Virtual Experiences in Arkansas
You can still visit some of your favorite Arkansas attractions via virtual efforts across the state to keep the community connected to the many places that make Arkansas unique. Many attractions are keeping their experiences open to the public through creative virtual efforts that range from interactive tours to virtual safaris to ballet performances. Below is a peek at a few of the experiences currently available for the public to enjoy across the state.
Connecting to Nature
The Little Rock Zoo has an important role in inspiring people to value and conserve our natural world. During this time, they have a Virtual Safari series that takes place every day at 2 p.m. on their Facebook page where you can explore different parts of the zoo and meet all of their animals.
The Arkansas Game & Fish Commission has put up a virtual nature center at agfcnaturecenter.com. The endeavor is an effort to continue teaching people about the outdoors during this time. Topics you can learn about in the virtual nature center range from fishing tips to recipe segments. The virtual nature center is a collaboration between nature centers, regional educators, program coordinators and other AGFC staff. New content will be added to the page every couple of days, including new content that is being created for this project.
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs has daily virtual tours up on their Facebook page. This spot provides lifetime refuge for abandoned big cats with an emphasis on tigers, lions, leopards, and cougars. A video gallery full of footage of big cats and day to day operations of the refuge can also be found on their website at turpentinecreek.org.
Connecting to Art
The arts play an important role in a community. The building may be closed, but Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville is open online. You can visit the website, crystalbridges.org, to watch videos on art, architecture and more. Plus, you can step inside an artwork to immerse yourself through a virtual reality tool or just explore the artwork online.
While the Arkansas Arts Center’s in-person programs are postponed, the center has launched Arkansas Arts Center Amplified, a Facebook group where you can find highlights of artworks from their collection, Children’s Theatre performances, artist demonstrations and more.
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra is featuring performers playing live music on their social media outlets including Facebook.
A weekly series called “Encore” brings a variety of Ballet Arkansas performances to the comfort of your home every weekend. You can visit balletarkansas.org/encore each weekend to experience a new performance. For the super motivated, they have also created a “Learn from Home” experience at balletarkansas.org/learn-from-
Connecting to Museums
The Esse Purse Museum, the only purse museum in the nation, is giving access to their exhibits via their website essepursemuseum.com where you can tour their exhibits online.
The Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs has found a great way to keep the learning going at home. Extending through May, the museum will be posting a total of 30 pre-recorded classes at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The Saturday class will be their regular Scientots class, which is a science-based literacy program for children ages 6 and under. The Tuesday and Thursday classes are for kids of all ages and designed to encourage the viewer to try experiments at home. These and other educational and fun videos can be found on the museum’s Facebook and YouTube Channel.
The Museum of Discovery in Little Rock is also offering lessons and ‘At Home Discoveries’ videos via their Facebook page.
Connecting to City Life
Hot Springs was the scene of the first tourism film in Arkansas using virtual reality technology. “Hot Springs, The Experience of a Lifetime” is a two-part virtual reality experience that you can see on the Visit Hot Springs YouTube channel. Spots like the Northwoods mountain biking trail system, Lake Hamilton, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, Bathhouse Row at Hot Springs National Park, Garvan Woodland Gardens, Lake Ouachita, Mid-America Science Museum and downtown Hot Springs are featured.
The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville offers a virtual tour of campus at uark.edu. The interactive tour gives you a look at the beautiful campus as well as some fun history. Learn about Old Main, one of the oldest buildings in the state, Senior Walk, and Spoofer’s Stone, a popular spot for marriage proposals, plus much more.
Connecting to History
The Historic Arkansas Museum is doing videos on gardening, blacksmithing, clothes washing before the days of washing machines, and other topics. They have several interesting videos up currently on their Facebook page.
You can also view the collection found at the Old State House Museum online at oldstatehouse.com. They are doing live videos on their Facebook page with a plan to feature one every Tuesday. Also in the works is a virtual tour and plans to adapt their educational programs so that they can be done virtually.
Pea Ridge National Military Park in Pea Ridge preserves and protects the history that took place on its hallowed ground. The Pea Ridge Campaign can be experienced online at peri.toursphere.com, where you can view images and videos, listen to audio or read text about several locations on the battlefield, the men who fought here and other interesting topics.
Hampson Archeological Museum State Park in Wilson exhibits a nationally renowned collection from the Nodena site, a village that once thrived on the Mississippi River in what is today Mississippi County. Visitors have an opportunity to enjoy the museum with a virtual tour of 3D artifacts from the museum's impressive collection at hampson.cast.uark.edu.
You can also find virtual experiences on the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center’s Facebook page including living history presentation videos.