Awaken Your Nocturnal Nature

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Family Camping at Woolly Hollow
Family Camping at Woolly Hollow

If you’ve heard it once, you have probably heard it a thousand times. “Everything that’s there during the day is there at night.” Not so quick, though. A whole new world awakens as the sun goes down, and it is quite magical. Take some time to explore the nighttime world to find out that nature can be even neater at night!

Not everyone lives where they can see the brilliant night sky or safely explore the forest in the dark, but all Arkansans live within driving distance of at least one state park. The good news is that many of your state parks offer evening programs that engage you with the world around you at night. Whether visiting for the day or camping, check the park’s program schedule for evening programs and activities led by park interpreters. These include night hikes, owl prowls, stargazing, fireside programs and so much more.

Want to get started exploring the nighttime world at home? There are plenty of great things you can do at home with your family in the backyard. Try some of these and then head out to one of your state parks to discover even more nighttime fun for yourself with campfires and night programs!

Roast S’mores or Starburst Over a Campfire

Grab your favorite treat and your favorite people and bask in the campfire at nightfall. You can feel the warm and hear the crackle of the fire and you sit, laugh and make memories. 

Go Stargazing

As you're sitting in the cool night, take the opportunity to gaze at the stars. Challenge yourself to find constellations, falling stars and planets.  

Test Your Night Vision

There are so many interesting things to see when you're out at one of our state parks. Put your eyes to the test and see how many things you can spot at night. 

Make Shadow Puppets

Whether you're using the light of a campfire or flashlight, entertain your family and friends with your impressive displays of shadow puppets. Have everyone play different character and put on a whole shadow puppet play. 

What are you waiting for? 

Start with these fun activities you can do at home, and see what you think. Keep exploring and find what interests you! Visit your parks to experience even more. Go on an astronomy lake tour or paddle a kayak beneath a full moon. Listen for an owl’s hoot, a frog’s croak, or the buzzing of cicadas. Learn a constellation. Cook in a Dutch oven and tell some stories while you wait. Go on a hike with a park interpreter to guide you through the dark. You may discover it’s pretty neat out there, especially at night.

Megan Ayres

Megan Ayres, park interpreter at Lake Dardanelle State Park, began working for Arkansas State Parks in May of 2015. She was previously a park interpreter at Daisy State Park and Lake Ouachita State Park. Megan enjoys spending her free time with friends and family hiking, kayaking, and hammocking. She lives life by the motto “Adventure is out there, go find it!” and Arkansas is the perfect place to do that!