Friends of Hobbs
State Park-Conservation Area

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Events & Programs 

If you can't find something fun to do every week at Hobbs you are not trying very hard! There are weekly programs put on by park interpreters, guest speakers, special events, programs put on by outside groups -- something for everyone to enjoy!   

Weekly Program Schedule

Every week, park interpreters at Hobbs put on informative programs on a wide range of topics. Learn how to pitch a tent, take a guided hike, be a nature detective, listen to a story told by Mother Nature, learn the principles of Leave No Trace -- there is no end to the topics!  Some are directed toward children and others toward adults. Some activities last 20 minutes, some last an hour. Most are free! Take a look at the calendar and see what might interest you!

Guest Speaker Series

In Northwest Arkansas we are blessed with many gifted speakers ready to pass along fascinating information about our natural world. Guest speakers present programs at 2PM on Sunday afternoons at the Visitor Center, unless otherwise stated.  Learn about the Beaver Lake Bald Eagle population, local bug life, duck hunting, dowsing rods, float fishing, or meet Igor the Turkey Vulture up close -- to name just a few topics. Check the calendar to see what is coming up. These presentations are free.

Astronomy Nights

The Sugar Creek Astronomy Association is pleased to offer several opportunities to study the stars. They offer a brief lecture on an informative topic, like how to purchase a telescope, or viewing the planets, then they move outside for some celestial viewing. No registeration is required. You may use their telescope, "Big Boy," or bring your own. Binoculars work too. Bring a flashlight with a red lens cover, such as a cloth or balloon, and a star chart if you have one. You may also bring chairs and drinks for outdoor comfort.  

Nature Exploration Day Camp Program

Looking for a way to get your kids outdoors during the summer? Hobbs offers 3-day camps for different age ranges in June and July each year. Day camps for older children are from 9AM-3PM, children will bring a sack lunch and spend the day observing nature while hiking, playing nature games and crafting.  If the weather is right, we sometimes take the groups out on Beaver Lake.  Sometimes to snorkel or sometimes to kayak. The younger groups are from 9AM-Noon, however we keep them safe in or around the visitor center.  Reservations and payment are required in advance. Space is limited.  Call 479-789-5000 for more information. 

Workshops & Special Events

Step back in time at the Hobbs Fall Festival, celebrate conservation at Aldo Leopold Day, take some lessons on mobile phone photography, take a stroll through the "Living Forrest" with Mother Nature -- these are just a few of the great events and workshops that take place throughout the year at Hobbs. Check the calendar and see what is coming up!

Photographic Society of NWA

The Photographic Society of NWA (PSNWA) will be at Hobbs State Park for a series of free instructional photography programs to the public. Anyone of any photography skill level is encouraged to attend the classes, however, please note the skill level for the Photo Walks are designed for experienced amateurs, hobbyists, and accomplished photographers.  PSNWA professionals will explain the different photography-learning opportunities through classes, lectures, and photo walks within the park on the first meeting, which is October 17th.. Check out http://www.psnwa.org to learn more about PSNWA.  No reservations are required, just show up at Hobbs State Park Visitor Center.


Upcoming events

    • 03 Nov 2019
    • 29 Feb 2020
    • 42 sessions
    • Rocky Branch Marina

    With the return of winter many Bald Eagles return to Beaver Lake. Here is your chance to see these majestic birds in nature, as well as other wildlife. An interpreter on the boat will share information about Bald Eagles and the beautiful Beaver Lake. Binoculars will be available, and we recommend dressing warmly. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Tours depart from Rocky Branch Marina promptly at stated times. Registration and pre-payment required: $10 adults, $5 children (6-12). Call 479-789-5000.

    Remaining Cruise Opportunities:
    January -  17,18,19,20,25,26
    February - 1,2,8,9,15,16,17,22,23,29


    • 05 Jan 2020
    • 11 Oct 2020
    • 8 sessions

    2020 Friends of Hobbs Speakers

    Here is the ever-growing list of speakers coming to Hobbs in 2020. Check back for more information as the date gets closer!

    January

         January 5 – Sunday – Mike Martin – Bald Eagles

         January 12 – Sunday– Dr. Fred Paillet – Forest Forensics

         January 26 – Sunday – Eric Fuslier – Winter Botany

    February

         February 16 – Sunday – Flip - Waterfalls – revised/updated

    March

         March 5 – Jerry Moore and Chris - Black + White Van Winkles:  Perhaps an evening program.

         March 22 –Sunday- Gerald Klingaman – Ferns of Arkansas

    May

         May 23 – Saturday – Tamara Walkingstick - Wild Edibles Workshop

    October

         October 11 – Sunday– Abby Burnett – “Rest in Pieces”


    • 11 Jan 2020
    • 07 Nov 2020
    • 7 sessions

    Interested in photography? Learn from the experts! Check back for more information as the dates grow closer.


    Saturday January 11

    PSNWA will be the program for a regular eagle cruise – at the Visitor Center and on board the boat.

    1:30 program at the visitor center – How to photograph eagles

    3:00 eagle cruise


    Saturday February 22nd

    PSNWA only eagle cruise   (Do not promote to public)

    PSNWA promote this event and get the participants

    7:30 am


    Saturday March 21st

    Basic Nature Photography – visitor center

    3:00 pm


    Saturday April 25

    Night Photography with Sugar Creek – visitor center

    7:00 pm


    Saturday June 13

    Wildflower photography at the Visitor Center

    2:00 pm

    Saturday September 19

    Basic Nature Photography – followed by astronomy – visitor center

    3:00 pm

     

    Saturday November 7

    Photo Walk Fall Color – Van Winkle Hollow parking lot

    7:30 am


    • 18 Jan 2020
    • 23 Feb 2020
    • 3 sessions
    • Meet at the Visitor Center.

    Join Park Interpreter Steve while you learn some interesting facts about our reptile friends.  Why are there 5 toes on a 3-toed box turtle?  There is an easy way to tell the difference between a boy and a girl turtle.  Do you know the secret? Meet at the Visitor Center.

    • 18 Jan 2020
    • 15 Feb 2020
    • 3 sessions

    Black Bears were once so plentiful in Arkansas that our state was known as the Bear State. Join Park Interpreter Kiara on a short, 1/4-mile hike along the Ozark Plateau Trail to learn about the history, current status and other interesting facts on this large mammal.

    • 18 Jan 2020
    • 29 Feb 2020
    • 5 sessions
    • Visitor Center

    Did you know that the Red Fox can make a variety of different sounds? Join Park Interpreter Kiara for a sweet story and an opportunity to learn more fascinating facts on the Foxes that call our park home! Children of all ages are welcome, but the story is best suited for children 5 years and older. 

    • 19 Jan 2020
    • 23 Feb 2020
    • 5 sessions
    • Meet at Visitor Center

    Do you know the destination of a trail?  And just what is “Hidden Diversity”? Join Interpreter Steve on the Ozark Plateau Trail to learn more about your State Park. Meet at the Visitor Center. FREE


    • 19 Jan 2020
    • 22 Feb 2020
    • 2 sessions
    • Visitor Center

    Listen in as interpreter Steve reads the Lorax. Do you know what the Lorax was? He wasn’t just that “orange colored dude”. Do you know who the most important character in the story was? It’s not the Lorax.


    • 25 Jan 2020
    • 2 sessions
    • Visitor Center

    Test your knowledge of wildlife in Arkansas in a fun game of Jeopardy! Instead of Alex Trebek, Park Interpreter Chris will host the game which will be fun for the whole family! Come and go as you please anytime during the listed hours and see if you can become an Arkansas Wildlife Jeopardy champion!

    • 26 Jan 2020
    • 2:00 PM

    Plant identification can be challenging, especially during the cold winter months when many species have gone dormant.  Luckily, even during the bleak months of winter, plants still provide us with plenty of clues that we can use to identify what species a tree, shrub, or woody vine belongs to.  At Hobbs State Park, Eric Fuselier will teach us about these clues, and how, even during the wintertime, botany can still be a fun way to spend time outdoors.

    Eric Fuselier is an Environmental Scientist in Crafton Tull's Rogers office.  He earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental, Soil, and Water Science from the University of Arkansas, and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Louisiana Tech University.   Eric has extensive knowledge of wetland science, soil science, and botany.  Eric has served as the president of the Ozark chapter of the Arkansas Native Plant Society.

    Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from a professional on how and why Winter Botany can be fun and personally rewarding.

    Where:  Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Hwy 12 just east of the Hwy 12/War Eagle Road intersection.

    When:  Sunday January 26, 2020     2:00 p.m.

    Cost:  Free – Public invited

    For more information, call:  479-789-5000

    This program is a continuation of the Friends of Hobbs monthly Speaker Series. 


    • 01 Feb 2020

    What exactly is a groundhog, and can they predict the length of winter by seeing their shadow or not? Park Interpreter Chris will share the truth about the groundhog, woodchuck, or whistle pig, on the day before their special day of fame, Groundhog Day!

    • 01 Feb 2020
    • 11:00 AM - 11:30 AM

    There are some great conservation success stories from the last century, and the return of the Bald Eagle is one of those. Park Interpreter Chris will share their story and natural history through images and hands-on objects.

    • 01 Feb 2020
    • 29 Feb 2020
    • 4 sessions

    Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area is home to a diverse group of animals. Join Park Interpreter Kiara in meeting some of our residents that call our state park home and get a chance to feed the critters yourself!

    • 01 Feb 2020
    • 3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

    This weekend isn’t just about Super Bowl Sunday! Come out for this kid-friendly program and learn about the superb owls of Hobbs State Park with Dr. Birdius Brainiac (a.k.a. Park Interpreter Chris)!

    • 02 Feb 2020
    • 23 Feb 2020
    • 2 sessions
    • Visitor Center

    Do you know the symbols of Arkansas? Some of the symbols are easy, and others you probably have never heard of. Did you know we have a state soil and a State beverage? Join interpreter Steve to learn some of the symbols of Arkansas.  Visitor Center. 


    • 08 Feb 2020

    Just in time for the start of the bluebird nesting season, join Park Interpreter Chris to learn more about these beloved birds and how to increase the odds of attracting them to your property.

    • 08 Feb 2020
    • 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
    • Visitor Center

    Circle around as Mother Nature sits in the rocker to read a story about the nature that surrounds us. Story time will be followed by an outdoor activity, weather permitting, and a craft. Children of all ages are welcome, but stories will target those 3-6 years of age.


    • 08 Feb 2020
    • 12 Dec 2020
    • 11 sessions
    • Visitor Center

    It’s not every day that we observe Mother Nature.  She’s careful regarding when she can be seen by humans.  One of her favorite stops however, is Hobbs State Park.  Every 2nd Saturday of the month she drops in at the Park’s visitor center to tell timely stories to her little human friends.   Readings begin at 10:30 a.m.   Story time will be followed by “hands-on” nature-craft activities.  Humans of all ages are welcome, however most stories target those 3-6 years of age.


    Upcoming Mother Nature visits:

    Feb.  8th         The Woods in Winter:  Where are the Animals?

    Mar. 14th       Getting Ready for Spring:  Changes in the Woods

    Apr. 11th          Dandelions:  Stars in the Grass

    May 9th           Around the Pond:  Frogs and Toads

    June 13th        Animals in the Night

    July 11th         Water Dance-Water Cycle & Storm Drain Pollution

    Aug. 8th          Caterpillar to Butterfly

    Sept. 12th       Autumn in the Woods:  Preparing for Winter

    Oct. 10th         Bats: Not Really Scary

    Nov. 14th        It’s Turkey Time

    Dec. 12th        Who Goes There?  Footprints and Animal Signs

    Meet Mother Nature in the lobby of the Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area visitor center located on Hwy 12 just east of the Hwy 12/War Eagle Road intersection. 


    Cost:  Free    - Length: one hour.  For more information call:  479-789-5000 

    • 08 Feb 2020
    • 1:30 PM - 2:00 PM
    • Visitor Center

    How does wildlife survive the cold winter months? Park Interpreter Chris will share with you the 8 “ates” or strategies used for survival. Hibernating is just one of them!


    • 09 Feb 2020
    • 1:00 PM - 1:30 PM
    • Visitor Center

    The choices you make when you are outside make a big difference.  This is a great program for all ages, but especially for young girls and boys who are just beginning to experience camping, hiking, and the outdoors in general.


    • 09 Feb 2020
    • 3:00 PM - 3:45 PM
    • Visitor Center

    Learn from Park Interpreter Steve why this rare tree, once common in the Ozarks, is so important and what we are doing at Hobbs State Park to try and save it.

    • 15 Feb 2020
    • 16 Feb 2020
    • 2 sessions
    • Rocky Branch Marina

    Are you still looking for a last-minute way to score points with your sweetheart on Valentine’s Weekend?  Share the wonders of nature with your love this Valentine’s Day weekend by taking a boat cruise on beautiful Beaver Lake and enjoying a delightful lunch at Ventris Trails End Resort.  There is live entertainment too.

    Lunch features bacon-wrapped smoked chicken with sautéed mushrooms, onions and cheese, twice baked potato, seasoned green beans, French onion soup and salad with homemade bread rolls, chocolate cake, water, tea, or coffee; or a portabella sandwich…Holy Yum!

    Alcoholic beverages are available at an additional charge.

    There are two Sweetheart Cruises to choose from.  One will run Saturday February 15th and the other Sunday February 16th.  Each cruise will leave Rocky Branch Marina at 11:00 am and return at 2:00 pm.

    Cost:  $40+ tax per individual:   Reservations and payment must be made in advance.   Contact Hobbs State Park to reserve your spot.   (479) 789-5000. 


    • 16 Feb 2020
    • 12:30 PM - 1:15 PM

    Not all of our trees shed their leaves in the fall. Join Park Interpreter Chris on this short hike and learn about the native evergreens in Hobbs State Park, the shortleaf pine and Eastern red cedar. We’ll discover their role in the story of this land.


    • 22 Feb 2020
    • 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

    See live birds captured in the park by ornithologists and then help them release the birds after learning more about them. Muffins, juice and coffee provided by Wild Birds Unlimited. Other event sponsors include The Bluebird Shed and 3-D Pet Products. Come and go as you please.

    • 22 Feb 2020
    • 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

    Join members of the Sugar Creek Astronomical Society for this program on using binoculars to view the winter sky. After a short indoor program, you’ll move outdoors with the opportunity for viewing planets, moons, stars and galaxies. Please bring your own binoculars, a flashlight covered with red cloth or a balloon, and a folding chair.


    • 22 Feb 2020
    • 14 Nov 2020
    • 6 sessions

    Put these fascinating astronomy programs on your calendar for 2020! 

    February 22, 2020

    Binocular Astronomy

    Lecture 6 pm – visitor center

    Star party 7 pm

    Bring your own binoculars


    April 25, 2020

    Dark Sky Astrophotography with PSNWA

    Light Pollution – SCAS – visitor center

    Lecture 6:30 pm

    Star party – 8 pm

    Bring your own DSLR camera


    June 20, 2020

    Globular Clusters and Open clusters

    Lecture 7:30 pm – visitor center

    Star party 8:30 pm


    July 18, 2010

    Saturn, the ringed planet

    Lecture 7:30 pm – visitor center

    Star party 8:30 pm


    September 19, 2020

    Finding Objects in the Sky:  Beginning Constellations, bright stars and bright objects

    Lecture: 6:00 pm – visitor center

    Star party:  7:00 pm


    November 14, 2020

    Buying and using your first telescope

    Lecture 5:00 pm – visitor center

    Star party 6 pm

    Bring your own telescope



    • 23 Feb 2020
    • 29 Feb 2020
    • 2 sessions

    Have you ever wondered what the difference between a toad and a frog is? Join Park Interpreter Kiara to learn the answer to this question and about the types of frogs that inhabit our park. Stick around to craft your own leaping amphibian.


    • 29 Feb 2020
    • 1:30 PM

    Everyone loves to see bald eagles in the wild, and we want to take pictures of these beautiful creatures too.  Sometimes however, those photos don’t turn out so well.  Let’s fix that.

    The upcoming special 2-part program at Hobbs State Park on February 29th on How to Photograph Eagles will help you fine tune the eagle photos you take.  Your instructor is a skilled professional.

    Tim Johnson, nature photographer with the Photographic Society of Northwest Arkansas, starts things off at 1:30 pm with a short lecture at the visitor center at Hobbs.  Here you will learn some great tips when photographing eagles.  The group will then head to Rocky Branch Marina for a 3:00 beginning of your eagle cruise on beautiful Beaver Lake.  Tim will go with the group to help everyone apply what they just learned at the visitor center.

    Don’t miss this free opportunity to learn from an expert photographer.

    Where:  Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Hwy. 12 just east of the Hwy. 12/War Eagle road intersection

    When:  February 29, 2020
    1:30 pm Hobbs State Park visitor center - lecture
    3:00 pm Rock Branch Marina
    (travel as a group after the lecture to the marina)

    Cost:  Adults $10.00 + tax.  Children 6-12 $5.00 + tax.  Tickets must be purchased in advance. 

     For more information and to register, call:  479-789-5000

    To learn more about the Photographic Society of NW Arkansas, go to the website:   http://www.psnwa.org

    This program is a continuation of the Friends of Hobbs Speaker Series.  To learn more about upcoming Friends of Hobbs speakers, other Park programs, or room rentals, go to: http://www.friendsofhobbs.com/ and ww.ArkansasStateParks.com/hobbsstateparkconservationarea

    • 29 Mar 2020
    • 2:00 PM

    Many folks are moving to northwest Arkansas, and a lot of those people are used to fishing small lakes in other states that may be up to 50 feet deep.  They come to Northwest Arkansas and have trouble catching fish in Beaver Lake, which can be as deep as 200 feet.  Flip Putthoff, reporter for the

    Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has put together a sterling panel of three fishermen who will tell you how to get that deep bend in your rods.

    Spring time is fishing time at Beaver.  Flip’s panel of expert anglers have years of experience specifically fishing at Beaver Lake.  They will offer tips for catching black bass, crappie and striped bass on the big reservoir during spring and into summer.

    Bob Ross has been fishing at Beaver Lake since it was created in the 1960s.  He’ll discuss how to catch the three species of black bass — largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass.  Tiffany Usrey will reveal her tried and true ways for catching crappie during the spring spawn and beyond.  She and her husband Payton fish for crappie all year and know how to put limits in the boat during any season.  Tony Castro prowls the lake for striped bass, which are some of the biggest fish in Beaver.  They can reach 50 pounds or larger.  Castro will discuss how to fish with live bait and lures to catch trophy stripers during spring and summer.  Putthoff will serve as the program moderator.

    After the presentations, the panel will answer questions from the audience to help them learn the joy of fishing at beautiful Beaver Lake.  If Mother Nature has cooperated the day before the panel discussion, and the group has caught some fish, the program will be followed by them demonstrating the proper way to filet fish.

    Do not miss this free opportunity to learn from the pros on how to catch fish in Beaver Reservoir.

    Where:  Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Hwy. 12 just east of the Hwy. 12/War Eagle Road intersection.

    When:  Sunday March 29, 2020     

    Cost:  Free

    For more information on Hobbs programs, trails, picnicking, or meeting room rental:  Call:  479-789-5000


    • 05 Apr 2020
    • 2:00 PM

    It’s all about the science behind the scenery in our regional forests.  As we go hiking, there are things right before our eyes that happened yesterday, or even a million years ago, that are easy to understand if we take pause to look at them. 

    As Dr. Paillet puts it in the new book Ozark Forest Forensics he co-authored, “The book interprets our natural surroundings in a way that enhances a simple walk in the scenic deciduous woodlands of the Ozark Mountain region.  Explanations go beyond trees and their habitat to include other diverse subjects:  the leaf litter beneath a hiker’s feet, strategies used by wildflowers for pollination and seed dispersal, diseases that can ravage our forests, and forces active in the landscape that impact conservation efforts.  I’ve added simplified line drawings to demonstrate specific points of interest in a way that visually-cluttered photographs cannot do.”

    Taking a little time to look at and understand your surroundings greatly adds to the enjoyment of any hike in the woods.  Learn how to interpret those things you see and appreciate on a hike, but never much thought about before. 

    Where:  Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Hwy 12 just east of the Hwy 12/War Eagle Road intersection.

    When:  Sunday, April 5, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.

    Cost:  Free – Public invited

    For more information, call:  479-789-5000.  This program is a continuation of the Friends of Hobbs monthly Speaker Series.   


    • 25 Apr 2020
    • 2:00 PM

    On Saturday, April 25, 2020 at 2:00 pm at the Hobbs State Park visitor center there will be an enlightening and significant program on the life of Aaron” Rock” Van Winkle.  Rock was Peter Van Winkle’s former slave who after the Civil War as a freedman became his business partner.  There have been numerous programs given on Peter Van Winkle and his famous saw mill, but there has never been a program solely dedicated to Aaron “Rock” Van Winkle and the outstanding reputation that he achieved while working at the Van Winkle saw mill.

    We usually think of slavery in a plantation or agricultural setting, but in Van Winkle Hollow at the present-day Hobbs State Park, slavery in the 1850’s was happening in an industrial setting.  Although not unique, it was not the norm.

    Jerry Moore and Chris Huggard, instructors at Northwest Arkansas Community College, have completed extensive research on “Rock”.  They have found descendants of black Van Winkles in NW Arkansas, Nebraska, and California.  These individuals will be coming to Hobbs State Park for this distinctively special program.  Descendants of white Van Winkles will be there as well.  This will be a one-time, historic get-together that you will not want to miss.

    Jerry and Chris have submitted an article on Rock for publication in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly.  The article will appear this year.  The program on April 25, 2020 expands on the content of that article and will tell Rock’s story.

    The attachment is the only known photo of Rock (circa 1872).  He is with Van Winkle family members on the front porch of the two-story white house at 303 Arkansas Street in Rogers that was torn down in 2019.    Rock was a welcomed and beloved part of the Van Winkle family.

    Where:  Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Hwy. 12 just east of the Hwy. 12/War Eagle Road intersection. 
    When:  Saturday April 25, 2020 at 2:00 pm
    Cost:  Free – the public is invited

    This program is a continuation of the Hobbs State Park Speaker Series.  For more information on Hobbs programs, trails, picnicking, or meeting room rental:  Call:  479-789-5000

Upcoming events

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