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NW Arkansas is well known for being a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Miles upon miles of bike trails, hike trails, water fall hikes, golf courses, hunting, and more have drawn outdoor lovers here from all around. But what if you are more of an indoor enthusiast? Are you the kind of person that is thankful for AC and heat, has an appreciation for good food, and loves to visit art installations. You may be surprised to know that NWArkansas is a for the INDOOR enthusiasts as well. We complied a list of the top places in the area to check out to enjoy the great indoors.
- Crystal Bridges – Number one on the list for good reason. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a museum of American art in Bentonville, Arkansas. The museum, founded by Alice Walton and designed by Moshe Safdie. It is 217,000 sf complex includes galleries, several meeting and classroom spaces, a library, a sculpture garden, a museum store, a restaurant and coffee bar. The museum holds over $488 million in assets and includes all American born artists such as O’keefe, Winslow Homer, Warhol, Mark Rothko, Chihuly and many more. Admission is free but ticket are timed.
- Clinton House Museum– The Clinton House Museum is the first home on Bill and Hillary Clinton. This unassuming home is located in Fayetteville. The former first couple was married in the living room of the home and lived there until the couple moved to Little Rock where we eventually became governor and later President of the United States. Through photographs, historical documents and videos, visitors learn about the modest beginnings of two of the world’s most influential figures and their role in Fayetteville history. The home also includes exhibits highlighting artifacts and memorabilia from the various political campaigns and lives of the Clintons.
- 21 c Hotel – There are currently only four 21c Museum Hotels in the country, and Bentonville is home to one of them. The luxury hotel brand combines the experience of staying in a hotel with visiting an art museum, one 12,000 square feet of exhibition space and a rotating exhibition program featuring acclaimed international artists and emerging artists. The Hive, the hotel’s restaurant, showcases what makes Arkansas unique in the culinary world by paying tribute to the High South with refined country cuisine.
- The Walmart Museum – Northwest Arkansas is not only the home to Walmart’s headquarters, but it’s also the home to Sam Walton’s first 5&10 store, dubbed the original Walmart, which opened in 1950. Attached to the tiny shop, located on Bentonville’s town square, is the Walmart Museum, a free experience for anyone interested in learning the history behind the juggernaut brand. As a reward for brushing up the mega-chain’s history, The Spark Café Soda Fountain is at the end of the museum and is a popular spot for ice cream.
- Scott Family Amazeum – For families and science lovers, the Scott Family Amazeum is a wonderland. With hands-on activities and interactive exhibits throughout the 50,000-square-foot space, it’s easy to spend an entire day here. Exhibits include a pioneer-style cabin and farm, a chocolate learning lab sponsored by Hershey’s, a play area with Nickelodeon characters, and a “Tinkering Hub” sponsored by 3M where kids can explore technology and create art. There are also rumors of adults-only evening experiences, so be sure to ask about those special events.
- Arkansas Air Museum – Follow the colorful history of aviation in Arkansas and American military conflicts through numerous displays of original artifacts and aviation memorabilia! The historic aircraft in the Arkansas Air & Military Museum are unusual among museum exhibits, because many of them still fly. Static displays at the museum range from the golden age of aviation to the jet age, including Vietnam-era Army helicopters and a Navy carrier fighter.
There are many more things to do and of course fantastic places to eat along the way. We hope our enjoy your great indoor adventure and find that NW Arkansas is for the INDOOR enthusiast as well.