The Museum of Discovery crams 25,000 square feet of exhibit space with a plethora of displays on world history, culture, and natural science. Features include a rare, uncursed mummy coffin, painstakingly crafted around 600 BC, as well as an animal collection of 51 species including birds of prey, a European ferret, an alligator, and a rare breed of unicorn-Jabberwocky. Permanent exhibits include Passport to the World, which guides visitors on a sweeping cultural tour with authentic artifacts, artworks, and local knowledge that help define the featured nation. Energy illustrates how coal and nuclear power keep homes lit and cell phones charged while guests use their bodies to ignite light bulbs that could illuminate living rooms, dusty attics, and even dustier Lite-Brite consoles.
The Historic Arkansas Museum, opened in 1941, preserves some of the state's oldest buildings and precious pieces of frontier history for generations to come. Visitors can tread the fateful footpaths of yore on a one-hour guided tour through four 19th-century homes and two of the oldest buildings in Little Rock in a restored pre-Civil War neighborhood. Tour-takers may bump into living history re-enactors who will relate harrowing tales of pioneer survival from before the sun was invented. The museum's collection features artwork and artifacts from throughout the state’s history, and temporary exhibitions, such as The Model Trains of Bill Albright, offer specialized showcases of the state's artstuff and techno-things. Former assistants for circus performers may wish to throw themselves at the museum's knife gallery, which contains more than 100 antique pointed utensils, including a special exhibit on the Bowie knife, a native Arkansas weapon that was highly influential in shaping communications between ground control and Major Tom.
Arkansas Extended Learning Center culls a massive, seasonal lineup of informative classes, recruiting chefs, artists, athletes, and other professionals to share their wisdom with students of all ages. Pupils can pick up new hobbies such as fly-fishing or digital photography, or sharpen nascent abilities in fields such as cooking and wine-tasting. Otherwise, they can tone up their physiques in fitness and dance classes, discover a new way to communicate in foreign-language workshops, or learn how to cut their way out of a hedge maze during gardening and landscaping tutorials.
The Arkansas State Parks fete vibrant visitors and loping locals alike with a dizzying array of landscapes, natural and cultural resources, and myriad learning opportunities at parks scattered throughout the state. Familial units with children 18 and under can flex their pass muscles multiple times throughout the year at a wide range of museums, gleaning valuable state knowledge while conversing with park guides or well-read white-tailed deer.
On a January night in 1959, some 600 people packed into the Hotel Marion ballroom for the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame's inaugural induction banquet. The freshly minted organization was to honor the best-of-the-best from the Natural State–individuals who had achieved athletic greatness, and exhibited strong character and leadership along the way. Since that evening more than five decades ago, the Hall of Fame has continued to swell with new members, adding to a trophy case of inductees that already includes the likes of Brooks Robinson, Pat Summerall, and Jerry Jones.
Award-winning master brewer Jesse Melton crafts Diamond Bear's brews with creative recipes that honor traditional German beer-purity laws, merging fragrant hops and aged yeast with two-row malted barley and clean, filtered water sourced from Lakes Winona and Maumelle. The resulting beers range from the Southern Blonde or Irish Red to the Paradise porter, which combines chocolate malt with a bevy of hops for the best balance of sweet and bitter since Candy Land went on strike. During the tour, guides lead groups of ale aficionados throughout the facility, instilling information and granting glimpses of the equipment used during each stage of the brewing process. Along the way, guests older than 21 savor individual beer samples, and non-imbibers and underage participants partake of bubbly root beer. All tour-goers depart the malt mecca toting a souvenir Diamond Bear pint glass. Sunday tours begin at 3 p.m., but participants should arrive 15–20 minutes early for pretour cuddling of the brewery's pet yeast and to ensure the tour starts in a timely fashion. Beer is also available for sale on Sundays at the brewery.