By Brandi M. Seals
The Northwest corner of Arkansas has gone through a boom recently. People from all around are moving here because industry giants like Tyson, Wal-Mart, and J.B. Hunt are headquartered here. With these people come visitors. No longer is Arkansas being thought of as a hillbilly state. It is now joining much of the rest of the country as a tourist destination.
While you may come to Northwest Arkansas for work, pleasure, or to live, there are destinations that everyone should check out. Whether you have got only a day or the rest of your life, make sure to pop in at one of these great Northwest Arkansas locales.
1.) The 112 Drive-In
The 112 Drive-In movie theater, located on Arkansas-112, is a rarity. Only a handful of drive-in theatres remain in use across the country and Northwest Arkansas is home to one.
The theatre shows double features every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the Summer and in early Fall visitors can catch movies on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Larger vehicles, like SUVs, vans, trucks, and RVs are restricted to the last four rows while cars are given free reign. Every spot has a great view of the screen and no one needs to worry about parking close to the speaker stands. Most of the original speakers have been removed (though visitors can spot a few in the last few rows). Instead movie-goers turn their radios to 92.7 FM to catch the movie feed.
The drive-in is the place to be, so arrive early to get your spot. Guest can bring food and drinks or purchase something at the concessions stand. However, alcohol consumption is not permitted on the grounds. Call 479-442-4542 for the current week’s movies and show times.
2.) Devil’s Den State Park
This gorgeous state park is located south of Fayetteville in the small town of West Fork. Set back away from modern conveniences, entering Devil’s Den is like wondering into the forest of yesteryear. There is a feeling of calm and serenity that takes over in Devil’s Den State Park.
The park offers several hiking and biking trails, along with camping opportunities, rustic cabins, caves and waterfalls. If you like nature, you will love Devil’s Den. While there, you will not notice many bugs. The bat population in the park is surprisingly high and they control the pests through out much of the northwest corner of the state. If you are afraid of bats, do not worry. They are rarely seen in the park during the day. They mainly stick to the caves.
Next time you feel the urge to see green trees and hear running water, pack up your family and head to Devil’s Den. Pack a picnic and spend the whole day exploring.
3.) Walton Arts Center
The Walton Arts Center is located on Dickson St. just off the University of Arkansas’ campus in Fayetteville. The Art Center always has something going on. From ballets to productions of Aida and The Producers, there is something for everyone. See what will be playing while you are in town by visiting Walton Arts Center (waltonartscenter.org).
4.) The Jones Center for Families
This wonderful center in Springdale offers children and parents alike something to do. Go ice skating with the kids. The Jones Center has an indoor ice rink. Be sure to brink a thin jacket or a sweatshirt. It can get cold in the ice arena. Check their website (jonesnet.org) for open skate times. If you are a horrible skater and don’t want to let anyone in on it, opt instead to use the center’s pool. There are hours set aside for lap swimming and for open swim.
Aside from the skating and swimming, the Jones Center offers more recreation and a few programs. The building has a multi-purpose gym with various courts and track. Check with the Jones Center for a listing of current programs.
In the summer time, the Jones Center for Families’ parking lot also serves as the location of the Springdale Farmer’s Market. While the kids are indoors working up a sweat, you can be outside loading up on the freshest peaches, tomatoes, and much more. The farmer’s market is held every Tuesday and Thursday from 7am to 1pm and Saturday 7am to 7pm.