12 Attractions in Springdale, Arkansas

Last Updated on February 13, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Springdale is Arkansas’ fourth largest city with a population of over 75,000 people. Located in Northwest Arkansas in the beautiful Ozark Mountains, Springdale offers plenty of sights and activities for visitors. The area’s natural beauty and attractions draw over a million tourists each year.

Springdale is nicknamed the “Poultry Capital of the World” due to the large number of poultry businesses headquartered there as well as processing plants. The town is also home to the University of Arkansas Community College at Springdale and serves as the gateway to the Northwest Arkansas Razorback Regional Greenway – a 36-mile pedestrian and bicycle trail system meandering through various parks and attractions.

The following are 12 of the top attractions in Springdale and the surrounding area that should not be missed when visiting this lively and scenic Arkansas town.

Shiloh Museum of Ozark History

The Shiloh Museum is one of the best places to learn about the history and culture of the Arkansas Ozarks region. Located in Springdale, this museum features several exhibits with historical artifacts, photos, documents, and films related to the settlement of Northwest Arkansas.

Some highlights include an extensive gun collection showcasing the firearms used by regional Native American tribes and early settlers, antique tools and machinery displaying early Ozark pioneer life, and a recreated 1840s frontier cabin furnished with period household items. There are also rotating exhibits focused on various cultural groups who migrated to the region over the last two centuries.

The Shiloh Museum additionally has a research library with archives open to the public forANCESTRY research. The museum complex is housed in a rustic native stone building nestled in the woods for a unique and fitting ambiance.

Lake Springdale Park

Lake Springdale Park is a popular recreation spot centered around a peaceful 20-acre lake surrounded by paved hiking trails that wind through the woodlands and along the waterfront.

Visitors can rent kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards and hydro-bikes from the marina during summer. The lake is also stocked for fishing, with a fishing dock available. There are several picnic spots around the lake in shady groves, some with grills and pavilions.

The park features a large playground with over 20 play structures for kids. A dog park is also onsite for pets to play off-leash. Various wildlife like ducks, turtles and blue herons can be spotted in and around the lake.

Ozark Natural Science Center

The Ozark Natural Science Center, located on the outskirts of Springdale, is an intriguing nature center focused on the unique ecosystems of the Ozark Mountains.

Spread out over 50 acres of woodlands and grasslands, the center has a number of educational exhibits displaying native flora and fauna. Noteworthy exhibits include the Butterfly House filled with native species fluttering freely amongst tropical plants, a raptor rehabilitation facility housing birds of prey like hawks and owls, as well as snake and turtle displays.

Outside, visitors can hike over 5 miles of trails past vernal pools, limestone caverns, tallgrass prairies and rocky outcrops while learning about the natural habitats from interpretive signage. The center also holds seasonal educational programs and events like summer day camps and fall wildflower walks.

Arkansas Air & Military Museum

Situated adjacent to the Springdale Municipal Airport, this museum is focused on the history of aviation and the military in Arkansas and beyond.

On display in the hangars are various aircraft like vintage propeller planes and helicopters used for reconnaissance and transport. Some military vehicles are also exhibited, including an original WWI Army tank.

Inside the museum are additional exhibits relaying the chronological history of military engagements Arkansas regiments were involved in as well as evolutions in aircraft technology and design. Some standouts include a Wright Brothers display, artifacts from noteworthy Arkansas WWI and WWII fighter pilot captains, aircraft engine cutaways and flight simulation exhibits.

Ozark Mountains

As Springdale lies on the southern slope of the Ozark Mountains there are bountiful scenic outdoor recreation opportunities just beyond the city limits.

Popular pursuits include hiking along the 225 miles of trails winding through the Ozark National Forest and Buffalo National River lands, rock climbing the limestone bluffs and outcrops, fishing the White River and tributaries for prized rainbow and brown trout, or boating and kayaking on the meandering waterways like the Kings River nestled within forested valleys.

Scenic highways like the Pig Trail National Scenic Byway and Mulberry River Road offer breathtaking vistas of the mountains blanketed in autumn foliage each fall. Several cavern systems like War Eagle Cavern also offer underground tours. With so much natural beauty surrounding Springdale, the Ozark Mountains themselves are an attraction drawing outdoor enthusiasts.

Jones Center for Families

The Jones Center for Families is Springdale’s largest sports complex, set on 146 acres. Outdoor amenities include hiking trails, a skate park, BMX track, tennis courts, sand volleyball pits, miniature golf course and swimming facilities with waterslides, a lap pool, and children’s play pool.

Inside are multipurpose courts for basketball, volleyball and pickleball, a world-class gymnastics training facility, weight room, group fitness rooms for classes like Zumba and Yoga, and an indoor track encircling turf fields.

The Jones Center hosts league sports, lessons, camps and tournaments year-round for youth and adults. The complex also contains meeting rooms and classrooms, so doubles as a community learning center hosting educational programs on health, arts, and personal growth.

Museum of Native American History

This museum in Bentonville chronicles the history and culture of Native American tribes from the pioneer days when tribes hunted the lands that became Northwest Arkansas through to present.

It provides background on tribes like the Osage, Caddo and Quapaw in an interpretive exhibit using authentic artifacts and replicas combined with artwork renditions and some interactive displays. Aspects covered include tool making, weapons, ceremonies, family structure and food cultivation.

Rotating exhibits highlight specific regional tribes more in depth, like methods of building shelters and making canoes. Outdoors is a living history village with rebuilt structures depicting Native American and frontier settler homesteads. Interpretive trails extend through the woods identifing native plants used for medicine, textiles and food.

Scott Family Amazeum

The Scott Family Amazeum in Bentonville is a popular children’s museum designed to “ignite curiosity” through hands-on exhibits focused on science, math, technology and art. It primarily targets kids aged 1-12 but has engaging displays for all ages centered around key learning concepts.

Some exhibit halls use sensory experiences to demonstrate principles of light, sound and motion. Visitors can make giant bubbles, operate laser light shows choreographed to music, build structures on an indoor pirate ship or test balance walking across a narrow foam arch. Other spaces focus on physics phenomena like magnetism and properties of air or hydraulics using augmented reality simulations. Calmer zones have magnetized mosaic walls for freeform art creativity or logic puzzles. Themed programs, immersive summer camps, birthday parties and educator events also occur routinely.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

This world-class art museum located in downtown Bentonville houses a nationally acclaimed collection of paintings, sculpture and folk art traversing five centuries of American history. The permanent collection includes iconic pieces like Gilbert Stuart’s George Washington portrait, Asher B. Durand’s Kindred Spirits painting of the Catskills and Norman Rockwell’s humorous Rosie the Riveter illustration.

The museum’s campus spreads across 120 acres of wooded parkland dotted with sculpture installations, walking paths and decorative ponds. The glass-enclosed gallery buildings were designed to integrate art with nature through panoramic forest views. Temporary exhibits rotate through focusing on impactful American artists or social issues relevant at points in history conveyed through visual mediums. Public programs like artist talks, film screenings and summer art camps further Crystal Bridge’s mission of making art accessible.

Arkansas Air Museum

Located at Drake Field, Arkansas’ first official airport dating from the 1920s, this museum chronicles the beginnings of commercial aviation within the state. The focal exhibit is a fully restored 1940s era DC-3 aircraft that visitors can enter and explore.

Interpretive displays identify key figures who were instrumental in establishing the first commercial airfield and airfreight services in Arkansas to link remote towns that previously relied solely on railroads for transport. The museum outlines how early bush pilots flew clothing, medicine, machinery parts and crops between mountain towns using small planes, often landing in cow pastures when airstrips had not yet been developed.

Vintage photographs, machinery artifacts, pilot uniforms and navigation equipment help convey the airfield and aircraft technologies used over time. The outdoor grounds still have an operational runway and feature retired FedEx cargo planes and helicopters that visitors can enter and view up close.

Walmart Museum

Located on the downtown square in Bentonville, this museum shares the rags-to-riches story of Walmart’s phenomenal growth from a five-and-dime store in rural Arkansas to the world’s largest retailer. It occupies Sam Walton’s original Ben Franklin franchised variety store and fills three historic buildings with engaging exhibits.

Visitors gain insight on Sam Walton’s business philosophies shaped by the Great Depression that emphasized buying in volume for discount, passing the savings to customers so all could affordably shop. Archival photographs, products sold through the decades, replicas of early stores and equipment like Walton’s original pickup truck bring the retail giant’s expansiontimeline to life.

Interactive displays let visitors price match items using 1960s cash registers, learn the Walmart cheer, design retail floorplans and see iconic TV ads underscoring Walmart’s influence embedding itself into American consumer culture.

NorthWest Arkansas Razorback Greenway

This 36-mile paved pedestrian and cycling path links together several of Springdale and Northwest Arkansas’s trail networks, parks and attractions providing a scenic thoroughfare for outdoor recreation and transportation between cities. It traverses south Springdale with dedicated bike lanes integrated along Emma Avenue before connecting seamlessly to the Springdale section winding through Lake Springdale Park and along Clear Creek Trail through scenic woodlands with creek access points.

The trail continues north through downtown Springdale, past Shiloh Museum before connecting to the Fayetteville section with its small town square neighborhoods and college campus lanes. Bella Vista’s section features lakeside trails while Bentonville has a downtown loop encompassing downtown squares, business corridors, Crystal Bridges trail and Bark Park. For an active way to experience the natural beauty of Northwest Arkansas year-round, the Razorback Greenway can’t be beat.

Conclusion


Springdale and the surrounding Northwest Arkansas towns have an array of historical, cultural, artistic and natural attractions sure to interest all visitors.

From world-class art museums like Crystal Bridges to outdoor pursuits in the Ozark Mountains, family-focused science museums and history exhibits conveying the region’s pioneer roots, there is no shortage of sites to see and activities to enjoy when visiting this blossoming pocket of The Natural State. Whether planning a day trip or extended vacation, be sure to add Springdale to your Arkansas itinerary.

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