Located deep in the Ozark Mountains of northwestern Arkansas, and originally named Shiloh, Springdale today is both an industrial center and a city experiencing a renaissance of culture and attractions. Once you choose your hotel in Springdale, consider visiting the following:
Take your family out for a night of baseball at the Arvest Ballpark, home of the Texas League’s Northwest Arkansas Naturals. And what a night it will be! There are 6,500 seats with two separate play areas for your kids, and lots of kid-friendly entertainment on the field between plays, so no one will be bored. A concourse encircles the stadium completely, so you can take a walk all the way around without missing a pitch. And for something special, go to the far end of the stadium where you can replace the standard ballpark fare with locally brewed beers. On Friday nights there are fireworks after the game.
If local wine is more to your taste than local beer, then head over to the Tonitown Winery where you can taste wines made onsite from locally grown grapes. A special history room features the Ranalli family’s Italian traditions of grape growing and winemaking that informed and developed these vineyards. Wines include the usual suspects including Merlot and White Zinfandel but also strawberry, blueberry and peach wines, along with “Ives Noir,” “Rock House White” and “Pink Catawba.” Sip your wine with cheese and crackers while sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch and listening to live music for a special Ozark Mountains experience.
Check out the past at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History to see the everyday life of ordinary people who lived in the rural towns and communities of the Ozark. Take a look at the indoor exhibits and then take a tour outside to see the six historic buildings on the museum grounds. There is also a research library with a collection of more than 500,000 photographs of Ozark life. You can make an appointment to see them if you are interested, although there are plenty of enchanting historical photographs already on display inside the museum. There is a dress-up area that is sure to delight your children as well as an exhibit that details the building of a log cabin and an intimate reading of a Civil War journal on video.
All aboard! The Arkansas Missouri Railroad will take you on a fabulous scenic ride from Springdale to Van Buren. There is something special and exciting about any train ride, but this one takes you back into history as well. The antique passenger cars you will be riding in are meticulously restored and be sure to check out the first-class parlor car and Lil’ Toot, the train’s 1940s caboose. The journey will take you through river valleys, across high trestles and into a quarter-mile tunnel. The conductors are guides as well and will narrate the journey as you go.
For some art appreciation that is not historical, check out the Arts Center of the Ozarks where there seems to always be something fun and exciting going on. The exhibit halls are filled with work by local artists, there are jazz soirées, plays and musicals on the main-stage theatre and workshops and classes. If you are around on a Sunday, check out the local writers doing readings accompanied by local musicians playing southern blues/jazz, after which you can enjoy a real southern community supper with the audience and the performers.
And what visit to the mountains would be complete without exploring the local flora? You can do that at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, the result of a volunteer-led grassroots movement that is now supported by a nonprofit membership society. Garden tours include a brief history and highlight special features in each of the nine themed gardens as well as the Butterfly House. The gardens include a horticulture center, a plaza and great lawn, nine 2,000-square-feet gardens, a greenhouse and more. As you stroll through the gardens, note their different themes. There is a children's garden, a four-seasons garden, an herb and vegetable garden, a Japanese garden, a rock and water garden, an Ozark native garden, a rose and perennial garden and a sensory garden.
There is enough in the Ozarks to keep your family engaged and active for days or even weeks as you enjoy great dining and shopping as well as unique attractions that include museums, galleries and historic sites. Stay at one of the Springdale hotels listed below for an Arkansas vacation that is sure to please your whole family.
Springdale, AR, US, 72762
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