what’s new in Arkansas below. This statewide guide is packed with up-to-date information on the latest and greatest spots that have recently opened.
An Enchanting Evening Small Farm Winery
The art of commercial wine making returns to the Little Italy community; this winery is the first licensed small farm winery manufacturer in over 70 years in this historic wine making area. It uses local Arkansas grapes in addition to classics like Pinot. A wine tasting yurt with a hexagon deck takes advantage of the views of Lake Maumelle and Pinnacle Mountain.
CONTACT: 29300 Ark. 300, Roland, AR 72135, 501-330-2182, www.AnEnchantingEvening.com/winery.htm
Arkansas Heritage Farm Exhibit at the Little Rock Zoo
Opening Spring 2016. A new interactive exhibit features farm animals such as chickens, sheep and goats that the public can touch and feed. Also added is a large walk-through barn for animal holding along with a smaller barn that features a hand-washing station attached to the outside. A big chicken coop on the east of the large barn features chickens of various breeds including rarer heritage ones. The exhibit has interactive graphics to educate visitors on the importance of agriculture to the state and to showcase Arkansas's rich agricultural history.
CONTACT: 1 Zoo Dr., Little Rock, AR 72205, 501-666-2406, www.LittleRockZoo.com
Bald Knob Rock ‘n’ Roll Highway Museum
Features photos, signs and memorabilia from the town’s rich past, especially the musical heritage of the area. On display is the bar that once graced the Wagon Wheel in Bald Knob, on top of which a young Elvis Presley danced early in his career.
CONTACT: South Elm St., Bald Knob, AR 72010, 501-724-3140.
Little Rock Creative Corridor
Four blocks of Main Street are being developed into a multi-use area that includes residential, tourism, work, dining and cultural arts. One of the first completed projects is Beneath the Surface, a 30x142-foot mural by artist Matt McLeod painted on the side of Bennett’s Military Supplies at 6th and Main Streets. It is the view above a koi pond pulled from one of McLeod’s paintings.
CONTACT: Main Street, Little Rock, AR 72201, CreativeCorridorLittleRock.wordpress.com
Little Rock Rangers Soccer Club
Accepted into the National Premier Soccer League in 2015, the Little Rock Rangers Soccer Club will begin play in May of 2016 at War Memorial Stadium. An entirely amateur team, the Rangers will play in the South Region of the NPSL.
CONTACT: 501-379-9917, info@LittleRockRangers.com
New Water Slides at Wild River Country
Approximately $1.4 million worth of new slides have been added to North Little Rock’s Wild River Country. One is the AquaLoop, where visitors are dropped one at a time down a nearly vertical shaft and into an inclined loop. Another is a speed slide with humps that make you feel like you’re losing gravity. The final addition is Free Fall Plus.
CONTACT: 6820 Crystal Hill Rd., North Little Rock, AR 72118, 501-753-8600, www.WildRiverCountry.com
North Little Rock Heritage Center
Housed in the 1895 Argenta Fire Station, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It contains collections of North Little Rock’s and Argenta’s early materials, memorabilia, photographs and temporary exhibits. The North Little Rock History Commission provides educational programs and services along with research.
CONTACT: 506 Main St., North Little Rock, AR 72114, 501-371-0755, www.NLRHeritageCenter.org
Quapaw Quarter Historic Building Markers
Aluminum 14”x12” signs display the building name and date of construction while recognizing historically and architecturally significant structures located anywhere in Little Rock. They must have been well-maintained or undergone exemplary rehabilitation to be considered for registration. The first marker is at historic Curran Hall, Little Rock’s Visitor Information Center.
CONTACT: 615 E Capitol Ave., Little Rock, AR 72216, 501-371-0075, www.Quapaw.com
RiverCenter Community Center
Expected to be completed in 2016, this Benton facility will double as an events space and host larger happenings such as concerts, games and sporting activities. Riverside Park, where the RiverCenter is located, also includes the 50,000-sq.-ft. Boys and Girls Club, the 18,500-sq.-ft. senior wellness center, an aquatic area, basketball courts, plus soccer and softball fields. The “green” complex has cisterns to collect rainwater to irrigate an educational garden.
CONTACT: 501-776-5970, www.Benton.ar.gov/parks-recreation
A new 13-mile bicycle and pedestrian spur links the Arkansas River Trail with the David D. Terry Lock and Dam. The trail begins at the Clinton Presidential Center in downtown and loops east and south around the Bill & Hillary Little Rock National Airport before going through part of the Little Rock Port. It ends at Dam Site 6 West Park at the lock and dam.
CONTACT: 501-372-3300, info@ArkansasRiverTrail.com
“Wish You Were Here” Life-Size Postcards
Life-size postcard frames in Little Rock used to take photos and selfies; the Junction and Big Dam Bridges plus the Clinton Presidential Library provide backdrops.
CONTACT: 501-376-4781, 800-844-4781, LRCVB@LittleRock.com
Northwest & North Central Arkansas
A rare Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house, known as the Bachman-Wilson House, originally located in the Borough of Millstone in Somerset County, N.J., has been acquired by Crystal Bridges of American Art in Bentonville. Built in 1954 along the Millstone River, it was moved to keep it prevent further damage from repeated flooding. The museum disassembled the home and reassembled it on its 120-acre grounds. The house will available for study as well as for limited programming and tours.
CONTACT: 600 Museum Way, Bentonville, AR 72712, 479-418-5700, www.CrystalBridges.org
Bentonville Brewing Co.
A production craft micro-brewery in the industrial part of town, Bentonville Brewing Co. wants to transform typical light-lager beer drinkers–and non-beer drinkers–into craft beer enthusiasts. In addition to their tasting room, owners hope to have seasonal and other specialty beers available in bars and restaurants throughout Benton and Washington County.
CONTACT: 1000 SE 5th St, Suite A, Bentonville, AR 72712, 479-464-0150, www.BentonvilleBrewing.com
Black Apple Crossing
Hand-crafted hard cider is now available in downtown Springdale at Arkansas's first cidery, close to the Northwest Arkansas Razorback Greenway.
CONTACT: 321 E. Emma Ave., Springdale, AR 72764, 479-751-0337, www.facebook.com/Black-Apple-Crossing-700067573408344
Columbus House Brewery
CHB is a brewery and taproom owned and operated by two loyal Fayettevillians who love local culture and great beer. The brewery is located along the Northwest Arkansas Razorback Greenway, so you can easily hike or bike to it as well.
CONTACT: 701 W North St., Fayetteville, AR 72701, 479-935-3753, ColumbusHouseBrewery@gmail.com
Dionysus Wine & Brew
New to Altus and Arkansas Wine Country is Dionysus with its wine tasting room, gift shop, wine and beer making supplies, rustic camping and special events. It also has spaces for self-contained RVs.
CONTACT: 9017 AR 186, Altus, AR 72821, 479-209-1234, DionysusWineBrew@gmail.com
Eureka Springs Ale House
A nanobrewery and craft distillery, this ale house has a huge deck and large beer garden. Twelve taps feature craft beer from other local and national breweries, plus it has a full bar and food.
CONTACT: 426 West Van Buren, Eureka Springs, AR 72632, 479-363-6039, www.EurekaSpringsAleHouse.com
IMBA Regional Ride Center
International Mountain Bicycling Association’s 2015 Model Trails recognition includes the Northwest Arkansas Regional Ride Center. With the Bentonville (silver-level) and Fayetteville (bronze-level) Ride Centers located less than 30 miles apart, the two towns have formed the world's first and only region-wide Ride Center designation. Mountain bikers visiting the Ozarks can double-down, with a wide range of riding to choose from and two cycling-crazed communities hosting some of the nation’s finest trails.
New Province Brewing Company
At New Province in Rogers, brewing isn't simply a craft, it's an obsession. Brewing is a delicate blend of art and science. Each drop is meticulously crafted, without compromise, resulting in a quality pint every time. Here the process is as important as the pour. Visit the taproom and become a citizen with special privileges.
CONTACT: 1310 W. Hudson, Rogers, AR 72756, 479-531-3233, www.NewProvinceBrewing.com
NWA Escape Room
NWA Escape Room offers two different rooms, each with a different scenario. It’s a place to free your inner sleuth and come face to face with a plethora of clues that will lead you on a live action adventure like no other. Your detective side will be activated as you solve intellectual puzzles, piece together small tidbits of intelligence, uncover secret mysteries, and race against the hourglass – you have 60 minutes. Designed for small groups of 2-10 people.
CONTACT: 2140 N. College Ave., Fayetteville, AR 72703, 479-466-3555, NWAEscapeRoom@gmail.com
This Batesville-based business is your local source for canoe and kayak rentals. Float packages include life jackets, paddles and free shuttle.
CONTACT: Stadium Drive, Batesville, AR 72501, 870-698-2222, www.OnealOutfitters.com
Ozark Escape includes three rooms of various sizes, each with its own theme, and a Game Master tracking your progress. You and your team of players are locked in a room for one hour to figure out how to escape. You must find hidden objects or special compartments, solve puzzles, figure out clues, and other challenging, hands-on experiences. There might be math, music, or logic puzzles but more importantly, you must work together to address the challenge at hand. Located just off Dickson Street in the Metro District. Designed for small groups of 2-10 people.
CONTACT: 509 W. Spring Street, Suite 140, Fayetteville, AR 72701, 479-841-0013, www.OzarkEscape.com
Railyard Bike Park
The Railyard Bike Park in downtown Rogers is the newest off-road offering for Northwest Arkansas, which is fast becoming an excellent cycling destination. It’s named “The Railyard” because it is located only blocks from the Arkansas-Missouri railroad and some obstacles are made from recycled trains. Its signature piece is a full-scale rail car set on real railroad tracks that bikers ride through. This dirt jump bike park features wall rides, “whale tales” and concrete lips. The park is designed to accommodate riders of all different skill-levels, beginner to expert, and different types of bicycles, striders to full suspension bikes and dirt jumpers to BMX. It is open daily between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. and has lights, a pavilion, restrooms, water fountains, bike wash station, observation decks, dog park, and a large parking lot.
CONTACT: 299 E. Cherry St., 479-621-1117, www.RogersAR.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/The-Railyard-57
64/6 Unexpected Project
This mural project in Fort Smith took place as a week-long festival in the fall of 2015 that produced six large and three small murals by international artists now on view for the public on buildings in the downtown area. The collective focus of 64/6 Downtown is to provide creative energy and be an ongoing catalyst for the redevelopment of downtown Fort Smith and the Riverfront, so watch for more to come.
Steele Stevens Heritage Park
This living history park in Elm Springs is now home to reenactors and a variety of events. Don’t just imagine what it was like to live back in the 1860s, visit the park on weekends in the spring, summer and fall to see reenactments, demonstrations, and real camp life for Civil War soldiers and civilians. See the springs, the minnow farm and enjoy the picnic areas. Admission is free.
CONTACT: 479-601-3803, www.HistoricElmSprings.com
It’s no secret that Springdale has the best and most authentic taquerias in Northwest Arkansas, but what you might not know is that Springdale is home to the state’s first self-guided taco tour. Eight of the city’s tastiest taquerias are featured on the tour and a few of the locations are accessible from the Razorback Greenway Trail making it extra easy for you to re-fuel after a long ride. Stop by the Chamber of Commerce to grab a Taco Tour Map and don’t forget to tag #SpringdaleTacoTour on social media for a chance to be entered to win some great prizes.
Upper and Lower Delta
Bradbury Art Museum
Formerly known as the Bradbury Gallery, a generous donation by the Bradbury family allowed the space to be redesigned into a 5,200 square-foot exhibition space featuring five separate galleries. Now collections of artwork will be shown on a rotating basis, allowing a greater number of exhibitions and broader variety of artwork. Located on the ASU Campus in Jonesboro.
CONTACT: 201 Olympic Dr., Jonesboro, AR 72401, 870-972-2205, www.BradburyArtMuseum.org
Sultana Disaster Museum
On the early morning of April 27, 1865, the Sultana exploded on the Mississippi River near Memphis. It became America’s greatest maritime disaster, killing nearly 1,800 of the almost 2,400 passengers onboard. Many of those were former Union soldiers, on their way home following the end of the Civil War. The boat sank near Marion. The Sultana Disaster Museum in Marion is now in an interim facility that will be open until the permanent museum is completed. It houses a large, detailed replica of the Sultana, as well as photographs and artifacts relating to the tragic event.
CONTACT: 104 North Washington St., Marion, AR 72364, 870-739-6041, www.SultanaDisasterMuseum.org
Visitor Center at Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home
The second phase of the Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home project is slated to open in spring 2016. It includes a visitor center in the re-created Dyess Theatre and Pop Shop that once stood adjacent to the restored Dyess Colony Administration Building.
The front façade is restored and the remainder of the structure is being rebuilt. It will include a gift shop, additional exhibits and a multi-purpose space for orientation films, classes, meetings and special events. The theatre was built in 1947, after fire destroyed the original Dyess Colony Café and Shops building, and the Pop Shop was added shortly thereafter. In later years, Johnny Cash recalled that the Dyess Theatre was "where I went to the movies on Saturday night to see favorite pictures of Tex Ritter, Gene Autry, and all of them." Cash reportedly sold popcorn at the theatre for a time, and later his brother Tommy served as a projectionist while in high school.
CONTACT: 110 Center Dr., Dyess, AR 72330, 870-764-2274, DyessCash.AState.edu
Americana Music Triangle
Arkansas is a proud partner in the Americana Music Triangle, the first-ever comprehensive collection of historical, musical and cultural attractions that define the birthplace of our country’s greatest cultural export. Nine genres of music were "born" in
the southeast section of the United States -- Blues, Jazz, Country, Rock 'N' Roll, R&B/Soul, Gospel, Southern Gospel, Cajun/Zydeco and Bluegrass. The region is overflowing with the stories and songs, legends and landmarks, struggles and triumphs that created the country’s most powerful cultural export: the music heard all over the world.
Storm Creek Lake Recreation Area
In 2015, the Mississippi River State Park in Marianna began planning, developing and operating the recreational areas within the St. Francis National Forest, including the Storm Creek Lake Recreation Area in Helena-West Helena. The 425-acre Storm Creek Lake was constructed atop Crowley's Ridge in east central Arkansas in 1938. It lies within the south end of the St. Francis National Forest, and two national scenic byways, the Great River Road and the Crowley's Ridge Parkway, pass nearby. Swimming, fishing and hiking are available as are 14 campsites. A bathhouse with showers is located in the day-use area adjacent to the lake, which also has a barrier-free fishing pier.
CONTACT: 2955 Hwy. 44, Marianna, AR 72360, 870-295-4040, www.ArkansasStateParks.com/MississippiRiver
Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) rentals and lessons are now available at DeGray Lake Resort State Park in Bismarck. Barefoot Paddleboards is set up by the swim beach at the park and offers rentals by the hour and lessons by reservation.
CONTACT: 2027 State Park Entrance Rd., Bismarck, AR 71929, 479-774-2266, www.BarefootPaddleboards.com
DeGray Lake Sunset Trail
This one-mile ADA-accessible trail in Arkadelphia is paved and has views of Lower DeGray Lake. Right next to the trail is the DeGray Lower Lake Disc Golf Course. Located around two miles west of Exit 78/Caddo Valley on I-30.
CONTACT: 501-256-4262, www.DeGray.com
Historic Scoggins House Community Event Center & Library
Restored historic home in Fouke with refurbished rooms including a library, a bride's room, a groom's room, reading room and computerized education center; available for musical programs, bridal and baby showers, genealogy and local historical research, workshops and other special programs.
CONTACT: 106 West Main St., Fouke, AR 71837, arkans.as/FoukeScroggins
Kollective Coffee + Tea in Hot Springs
Coffee shop and tea house. Specializes in organic and local products.
CONTACT: 110 Central Ave., Hot Springs, AR 71901, 501-701-4000, www.Facebook.com/KollectiveCoffeeTea
Logoly State Park Visitor Center
The new facility is expected to open in 2016. The visitor center is focused on environmental education containing exhibits as well as multi-purpose rooms, which will provide space for seminars and classes. Offices for park staff are also included as well as a gift shop and welcome desk. There will also be a 75-seat amphitheater for outdoor educational programs. Call the park for further details.
CONTACT: CR 47 (Logoly Road), Magnolia, AR 71753, 870-695-3561, www.ArkansasStateParks.com/Logoly
Maxwell Blade’s Odditorium and Curiosities Museum
An extension of Blade’s Theatre of Magic in Hot Springs, combo tickets can be purchased to see the exhibit of over 300 rare and unusual items from around the world.
CONTACT: 119 Central Ave., Hot Springs, AR 71901, 501-623-6200, www.MaxwellBlade.com
New Arkansas Water Trails
The Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge Water Trail has been added to the Arkansas Water Trails system. A free Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge access permit is required of anyone using the refuge. Permits are available online, at access points and refuge headquarters on U.S. 82. In other news, a camp site on the Wattensaw Bayou Water Trail near Hazen has also been added.
CONTACT: 501-223-6300, www.AGFC.com
This collection of historic buildings in Rison has moved to the old country fairgrounds and is open again for business. The old church and historic houses are used as a venue for weddings, receptions and various other uses.
CONTACT: 200 Yaney St., Rison, AR 71665, 870-325-6381, www.CityOfRison.com/Pioneer-Village.html
Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge
The facility is open again following a $9.7-million renovation. Changes include updated guest rooms and addition of a new hearth room and porch for enjoying the panoramic view from Rich Mountain, Arkansas’s second highest mountain. The lodge is located on the Talimena National Scenic Byway near Mena.
CONTACT: 3877 Hwy. 88 West, Mena, AR 71953, 800-264-2477, 479-394-2863, www.QueenWilhelmina.com