Spring Break Excursion Starts In Oklahoma City
(EUREKA SPRINGS, AR) — Every Spring Break, hundreds of families from the Oklahoma City 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 east. Let the excursion begin.
POI #1: Rock Café, Stroud OK (approx. 67 miles from Oklahoma City)… The Rock Café, named for its local sandstone construction, opened in 1939 and has remained a Route 66 landmark ever since. Despite a devastating fire in 2008, the structure’s four rock walls and Betsy, the original stainless steel grill that has turned out more than 5 million burgers, survived and is back serving customers. It is also worth noting that the café’s owner Dawn Welch provided the inspiration for ‘Sally Carrera’ in the Pixar film, “Cars”. rockcafert66.com/
POI #2: Rock Creek Bridge, Sapulpa OK (approx. 37 miles from POI #1)… Built in 1921 to serve the Ozark Trail, ‘Bridge No. 18 at Rock Creek’ became part of Route 66 in 1926 and remained busy until 1952 when the highway was realigned to the south. The bridge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a 120 feet-long steel truss design and is particularly notable for the brick decking. Although it closed as an auto traversable bridge in 2013, the bridge remains open to pedestrians. nps.gov/nr/travel/route66/bridge18_Rock_Creek_Sapulpa.html
POI #3: Blue Whale, Catoosa OK (approx. 28 miles from POI #2)… The Blue Whale in Catoosa may be one of the most famous landmarks along this well-preserved section of Route 66 that runs through Oklahoma. Built in 1972 by one Hugh S. Davis thousands of families stop by to explore the whale and pose for this one-of-a-kind family photo opportunity, perfect for sharing on social media. Even though the pond has closed, adjacent picnic tables are still available. travelok.com/listings/view.profile/id.653
POI #4: Totem Pole Park, Foyil OK (approx. 22 miles from POI #3)… Located just 3.5 miles off Route 66, the extraordinary, eccentric collection of totem poles is the work of Oklahoma folk artist Ed Galloway. The centerpiece is a spectacular 90-ft tall construction – making it the World’s Largest Concrete Totem Pole – and features brightly colored animals as well as portraits of Native Americans. travelok.com/listings/view.profile/id.13179
POI #5: Wal-Mart Visitor Center, Bentonville AR (approx. 116 miles from POI #4)… Although officially called the Wal-Mart Visitor Center, this quaint facility is a tribute to the main street entrepreneurship and rags-to-riches struggle that launched it all. Facing the town square, this site of Sam Walton’s original “5 & 10” store still maintains its down-home facade on the outside and even its down-home feel on the inside. Most of the facility houses a museum chronicling Walton’s extraordinary life and career, plus features his beloved 1979 red Ford pickup. corporate.walmart.com/our-story/history/the-walmart-museum
POI #6: Pea Ridge National Military Park, Garfield AR (approx. 17 miles from POI #5)… The Battle of Pea Ridge was the largest Civil War battle west of the Mississippi. The National Park Service describes the park as “the most intact Civil War battlefield in the United States”, which includes the legendary Elkhorn Tavern. nps.gov/peri/learn/index.htm
POI #7: Beaver Bridge, Beaver AR (approx. 16 miles from POI #6)… This historic wooden suspension bridge, built in 1949 and known as the “Little Golden Gate of Arkansas”, is a hidden delight. A single-lane, wooden construction bridge that is 554 feet long and only 11 feet wide that spans the White River and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. exploresouthernhistory.com/beaverbridge
POI #8: City of Eureka Springs AR (approx. 7 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; Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge; 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.)