During my recent visit to the northwest area of Arkansas, I had the pleasure of exploring Rogers, a rapidly expanding metro area that captivated me with its unique charm. What made this city even more notable was its connection to retail history, as it proudly housed the very first Wal-Mart store. Not too far away, in Bentonville, the global headquarters of this retail giant stood as a testament to its success and influence.
One of the striking features of Rogers is its stunning natural surroundings. The majestic Ozark Mountains envelop the area, presenting a picturesque landscape that beckons to be explored. The mountains not only offer rugged wilderness but also bear witness to the rich histories of the Native American people and the courageous pioneers who ventured into these lands centuries ago. The allure of the region’s historical significance and the untamed beauty of the mountains draw in Civil War historians and nature enthusiasts from all corners of the country.
As I delved into the depths of Rogers and its surroundings, I found myself immersed in captivating stories of the past and awe-inspiring natural vistas. The city’s rapid growth showcased a vibrant energy, blending modern developments with a deep appreciation for its historical roots. It was a place where the old and the new harmoniously coexisted, creating a unique atmosphere that fascinated me.
Rogers and its neighboring areas truly embody the spirit of exploration, offering an abundance of opportunities for both history enthusiasts and nature lovers. The allure of the Ozark Mountains, with their untamed wilderness and captivating tales, combined with the city’s modern developments, make this region a magnet for those seeking a multifaceted experience.
With all that being said, I have compiled a list of the best things to do in Rogers, Arkansas that will make your stay the most memorable moment of your life.
1. Rogers Historical Museum
During my first day in the area, I couldn’t resist the allure of the Rogers Historical Museum, knowing that it would provide a captivating glimpse into the local history. Since its establishment in 1974, the museum has been a beacon of knowledge, dedicated to showcasing and preserving the intriguing stories of this part of Arkansas.
As I stepped inside, I was immediately immersed in the rich tapestry of the county’s past. The museum’s permanent exhibits presented a treasure trove of artifacts, memorabilia, and knick-knacks from bygone eras. Each display breathed life into the history, allowing visitors like me to connect with the people and events that shaped this region.
What impressed me even more were the special exhibitions hosted throughout the year. These carefully curated displays delved into specific topics, shedding light on lesser-known aspects of Rogers’ history. It was evident that the museum’s commitment to education extended beyond its exhibits, as they also offered various educational and instructional programs that resonated with the local community.
To plan my visit, I consulted the museum’s website, which provided valuable information about current and upcoming exhibitions and programs. It served as a helpful resource, ensuring that I didn’t miss any intriguing events during my time in Rogers.
2. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
As a value-minded traveler who cherishes every penny, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Not only was it free to enter, but it promised a rich collection of exhibits and artworks spanning generations and diverse mediums.
The museum owed its accessibility to the generous support of the philanthropic arm of Wal-Mart, which had taken the responsibility of funding it. This support meant that general admission tickets came at no cost, offering an exceptional opportunity to explore one of the area’s most comprehensive collections of world-renowned art.
Stepping into the museum, I was immediately captivated by the breadth and depth of the exhibits. From classic masterpieces to contemporary installations, the artworks showcased the incredible talent and creativity of American artists across various eras. Paintings, sculptures, photographs, and more adorned the walls and galleries, providing a visually stunning journey through the evolution of American art.
In addition to the indoor displays, the museum boasted an enchanting outdoor area. This picturesque space, open from sunrise to sunset, allowed visitors to immerse themselves in nature while admiring site-specific sculptures and enjoying the serene atmosphere.
One of the standout features of the Crystal Bridges Museum was its accessibility. It welcomed visitors every day of the year, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas, ensuring that art enthusiasts and curious explorers could indulge in its offerings at their convenience.
3. Daisy Airgun Museum
Throughout the years, concerned and dramatic American mothers have echoed the same cautionary phrase to their disinterested sons wielding BB guns, “You’ll shoot your eye out.” This phrase has become a timeless reminder of the potential dangers associated with such toys.
In Rogers, Arkansas, the name Daisy has long been synonymous with airguns. It is in this town that the rich history of Daisy and its iconic airguns has been meticulously curated and showcased.
Even if you’ve never personally owned a Daisy airgun, chances are you’ve heard of them. The museum in Rogers offers a fascinating glimpse into the extensive product lines and captivating marketing materials of yesteryears. Stepping into the museum is like taking a unique trip down Memory Lane, where nostalgia intertwines with the history of these beloved airguns.
The exhibits at the Daisy museum beautifully capture the evolution of the brand, showcasing the different models, designs, and innovations that have enchanted generations. As I wandered through the museum, I was transported back in time, immersed in the nostalgia of classic Daisy airguns and the cultural significance they held.
What makes the Daisy museum even more appealing is its affordability. For just a few bucks, visitors can explore the exhibits, soak up the history, and appreciate the artistry behind these iconic airguns. It’s a worthwhile stop for anyone with an interest in firearms, history, or even a touch of childhood nostalgia.
4. Visit a few Local Microbreweries
Even in largely rural Arkansas, the surge of microbreweries in recent years has not bypassed the state, following the trend seen across the country.
During my time in Arkansas, I had the pleasure of exploring the thriving microbrewery scene, where passionate individuals eagerly shared their craft and engaged in lively conversations. These establishments were not only known for their exceptional brews but also for their delectable food offerings, showcasing a blend of flavors that delighted the senses.
In Rogers, a few local favorites stood out among the rest. The Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom welcomed me with its warm and inviting atmosphere. Not only did they serve a variety of delicious craft brews, but their mouthwatering pizzas were also a highlight of the experience. Foster’s Pint and Plate, another gem in Rogers, offered a unique selection of brews paired with delectable pub-style dishes, creating a memorable dining experience.
What made the microbrewery scene in Rogers even more appealing was the close proximity of these establishments to one another. Within a short time frame, I could venture from one brewery to another, sampling a diverse range of flavors and immersing myself in the vibrant craft beer culture of the area.
The passionate individuals behind these microbreweries were not only eager to share their knowledge but also happy to engage in conversations about their craft. From discussing brewing techniques to sharing stories behind their unique creations, these eccentric and enthusiastic brewers added a personal touch to my experience.
If you find yourself in Rogers, Arkansas, I highly recommend embarking on your own microbrewery adventure. Explore the local favorites such as Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom, Foster’s Pint and Plate, and Core Brewing Company, but also keep an eye out for other hidden gems that dot the city. With their close proximity to one another, you can indulge in a variety of flavors and experiences, creating memories that will leave you longing for more.
5. Museum of Native American History
I had the opportunity to delve into the state’s rich Native American history at the Museum of Native American History in Bentonville. Stepping into the museum felt like a journey back in time, as the exhibits and artifacts showcased a heritage that spanned over 10,000 years, long before European settlers arrived on these shores.
The museum was thoughtfully organized into five distinct eras, each offering a glimpse into the lives and achievements of the Native Americans who called this land home. From their innovative approaches to hunting and gathering to their advancements in agriculture and the mastery of crafting earthenware and weapons, every section shed light on the remarkable progress made by these indigenous communities.
Exploring the museum was an educational experience filled with fascinating insights into the Native American cultures that thrived in the region. The exhibits displayed a diverse array of artifacts, providing tangible connections to the past and allowing visitors to appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of these ancient cultures.
The Museum of Native American History was not only an educational resource but also a welcoming destination for field trips and small groups. Its accessibility features made it inclusive and accommodating to all visitors, ensuring that everyone had the opportunity to explore and learn.
As I walked through the museum, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of appreciation for the Native Americans who shaped the land long before it became the Arkansas we know today. Their legacies and contributions were beautifully preserved within the walls of this museum, serving as a reminder of the rich cultural tapestry that forms the foundation of our nation.
6. Rogers Aquatics Center
As I explored the Rogers Aquatics Center’s vast grounds, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the variety of amenities and activities it had to offer.
The Aquatics Center boasted multiple pools, each catering to different age groups and preferences. Whether you were in the mood for a leisurely swim or a thrilling splash down the water slide, there was something for everyone. I particularly enjoyed watching the excitement on the kids’ faces as they zoomed down the towering 40-foot slide and whizzed through the enclosed flume.
In addition to the pools, the center provided other recreational options to keep visitors entertained. Basketball courts and volleyball nets were available for those seeking some friendly competition, while the therapeutic vortex pool offered a relaxing experience akin to a soothing whirlpool.
Convenience was a top priority at the Rogers Aquatics Center. Men’s and women’s locker rooms were easily accessible, providing a space to change and store belongings securely. For those in need of refreshments, a well-stocked concession stand offered a variety of food and drinks to satisfy cravings.
Situated on South 26th Street in Rogers, the Aquatics Center was conveniently located for both locals and visitors alike. Whether you were seeking a day of fun in the sun or looking to make a longer-term commitment to fitness and leisure, the center accommodated various ticket options. From day passes for those passing through to monthly and yearly memberships for those staying longer, there was a choice to suit every need.
7. Shiloh Museum of Ozark History
I also had the pleasure of exploring the Shiloh Museum of Ozark, a captivating institution dedicated to preserving and showcasing the rich history of the Ozarks region in Arkansas and the broader American southeast. Nestled in the heart of Springdale, the museum stood as a testament to the area’s vibrant past.
As I entered the museum, I was immediately drawn to its diverse range of exhibits and artifacts, which provided a fascinating glimpse into the region’s history. From the time before settlers arrived and began establishing their communities to the growth of small towns that eventually evolved into some of the state’s largest, the museum chronicled it all. Each display offered a unique perspective on the cultural, social, and economic aspects of the Ozarks throughout the years.
Beyond the museum’s main exhibition space, I discovered one of the state’s largest research libraries within the facility. This treasure trove of historical knowledge housed a vast collection of documents, registers, and photographs, making it a valuable resource for anyone seeking to delve deeper into the history of the region. The extensive collection of historical photographs was particularly impressive, providing a visual narrative of the past.
During my visit, I was pleased to learn that the library was open to guests during regular visiting hours. This allowed visitors like myself to further engage with the rich historical resources and gain a deeper understanding of the region’s past.
8. John Q. Hammons Center
Nestled amidst the picturesque Ozark Mountain foothills, the John Q. Hammons Center, along with several other nearby venues, served as a testament to the area’s rapid growth and development. With a staggering investment of nearly $300 million, it emerged as the most expansive and contemporary facility of its kind in the entire region.
As I entered the center, I was greeted by its grandeur and scale. With hundreds of thousands of square feet of space, it catered to a wide range of events, from large-scale conventions to more intimate gatherings and trade shows. The versatility and adaptability of the facility were truly impressive, accommodating events of various sizes and purposes.
Walking through the center, I couldn’t help but appreciate the meticulous attention to detail and the state-of-the-art amenities it offered. The modern infrastructure, coupled with the breathtaking surroundings, created an ambiance that was both inviting and inspiring.
The John Q. Hammons Center was undoubtedly a remarkable addition to the region’s event venues. Whether you were attending a bustling convention or exploring a smaller-scale gathering, the center provided a dynamic space that met the needs of diverse occasions.
9. Clinton House Museum
Originally constructed in the 1930s, the house had undergone restoration and transformation into a dedicated museum, offering visitors a glimpse into the lives of these remarkable individuals. As Arkansas natives who ascended from relative obscurity to national and global recognition, Bill and Hillary Clinton’s journey was truly fascinating.
Stepping inside the Clinton House, I couldn’t help but feel immersed in history. The walls echoed with the stories of their early married life, and the rooms were adorned with artifacts and memorabilia that shed light on their remarkable journey. The significance of this home extended beyond their personal lives; it also served as the venue for their wedding, adding another layer of historical importance.
Exploring the museum, I discovered intriguing tidbits and details that added depth to my understanding of the Clintons’ lives and their impact on the world. Each corner of the house seemed to hold a treasure trove of history, allowing me to connect with the past and appreciate the transformative journey that began within these walls.
In recognition of its historical value, the Clinton House was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places approximately nine years ago. This designation solidified its significance not only within the state of Arkansas but also on a national scale.
Visiting the Clinton House Museum was an enriching experience that allowed me to delve into the lives of two extraordinary individuals who played pivotal roles in shaping the course of history. I left with a deeper appreciation for their journey and the profound impact they made.
10. The Railyard Bike Park
The Railyard Bike Park, a popular gathering spot for young enthusiasts. This vibrant park was filled with an array of trails suitable for riders of all ages and skill levels.
One of the park’s standout features was the dirt course designed specifically for experienced bikers. It offered an exhilarating experience with its series of dips, bumps, and gravity-defying jumps. Watching the skilled riders conquer these obstacles was nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Even if biking wasn’t your forte, the Railyard Bike Park still had plenty to offer. It served as a fantastic place to hang out and witness the impressive feats of others. The atmosphere buzzed with energy and excitement, creating a lively environment that drew both participants and spectators.
Typically, the park operated from sunrise to sunset, providing ample time for visitors to enjoy its offerings. However, it was important to note that in case of inclement weather, the park might close temporarily. To avoid any disappointment, I would recommend checking their online updates before planning a visit.
11. Hobbs State Park Conservation Area
Spanning over 10,000 acres, this pristine natural haven provided an unparalleled outdoor experience. The Hobbs State Park Conservation Area boasted a wide range of activities that appealed to nature enthusiasts, including hunting, fishing, camping, and kayaking. As I ventured through the conservation area, I discovered a plethora of exhibits, well-maintained trails, and scenic paved areas.
To make the most of my visit, I decided to start at the visitor’s center. Here, I gained valuable insights into the park’s geography and received helpful directions to the various points of interest I wanted to explore.
Hobbs State Park Conservation Area offered an extensive network of trails suitable for individuals of all ages and physical abilities. Whether you were an experienced hiker or a beginner seeking a leisurely stroll, there was a trail perfectly suited to your preferences.
The park’s abundant natural beauty and diverse activities made it a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. From the moment I set foot in the conservation area, I was captivated by the serene surroundings and the opportunities it presented for adventure and relaxation.
12. War Eagle Cavern on Beaver Lake
I have also explored the renowned War Eagle Cavern, nestled near the picturesque Beaver Lake. As the area’s most popular private cave, it promised an adventure filled with geological wonders and intriguing local history.
Upon arriving at the cave’s entrance, I was greeted by knowledgeable guides who eagerly shared their expertise on the cave’s geology and captivating stories of the region. Venturing into the depths of War Eagle Cavern, I marveled at the impressive rock formations and the mesmerizing play of light and shadow within the cave.
After immersing myself in the underground beauty of the cavern, I decided to extend my stay and embrace the splendors of Beaver Lake. The surrounding area offered a wealth of attractions, including enchanting waterfalls that cascaded amidst the verdant landscape. For outdoor enthusiasts like myself, hiking, bird-watching, and fishing were popular activities that allowed me to connect with nature and soak in the tranquility of the surroundings.
War Eagle Cavern welcomed visitors every day, ensuring that anyone seeking a memorable experience could explore its depths. As an added bonus, there was even an old prospector’s camp where visitors could try their luck at panning for authentic gems, adding an element of excitement and discovery to the overall adventure.
One of the remarkable aspects of the Amazeum is its ability to provide a shelter from the elements, offering respite from sweltering summer days, rainy afternoons, or chilly winter mornings. As I stepped inside, I was immediately drawn into a world of discovery that appealed not only to children but also to adults like myself.
The Amazeum was brimming with interactive areas that ignited young minds and energized their bodies. From a captivating grocery store simulation to the mesmerizing world of magnets, balls, wheels, and levers, there was an array of hands-on experiences that delighted visitors of all ages. The facility even featured engaging indoor water-based activities, particularly refreshing during hot and humid days, creating a truly immersive and multi-sensory learning environment.
As I strolled through the Amazeum, I couldn’t help but appreciate the thought and effort put into creating an atmosphere that seamlessly blended education and entertainment. The facility truly succeeded in igniting children’s imaginations while providing them with valuable knowledge about the natural world.
For anyone seeking an escape into a world of discovery, the Amazeum on Museum Way in Bentonville is an absolute must-visit. Its interactive exhibits and engaging activities offer a dynamic and enriching experience that leaves visitors both informed and entertained.
14. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Bachman-Wilson House
The Bachman-Wilson house, one of Wright’s renowned masterpieces, captivated my senses and left me in awe of his visionary designs. It was an experience I will cherish forever.
Wright’s unique approach to architecture, seamlessly blending the natural and manmade worlds, was evident in every aspect of the Bachman-Wilson house. The integration of organic elements into the structure created a harmonious coexistence between the building and its surroundings. As I stepped inside, I was greeted by the breathtaking sight of large floor-to-ceiling windows, a signature feature of Wright’s designs. These windows not only flooded the interior with natural light but also offered panoramic views of the picturesque landscape that enveloped the property.
While architectural tastes may have evolved over the years, I couldn’t help but appreciate the timeless relevance of Wright’s innovations. His ability to seamlessly integrate form and function, as well as his emphasis on maximizing natural light and blending indoor and outdoor spaces, continues to inspire contemporary architects to this day.
The Bachman-Wilson house is nestled on Museum Way, situated on the grounds of the esteemed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. It’s a remarkable testament to Wright’s genius and a must-visit for anyone with an appreciation for architectural marvels.
15. 21c Museum
During my visit to Rogers, I had the pleasure of experiencing the captivating fusion of art and hospitality at the 21c Museum. This exceptional establishment, which seamlessly combines a hotel and a museum, is an absolute must-visit for art enthusiasts like myself.
From the moment I stepped inside, I was greeted by the hotel’s quirky and unique ambiance. The artistic flair infused into every corner of the property was truly a delight for the senses. As I explored the hotel, I couldn’t help but appreciate the thoughtfully curated collection of contemporary art that adorned the walls. The diverse range of artistic mediums showcased the incredible talent and creativity of the featured artists.
One of the most delightful and interactive aspects of the 21c Museum were the beloved movable penguins. These charming creatures, adored by both guests and staff, added a playful element to the experience. It was a joy to see them being shifted around the hotel, creating a whimsical atmosphere that brought smiles to everyone’s faces.
Aside from the captivating art, the 21c Museum also offers a delectable dining experience. The on-site restaurant served mouthwatering dishes that not only satisfied my taste buds but also offered great value for the price. It was a true pleasure to indulge in delicious fare amidst the artistic ambiance of the hotel.
For those seeking further entertainment, there was even an ice-skating rink conveniently located across the street. The accommodating and outgoing nature of the hotel staff added an extra layer of warmth and hospitality to my stay, creating a memorable and enjoyable experience.