Essential Arkansas: From the Clinton Library to Crystal Bridges
Get to know Arkansas, from the Clinton Library to Crystal Bridges, from hot springs and mountains to Ozark music and southern cooking — this place has it all!
Rating (4.93)
Program No. 21208RJ
8 days
Starts at
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8 days
7 nights
17 meals
7 B 5 L 5 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Little Rock, Arkansas
Double Tree Hotel Little Rock

Activity note: Orientation meeting at 4:30. Welcome dinner in hotel.

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in. ORIENTATION MEETING 4:30 PM. The Group Leaders will greet you with a warm welcome, introduce everyone, and provide key staff contact names and phone numbers. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. All transportation for field trips will be via trolley or private motorcoach. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may be changed due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. PRESENTATION: Begin your week of discovery with a brief presentation about Arkansas and its history.

Dinner: Enjoy a welcome dinner in the hotel to get to know other participants and your group leaders. Vegetarian or gluten-free entree choices are available if requested in advance. The meal includes water, tea and coffee, and a cash bar will be available.

Clinton Lecture, Presidential Library, Downtown
Little Rock, Arkansas
Double Tree Hotel Little Rock

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles per day, standing in museums for up to 3 hours, and climbing on and off public trolley with minimal assistance.

Breakfast: Enjoy at full breakfast buffet at your hotel before your visit to the Clinton Center.

Morning: PRESENTATION: Learn all about Bill Clinton's rise to power through an informative presentation from a university professor about Clinton's early political decisions. Find out how the successes (and failures) during the early part of his career shaped his future. FIELD TRIP: Clinton Presidential Center- Spend an intriguing day at the Clinton Presidential Center, located on the banks of the Arkansas River. Take part in a guided tour of the presidential library, and learn of Bill Clinton’s vision of the center as a place where people come together to discuss issues of today and challenges of tomorrow. Enjoy some free time to explore the 20,000 square feet of exhibit space on your own.

Lunch: You'll dine at the Clinton Center as you discover everything you wanted to know about the 43rd President and the state that shaped him.

Afternoon: You'll have some free time to explore downtown and the Little Rock River Market area on your own. This area is home to many Little Rock landmarks besides the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park. Other sites include the Heifer International Headquarters, art galleries and many outdoor attractions such as Riverfront Park. Return to the hotel with your group leaders by trolley or by walking along the river to enjoy the sculptures along the trail. Visit the Old State House to gain another perspective on Arkansas' past.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a downtown restaurant with a variety of entree choices. We'll travel by public trolley.

Evening: At leisure.

Historic Central High, State Park, Travel to Bentonville
Rogers, Arkansas
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Rogers - Pinnacle Hills

Activity note: Walking on uneven surfaces up to 2 miles, standing in museums for up to 3 hours, and climbing on and off motor coach several times each day without difficulty.

Breakfast: Full breakfast buffet at the hotel before checking out to begin your journey around the Natural State.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: Plunge into Southern culture and history with a Ranger-led visit to Little Rock’s Central High School. Central High, once a national symbol of resistance to desegregation, is still in use as a public school. Visit the National Park Service Historic Site Visitor’s Center to find out more about the struggles of the Little Rock Nine, followed by an insider’s visit to the school, led by a Park Ranger with extensive knowledge of the school’s history. Following your tour, head out for your visit to the rest of the state.

Lunch: Travel to Petit Jean Mountain for a visit to the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. Enjoy lunch in a unique conference center as you learn about one of the lesser known members of the Rockefeller family and take in the beauty of the park from the top of the mountain.

Afternoon: Get out for a short hike in Petit Jean State Park, and see firsthand why Arkansas is called "The Natural State". Then, you'll continue the trip to Bentonville. Get a preview of Crystal Bridges Museum with an educational video on the bus.

Dinner: When you arrive in Bentonville, you'll check in to the hotel and enjoy dinner on the quaint town square. We'll eat at a restuarant that's a local favorite, featuring pasta dishes served family style.

Evening: At leisure.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Art Trail Walk
Rogers, Arkansas
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Rogers - Pinnacle Hills

Activity note: Standing in museums for up to 3 hours, and climbing on and off motor coach without difficulty. Optional one-mile walk to see sculpture along paved trail.

Breakfast: Enjoy a full breakfast at your hotel before your day at the museum.

Morning: The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is the most-talked-about museum in the United States in a generation. Find out more about the origins and development of the project. Endowed by the Walton Family Foundation, it joins the ranks of the richest museums in the country and has collected an impressive collection of American art. FIELD TRIP: Explore the nature trails around the museum. You may choose to join the group for a one-mile walk on the art trails, or opt to take a shorter walk to see outdoor sculpture and springs closer to the museum.

Lunch: Your lunch will be in Crystal Bridges Museum or at a restaurant nearby.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Visit the Crystal Bridges museum to see a collection of American art masterworks from the colonial era to modern day, as well as touring collections from national art institutions. The collection includes masterpieces such as Charles Wilson Peale’s and Gilbert Stuart’s portraits of George Washington, Normal Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter and works by John Singer Sargent, William Merritt Chase and Andy Warhol. Designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, the museum consists of a series of pavilions nestled around two creek-fed ponds. A series of outdoor trails covering 120 acres of forests and gardens surrounds the museum. Enjoy a guided tour and time for independent exploration of the museum. You'll also receive a timed ticket for a self-guided tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's Bachman Wilson House. FIELD TRIP: No trip to Bentonville is complete without considering the influence of the Walton family and the Walmart Corporation on the community. Stop by the original 5 & 10 store to see where the Walmart story began. Look through an interactive gallery that tells the story of the development of the Walmart Corporation.

Dinner: Dinner is on your own tonight. You may take the motor coach to the town square, where a variety of restaurants await. Or, make a reservation at the museum's award-winning restaurant. Eleven. Transportation will be provided back to the hotel for those who choose to remain late at the museum.

Evening: You may stay and enjoy the museum and the twilight show at an outdoor exhibit if you like. Transportation to the hotel will be provided before dinner, after dinner, and after the sunset show.

Thorncrown Chapel, Eureka Springs, Ozark Folk Center
Mountain View, Arkansas
Ozark Folk Life Center Cabins at Dry Creek

Activity note: Some standing and walking through exhibits at Folk Center; Board motor coach without difficulty; travel for up to 5 hours in a motor coach

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel, followed by check-out.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: Be inspired by the majestic glass and wood beam frame of the beautiful Throwncrown Chapel, nestled on a mountainside. Get inside the award-winning chapel to marvel at its design. Next, we'll head into Eureka Springs, and catch a tram ride around the historic town. Enjoy the Victorian architecture as you learn about the history of the area.

Lunch: Eat lunch at a town in the Ozarks on your way to the Folk Center. Find out about the Buffalo River National Recreation Area as you pass through along the way.

Afternoon: Spend a pleasant afternoon visiting artisans at the Ozark Folk Center, a state park dedicated to preserving cultural traditions of the area. The Center features artisans who make and sell wares in the traditional method in these areas: blacksmithing, weaving, candle making, wood carving, pottery, quilting, broom making, and many more! Check in to your cabin at the Center and relax on the deck in the beauty of the mountains.

Dinner: The Skillet Restaurant, on site at the Folk Center, features down-home Southern cooking at its finest.

Evening: PERFORMANCE: Witness first-hand the important role that music played in the life of Ozark Mountain people during a concert in the center’s auditorium. Enjoy regional folk and dance tunes performed on fiddles, banjos, mandolins, dulcimers, autoharps and more. See how dancing and story-telling are blended in with musical performances to preserve mountain traditions.

Mountain View, Arkansas State Capitol, Little Rock
Little Rock, Arkansas
Double Tree Hotel Little Rock

Activity note: Board motor coach without difficulty

Breakfast: Enjoy a full buffet breakfast prior to check out for return to Little Rock.

Morning: Discover more about the traditions of the Ozarks in a presentation at the Folk Center. Then, head down to the town of Mountain View, and see where folks gather to sing and play the Ozark folk tunes passed from generation to generation.

Lunch: A beautiful view surrounds you as you enjoy a buffet lunch on your way back to Little Rock.

Afternoon: Return to Little Rock and stop at the State Capitol and other points of interest in the historic Quapaw neighborhood before returning to your hotel.

Dinner: After your initial exploration of the Natural State, return to Little Rock for some well-deserved rest and time on your own to explore the city. You may choose to eat at the restaurant in the hotel, or venture out into the nearby River Market district to find your favorite foods.

Evening: At leisure.

Garvan Gardens, Hot Springs Bath House, Farewell Dinner
Little Rock, Arkansas
Double Tree Hotel Little Rock

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles, standing for up to 3 hours, and climbing on and off motor coach without difficulty.

Breakfast: Enjoy a full breakfast at your hotel before leaving by motor coach for a day in Hot Springs.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: Venture out for a day in Hot Springs, which draws its name from the array of natural springs that still supply heated water for thermal baths. Nature lovers will delight in a visit to Garvan Woodland Gardens, featuring over 200 acres of floral landscapes, streams, waterfalls in a natural woodland setting. A docent will show you the highlights of the gardens, and then you will have time to explore the buildings and trails on your own as you discover this gem of the Ouachita Mountains.

Lunch: Eat lunch on your own in Hot Springs..A wide variety of restaurants line Central Avenue across the street from the bath houses. The group leaders will provide information to those who want to bring a swimsuit and try a hot bath. (advance appointment required)

Afternoon: We’ll discover the Hot Springs National Park, the smallest in the National Park System. The park was designated as Hot Springs Reservation in 1832 to protect the naturally flowing thermal springs. Explore the history and geology of the area with an expert. Stroll through Bathhouse Row and visit a bathhouse.

Dinner: At a festive farewell dinner, say good-bye to the other participants and reflect on the many diverse things you have learned about Arkansas during your week. We hope you appreciate the state’s history, natural beauty, and cultural offerings.

Evening: At leisure.

Program Concludes
Little Rock, Arkansas

Breakfast: Full breakfast served at your hotel.

Morning: Check-out and departure. We hope you have enjoyed this very special event and will return for other rewarding Road Scholar programs in the future. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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