Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Walking Through the South Arkansas Arboretum.

Hunter and I are exploring Scenic Arkansas Highway 7 from end-to-end this week. Watch my Twitterfeed @TieDyeTravels for updates each day on where we've been and where we're headed.

The South Arkansas Arboretum in El Dorado is an Arkansas State Park run by South Arkansas Community College.  It's a Timberlands oasis in a growing city once known as Boomtown.  Here's a walk through the park I'd like to share.

It was an absolutely perfect day to visit... with a temperature of 74 degrees and
almost cloudless skies.

The Arboretum was originally opened in 1965.  The 12 acre park, located
around part of the old El Dorado High School campus, was the 50th Arkansas
State Park, and it's the only one within a city.

These artworks are part of the ARTboretum Arts in Education program with
students at Washington Middle School.  There's also a display at the SouthArkansas Arts Center.

We found camillias blooming in a couple of different places in the Active Use
section of the park.  This is the section close to the main entrance where the
gazebo and restrooms are located.

You have to stop and smell the flowers.

We also saw clusters of berries.  There were a few daffodils as well.

Throughout the park, small interpretive signs indicate the sort of tree you're
looking at, along with its characteristics.

The Timberlands are covered with smallbark and Loblolly pine trees, and they are
well represented here.  Pines tend to grow tall rather than wide, and that allows
for some pretty impressive views.

There's a small pooling brook that separates the Active Use area from the
Transitional Area of the park.  Here, you'll find paths on either side with benches
for relaxing.

Hunter was really excited to cross this bridge, until she saw the snake
habitat sign on it.  That was about the point where I spotted an actual snake.

This Broad-Banded Watersnake was maybe half a foot long, but it was enough
to unnerve Hunter.

The sign clearly told us this was a non-venemous snake, which was good.
We also saw frog eggs in this little pool.

In the transitional areas, trees and shrubs are encouraged
to grow more freely, while paths are still nicely maintained.

This map is located at the edge of the Natural Area, where the plants are allowed
to grow freely.  This area is particularly popular with walkers and joggers, who enjoy
the natural setting while exercising.

This particular shortleaf pine twists a bit on its way
reaching up towards the sky.

Pink camellias in bloom in the Active Use Area.

There's a small butterfly garden at the entrance to the park. That's
where we found this lilac in bloom. 
Hunter loved the fountain by the gazebo.
If you're interested in learning more about the South Arkansas Arboretum, or would like to visit, head to this Arkansas State Parks website.

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