With a population of slightly more than 8,000, Wynne is the county seat of Arkansas’ Cross County. It’s also the county’s largest city, though it’s full of small-town charm.
Located inside the state’s Arkansas River Delta area, it’s close to a few national and state parks that offer guests a wide range of outdoor recreational activities.
For most visiting the area, Memphis is on the radar for all its historical, cultural, and music-related sites and venues that draw travelers from all over the world.
Below is a list of 14 of the best things to do in and around Wynne, Arkansas.
1. Village Creek State Park
Arkansas is full of varied geography and wide open outdoor spaces, making it a haven for sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts.
Just down the road from downtown Wynne, Village Creek State Park is one of five similar parks located in the famous Crowley’s Ridge area. Consisting of more than 6,000 acres of land, it is one of the state’s largest parks.
In addition to hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and bird-watching, the park’s amenities include a welcome center with displays, interactive exhibits and a variety of instructional and educational programs focusing on the region’s unique natural and cultural history.
2. East Arkansas Community College Fine Arts Center
Located just off Interstate 40 in Forrest City, the East Arkansas Community College Fine Arts Center is the area’s premier destination for traditional and performing arts and has been open for nearly two decades.
The center is located on New Castle Road. In addition to its permanent exhibits, the facility hosts a wide range of events throughout the year, including live music, theater, dance recitals, and guest speakers.
It’s a great community resource, and the modern facilities are second to none.
The best way to keep up to date on their calendar of events is to check their website periodically.
3. Delta Q
Barbecue is taken very seriously in the American south; though there are lots of styles that vary by region, they’re all tasty. Delta Q restaurant on North Washington Street in nearby Forrest City would be a great place to sample many of them without breaking the bank.
From brisket and ribs to pulled pork, there’s something for everybody. Recent visitors have raved about their sides too, which include fries, mac ‘n cheese, hush puppies and salad.
It’s probably not a great fit if you’re looking for a swanky atmosphere and low-calorie offerings, but the reasonable prices, hefty portions, and comfy, family-friendly atmosphere are popular with locals and visitors alike.
4. Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge
Located west of Wynne, Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge is located in neighboring White County near the town of Bald Knob.
The refuge is one of the country’s most important stop-off points for the flocks of waterfowl that migrate along the Mississippi and Arkansas River corridors annually.
Designated parts of the refuge are open to the public, and recreation activities include fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and bird-watching.
The refuge supports a healthy population of Bald Eagles as well, but keep in mind that sections of the sanctuary aren’t open to the public, and those that are open are only seasonal.
5. National Civil Rights Museum – Lorraine Hotel
Probably one of the nation’s most poignant historical sites, the National Civil Rights Museum – Lorraine Hotel is the place where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
The museum is full of displays, paraphernalia, and interactive and multimedia exhibits that shed light on the civil rights movement and its most prominent members.
If you visit, plan on watching a documentary or two before showing yourself around. They’ll give you an insightful overview of the movement and some of the things you’re about to see.
Guests will see the room in the Lorraine where King was staying and the balcony where he was shot as well.
6. Stax Museum of American Soul Music
The old Stax Recording Studio was one of the city’s most iconic gathering places for musicians that would go on to become legends in soul music. It now draws thousands of music aficionados every year.
Conveniently located downtown near other popular attractions, it is full of hundreds of items of memorabilia, exhibits, photos, and musical instruments that are historically significant.
There’s even a custom Cadillac full of flashy amenities made for superstar Isaac Hayes.
The museum is on most guest’s itineraries and can get crowded during peak times, so plan accordingly if you’d like to avoid the hordes.
7. Sun Studio
Sun Studio in Memphis has the distinction of being the recording studio where a young Elvis Presley recorded his first song.
It’s often referred to as ‘the birthplace of rock ‘n roll,’ and is a mecca for music lovers from all over the world, who come in droves to pay homage to the king every year.
Other blues, country, and rock legends have recorded here as well. Big names like B.B. King and Johnny Cash are a few others whose names you may recognize.
The Studio is a museum by day and includes exhibits and memorabilia that span many decades.
As the city of Memphis’ top attraction, Graceland is an iconic gem that reverberates with lovers of rock ‘n roll the world over.
The sweeping compound that was once Elvis’ home is located about ten minutes from downtown and was the performer’s refuge from the perils of stardom and life on the road.
Tour highlights include the jungle room, pink Cadillac, and Elvis’ final resting place, which many people – including myself – didn’t realize was there.
Audio guide devices are available if you’d like an in-depth narrative, but if you chose not to use one, you’ll find plenty of information plaques with key insights as well.
9. Beale Street
Beale Street is a lot like New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Though it’s definitely less crowded and more laid back, it’s full of blues and rock ‘n roll bars, live entertainment venues, and great restaurants.
Back in its heyday, many of the performers who would go on to become stars hung out in Beale Street’s shady beer joints and whiskey bars, giving the area a mythical aura to music lovers.
The famous Orpheum Theater and W.C. Handy Museum are also close by. Though it’s not a great area for kids at night, it’s fun to visit during the day for those with families.
10. Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum
For diehard fans of rock ‘n soul who are looking to familiarize themselves with the country’s musical roots, the Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum would be a great place to spend a few hours.
The museum falls under the umbrella of the nationally known Smithsonian Institute. It is full of one of a kind items and exhibits that trace the musical genre’s lineage back more than a century to its roots in the delta.
Audio guides are available, and items on display include musical instruments, photographs, and first-hand historical accounts spread over many distinct galleries.
11. Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum
During the early and mid-1800s, an underground network of tunnels and safe-houses existed that led from the southern states to the northern ones.
Their purpose was to assist slaves in escaping from the brutal conditions in the south to freedom in the north, where the practice was already outlawed.
The Slave Haven is located on the Burkle Estate, and the original tunnels are now open to tours.
It’s a fascinating peek into one of the darkest times in American history, and not surprisingly, can be a pretty emotional place.
It’s well worth a visit and is a welcome change from all the music and flash of Memphis.
12. Crystal Shrine Grotto
The Crystal Shrine Grotto was built in the 1930s by a creative and forward-thinking man named Dionicio Rodriguez; he was an artist and architect known for his unconventional designs.
The shrine that he built nearly 100 years ago draws hundreds of thousands of visitors per year and is near a few other notable area attractions, like a graveyard and manmade cave.
It’s now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a favorite area for special photographs with wedding and birthday party groups.
Rodriguez’ work can also be seen in other states, like Michigan, Maryland, and New Mexico.
13. The Peabody Ducks
For those tireless travelers who’ve been scouring the world in vain looking for a troupe of trained and choreographed ducks, your search is finally over.
For the better part of a century, the world-famous Peabody Ducks have been performing at a Memphis area hotel. When they’re not working, they stay in an exclusive penthouse suite.
The ducks have a fantastic history, and if it sounds like the kind of quirky and unique thing that interests you, you’ll be able to see them perform under the gaze of their Duckmaster every day at 11 AM.
It’ll be a big hit with the kids especially, and is reasonably priced as well.
14. Blues Hall of Fame
Blues music was born in the Mississippi Delta region centuries ago; many believe it had its true roots in the spirituals sung by African Americans in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Located on South Main Street in Memphis, the Blues Hall of Fame has been open since 1980. It is operated by an organization dedicated to preserving the uniquely southern American form of music that’s now popular the world over.
Over the years, many performers who’d go on to become stars passed through Memphis on their way to gigs in big Midwestern cities like St. Louis, Chicago, and Cleveland.
The items on display include record covers, instruments, and historical accounts.