12 Things To Do With Family In Bentonville, Arkansas

Last Updated on February 19, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Bentonville is a quaint city in Northwest Arkansas nestled in the beautiful Ozark Mountains. It has exploded in popularity over the last decade thanks to its world-class mountain biking trails, renowned art museums, exciting festivals, and the headquarters of Walmart and Walton family attractions.

From exploring innovative museums and diverse culinary options to enjoying outdoor adventures amid stunning natural backdrops, there are abundant family-friendly things to see and experience across Bentonville. This article details the top 12 attractions and activities for families visiting this dynamic city on the rise.

Explore the Spectacular Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

With free general admission courtesy of the Walton Family Foundation, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is one of the most popular attractions in Bentonville for visitors of all ages. This world-class museum features colonial to contemporary pieces displayed amidst gorgeous gardens and spring-fed ponds. Some of the most iconic works include Asher Brown Durand’s Kindred Spirits painting, Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter, and Andy Warhol’s Coca-Cola prints.

Beyond the vast indoor galleries, the grounds themselves entice exploration with scenic trails that connect to downtown Bentonville. Families particularly enjoy the kid-friendly art studio, Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Bachman Wilson House, and the museum’s puppet shows, gallery talks, and outdoor concert series catered toward children. The museum cafe offers delicious locally-sourced meals and snacks to fuel your arts adventures. With something for connoisseurs and kids alike, an interactive visit to Crystal Bridges Museum is a must-do when visiting as a family.

Ride Epic Mountain Biking Trails

Cyclists around the world venture to Bentonville specifically to ride the city’s renowned mountain biking trail system. Local cycling enthusiasts and families enjoy over 400+ miles of off-road trails that vary from easy green circles to technical black diamond downhill runs within Bentonville’s city parks and surrounding Ozark forests.

Slaughter Pen Mountain Bike Trail Park contains premier single-track for riders of all abilities along with skills courses and jumps lines. Just east of downtown, Coler Mountain Bike Preserve impresses with beautiful views from rugged ridge-lines. Families also enjoy the Kids Track at Lake Bella Vista for pint-sized beginners. When you need a break from the saddle, visit bike-themed restaurants like Pedaler’s Pub or support local at Phat Tire Bike Shop in the 8th Street Market district. Whether you’re a hardcore mountain biker or looking for a leisurely woodland ride, Bentonville delivers endless cycle adventures for active families.

Attend a Concert or Festival

Beyond its museums and trails, vibrant Bentonville hosts family-friendly concerts and cultural events nearly every week. Mid-April welcomes the Bentonville Film Festival which screens inclusion-focused independent movies with free youth programs. When the summer evenings kick in, enjoy free live music every Thursday during Downtown Live at the Town Square. Top Arkansas bands perform while kids dance and play games.

As autumn approaches, don’t miss the Harvest Festival in October and Homegrown Festival in November which celebrates local food, arts, and sustainable living with kids’ activities included. Many popular concerts like the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas take place at the modern Walton Arts Center which also holds family-oriented Broadway musicals and theater. From open-air free festivals to reasonably priced indoor performances, there are endless ways for families to experience Bentonville’s eclectic entertainment scene.

Tour the Walmart Museum

Given Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, visiting families can explore the retailer’s history at the Walmart Museum located on the downtown square. This free and engaging museum showcases vintage Walmart products and interactive exhibits illustrating how an American small-town variety store evolved into the world’s largest retailer.

Kids enjoy exploring the restored 1950s Walton’s Five and Dime store interior, viewing classic smiley face merchandise in the Spark Shop, and posing on the company’s tractor-trailer. Families gain retail inspiration from the interactive company timelines and photos showcasing Sam Walton’s visionary leadership. Don’t forget to snap a selfie with the Walmart rally mascot! With hands-on activities and engaging presentations, the Walmart Museum makes retail history fun for guests of all ages during their Bentonville visit.

Marvel at Winthrop Rockefeller’s Petit Jean Mountain Estate

Just thirty minutes from Bentonville rests Arkansas native Winthrop Rockefeller’s former grand estate atop Petit Jean Mountain which families can access via guided tour. Hear stories about Rockefeller’s life while wandering through his 5000-acre ranch, Morrilton mansion, pioneer museum village, and expansive gardens in full bloom.

Glimpse his collection of Native American artifacts and fine Western art adorning every room. Kids enjoy interacting with hands-on educational exhibits at the Coach Barn Visitor’s Center and spotting animals roaming across sprawling pastures. Guests relish lunch or afternoon tea on the veranda overlooking the lush Arkansas River Valley. From museums showcasing Rockefeller’s legacy to outdoor spaces ideal for young explorers, a day escaping to Petit Jean Mountain Estate never disappoints.

Embark on an ATV Expedition

Families visiting Bentonville also commonly book guided ATV excursions to immerse themselves amongst the area’s quintessential rolling Ozark Mountains, rock bluffs, and glimmering lakes. After basic orientation and safety training, you’ll roar across miles of scenic wooded trails and dirt tracks with Nothing But Fun Tours guiding every thrilling moment.

In smaller groups, people of all ages navigate rugged backcountry pathways and splash through muddy creek beds to reach spectacular panoramic vistas. Brief stops allow catching your breath while snapping photos with Lake Osage’s glistening blue waters far below. By trip’s end, families share laughs recalling their muddy mishaps and adrenaline-pumping adventure moments exploring regions of the Ozarks accessible only via ATV.

Play Disc Golf at J.B. and Johnelle Hunt Family Oz Trails

For affordable active family fun in gorgeous park surrounds, discover the 36-hole disc golf course at J.B and Johnelle Hunt Family Oz Trails. This unique park contains over 11 miles of picturesque paved trails enjoyed by walkers, joggers, and cyclists that also incorporate disc golf tee pads and targets. Families can rent discs inexpensively and learn rules from the Welcome Center before navigating wooded hills and creeks to reach each basket target below par.

Various tee options allow beginners and experts to play simultaneously. Sprawling over 140 acres of lush scenery including native trees, wildflowers, and limestone bluffs, hours fly rapidly while families play rounds across this one-of-a-kind disc golf trail park as easy foot paths link each hole.

Shop Handmade Creations on Block Avenue

Block Avenue represents the vibrant arts district of downtown Bentonville jam-packed with boutique shops, hip eateries, creative art galleries, and cultural attractions. Families enjoy browsing the one-of-a-kind fashions at Arrow and Line or handcrafted home goods within the Merchant collective shops. Kids love building custom plush animals at Build-A-Bear Workshop or picking sweet scents at Harmony Natural Soap Company.

When you need a burst of caffeine, stop at Pressroom Coffee or Hugo’s West End Tavern known for their famous burgers named after rock legends. Don’t forget dessert at The Community Bakery or family board game time at Tusk & Trotter. With locally-owned outlets around every corner, Block Avenue offers personalized shopping experiences catered toward kids and parents alike.

Scale An Illuminated Tree Canopy Walk

Coming soon in 2024, Bentonville anticipates grand openings for major attractions expanding families’ outdoor recreation opportunities including an illuminated Tree Canopy Walk. At night, this innovative elevated walkway winds through the towering Ozark woodlands showcasing interactive light and music-infused installations.

Kids experience nature from fresh angles while traversing above 24 feet high amid branches. Interpretive elements share fascinating insights into local ecosystems, plant specimens, and the constellations above. Synched seasons with vibrant colors in spring and fall, this glittering tree top trail adds a magical element to any family visit.

Splash Down an Alpine Super Slide

Yet another 2024 addition coming to Bentonville’s activity repertoire includes thrill-seeking families launching down a mountainous super slide reaching speeds over 30 miles per hour. Located just minutes from downtown within Blowing Springs Park, this epic Austrian-constructed slide sends adventurous riders on pure adrenaline-spiking descent totaling 1300 feet long and 100 feet tall. With sweeping curves hugging a steep Ozark ridge line, guests of all ages thrill at the ride of a lifetime with breathtaking views and cool breezes in their face before safely splashing down at the bottom. Don’t miss experiencing this iconic super slide uniquely nestled within the natural amphitheater-like Blowing Springs valley.

Catch a Show at Walton Arts Center

Among Bentonville’s premier performing arts venues, the contemporary Walton Arts Center located just blocks from Bentonville’s downtown square hosts phenomenal family-oriented programming all year-round. Beyond the regular roster of children’s plays brought in from across America, Walton Arts Center self-produces engaging works inviting kids on stage to actively partake alongside professional actors. Recent favorites include magic shows, a pop musical about friendship called Biscuit, and their original production of The Tortoise and the Hare where audiences determine speedy versus steady virtues.

Interactive lobby displays before certain matinee performances give young people hands-on creative opportunities like art workshops, drama activities, and music demonstrations to deepen their performance appreciation. With affordable tickets and dynamic performances ideal for short attention spans, Walton Arts Center enriches any trip to Northwest Arkansas.

Uncover Historic Architecture Along Downtown Bentonville Brick Streets

Amidst Bentonville’s trendy culinary and arts scene breathes history at every turn once you wander side streets off the Downtown Square. Families delight at spotting the ornate Victorian mansion architecture fronted by lush gardens and sprawling trees dripping with Spanish moss. Edifices over a century old transport visitors back to Bentonville’s formative frontier era when the first mercantiles emerged along modest brick roads.

Conclusion

Overflowing with natural splendor, pioneered trails, brilliant museums, and emerging entertainment + dining attractions, the family-friendly opportunities in growing Bentonville seem endless. From epic art collections and legendary mountain biking to one-of-a-kind culinary and cultural experiences, Bentonville offers unforgettable adventures catering toward kids and adults alike.

Use this guide detailing the top 12 activities for families as your launchpad to embrace memorable moments exploring vibrant facets of this dynamic Northwest Arkansas destination.

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