Chaplin Nature Center
Entrance to Chaplin Nature Center
- All photos by Jim Mason
|Chaplin Nature Center is located on the inner edge of a bend in the
Arkansas River. More than five miles of walking trails provide easy access to
bottomland timber & prairies, upland prairies, a spring-fed creek, and the Arkansas
River. You may pick up a trail map at the visitor center.
The varied habitat has attracted 225 species of birds, including tree
sparrows, Harris' sparrows, rufous-sided towhees, cedar waxwings, and Carolina wrens. The
woodlands harbor a good diversity of tree species, including black walnut, pecan,
cottonwood, sycamore, red elm, and a showy springtime display of redbuds. Pileated
woodpeckers inhabit the bottomlands, along with wood thrushes, wild turkeys, bobcats, and
white-tailed deer. The rough green snake, a favorite of reptile lovers, is sometimes seen.
A popular wintertime activity is watching bald eagles from the riverbanks.
Sandbar on the Arkansas River at Chaplin Nature Center
|The sandbar on the river is 1/4 mile long when the river is low.
During summer, it is alive with tiger beetles, dragonflies and killdeer. Look
for tracks of deer, coyote and raccoon as well as the occasional female water turtle
either going to or coming from her nest above the high water line.
|The visitor center features wildlife
displays, a nature library, a gift shop, and a bird observation area located
on a second-floor open deck bordered by tree canopy and serviced with bird
feeders. It provides an ideal spot for bird photography or bird watching
from the comfort of the library.
In winter you may see white-breasted nuthatches, downy woodpeckers,
red-bellied woodpeckers, American goldfinches, dark-eyed juncos, and northern cardinals.
In summer ruby-throated hummingbirds frequent the feeders and eastern bluebirds use the
nest boxes provided.
|The trailhead for exploring the area lies just behind the visitor
center. Since the building is located on the edge of a steep bluff, this boardwalk
stairway provides a handy means of descent. The view from the top platform of the
stairway is level with the bottomland tree canopy, making it a great spot to look for
For the wildlife watcher, a visit to Chaplin Nature Center guarantees
UPCOMING PROGRAMS AT CHAPLIN
JULY 14, SATURDAY, 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. BUTTERFLY COUNT
Help count and identify butterflies as part of a North American
Butterfly Association official count. This one-day survey will count all
the butterflies seen in a 15-mile diameter area. More experienced
counters will be teamed up with novices, so everyone is welcome to help.
For more information call CNC. Meet at the visitor's center at 8:30 a.m.
AUGUST 18, SATURDAY 9 - 11 a.m. WILD EDIBLE PLANT WALK
Take a walk on the wild side and discover some of nature's natural
bounty. Participants will hike along the trails and identify some of the
more common edible and poisonous plants. Advance registration required.
Visitor center, restrooms
Homes Trail (0.3 mile loop); Spring Creek Trail (0.5 mile loop); Lost Prairie Trail (0.7
mile loop), Bluff Trail (0.6 mile loop); Prairie Trail (0.8 mile loop); River Trail (1.9
Click the icon to find a birding list for Sumner County.
Click the icon to locate nearby Geocaches
For more Wildlife Watching sites in the Flint
Hills, click here
From the intersection of U.S. 77 and U.S. 166 in Arkansas City (50 miles south of
Wichita), travel 3 miles west on U.S. 166, then north 2 miles on 31st Road, which turns
west to become 272nd Road. Signs are provided for assistance.
For a Google Map of this site,
The entity responsible for management of Chaplin Nature
Center is the Wichita
Audubon Society. Contact them at (620) 442-4133
or by Email
if you have specific questions about use or management
of the site. 200 acres
Click here to visit their web site
for more information on seasonal hours and scheduled programs.
Funded by the
Chickadee Checkoff Program
Click here for a brochure!
Kansas web site
the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks
Re-publication of site content in any form other than for personal use
requires written permission. If you are a Kansas resident, please
assist with this and other wildlife viewing and conservation programs
by contributing to the Chickadee Checkoff on your state tax form.
Questions or comments about Natural Kansas may be directed to
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism