring blankets and chairs to sit on the grass, as you see these stories come to life right before your eyes!
3p.m. – Grab Bag Adventures– The diverse habitats around Lake Dardanelle create many opportunities for discovery and exploration. Meet a park interpreter at the amphitheater to find out what is in her magic bag! We’ll play a little game to let you touch and feel your way around. Hints will be given, but you’ll be testing your sense of wildlife!
5p.m. – Marsh Mystery – As the Arkansas River journeys through Lake Dardanelle, it continually shapes the land and creates opportunities for people like you. We have to be careful when enjoying these opportunities that we don’t affect others. Join a park interpreter in the grassy area across from the visitor center and help her solve a marsh mystery. Discover how you can help protect our natural areas.
7:30p.m. – Evening 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 and we will wrap up Arkansas Trails Day by exploring the Meadowbrook Trail and watch the sun set on beautiful Lake Dardanelle.
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 our programs count toward earning your State Park Explorer Certificate. If you would like more information on this program ask one of our Park Interpreters.
For more information about any of these events, contact Lake Dardanelle State Park, 100 State Park Drive Russellville, AR 72802, 479-967-5516, or visit the Arkansas State Parks’ website here.