Spring Break Excursion Starts In Metroplex
(EUREKA SPRINGS, AR) — Every Spring Break, hundreds of families from the Dallas/Fort Worth area travel to the Arkansas Ozarks and the nationally recognized destination of Eureka Springs. As much fun as there is to experience once the family arrives, the journey to this Victorian village can provide a whole host of lifetime memories with exceptional points of interest (POI) along the way.
So with the kids and the family dog (yes, many Eureka Springs’ properties are pet friendly) securely and safely buckled in, here are a few POI to check out as the family heads north. Let the excursion begin.
POI #1: Endangered Ark Foundation, Hugo OK (approx. 130 miles from the Dallas/Fort Worth area)… This refuge is home to the second largest herd of Asian elephants in America. The foundation was started in 1993 to help preserve this endangered species and tours are available with advance reservation only. < endangeredarkfoundation.org >
POI #2: Pete’s Place, Krebs OK (approx. 74 miles from POI #1)… Located in Oklahoma’s “Little Italy”, this fourth generation, landmark restaurant opened in 1925 and continues to serve fresh, family-style Italian cuisine as well as being “the home of Choc Beer”. They are most famous for their generous portions of lasagna, ravioli, Italian sausage, chicken Parmesan, garlic bread and more with guests being seated in various rooms throughout “the house”. < petes.org >
POI #3: USS Batfish, Muskogee OK (approx. 65 miles from POI #2)… The USS Batfish is one of Oklahoma’s most unique attractions. An actual World War II submarine, the Batfish sank three enemy submarines and eleven other enemy vessels during her tenure in battle. Visitors can tour the inside of the submarine, including the torpedo room and crew cabins. In the adjacent park are an army tank, cannons, missiles, and other military memorabilia for view. < ussbatfish.com >
POI #4: Fort Gibson, Fort Gibson OK (approx. 9 miles from POI #3)… Oklahoma’s oldest frontier fort was established in 1824 and is steeped in colorful history along with blue lakes, sparkling rivers and green hillsides stretching over 80 acres of grounds with 29 historic buildings and numerous archeological ruins. Nearby this National Historic Landmark and American Treasure, sits Fort Gibson National Cemetery, one of two national cemeteries in Oklahoma, honoring fallen U.S. military personnel. < okhistory.org/sites/fortgibson >
POI #5: Scenic Highway 10, Talequah to U.S. 412 (approx. 49 miles from POI #4)… This picturesque byway runs from north of Tahlequah and follows the serene banks of the Illinois River on a relaxing jaunt through breathtaking stone bluffs and lush forests. Remember: keep your speedometer low, as Highway 10 is known for its winding lanes and curvy turns. < okhighways.wkinsler.com/route10.htm >
POI #6: Arkansas Welcome Center, Siloam Springs AR (approx. 13 miles from POI #5)… The center, operated by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism, offers visitors up-to-the minute information on attractions, regional events, and weather conditions throughout “The Natural State”. Travelers have access to computer kiosks, Wi-Fi, and fresh coffee. < arkansas.com/travel-tools/welcome-centers/siloam-springs/ >
POI #7: Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Eureka Springs AR (approx. 58 miles from POI #6)… [EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this is an attraction at which you might want to spend some serious time, you might consider visiting it tomorrow after a good night’s rest; it’s been a long day!] With more than 450 acres and 130 big, exotic cats plus a couple bears, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is the largest big cat sanctuary in North America. This non-profit organization provides lifetime homes for abandoned, abused and neglected ‘big cats’ and is one of the Top 10 Attractions in Arkansas. < turpentinecreek.org >
POI #8: City of Eureka Springs AR (approx. 9 miles from POI #7)… This quaint village grew to prominence in the late 19th century because of the healing powers of the water -back then- from the 65 springs near the downtown area. Now this resort community, which is entirely listed on the National Register of Historic Places, offers days and nights worth of family fun, activities and attractions including Beaver Lake; Kings and White Rivers; state’s longest and highest zip line; plus America’s Most Haunted Hotel, The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa. < eurekaspringsonline.com >
The only question that rings out is “When do we leave?” (Remember, the kids and dog are waiting.)