Wildflowers have always been a favorite of mine, and now they’re also a favorite of my children’s. Each year I try to plant just a few more in our backyard garden. Arkansas is also home to some pretty incredible wildflowers! Did you know that located forty-five minutes northeast of Texarkana, is one of the largest contiguous tracts of Blackland prairie?! Rick Evans Grandview Prairie and Conservation Area is managed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and it’s a wonderful resource!
Every Spring and early Summer, the nearly 5,000 acres come alive with native wildflowers and blooms of all kinds. The “peak” wildflower bloom occurs near Memorial Day and is spectacular from mid-May to early June. Be on the lookout for swallowtail and monarch butterflies, along with all kinds of dragonflies plus migrating and native birds! The conservation area ranges from prairie to woodlands, to wetlands and even has two lakes that you can fish! There are also interpretive signs placed throughout the scenic drive so you can pull over and learn more about what you are observing.
If you’re looking for a field trip or an educational experience, there is a wide range of programs available for all ages. There is also an archery range and shotgun range (equipped for trap, skeet, and sporting clays). An educational building and two lodges are also available for reservation.
You can find more information about the area, including a hiking map HERE.
There is also a driving/audio tour available HERE.
Here are five tips to make the most of your day:
- Pack a picnic lunch and snacks to spend your whole day soaking in the beautiful nature scenes.
- Bring a fishing pole or two to throw some lines in and see what you can catch!
- Be sure to stop at the ranger station to check-in and pick up a few maps and helpful tips for how to enjoy the conservation area (be sure to ask for some kids’ activity books or coloring books!)
- Take along a journal and some colored pencils or crayons so you can nature journal, or sketch and label some of your favorite flowers.
- Wear sturdy hiking shoes and pants for exploring on the trails, and be sure to bring sun protection!
Please also remember to practice Leave No Trace principles as you explore, leaving only footprints and taking only photos. The flowers are stunningly beautiful, but please do not collect them.
A fun tip: Let your children take photos of their favorite flowers to research later! Or, try downloading the Seek app by iNaturalist to identify what you find along the way!
The Rick Evans Grandview Praire Conservation Education Center is offering free programs for third graders and up during the summer months! Kids can earn AGFC Patches, hands-on learning, crafts, games, and more. You can register your child by calling 870-983-2790.
Nichole is a freelance writer located in southwest Arkansas, who loves all things outdoors including gardening, hiking, backpacking, and canoeing. She is a homeschooling mother to two, and they are entering their seventh year of homeschooling! They are an adventure and outdoor-loving family of four, who are often embarking on day trips and road trips to chase some shenanigans. As a family, they love supporting small and local businesses, especially local bookstores and coffee shops. Nichole hopes to inspire others to see the wonder and adventure in both the big and the small, close to home and on the road. You can follow their adventures on Instagram by following them at @coleyraeh.