It’s springtime, so I bet you’re looking for wonderful places to explore in the mild weather. Below you’re going to find 11 of the most unique and whimsical places in the whole of the Natural State. If you’re looking for wonder, you’re absolutely going to love the whimsicality of the places on this list. Each place on this list truly is one-of-a-kind, which is why they’re in no particular order.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Terra Studios (Fayetteville)
When it comes to places in the Natural State that are totally full of whimsy and wonder, you can’t do much better than Terra Studios. This art park has been bringing the wonder and keeping the delightfully weird up near Fayetteville for decades. Of particular interest is their sculpture garden, though honestly there isn’t a single square inch of Terra Studios that isn’t awe-inspiringly impressive. Terra Studios is located at 12103 Hazel Valley Road in Fayetteville.
2. The Old Mill (North Little Rock)
If you’ve ever wanted to step into the opening credits of
Gone with the Wind just for the awesome, historic beauty of the places featured, you definitely need to visit the Old Mill in North Little Rock. This mill was never an actual working mill, but it is just about the most picture perfect scenic spot in the Natural State. The Old Mill is located at 3800 Lakeshore Drive in North Little Rock.
3. Downtown Fort Smith
Downtown Fort Smith has a long history of being a brawlin’ little border city, but due to the awesome efforts of the community, Garrison Avenue is gaining a reputation for having some truly incredible street art done by street artists from around the world. For two years running, Fort Smith has hosted a mural festival called Unexpected and the outcome has been incredible. So in addition to the delicious food, cool history, and great shopping in downtown Fort Smith, you’re also going to find unique wonders adorning the buildings. To find these incredible works of art, drive to Garrison Avenue in Fort Smith.
4. Monster Mart (Fouke)
If you want to know about the legend of Boggy Creek, you can always watch the movie called by that name. However, there’s a more hands-on approach to exploring the legend of the mythical Fouke Monster. You can drive to Monster Mart in Fouke to see artifacts of sightings, buy books about the monster, and find as many monstrous photo ops as you could possibly want. Monster Mart is located at 104 Highway 71 in Fouke.
5. Christ of the Ozarks (Eureka Springs)
Christ of the Ozarks reigns supreme on Magnetic Mountain. This more than seven story tall tribute to Christ towers over the mountain with his arms spread wide. No matter your religious beliefs, this monument is a credit to its maker and is something you need to see with your own eyes. You can find the Christ of the Ozarks by driving to 937 Passion Play Road in Eureka Springs.
6. Arkansas Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo (Hot Springs)
The Arkansas Alligator Farm has been around since 1902, and it’s been keeping Arkansans enthralled all that time. Arkansas Alligator Farm really does let you pet baby alligators, along with the menagerie of other animals they keep on the grounds. In case you’re still not convinced that this odd attraction will fill you with wonder, you also need to know they have a tiny merman on site. You can visit this world of awesome at 847 Whittington Avenue in Hot Springs National Park.
7. Quigley’s Castle (Eureka Springs)
This castle is truly a labor of love, adorned with rocks and found objects by an exceptional woman named Mrs. Elise Quigley. It took decades for her to complete her castle and cultivate a garden full of sculpture and more than 400 kinds of flowers, and all those decades of loving care are obvious from the moment you arrive at Arkansas’s most unique castle. You can see this whimsical place by driving to 274 Quigley Castle Road in Eureka Springs.
8. Flying Fish (Little Rock)
Flying Fish has made a truly unique place by taking people’s discarded novelty fish and putting them all over their walls. The food is excellent as well, but nothing will make you feel like a kid again quite like dining under a wall of singing fish. You can enjoy these novelty items at 511 President Clinton Avenue in Little Rock.
9. Julius Breckling Riverfront Park (Little Rock)
A sculpture garden, a cool old bridge, tons of trails, history plazas and a rose garden, all set in a gorgeous park you’re going to love? Yep, that’s exactly what you’re going to find at one of the most well-developed riverfronts around. Little Rock’s Riverfront Park is 33 acres you’ll want to explore. You can find Riverfront Park by driving to the River Market District in Little Rock.
10. Stoneflower Cottage (Heber Springs)
Located in Heber Springs, this incredibly picturesque park was designed by E. Fay Jones, who also designed Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel and Thorncrown Chapel, which is one of the most visited attractions in the Natural State. Like Jones’s other work, Stoneflower Cottage focuses on uniting the beauty of nature with the beauty of eye-catching manmade ingenuity. The main difference between the stunning chapels and Stoneflower Cottage is that you can actually spend the night in the cottage. And nothing will fill you with wonder like waking up inside a gorgeous piece of art. Stoneflower Cottage is located at 704 Stony Ridge Road in Heber Springs.
11. Wattle Hollow Retreat Center (near Devil’s Den State Park)
If you’re looking for a place that is made of meditative art and makes you want to spend some serious time in contemplation and reflection, Wattle Hollow is the perfect haven for your stressed out self. With absolutely gorgeous grounds and buildings that are like sleeping inside of your best dream, Wattle Hollow isn’t only gorgeous, it’s a highly spiritual place dedicated to transporting you away from your troubles. Wattle Hollow is located three miles north of Devil’s Den State Park.