Arkansas Diamond Express: A C.P. Huntington replica train that travels around the Little Rock Zoo's Children's Farm, flamingo exhibit, and duck pond. Future plans call for it to circulate through the new Arkansas Farm exhibit opening spring 2015. 1 Zoo Dr. 501-666-2406. www.littlerockzoo.com/
Arkansas Game & Fish Foundation Shooting Sports Complex: This multi-use complex is the largest of its kind in the state. It includes a 14 trap fields, three skeet overlays, three lighted fields, two pavilions, a lake, and a 5,100-square-foot clubhouse that includes a learning center. Open Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. 2800 Graham Road. Jacksonville. 501-241-2441. CityOfJacksonville.net
Big Rock Fun Park: This family-fun park has go karts, an arcade, bumper boats, batting cages and mini-golf. The facility is available for parties, groups, special events. Don’t miss the replica of North Little Rock’s Old Mill on the golf course. 11411 Baseline Road. Little Rock. 501-455-3750. bigrockfunpark.com/
Conway Dinner Theater: Awarding-winning plays, Broadway musicals, operas and melodramas performed by Faulkner Academy of Arts students, residents and professional musicians and actors. 2201 Washington Avenue. Conway. 501-339-7401. FaulknerAcademyOfArts.org/
Downtown Conway Farmers & Crafts Market: Located next to the Patio Café, the market features fresh produce such as squash, zucchini, cucumbers, potatoes, onions and green beans, baked goods including some that have locally grown blueberries, pecans and zucchini as ingredients, and handmade crafts, all produced in Faulkner County. Open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m.-noon. 1132 Front Street. Conway. 501-679-3227. facebook.com/downtownconwayfarmersandcraftsmarket
Grassy Lake Water Trail: The ninth addition to the Arkansas Water Trails system, the Grassy Lake Water Trail is found in the Bell Slough Wildlife Management Area just south of Mayflower. Arkansas Game & Fish Commission project at the forefront of creating a system of mapped water trails throughout the state. An Arkansas Game & Fish Commission project, the trip allows excellent wildlife viewing opportunities due to the cypress-tupelo lakes and sloughs. Watch for nesting herons in the spring, migrating songbirds, and other sights like beavers, bullfrogs, and water snakes. Grassy Lake Road. Mayflower. 877-967-7577. agfc.com
Outlets at Little Rock: A 325,000-square-foot outlet mall located next to Bass Pro shops in the Gateway Town Center in Little Rock will have approximately 75 stores. It opens mid-summer of 2015 and will include women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, shoes, sports and fitness items, jewelry, home furnishings, and health and beauty stores. Major brand-name shops comprise the center. Intersection of I-30 & I-430, Little Rock. 501-455-3000. gatewaytowncenter.net/
Sequoyah National Research Center: Located on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock campus, the center is the largest assemblage of Native American expression in the world. The mission of the program is to acquire and preserve the writings and ideas of Native North Americans. Open to the public Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Trail of Tears Park is 4.5-acres planted with native trees, grasses, and other species that travelers along the trail might have seen and experienced. 2801 South University. Little Rock. 501-569-8336. ualr.edu/sequoyah/
Studio Theatre: Local theatrical production company puts on five or six shows per year. The on-site Lobby Piano Bar is open six nights a week. The facility is available for music and dance recitals, touring bands, and wedding reception rentals. 320 W. 7th St. Little Rock. 501-374-2048. thestudiotheatre.org/
The Argenta Collection: This collection of archival Beatles photography consists of 229 framed photos and is moving permanently to Walnut Ridge. Some of the photographs had never been displayed prior to the summer of 2014. The photo exhibit will be changed on a rotating basis. Between 60 and 75 of the photos are available for viewing in the Lawrence County Library, one block from Beatles Park. 115 W. Walnut St., 870-886-3232. arkans.as/1s1YkDo
Downtown Playhouse: Located in the former Randolph Music Theatre in Pocahontas, the Playhouse will feature several plays each year and will serve as a coffee house with live music and community events throughout the year. 302 N. Marr St. 870-248-0069. arkans.as/1lHQR7r
New Clubhouse at The Ridges at Village Creek : The new clubhouse at The Ridges of Village Creek features 4,000-square-feet with a driving range, practice putting green, and restrooms. The facility also offers a snack bar with inside seating for 88 and outdoor terrace seating, overlooking the course, of 68. The clubhouse has a resale area featuring items golfers may need or want. Two PGA professionals are on staff.
Southland Gaming and Racing Expansion : the $37.4 million renovation includes a 41,000-square-foot building addition, housing 500 new gaming machines, bringing Southland’s total up to more than 1,950. Also included in the expansion is Sammy Hagar's Red Rocker Bar & Grill, a 150-seat restaurant and sports bar showcasing Hagar’s new rum and over 22 taps for draft beer. 1550 Ingram Blvd. 800-467-6182. Southlandpark.com
Pocahontas Visitors Information Center – located in a restored 1920 Frisco Depot, visitors to Pocahontas can find information on local and area attractions in the new location near the historic downtown area. 210 McDonald. 870-248-0069. arkans.as/1lHQR7r
Batesville Community Center: the $22 million dollar, 100,000-square-foot facility will feature a gym with three basketball courts, a walking/running track, a catering kitchen, fitness room, meeting rooms and indoor swimming pools. Outside the center will be more than 12,000-square-feet of a water area including splash pads and “lazy” river. Expected to open July 2015. 1420 S. 20th St. 870-698-2427. arkans.as/1otguh9
Cave Selfies: WIFI spots are now available while you’re on tour in Blanchard Springs Caverns. So take that selfie in the cave and share it instantly to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media favorites. Or just share a photo of the incredible underground – stalactites, stalagmites, cave bacon, flow stone - you’ll see on the guided walking or wild cave tours. Off Ark. 14 N., one mile east of Fifty Six next to Mountain View. 888-757-2246; www.fs.usda.gov/osfnf.
Gravity BrewWorks: North Central Arkansas's newest nanobrewery offers small batches of hand-crafted beer.
Locally owned and operated, Gravity BrewWorks , located in the small town of Big Flat, is open Thursdays through Saturdays from noon to 8 pm. During winter months, it's a good idea to call before you visit. What’s on tap? Usually three beers plus a seasonal. Tours are available of the brew house. Beers are available to sample in the tasting room, with growlers and quart bottles available to buy and take home. 11512 Highway 14 East; 870.448.2077; Gravitybrewworks.com.
Jamestown Crag: the only sport climbing crag in northeast Arkansas. Includes approximately 70 bolted climbing routes that span nearly a 40-acrea area. Donation box on site. Jamestown Loop in Batesville. 870-613-4662. arkans.as/UurDCD
Amazeum: The 45,000-SF project in Bentonville is aimed at children and families, emphasizing interactive art and science exhibits, including a climbable canopy structure, a "tinkering studio" for young inventors and an acre of outdoor space. The museum is expected to open in 2015. J 209 NE 2nd St, 479-696-9280; Amazeum.org.
Bachman Wilson House: 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. Built in 1954 along the Millstone River, It was moved to keep it from further damage from repeated flooding. The museum disassembled the home and reassembled it on its 120-acre grounds. The Bachman Wilson House will be a short distance from the museum along its 3.5 miles of trails, with views overlooking the native woodland setting and the natural Crystal Spring. Reconstruction is expected to be completed in early 2015 with the house available for study as well as for limited programming and tours. 600 Museum Way; 479-418-5700; crystalbridges.org
Fayetteville Ale Trail: Arkansas’s first craft beer tasting adventure featuring the craft beer scene in northwest Arkansas. This self-guided beer tour lets visitors and residents experience local breweries. Pick up an ale trail passport and have it stamped at each brewery to receive a commemorative bottle opener. More than seven breweries on the tour. Visit the website for profiles and passport information. FayettevilleAleTrail.com
Fort Smith Water Park: Cool off in the wave pool when the park opens on Memorial Day of 2015 at Ben Geren Regional Park! The large children’s play pool will contain interactive equipment. The river walk will have floating pads with a cargo net over it. Other features include toys, an activity pool area with floatable toys, basketball goals, 500-foot lazy river with sprays and waterfalls, gazebos to rent for parties, and four slides (two off of a 30-foot deck and two off of a 40-foot deck). Programming, concessions and events will round out the fun. 7200 Zero St. in Fort Smith; 479-646-2444; FortSmithParks.com
Hogshead Tours: Lora and Dustin Murphy are making sure folks can experience the booming craft beer scene of northwest Arkansas in style. Hop aboard their classic 1970 Volkswagen Van and enjoy the journey. You’ll get behind-the-scenes access to the area’s best local breweries so you can see the brewing process, taste multiple craft beers (many only available on-site), and enjoy the company of your friends and other beer enthusiasts. Wine and culinary tours also available. Public and private tours offered. Hogsheadtours.com.
Museum of Chaffee History: The Museum of Chaffee History chronicles Chaffee's role in U.S. army history and its' impact on the Fort Smith region and the state. Visit the museum Monday through Saturday, and view the largest existing collection of Fort Chaffee artifacts & documentation. 479-434-6774; Chaffeecrossing.com
Ozark Mountain Hoe-Down Music Theater Featuring Carl Acuff Jr.: New to Eureka Springs, this great music variety show has something for kids of all ages, 8 to 80. Music genres covered include country, bluegrass, gospel, pop, comedy, do wap, Motown, and disco. You’ll also see impersonations and a tribute to veterans. The show runs April through October. 3140 E. Van Buren (U.S. 62 E); 479-253-7725 800-468-2113; OzarkMountainHoedown.com.
HighRise (sic) Extreme Air Sports: Rogers is jumping with an indoor field of 15,000 square feet of trampolines. This fun park has a trampoline field, dodgeball court, basketball hoops mounted above trampolines and a pit of foam cubes. The ninja warrior obstacle course, inspired by the challenges on the television show “American Ninja Warrior,” consists of a rock climbing wall and a spider wall for people to shimmy across Plexiglas over a pit of foam blocks. Birthday party rentals, dance nights and exercise classes are other popular options. 4305 S. Dixieland Road in Pleasant Crossing. 479-259-1605; Ryzabuv.com.
Sassafrass Springs Vineyard: Enjoy exceptional wines inside the beautiful tasting room, under the covered patio next to the fireplace or on one of the many oversized decks. Create everlasting memories in the beautiful Chapel Ruins and gather in the 3,500-square-foot newly renovated Stables for a variety of events. 6261 East Guy Terry Road in Springdale; 479-419-4999; Sassafrasspringsvineyard.com
Walmart AMP: The Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers is the largest permanent outdoor amphitheater in the state. It pulls in big name acts - Miranda Lambert, Steely Dan, The Avett Brothers - for celebrity concerts. Seating capacity of 7,000, (3,000 covered and 4,000 lawn seats), great sightlines, air-conditioned restrooms, and largest stage house in the state. Set in a vibrant commercial district with restaurants, shopping outlets, hotel accommodations. 5079 West Northgate Road; 479-443-5600; WalmartAmp.com
Battery C Park:
One of historic Helena’s four Civil War battery sites, Battery C Park sits atop Crowley’s Ridge and provides a wonderful view of the historic river town. The site provides interpretation on the July 4, 1863, Battle of Helena. 1298 Yorkshire Dr. 870-338-4350, 800-358-0972. arkans.as/13sZ9uP
New Water Park in White Hall: Crenshaw Springs Water Park, named after the freshwater spring that brought water to early residents of the town, features two large flume slides, a lazy river, a toddler splash area and slide, a zero-depth entry area, diving boards, a rock-climbing wall, as well as a restaurant. 870-247-2399. 9801 Dollarway Road.
The New Community Theatre in Pine Bluff: This newly renovated theater is one of the oldest one-screen, nickelodeon-type theaters in Arkansas. 870-535-2646. 207 West Second Avenue.
American Artisans Gallery & Restaurant :Art gallery and bistro style restaurant in Mena. Represents artisans from Arkansas and nationwide. 615 Mena Street. 479-394-1112. americanartisans.net.
Adventureworks Hot Springs: A new aerial attraction has opened at Catherine's Landing near Hot Springs: a set of zip lines called Adventureworks Hot Springs. The 12 line course is built in a horseshoe pattern so participants end close to where they start their elevated journey. The lines run up to 800 feet in length – and the full sequence is nearly a mile long. 1700 Shady Grove Road. 501- 262-9182. Adventureworks.com/hotsprings.
Mid-America Science Museum Renovation: The Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs is undergoing a $7.8 million renovation to the museum’s building and exhibits. This includes a new skywalk connecting the main building with the forest canopy that surrounds it and new and updated exhibits. Anticipated completion of renovation is March 2015. 500 Mid America Blvd,. 501- 767-3461. Midamericamuseum.org.
Completion of the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail: Twelve years of planning and construction went into the building the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, which was built in segments over the course of those years. The trail includes around 45 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails along the southern shore of Lake Ouachita. The trail, which is near Mount Ida, was developed by volunteers in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers an the U.S. Forest Service. . The trail meanders through the Ouachita National Forest with spurs providing lake vistas. 501-321-5202. Lakeouachitavistatrail.com.
SkyShark at Magic Springs: A new thrill ride is now open at Magic Springs Water and Theme Park in Hot Springs: SkyShark. The ride is a 115-foot lattice-style arch and has a 3-ring release system similar to the kind used on a parachute. The flight suits worn are similar to hang-gliding suits. Riders in groups of 1 to 3 are winched to the top of a 95-foot launch tower and then dropped towards the ground, swinging from a cable tether back and forth until brought to a rest. Riders will reach up to 50 mph on their descent and will swing over Magic Springs Lake. 1701 E Grand Ave. 501 624-0100. magicsprings.com.
Ozark Bathhouse Cultural Center : Historic 1922 structure which is part of Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs, a National Historic Landmark; now serves as an art gallery featuring Hot Springs National Park's Artist in Residence art collection and a venue for park events and programs; available for private events. 425 Central Avenue. 501-623-2824.
Oaklawn Gaming Expansion: Oaklawn Racing and Gaming in Hot Springs is expanding their gaming center by 50 percent. The expansion, set to be completed by the end of 2014, adds on to the present electronic games of skill facility
opened in 2009. The expansion includes a sports bar, more black jack tables and more gaming machines.2705 Central Ave. 501-623-4411.Oaklawn.com
Queen Wilhelmina State Park lodge renovations: A major renovation of the lodge at Queen Wilhelmina State Park is underway. This lodge on the Talimena Scenic Drive near Mena reopens spring of 2015. Renovations include all guest rooms and an addition of a new hearth room and porch for enjoying the panoramic view from Rich Mountain, Arkansas’s second highest mountain. 3877 Hwy. 88 W. 800-264-2477.
New Disc Golf Course at DeGray Lake Resort State Park: DeGray Lake Resort State Park in Bismarck is home to a new disc golf course. It is the first disc golf course in the Arkansas state park system. The free course is set along the shoreline of DeGray Lake and winds its way through a mixed forest, while traversing rolling hills, across open fields, and over streams. Loaner disc golf sets and discs for purchase are available at the visitor center for those without the essential equipment. 2027 State Park Entrance Road. 501-865-5850. Degray.com.
Superior Bathhouse Brewery to Make Own Brew: The Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery, a craft microbrewery and restaurant located on Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs National Park, will soon make their own brew on site using thermal spring water, making it the world’s only brewery and distillery using thermal spring water as the main ingredient. 329 Central Ave. 501-624-2337. Superiorbathhouse.com
Zip Lines at Ouachita Bend - Located in Hot Springs, this adventure combines zipping and hiking and is the South’s only Super G zip line tour. Includes a 7 line zip line course. Groups of up to 10 can travel the course together. 501-318-3711. Ouachitabendadventures.com
Ronny K. Woods Wildlife Trail: A new wildlife viewing trail has opened at Nashville City Park in Nashville: the 1/2 mile Ronny K. Woods Wildlife Trail. The route is mapped out via sections to highlight the diversity of habitat and wildlife that can be found in protected areas. Wayside exhibits have been installed to explain each section. 1301 W. Johnson St. 870-845-7405. nashvillearkansas.org.
Plans for Entertainment District in El Dorado: El Dorado Festival and Events, Inc. (EFEI) has a plan in place for a new entertainment district in El Dorado. The district will foster the culture of Southern arts in town and will be an addition to an expanding art scene in El Dorado and Arkansas. The project includes the renovation of the 1929 Rialto Theatre into The Southern Theatre Festival. 870-863-6113. facebook.com/ElDoFest
Downtown Gallery in Texarkana: This small art gallery in Texarkana offers an eclectic selection of paintings, drawings, photography, pottery, woodwork, metalwork and more. 216 E. Broad St. 903-826-3219
City Park in Stamps renamed to honor Maya Angelou: A city park in Stamps has been renamed in honor of the late poet Maya Angelou, author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Stamps was the childhood home of Angelou and was depicted in her autobiography. Stamps City Hall. 870-533-4771