All fun, no crowds at area attractions

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Think there's nothing to do during the winter months? Think again! Many attractions are open year round, and winter is best for learning about the area's rich heritage and history, or to explore the great outdoors. Winter also means fewer crowds, less waiting time and more fun for everyone! Start off with a tour around town that delves into Victorian history and the paranormal. Get outdoors with history at War Eagle Mill, where you can learn about grinding corn with their water-powered grist mill, then eat the delicious evidence at the Bean Palace Restaurant. For a peek at the underground Ozarks, take a short drive to Cosmic Cavern, see the delicate, curving formations and learn the life cycle of a true living cave. Hear a roar of approval from the lions and tigers at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. For evening fun, check out the music shows at the Ozark Mountain Hoe-Down. Not sure what to try first? Take a look through the listings below and find winter fun that's perfect for you.

*Bear Mountain Riding Stables and Dude Ranch -- is a brand new facility offering trail rides, hayrides, dude weekends and cowboy weddings (on or off horseback) with all the trimmings, including rehearsal dinners and barn dance receptions for up to 150 people. Located three miles West of Eureka Springs on Highway 62. Give them a call to arrange a cowboy experience you will fondly remember. (479) 253-6185.

Warm up underground at Cosmic Cavern.

* Cosmic Cavern -- Take a 1.25 hour tour through the warmest cave in the Ozarks, always a humid 62. The cave is well-lit, so you can see and photograph grotesque, colorful formations. This major Arkansas cave has bottomless lakes, and rare cave fish and amphibians. Spend an hour spelunking. It's fun for all ages. Hwy 21 north of Berryville.

* Eureka Springs Ghost Tours -- Nightly tours at the Crescent Hotel. Room 212, which include legends and modern clairvoyant research, brought to life by trained guides. This is the top-rated ghost tour in the country and has been featured on the Sci-Fi Channel and the Travel Channel. These talented clairvoyants also offer energy and chakra work, private readings, seminars, and ghost tours at other locations. For more information call (479) 253-6800 or see website:

* Redbud Riding Stables -- Enjoy a leisurely horseback ride in the beautiful Ozarks. On a trail noted for its varied terrain, you pass a small cave and natural springs, often seeing deer, turkeys, or other wildlife - a great source of family adventure! Family owned and operated, now in their 18th season! On Rock House Road off Highway 62 East.

* Steve's Stables located on Pond Mountain Hwy 23 South 2 miles in Eureka Springs Arkansas. Guided year round trail rides on the highest mountaintop in the county! Gentle horses, no nags, fun for all! 1 hour guided rides - $20 per person 10% for groups of 4 or more. Rides leave 10 am thru 3 pm. Call for availability & information 479-253-5877

* Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge -- Turpentine Creek rescues neglected and unwanted big cats and other wild animals nationwide and gives the public a chance to get up close and personal with the king of the jungle and his regal cousins. You've probably never seen this many big cats in one place. It's awesome and the kids will definitely love it. Open 9 a.m. every day; feeding time is at 5 p.m., and the animals really spring to life then. Hwy 23 South, 7 mi.

* War Eagle Mill -- A scenic half-hour drive from Eureka Springs, War Eagle Mill is definitely worth the trip. The historic water-powered grist mill on lovely War Eagle Creek is a step back in time. The working mill today grinds high-quality organic grains which can be purchased while you're there. Or have some delicious corn bread made from freshly milled corn in the Bean Palace restaurant. Yum! Take Hwy. 23 south to Hwy. 12 W, then left on War Eagle Rd. You can't miss it.

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