Eureka Springs Winter Activities | Visit the Big Cats at Turpentine Creek

Looking for things to do in the winter?
Eureka Springs has plenty of cold weather activities. To find out more, we talked to the very cool Ike Weaver, promotions coordinator at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (one of only a handful of big cat sanctuaries in the United States accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries). TWCR is an ethical animal tourism destination and with every visit, every purchase and every overnight reservation, guests are actually helping protect survivors of the exotic animal trade. 

Read our interview below to discover how to have some fun and learn something new. Visit the Big Cats for an experience you’ll never forget!

Sissy in the snow

Q: What does Turpentine offer in the winter?
A: While many area businesses temporarily close this time of year, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR) is open every day – excluding Christmas Day – during the Winter season. We offer unique opportunities to see and learn about exotic and native animals, and we also share eye-opening insight into the harmful nature of the exotic animal trade. At the Refuge, guests can enjoy fun, family-friendly experiences through daily tours or overnight experiences in our adults-only and family-friendly lodging accommodations. But even if you can’t visit, we offer membership opportunitiessponsorship options and a variety of other ways get involved. Go to for more information in that regard. And we’re pretty active on social media, too. So curl up with our cat videos if you’re not able to visit!


Spyke the not so snowy Leopard

Q: What is special about visiting y’all in the colder months?
A: If you haven’t visited the Refuge or stayed overnight during the Winter months, you’re missing out on a neat experience. The majority of our animal residents develop heavier coats leading into the cooler season, so dropping temperatures really don’t affect them much. Having said that, our African animal residents (i.e. lions, servals, etc.) tend to stay close to their heated night house areas, whereas our native residents (i.e. bobcats, cougars, black bears, etc.) and tigers love to be active in the colder weather. In fact, tigers are one of the few felines that like water. So when it snows, guests can often see tigers playing with “snowman enrichment” or otherwise enjoying their habitats all Winter long.

Bam Bam the Holiday Bear

Q: What can readers look forward to?
A: Guests are in for fun, educational experience when they visit! TCWR admission includes access to our Discovery Area, as well as guided tours along our half-mile tour loop. In a lot of instances, guests within our Discovery Area can safely be within 5 feet of apex predators while learning about our animal residents through educational signage and animal biography plaques. After spending time in our Discovery Area, guests can learn about our larger animals (i.e. lions, tigers, ligers, etc.) during half-mile guided tours by our knowledgeable animal care interns. During the tours, guests learn a great deal about the harmful nature of the exotic animal trade while viewing residents in 5,000-20,000 square foot habitats. While on property, guests may also hear unique exotic and native animal vocalizations – like “caroling” or “chuffing” – or witness natural animal behaviors, and they may also see our animals enjoying habitat enrichment like boomerballs and other large carnivore playthings.

Rocklyn and her big red ball

While daily guests can have a great time at the Refuge, overnight lodging guests receive a really unique, immersive experience. Collectively known as Africa In The Ozarks, we offer a variety of family-friendly and adults-only lodging accommodations, each with their own unique color schemes, decor and features. All of our accommodations are really comfortable and fun, and include amenities you would expect in any standard hotel room. What’s more, is that the Refuge is located seven miles south of Eureka Springs, so during this time of year there is hardly any light pollution. Which means stargazers are in for a real treat when they stay overnight at the Refuge!

Abagail playing it cool

Q: What is different about Turpentine’s routine in the winter? (Animals, staff, etc.)
A: Regardless of the season, we are always working for our animal residents. And while we work like dogs to take care of all of these cats, some things do change a bit during the Winter season. Our animal care team are more vigilant when monitoring water levels/status, as freezing temperatures tend to do…what freezing temperatures do. With the exception of our bears and a few other species, the majority of our residents expend more energy during the colder months, so we increase their food intake accordingly. During this time of year, our bears actually go into a state of slowed physiological activity known as torpor. In this state, our bears do not eat as much as they would during the warmer months, so we reduce their food intake as necessary.

Willy Lion chillin in the leaves

You can find their hours of operation, tour times and other important information on their website, as well as educational content, and photos and videos via Facebook.

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Winter DISCOUNT RATES at the Historic Hotels

Winter Fun In Eureka Springs

Crescent Hotel Rates are dropped 35% from Standard Rate

Basin Park Hotel Rates are dropped 25% from Standard Rate

Based upon availability

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Restaurants to visit this winter | Eureka Springs Restaurants

Best Eureka Springs Restaurants Open Year Round

Eureka Springs is an intimate destination in the Winter. This picturesque mountain town hosts visitors all year round. In fact, the winter season is one of the best times to visit particularly if you are into great food. Eureka Springs is home to many independently owned and award-winning restaurants. Great tasting, creative dishes inspired by the region draw the largest crowds making it more difficult to experience during the peak summer season. The winter season means smaller crowds. Because many Eureka Springs restaurants are careful to use locally sourced food, this also means that the winter season brings a seasonally curated menu that is unavailable at other times of the year. Here are some of the best restaurants in Eureka Springs that are open through the holidays and beyond. Don’t miss these local treasures and enjoy their unique menus.

Ermilio’s Italian Home Cooking at 26 White Street on the Historic Loop

There is a reason that home is in the name. Ermilio’s kitchen turns out Italian food that tastes like your mom makes (if you had an Italian mom who cooks amazing food). Simply put, Ermilio’s makes comfort food, perfect for cold (and even rainy or snowy) evenings. Open from 5pm to 9pm every day, Ermilio’s menu features dishes like Mom’s Homemade Meatballs in Red Sauce and Uncle Sal’s Favorite Ravioli. See the full Ermilio’s restaurant menu here. Don’t forget to ask about their specials.

Gaskins Cabin Steakhouse at 2883 Highway 23 North

Hand cut steaks from beef grown on Creekstone Farms are served elegantly in a charming cabin built in the 1860’s. The cozy surroundings are elevated with the quality of offerings making Gaskins both comfortable and exquisite. Gaskins is open 5pm -10pm and takes reservations. Don’t miss trying the burgundy mushroom soup made the same day and check out the great selection of wine. See the full Gaskins menu here.

Skybar Gourmet Pizza at 75 Prospect Avenue on the top floor of the Crescent Hotel

Voted the Best Eureka Springs Pizza, Skybar has hands down, the best view as well! Open daily from 11am-11pm, the Skybar also delivers if you are in the mood to stay put. The Napoli pizza is just one of many speciality pizzas but Skybar will customize your toppings and has some great tasting standbys too! Pair pizza with a craft beer from the Northwest Arkansas Region. See the Skybar menu here.

Nyx Café Restaurant and Bar at 85 S Main Street

A new Eureka Springs hang out serving lunch, dinner, and drinks. Still gathering steam, this place is sure to be a hit this winter. They are open 11am-11pm so check it out anytime!  See the full Nyx Menu here. 

Mud Street Café & the Mud Street Annex where Main and Spring meet

Head underground to one of Eureka Spring’s most unique restaurant locations. Mud Street Café is open 8am- 3pm Wednesday-Monday. Their newest location is above ground but features a glass floor with the natural spring running below. Both locations are at the corner of Main Street and Spring Street downtown just feet from each other. See the Mud Street Café menu here. Check out the local spirits. Mud Street serves Bloody Mary’s made from a locally sourced mix and also features regionally made moonshine.

The Gravel Bar at Wanderloo Lodge  at 216 W Van Buren

Offering a limited menu Sunday thru Thursday 4pm-10pm, full menu Friday and Saturday until 9pm, with a limited menu continuing until midnight.  Check out their Winter menu! 

Aquarius Taqueria at 91 S Main Street

This popular gluten free option has wonderful service, food, and people! See the full Taqueria Menu here. Winter hours are Thursday and Sunday noon-8pm and Friday and Saturday noon-9pm!

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Eureka Springs Winter Vacation Guide

Eureka Springs is Year-Round Fun

Fun Winter Things To Do

Activities at the Basin Park and Crescent Hotels

  • Crescent’s New Moon Spa & Basin Park Hotel’s Spa 1905
  • Crescent College History Museum – 4th Floor Crescent
  • Ice Skating- Weather Permitting 5pm – 8pm
  • Basin Park’s Lucky 7 Friday Night Game Night
  • Crescent Hotel Friday Night FUN – Curling, Hatchet Throwing, Skating
  • Resort Activities – ALL GUESTS

Area Attractions

  • Turpentine Creek- 9am-5pm
  • The Great Passion Play Holy Land Tours- 12-3:45, 45 min intervals
  • Escape Room- Daily with advanced Appointment  10AM – 10PM
  • Keels Creek Winery Tasting Room – everyday 12pm-5pm
  • Bear Mountain Trail Ride- 9am-6pm, maybe 7 days a week
  • Cosmic Cavern- Fri/Sat 9am-5pm
  • Aviation Cadet World – 479-253-5008
  • Christ of the Ozarks Statue
  • Judge Roy Beans Old Time Photo- 479-253-5848
  • A majority of shops open on Weekends


Mountain Biking –

  • Trails at the Great Passion Play
  • Trails at Lake Leathrwood City Park
  • Eureka Springs Downhill (at Lake Leatherwood)
  • Adventure Mountain Outfitters- 479-253-0900
  • Phat Tire – Half Day / Full Day Guided Tour

Area Parks and Community Centers

  • Lake Leatherwood City Park
  • Black Bass Lake and Park
  • Harmon Park – Skatepark , Playground, Trail, Bark Park
  • Berryville Community Center/Indoor Pool- 870-423-3139
  • Eureka Springs Community Center – Open GYM Daily – Pickleball  (479) 239-0029
  • Roaring River Park and Fish Hatchery

Haunted Adventures:

  • Crescent Ghost Tours- Nightly
  • Flickering Tales- Fri/ Sat 10pm
  • AdvenTour- Fri/Sat nights
  • Downtown-N-Underground Tour- everyday @ 4pm
  • Not Really a Door- Friday night only

Local Museums

  • Eureka Springs Historical Museum – Everyday 9:30am-4pm Closed on Sun
  • Saunders Gun Museum (Berryville) – 870-423-2563
  • Berryville Heritage Center Museum- 870-423-6312
  • Golden Pioneer Museum- 417-271-3300
  • Rogers – Daisy Airgun Museum – 479-986-6873 Mon – Sat 9am-5pm
  • Bentonville – Crystal Bridges- Wednesday – Monday – Opens at 11AM
  • Bentonville – Scott Family Amazeum- Wednesday – Monday 10AM – Sunday at 1PM
  • Arkansas Air and Military Museum- Fayetteville

Event Dates

  • Eureka Springs Paranormal Weekend- 1/4/19-1/6/2019 and 1/11/19-1/13/19
  • Mardi Gras- Jan 12th– March 2nd
  • Chocolate Lovers Festival- 2/1/19-2/3/19
  • Wizards Ball on January 26th
  • Ozark Mountain Music Festival- 1/17/19- 1/20/19\
  • Razorback Basketball —
  • Tuesday Trivia @ Brew’s -7pm
  • Live Music – found regularly at Chelseas & Brews
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I’m Getting Married at the Crescent Hotel – Ceremony & Celebration

My Eureka Springs Wedding Story

When I left you last, it was the night before the wedding. After we finished the rehearsal dinner, I stayed the night with my mom and best friend.

The morning of the big day, I felt surprisingly calm and composed. My sweet momma woke me with a beautifully made special gift. After we roused Shelby, I suggested we eat, and sheepishly admitted that I had been thinking about the crystal dining room’s biscuits all night. Since high school, their biscuits and gravy have been my favorite, and they were a perfect way to start the day. Everything from this point on is a blur!

After breakfast, we rushed off for mimosas while my stylist at Salon Seven prepared to work her magic. A couple of drinks and one coffee later, we were set to meet our group in the lobby to start the picture taking process. The only problem was that I wasn’t in my dress! As we pulled up to the front of the Crescent, we saw that all of the bridal party AND THE GROOM were chillin in front of the stairs and elevator. Cue the only meltdown of the day. How do I get to room where my dress is waiting up on the 4th floor of the hotel? The anxiety of trying to make it past my friends dressed in a bathrobe collided with the emotion of what was happening the moment I saw Nick in the entry. Did I mention it was raining?

Luckily, a calm maid of honor and a few moments to breath reminded me of an alternate entry in the salon. We ran through the rain, into the crescent, through the salon, up the stairs, quietly snuck past my friends in the lobby, and ran all the way up to the 4th floor.

That morning, my stepdad did everything he could to make our original plan in Glenwood Hollow work out. But as it rained harder, it became clear that we would be executing wedding Plan B. I had no idea how we would pull it off, as literally every part of the wedding was intended to be experienced outdoors. I was definitely nervous, but reassured by the awesome team of creative people that made our wedding possible.

Pushing any unhelpful thoughts to the side, I attempted to center myself before stepping out of the elevator for our ‘first look’ photos. Seeing Nick reminded me of what was most important about that day- our privilege to share our happiness with all of our most loved ones in one space.

He looked super dope.

Upstairs, we finally got to see the crystal dining room. Jodie, Amy, and my mom had prepared and executed an extensive rain plan. Bringing our outdoor wooded wedding indoors. It was amazing, and I am at a loss for words to describe my perception of the room. (SEE THE DETAILS OF PLAN B)

527392 thousand pictures and about 200 guests later, it was time. I waited with my parents as I watched my friends enter the room before me one by one. I heard my friend Alexandria playing the harmonium, and it’s steady rhythm kept me walking towards the doors. The number of people gathered, all looking at me, shocked me, and I felt really nervous until I looked at Nick. Rosie prepared a surprise speech that said everything I could have ever wanted to hear before saying ‘I do’! Our vows were a really genuine expression of ourselves, and I don’t even remember anything but our kiss (Geez that sounds sappy).

Family pictures were supposed to happen after the ceremony. All of the places we had previously chosen outdoors were in the rains territory, so we followed suit with our previous sessions and took the photos in the Crescent before heading back to the reception.

The dining room’s acoustics were perfect for live performance. My Husband and his brothers played much of the night, making dedications and recalling fond family memories. The pasta bar was enticingly and creatively displayed, incorporating woodland elements to fit the theme of the event.


I only have bits and pieces of the remainder of the evening, presumably since there was so much to take in- the cake was amazing, our friends are the best in the world, and our families went out of their way to show their love for us. It was a party of emotion, happiness, and healing.

The night ended with another surprise from my parents, who reserved the penthouse for us to stay in. Having never seen it before, I spent a good two minutes running around saying ‘look at this!’ about the various amenities. The view of our hometown was particularly special.

The only thing I knew for sure when planning the wedding is that I didn’t want it at the crescent. I thought it would be cliché to have it at a place that was already so connected to my family, that it might be too expected. Ironically, fate knew better. Every picture, every memory, every person was marked by the hotel that holds so much history, and a truly unique place in our hearts.

In the end, two high school sweethearts got married, surrounded by love.



Read the story from the Beginning – Click Here for Part One



Will you be next to Live your dreams at the Crescent Hotel?

Trust my friend Jodie English-Brown – you can call her at 479-981-0036


Amazing photo credits go to Bruce Lewis of Ronin Imaging.

Be sure to go check out his work!

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Bower Wedding Rain Plan

We love outdoor weddings at the Crescent Hotel, however we are experienced enough to know the best outdoor wedding has a solid Indoor Rain Plan. 

Below are the Banquet Event orders of a Wedding scheduled for the Woods of Glenwood Hollow that mother nature had different thoughts and the rain plan that ensured the event remained remarkable and memorable.






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Ozark Mountain Music Festival 1/17

6th Annual Ozark Mountain Music Festival:
Basin Park Hotel
January 17, 18, 19, 20 2018…

11 Acts/4 Days:

Outdoor Vibe – Indoor Fun

Downtown Eureka Springs

Buy Tickets Here

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ESP Paranormal Weekend


ESP weekends are different every year. In honor of our tenth ESP event we have re-structured the fee scale to the most affordable rates possible, and to provide an attractive alternative for local residents.

Friday/Saturday Room Rates for January 4th & 5th:

$99.00 per person  (based on Double occupancy) for two night stay!

Friday/Saturday Room Rates for January 11th & 12th: 

$129.00 per person (based on Double occupancy) for two night stay!

Room Rates include a ghost tour

CONFERENCE FEE:   $125.00 per person

Reserve Your Conference Pass

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Eureka Springs Christmas Events | Merry Making

Your Guide to The Night of Merry Making

December 8th in Downtown Eureka Springs



Locals and Visitors alike, plan to attend on Friday December 8th and celebrate along Spring Street with a collection of signature events all happening at the SAME TIME in the SAME LOCATION.

Main Street Merry Eats


Purchase your ticket for the Merry Eats Dining Stroll in Downtown Eureka Springs. You and your party get stroll to the 11 participating locations choosing from 4 different locations to sample small plates or sip coffee or cocktails. Explore places you haven’t gone to before or visit old favorites to see the special offer they have that night.

Some examples of the night’s offerings:

  • Brews: Latte & a Truffle
  • Rogue’s Manor: Deb’s Famous Egg Nog
  • Colossal Cupcakes (at the Basin Park Hotel): A Colossal Chocolate Reindeer CupCake
  • Daily Roast: Freshly Made Peppermint Mocha
  • The Balcony: Ozark Avalanche of Nachos
  • Amigos: Blue Margaritas and an Amigos Nacho Plate
  • Grotto: Peppered Goat Cheese Plate
  • DeVitos: smoked trout deviled eggs appetizer
  • Aquarius Taqueria: Mexican hot chocolate


Tickets are $25 per person. BUY NOW

Pick up your tickets at the Basin Park Hotel Lobby. 5-9PM


Bring the kids to sing along with Mom –N- Pop or stroll along Sprng St and stop to sing a carol or two with our Merry Maker Caroling. Kids Choice Award nominee Mom-N-Pop will be at Pendergraff Corner throughout the night.  Lead by Five and Dime Player, Justine Ryan, this roving group of carolers invites you and your friends to sing a few familiar holiday songs starting at 5PM in Basin Spring Park and strolling up Spring and down South Main. Catch them wherever they are and lend your voice. 5-8PM


Living Windows takes on a whole new meaning this year as Main Street Eureka Springs produces the Living Art Window with Hilka West. This window will feature master art works come alive throughout the night. Girl With a Pearl Earring, Frida Kahlo, American Gothic and more all with live actors on Spring Street. Other windows will join the fun with artists and musicians, including Delvis, and the Eureka Springs Public Library reading holiday books gracing their glass. 5-8PM

Shops will be open for later shopping and serving bites and cider to warm you up while you purchase last minute gifts. Stop by Eureka Clothing Company to pick up an Elfie Selfie Scavenger Hunt card to play throughout the day. Selfie winner will win a trip back to Eureka Springs. momandpop will be playing on Spring Street, snow will be made and Melonlight dancers will twirl through the night. Going to the Ozarks Chorale in the Auditorium? Stroll down Spring Street before you do to take in the sites and shop.  5-8PM


End your night with the Night of 1000 Santas. This annual Scavenger Hunt brings a whole new flavor – Krampus! This German legend will be joining Santa this year. You decide do you want to be Santa or Krampus? Either way start the fun at the pre-party at Chelsea’s at 6PM and then take off at 7PM to play along with the Scavenger Hunt.  Your wristband can be picked up at the Basin Park Hotel. $15 6-11PM

Tickets are available online CLICK HERE TO BUY


Special Guestroom Rates on:

The Night of Merry Making

Crescent Hotel – SAVE 35% – Click Here

Basin Park Hotel – Save 25%  Click Here

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Find the Perfect “One-of-a-Kind” Gift

A Christmas Shopping Adventure on Spring Street – Eureka Springs, Arkansas


Christmas is creeping closer…

Coming up with unique gift ideas can be difficult! In Eureka Springs however, locally made, one of a kind items are everywhere. We’ve searched in some of Eureka’s best shops to find unique gift ideas that can only be found in our jolly mountain town. 

Grab some girlfriends and schedule a Shopping Adventure to Eureka Springs.  Show the one you love how unique and special they are – by finding something unique and special just for them on Christmas.


These one of a kind suncatchers are made by hand, and each one of them has their own distinct character. Owner Joanna Hanna creates

Find it here: Crescent Moon Beads

Hanna uses imaginative color schemes and bead/gem combinations when building these individual pieces. One can also piece together their own jewelry in this quirky shop.

Find it here: Crescent Moon Beads

Hookah/Tobacco connoisseurs look no further! White River Tobacco is the place for you. This painted beauty is enjoyable to use and to look at! 

Find it here: White River Tobacco

How cute is this little elephant? This isn’t the only impressive piece of art in the store, they have shelves full of fun glass pipes!

Find it here: White River Tobacco

Brian Watson’s beautifully designed ‘Cosmic’ earrings can only be found at Quicksilver. Crafted from copper and sterling silver, each imaginative piece of jewelry is individual.

Find it here: Quicksilver Art & Fine Craft Gallery

If you’re looking for a gift that’s out of this world, we’ve found it! Inspired by our planetary neighbors, this delicate bracelet is aptly named ‘Solar System’. Be sure to stop by Quicksilver and check out all of Watson’s Collection, several new pieces have been created just in time for the holidays. If you pop in on a Monday, Friday, or Saturday you can ask the artist about his work!

Find it here: Quicksilver Art & Fine Craft Gallery

Reminiscent of the Ozarks’ natural beauty, this pit fired pottery will fit right in on the walls of any adventure’s home. Part of the Leaf Shadows collection created by Mark Rademacher, it’s an exclusive of the Quicksilver Gallery. Examples of more of his work  offered in the gallery can be seen on his website.

Find it here: Quicksilver Art & Fine Craft Gallery

For the avid golfer, exquisite glass putters that will bring envy to your competitors. These show-stoppers speak for themselves- in store and on the course.

Find it here: Zarks Gallery   

This is one magnificent sculptural work by local artist James Sawyer. Others from the artist can be found alongside this, including a derby car driving pug!

Find it here: Zarks Gallery

For someone who needs a little light in their life! This modern industrial lamp is sure to be in the limelight in any home.

Find it here: The Jewelry Show

Rustic Cuff brand bracelets can only be found at one store in Northwest Arkansas. With a array of choices and styles, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for here.

Find it here: The Jewelry Show

Who wouldn’t love to receive special, handmade soap? Perfect for pampering everyday, these Eureka Made, scrumptious smelling soaps come in so many varieties, it will be hard to choose just one!

Find it here: Soap Stop & Body Shop

If you’re looking for a gift to reflect the holiday spirit, look no further than these charming blown glass ornaments to bring some cheer to any window!

Find it here: The Town Shop

Choose your favorite dragon mug, creations of local artist, Steve Beacham. A perfect gift for any die hard coffee fan.

Find it here: The Town Shop

Shop unique Eureka themed tshirts in the heart of downtown!

Find it here: Basin Park Hotel

Bake for Santa with your loved one. This little gift is perfect if you’re looking for an easy, scrumptious activity, famous colossal cupcakes now sells cookies!

Find it here: Basin Park Hotel   Colossal Cupcakes & Cones

Lodging DEALS over the Holidays

View the Holiday Events Schedule Here –

Ice Skating and Christmas Events at the Crescent Hotel

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