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Historic Arkansas Museum
HAM or the Historic Arkansan Museum is the state's history museum that is found in Little Rock, Arkansas, downtown with many historic buildings that were on the site and some that were moved here from around the state. Originally called the Arkansas Territorial Restoration, it was changed when more space and restorations were done in the beginning 2000s. This museum contains the finest collections of paintings, firearms, textiles, furniture, pottery and silver created by the artisans and artists of the state of Arkansas, covering the past 2 centuries. For over 20 years, the museum has been documenting, researching, collecting and preserving the finest Arkansas's mechanical, decorative and fine art by its citizens. It contains six distinctive galleries, where permanent and rotating exhibits are kept. The galleries are divided into quilts and silver; art and paintings, pottery of Caddo, hunting horns, guns, pottery, photographs, knives and jewelry. One very historical piece in the knives gallery is the knife used by Jim Bowie and restored from Texas. The knife collection is extremely fine with early knives from the 1830s, made in Arkansas, as well as some from England. The gun collection is small, but the weapons are prime examples of percussion pistols and rifles; and the furniture pieces are extemporary examples of craftsmanship and in wonderful condition. The hunting horns are also a great reminder of the extraordinary abilities of these early artisans using the basic tools to create marvelous works of art. The jewelry collection is exquisite and varied; with a great collection of old photographs called carte-de-visite, originally started in France. The pottery collection is awesome with some beautiful pieces that will certainly show that these early potters were very talented. The quilts are beautiful and varied with great sewing skills displayed and the colors rich; considering that many are over a century old. The silver collection is wonderful as well with one special spoon that was designed and made with an R, a can and a saw for the handle, illustrating the word rcansaw.
Eureka Springs Garden
Set within the awesome Ozark Mountains, the gardens are on 33 acres of fantastic botanical landscape with glorious hardwood trees, the best of the native plants and flora of this state. When you visit this special place, you will brighten your day with the bounteous blooms of the many flowers and smell the exquisite aromas that rise up from them. Quiet, serene and beautiful, it is a magnificent place to spend the day recuperating from life's hectic schedule. These gardens are the best that Arkansas has to offer and every year, in the spring, the bulbs come to life, followed by azaleas, dogwood and redbud blossoms. Summer brings in the annuals and perennials blossoming and autumn brings the incredible reds, oranges and multi-blends of the various trees, with pansies, kale and ornamental cabbage; complete with markers to remind you of their names. Spend time in the pavilion where you can watch as the Blue Spring spews forth 38 million gallons of water into the lagoon each day, where exotic rainbow trout float just beneath the surface. The gift shop is a perfect place to find all the wonderful floral keepsakes and other related items for your home reminding you of the visit to the Eureka Springs Gardens.
Gangster Museum of America
Hot Springs, Arkansas was the original Las Vegas, but for the criminal elements of the roaring twenties, the depression 30s and the war torn 40s. They came here because of the legalized gambling, prostitution and fantastic mineral springs. The first culprit to venture here was Owen "the killer" Madden, owner of the Cotton Club in Harlem; who had spent time in Sing Sing, in New York, came here for the hot springs and fell in love with the postmaster's daughter. He started supplying the horse racing results to the bookies in the area, and then became the main partner in the Southern Club gambling and prostitution business. Everyone in the small town thought highly of him, since he didn't kill people after leaving New York, but many more mobsters followed him here. Al Capone, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello, Lucky Luciana and Bugs Moran to name a few. Alvin "Creepy" Karpis came here to hid after he was named the public's number one enemy by Hoover. The building that houses the museum was built at the turn of the century, where it held the chamber of commerce, a bordello and drive-in mortuary. The town was a haven for gangsters and other underground figures that came here to escape the wild life and front page news that kept them in the public's eye where eventually they knew that they would be captured. The illicit times kept up until the 1960s, when Governor Winthrop Rockefeller had the town cleaned up.
Museum of Discovery
The museum is located in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas and within a historic building in the River Market District on the Arkansas ,River with the Clinton Presidential Center just a few blocks away. Bernie Babcock, great writer and prohibitionist started the Arkansas Museum of Natural History and Antiquities in response to a remark that Arkansans were bumpkins that lacked cultural centers. She opened her museum in a storefront on Main Street with many sensational exhibits including the head of a Chicago criminal, and a fantastic archaeological fake called King Crowley with taxidermy specimens, primitive art and multicultural dolls. Wanting to make sure that the museum would last, Bernie gave it to the city of Little Rock in 1929 as a Christmas gift; whereupon it moved to the city hall. The Tower Building at the Little Rock arsenal was supposed to be renovated in 1942, with help of the Aesthetic Club, philanthropist Frederick W. Allsop and the WPA; where the museum would be moved and stay for the next 55 years. While it was there, it acquired more artifacts and exhibits and was one of three to get a mold of the Arkansaurus fridayi fossil, called the Arkansas dinosaur, as well as having a statue of it. In 1964, they changed the name to the Museum of Science and Natural History and then to the Arkansas Museum of Science and History in 1983; and in 1997/98, when it moved to its present location, was changed to the Museum of Discovery: Arkansas Museum of Science and History. The Children's Museum of Arkansas joined with them in 2003 and in 2008 received $9.2 million for expansion and refurbishments. It contains many interactive exhibits about technology, history and science with permanent exhibits that contain; Worlds of the Forest, Room to Grow, Arkansas Indians, Health Hall, Imagination Station, Bug Zoo, Energy and Passports to the World. There is a collection of live animals, Kewpie dolls, a Friendship doll, and multicultural masks.
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Crater of Diamonds State Park
This park is the only public diamond bearing site in the world, located near Murfreesboro, Arkansas that sits on a 911 acre over an eroded lamproite volcanic pipe. For a small fee, you can dig and search for diamonds and other gemstones; with over 600 diamonds found every year of varying sizes, shapes and colors. Since it became a state park, the crater has produced over 25,000 diamonds and whatever you find, you keep. Some of the other types of gemstones found are; jasper, agate and amethyst, as well as minerals calcite, quartz, baryte, garnet and phlogopite. The crater measures 37.5 acres and is plowed regularly to bring the stones closer to the surface; with the rest of the park a campground, visitor center, aquatic playground, picnic area and interpretive Diamond Discover Center. There is a 1.3 mile trail that goes along the Little Missouri River and is a great area for hiking or biking. Story goes that John Huddleston found two small unusual stones on his 243 acre farm in August, 1906; and became the first person to find diamonds at their source outside of South Africa. The next month John and his wife, Sarah, sold an option on the land and a careful test of the soil was made with no great amount of gems being found other than the small area that is known as the crater. In 1924, the biggest diamond found in this continent weighed 40.23 carats and is called the Uncle Sam; and the last diamond of significant size was found in 2009, called the Easter Sunrise diamond and weighed 2.04 carats and was found by Glenn Worthington.
Located in the northern part of Arkansas, near Berryville, this limestone cave is said to be one of the most beautiful cave around with many unique decorations and formations; and quite possibly the warmest with high humidity keeping the temperature around 62 degrees. With many great formations, that include; stalagmites, flowstone, cave popcorn, stalactites, cave bacon and numerous soda straws and helictites. One area is known as the Silent Splendor with fantastic soda straws and one hanging up to nine feet long. There are two cave lakes that are reported to be bottomless; because the cave divers have never found the bottom, and are the biggest underground lakes in the Ozarks. One of the lakes to the south was stocked with trout in the 1920s, but have gone blind and colorless, although some have been found on the surface, so it is surmised that there are openings somewhere in the caves. Rain affects the level of the lakes, and another creature found there is the Ozark blind cave salamander. Found in 1845, by prospector John Moore who was looking for lead, the entrance area was mined for onyx. Bonnie and Clyde drove by the cave in the early 1930s escaping Missouri law and dropped off a storekeeper in Berryville Square. In 1993, when the Silent Splendor room was found, it appeared in newspapers across the country and on CBS news. They have regular tours, as well as wild tours that take you into the undeveloped areas of the cave where the most fantastic formations can be viewed.
Buffalo National River
The Buffalo River is one of the last free flowing rivers in the continental U.S. crawling over rapids and lovely pools on its 135 mile journey. The river has carved its way through the Ozark Mountains full of limestone cliffs going east to finally join the White River. The river is a wonderful area to use a canoe or kayak with whitewater at the upper areas with long lazy flowing on the lower parts. The serenity and solitude that seem to rise up from the waters surrounded by forests of magnificent trees is beyond words. The levels of the river will rise and fall depending upon the rainfall amounts , so before going, contact the USGS hydrological web page to get the latest information. You can bring you own canoe, kayak or raft, or you can rent them locally, as well as john boats. The fishing is spectacular and guides are available to help you find the best spot for those big ones you want to take home for the freezer or to just have your photo taken with. Indians thrived along the river banks, terraces and under the bluffs; and you can hike to the Indian rockhouse well known in the area. Areas that were settled include Boxley, Erbie and Rush. The park has some excellent campgrounds, 13 to be exact that offer the primitive to a hook-up with water and electricity, and they all are spaced out along the river's edge. Rustic cabins are also available, plus you can go out on your own to a gravel bar and really rough it. The cabins were built by the CCC and are an exciting way to campout if you never have done this before. The weather changes with the seasons, but the best time to enjoy the cool waters of the river are in the summer, although the early fall when the leaves are changing and presenting a kaleidoscope of colors, the river hasn't had a chance to cool down with the cool nights. Many early homesteads from the 1840s to the 1930s offer views of the many experiences how people lived during that time. The river starts out in the high part of the Boston Mountains of the Ozarks and then goes into the Springfield Plateau near Erbie and across the Salem Plateau before it enters the White River.
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Mike's Place in Conway
Taking it cues from the deep south, Mike's incorporates the ambiance of brick, wrought iron, plants and fountains, romantic lighting and fine wood furniture to increase the atmosphere at his elegant restaurant. Special emphasis in placed on food delivery, preparation and obtaining the freshest ingredients from the local farms and Gulf coast fisherman. The staff has been expertly trained in all phases of food delivery, with wine pairings and samplings. They are proud of their end result and are happy to welcome new guests every day. Some of the fabulous items available on the menu include; appetizers; crab stuffed mushrooms are fresh button caps topped with their lump crab meat stuffing, baked in the wood fired oven and sprinkled with Romano cheese; shrimp and cheese fritters are gulf shrimp with mixed cheeses, fresh garlic and Cajun seasonings lightly fried and served with remoulade sauce; creamy spinach-artichoke dip with artichoke hearts and a hint of red pepper, also available with crab meat; fried green tomatoes served with remoulade sauce; parmesan zucchini are fresh zucchini fries breaded with parmesan bread crumbs, fried and served with buttermilk ranch dressing; homemade gumbo with shrimp, andouille sausage and okra. Pasta offers; blackened chicken alfredo with bowtie pasta, tossed in a creamy cheese sauce with blackened chicken sliced on top; crawfish etouffle is white rice smothered with a rich crawfish etouffle. They invite you to create your own platter with a choice of two of the following; grilled chicken, chicken tresor, chicken fried chicken, blackened chicken alfredeaux, fried shrimp, shrimp scampi, shrimp Brantley, grilled shrimp, coconut shrimp, fried shrimp, crawfish etouffle, pecan encrusted grouper, grouper fillet, catfish fillet, crab cake, bacon wrapped scallops. Shrimp entrees include; stuffed gulf shrimp, ultimate shrimp platter, grilled shrimp skewers, golden fried shrimp. Fish entrees; grouper, grouper Creole, salmon, bronzed tilapia pontchartrain, southern catfish, pecan encrusted grouper. Exotic seafood entrees; bacon wrapped scallops, Dungeness crab legs, seafood crepes. Aged steaks include; ribeye, prime rib, center cut sirloin, beef tenderloin and new york strip. Chicken and pork entrees; baby back ribs, chicken fried chicken, French cut pork chops, raspberry chicken, chicken tresor and chicken breast. They have wood fired pizzas, salads, burger and sandwiches.
The Brave New Restaurante
The Brave New Restaurant in Little Rock, Arkansas is the results of Peter and Marie Brave wanting to make a casual warm environment serving the most delicious cuisine with outstanding service to their guests. Using local farmers and other sources to obtain the freshest and best ingredients they have achieved their desires with wonderful results. Here are some of their offerings; tilapia with Grand Marnier; salmon with braised fennel, chicken with shiitake mushrooms, veal with artichoke and port wine, vegetable lasagna which is oven roasted eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, artichoke hearts layered with pasta and Fontina cheese with a red and green pesto sauce; beef tenderloin; duck with duck which is pan seared duck breast with crispy skin, coupled with grilled smoked duck sausage, with lingonberry sauce and wild rice; crispy onion venison is thin slices of venison coated with Dijon mustard and onions lightly floured, sautéed and finished with Marsala demi glace; mixed grill is Peter's freshest meats and game combinations; New York strip and grilled lamb noisette which is noisette of lamb marinated in olive oil and herbs, grilled to temperature and served with black and yellow lentils and a minted demi glace. Soups of the day include; cream of brie garnished with fresh red and green apples; five onion with shallots and red, white and yellow onions, sautéed in butter with chicken stock and garnished with fresh chives. Appetizers include; goat cheese mousse is fresh goat cheese blended with cream, baked and served with a pool of chive cream sauce; baked camembert is small wheel of camembert cheese, baked and topped with walnuts, served with grapes and water crackers; wild mushroom tart is assorted mushrooms, porcini, shiitake, morels, cepes, sautéed with shallots and cream, baked in a flaky tart shell; duck crepe is confit of duck, mixed with roasted vegetables and demi glace, then wrapped in a crepe and served with lingonberry sauce; lobster cocktail; scallops Rockefeller are scallops on the half shell baked with spinach, shallots, Pernod and parmesan cheeses, served with lemon garnish.
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The Wild Wilderness Drive-through Safari n Gentry, Arkansas is a wonderful place to spend the day with your family. Sitting on a beautiful 180 acre former farm, this safari land is very special for the visitors coming here every day and to the majestic animals that roam its woods and pastures. With many big ponds, set in a magnificent Arkansas park, this 4 mile trip contains petting areas, and an area where you can walk through to get closer to the animals and enjoy their playful antics. There are picnic tables to enjoy a snack or lunch, pony and camel rides to thrill all their riders and much more. Home to over 85 species of animals, this safari park is a marvelous attraction to enjoy, especially with your family and the younger ones. They have wild and exotic red and arctic foxes, a gray wolf, an African tortoise and a boa constrictor, fallow deer, blackbuck antelope, Reeves' muntjac deer, eland antelope, white tailed deer, addax antelope, Pere David's deer, Nilgai antelope, sable antelope, black gnu wildebeast, axis chital deer, and a brindled blue gnu wildebeast. The king of the jungle African lion, Bengal tigers, leopards, bobcats, pumas, jaguars and servai; Nile River hippos, red kangaroos, southern white rhinoceros, hedgehog, two toed sloth and American black bear; primates of all descriptions and sizes; giraffes, Barbary sheep, plains zebra, zedonk, yaks, dromedary camel, American bison, white buffalo, Asiatic water buffalo, Ankole-watsui, Brahman cow, Texas longhorn, miniature donkey, pony, Przewalski's wild horse, Scottish highland cow and belted Galloway cow. Rodents including Patagonian cavy, black tailed prairie dogs, Cape porcupine and Capybara and the great number of birds with their exquisite colors will amaze you and the farm animals include Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, Jacob sheep, rabbits, llamas and Himalayan tahr goats. Come and spend the day enjoying the friendly and marvelous animals that live and roam the plains of the wild wilderness.
In Norfolk Lake, Arkansas, you will find a wonderland of water sports and enjoyment with high bluffs, forested hillsides and great treasures. With 550 miles of fantastic shorelines and a 40 mile stretch of beautiful blue water that is full of fish, room for all kinds of boats and the excitement of natural landscapes. Set within the Ozark Mountains, the valleys, woodlands and water invite bird watching, camping, hiking, biking and hunting in the seasons. Here you could run into foxes, beavers, otters, turkeys and deer; with bald eagles flying overhead. There are resorts, on the shores, in the mountains and a house on the bluff all waiting to take care of your needs and family; restaurants to fill your culinary fancies offering fish, bbq, ice cream, drinks and more. A mini golf course, marinas, stores for bait, liquor, boats, dive shop, sporting goods and more await whatever needs you might have or desire. The amenities will amaze you and fulfill your vacation needs. This is an area that will delight everyone and keep the fun and excitement ongoing around the clock in this fabulous resort area in northern Arkansas. You can also waterski with the local marinas supplying all your boating, fishing and waterskiing needs and equipment. The fish that are prevalent in the lake are bream, walleye, bass, crappie and catfish with trout swimming just below Norfolk Dam
Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources
During the 1920s, in south Arkansas, in a small town of about a 100 people, oil was discovered in Smackover and it became the biggest field in the country, at one time producing over 69 million barrels over oil. This forty square mile area contained about a thousand oil rigs with over 90 % producing oil and the town's population grew to over 25,000 people. Presently the oil fields in 10 counties still produce oil, and in Columbia and Union counties one of the biggest bromine reserves is found. Sometime in 1975, a group of citizens thought that a museum would help preserve and educate the vast history of the state's oil production and subsequent pollution. In 1977, Act 310 was passed and a tax was put on the oil production to finance the museum, and in 1979 a tax on bromine or brine was put into effect since it is found close to the oil reserves and bromine, which is smelly and toxic is used in making flame retardants, pesticides, medicines and many other chemicals. Jack Turner and his wife gave the state 19 acres of land to construct the museum that would be called the Arkansas Oil and Brine Museum; in 1980. But in 1997, it was renamed the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources and consist of 25,000 square feet of exhibitions including an auditorium, a geologic time clock, fossil exhibit that explains how the oil is created, vintage photographs, metal-cast and life size roughnecks working on a derrick, family life on the oil fields, petroleum company signs, life before the boom, vintage automobile pumps and modern techniques of drilling. An elevator brings visitors through a period that starts at the Jurassic period through the industrial revolution, then a replica of the second floor of the Rogerson Hotel's veranda that overlooks the street scene of Smackover during this incredible time. You can observe this scene on the first floor with storefronts, newspaper office, jail, vintage cars and mannequins in the clothing worn at the time. On the outside, this is equipment showing the way oil was obtained from the 1920s until today and a map showing the area where you can see the remains of that period.
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Historic Washington State Park
This historic village is a museum in Washington, Arkansas that opened in 1973, is home to 54 buildings sitting on a 101 acres with 30 being historically significant. The pioneer settlement was on the old southwest trail and during the 1820s and 30s was a stopover for people on their way to Texas. It is representative of the period from 1824 until 1889 and located southwest of Texarkana. The southwest trail went from St. Louis, Missouri to Fulton on the Red River. The river was, at the time, the natural border between Mexico and the United States for people going to the Mexican Texas. Sam Houston, Davy Crockett and William B. Travis went through Washington on their way to Texas. During the 1830s and 40s, Cherokee and Choctaw Indians traveled through the town on their way to the Indian territory under the Indian removal policies of Andrew Jackson and in 1846, it was a muster point for Arkansas troops going south to fight in the Mexican War under Zachary Taylor. During the 1863-1865 period, it was the site of the Confederate capital for the state after Little Rock became a Union possession. The original capital building is still there and is part of the Camden Expedition Sites. In 1864, it became threatened by the Union troops under Major General Frederick Steele on their way to Shreveport, Louisiana, when a Confederate force under Major General Sterling Price blocked them. On April 10, 1864, the battle was fought fourteen miles north of Washington and Steele was forced to move to Camden and the town was spared. In the Washington Presbyterian Cemetery, seventy-four unknown Confederate soldiers are buried. The Cairo and Fulton Railroad built a line in the early 1870s through the southwest part of the state, which bypassed the town and in 1875 a fire burned down most of the business district. Another fire burned in 1883, and the remaining businesses moved to Hope where the railroad depot was located. In 1958, the Pioneer Washington Restoration Foundation started saving the remaining buildings and the historic park was started in 1965 and opened 8 years later. Over 200,000 artifacts have been found in the area with ongoing research still happening. Many beautiful examples of 19th century American south architecture are found there, including Italianate, Federal architecture, Gothic Revival, and Southern Greek Revival.
Little Rock Arsenal
The U.S. Arsenal Building or Tower Building at the Little Rock Arsenal is found in MacArthur Park in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas; built in 1840, and part of the first military installation in Little Rock. The building, since its decommission contains two museums, one of which was the Arkansas Museum of Natural History and Antiquities until 1997, and the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History starting in 2001. Receiving its name because of the octagonal tower, it is the last remaining building of the original arsenal and one of the oldest structures in central Arkansas; as well as being the birthplace of Douglas MacArthur, supreme commander of the US Forces in the south Pacific in World War II. The Camden Expedition began here also. In 1840, Governor Elias Conway asked the government to build the arsenal because of the many dangers confronting the settlers in those days from the Indians moving west. With approval for 36 acres of land, the Tower construction began under the leadership of Major Robert B. Lee of the army and had 3 foot thick walls. It was just a arms storage facility until 1860 when the Civil War appeared on the horizon, 65 men of the Second United States Artillery were transferred under the command of Captain James Totten. In January, 1861, the legislature was going to hold a referendum to see if they would secede, but other events happened that changed its course. The governor asked the captain to leave in February and they did on the 8th. In 1873, it was renamed the Little Rocks barracks for married officers and their families and in 1880, on the northwest floor of the building, Captain Arthur MacArthur had a son he named Douglas. During that decade, the government began closing some of the smaller arsenals around the country to make bigger ones around the railways to make things easier. In 1893, the arsenal was traded to the city for 1000 acres outside Little Rock and in 1894, the Aesthetic Club, one of the oldest women's societies west of the Mississippi moved in. It was listed with the National Register of Historical Places in 1970 and had been used as a museum from 1942 until 1997. In 2001, it became home to the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.
Ouchita National Forest
The oldest National Forest in the southern U.S. is the Ouachita, which is French for Washita standing for good hunting ground and contains 1.8 million acres of gorgeous land. Lying within the western area of the state, it holds most of the Ouachita Mountains and has six areas designated wilderness areas. When it was created in 1907, it was named the Arkansas National Forest and then changed in 1926. This area was originally explored by de Soto in 1541 and then the French came. It was almost a National Park in the 1920s, but President Calvin Coolidge vetoes the efforts. With enormous growths of white oak, post oak, northern red oak and blackjack oak, they had little commercial value, so they were never logged and contain almost 800,000 acres. There are also old growths of yaupon, winged elm, gum bumelia and eastern redcedar that grow along the many streams in the forest. Two wilderness areas are found in the forest; the Black Forest Mountain Wilderness area is found in Arkansas and Oklahoma with a lot of old growth trees and is over 13,000 acres, while the Upper Kiamichi River Wilderness is in Oklahoma. There are many trails running through the forest with horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking prominent and the biggest and most popular trail is the Ouchita National Recreational Trail that travels 223 miles meandering around the forest; and it is a well maintained hiking and backpack trail with overnight shelters. Mountain biking is permitted in some areas of the trail. The Talimena Scenic Drive runs along Highway 88, and is a National Scenic Byway that wanders through the forest that has fantastic vistas with great photo areas. It goes through the old growth oak woodlands on Rich and Winding Stair Mountains. Fishing and canoeing is very popular in the forest with many areas, and the Cossatot River is supposedly the hardest whitewater river between the Rockies and Smoky Mountains. There is a wide area in the forest where people hunt for quartz crystals and they are allowed to pick up the loose stones and may dig for the lovely quartz with the district manager's permission.
November 26, 2014