Located in the northwest corner of the state, the city of Benton is in Saline County and is close to the neighboring states of Missouri and Kansas.
With a population of slightly more than 30,000, it’s technically a city, but its aura is quaint, historical, and much more like small-town America than a big city.
Below are 13 things to do in and around Benton.
1. Gann Museum of Saline County
With a pioneer history dating back centuries, Saline County is full of historic buildings and museums that document the town’s history.
The Gann Museum began its life in 1893; at that time, it was the office of a local doctor, but today it stands as the county’s preeminent collection of all things related to the area’s past.
The museum is free to visit. It’s full of exhibits, photographs, documents and odds-and-ends from bygone eras that are both interesting and educational.
The county’s economic history is also well-represented and includes quite a bit on ALCOA and the Reynolds Company, which were both aluminum companies that employed much of the area’s workforce.
2. The Royal Theater
The Royal Theater is a Benton legend and a great place to spend a few afternoon or evening hours watching locally produced plays by The Royal Players or the Young Royal Players.
The theater isn’t what you’d call cutting edge, but it has loads of charm that you won’t find at larger, more contemporary venues.
The place to go if you’re into supporting local talent, much of the money raised from the shows goes back into the upkeep and renovation of the old theater.
It’s located on Market Street near downtown Benton, so check out their schedule online if you’d like to see a show.
3. Bauxite Historical Association Museum
Located just a few minutes down Interstate 30, the Bauxite Historical Association Museum is easy to get to and is a real gem of a find, especially for those interested in learning about the region’s past.
Local residents have donated many of the items on display. As the name suggests, much of the history is intertwined with the bauxite mines in the area that produced the ore used in the area’s aluminum smelting and manufacturing companies.
The museum is free to visit and includes a fair amount of military paraphernalia.
Donations are gladly accepted.
4. Saline County Courthouse
Benton’s scenic and easy-going downtown area is home to more than a few historic buildings, some tracing their roots back to the town’s founding in the early years of the 19th century.
The Saline County Courthouse is one of the town’s most historic and iconic buildings and is known for its clock tower.
The building has been renovated numerous times over the years and is conveniently adjacent to treed areas and gazebos that are great places to relax, have a picnic or read a book.
There’s also a memorial to the town’s war veterans nearby that’s worth a quick look.
5. Salty Harbor Mini Golf & Fun Park
No matter where you find yourself, you’re usually not too far from a mini-golf course. Although they’ve been around for ages and haven’t changed much, they’re still family-friendly places that provide plenty of fun and entertainment without breaking the bank.
Salty Harbor Mini-Golf and Fun Park is once again open for business. It remains one of Benton’s recreational hotspots; in addition to mini-golf, they offer video games and food.
The facilities are available to rent and are a great option for birthday parties and family reunions, so check out their prices and other options on their website.
6. Brown’s Country Store
If you’ve spent the day hoofing it all over northwest Arkansas and a light salad and mineral water are out of the question, consider dining at Brown’s Country Store.
The buffet-style restaurant offers all you can eat for one price. With nearly 100 items, you shouldn’t have trouble finding more than a few things you like.
They offer hot and chilled items like roast beef, ham, and macaroni and cheese, and plenty of fruit, vegetables, and deserts as well.
Considering how much food you’ll have access to, it’s quite reasonably priced, which is probably why it’s such a popular place.
7. Red Door Escapes
Escape rooms of all descriptions are sprouting up all over the place; if you’ve never experienced one, it’s something to consider on your trip to the Benton area.
Red Door Escapes is located in nearby Bryant and is an affordable and fun-filled way to spend a few hours with friends and family, engaging in some grey-matter stimulating activities.
Regardless of the age and mental ability of your companions, Red Door Escapes has an option that’ll fit the bill to ensure that everybody can contribute and have fun in the process.
They’re located on Market Place Avenue in Bryant.
8. Painted Tree Marketplace
Vintage is one of those trendy new words that usually translates into relatively old and lightly used. If you like digging for deals and seeing interesting products from bygone eras that you won’t find anywhere else, a trip to Painted Tree Marketplace in West Little Rock would be a wise way to kill an hour or two.
They’ve got staff specifically dedicated to finding rare and vintage items to offer their customers, and you’ll notice a distinct difference between vintage and antiques.
The showroom includes chandeliers, clocks, lamps, jewelry, and original art to – name a few, but with such a selection, you’ll find lots more too.
9. Benton Event Center
The Benton Event Center was built to provide a variety of entertainment options to local families.
Previous events have included live musical and theater performances, art shows, a gun and knife show, and a large flea market.
The best way to stay up to date is to check out the calendar of events on the city’s website.
Many of the events produced for the community are fundraisers for local organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and Habitat for Humanity. Not only will you be entertained, but you’ll be supporting the community’s economy and helping those less fortunate.
10. Rogers Aquatics Center
Rogers Aquatics Center is slightly more than three acres of water-centered fun that’s easy to get to and reasonably priced.
In addition to their swimming pools, waterslides, fountains, and vortex pools, there are basketball and volleyball courts and a rock climbing wall.
Since the park was made specifically for families with children, you’ll find suitable and safe activities for everyone, regardless of age.
Day passes are available, and there are food concessions on site, which means you won’t have to leave to fill those empty stomachs; with a hand stamp you can leave and return if you’d rather eat outside.