In addition to experiencing unique natural and historic sites preserved in Arkansas’s state parks, visitors can also explore outstanding museum collections and see state-of-the-art exhibits in park visitor centers. According to State Parks Director Greg Butts, “At many Arkansas State Parks museums and several exhibit galleries in park visitor centers, we previously charged a small admission fee.
Beginning this year, admission fees will no longer be charged for access to state park museums and exhibit galleries.” He noted that museum admission fees were dropped at Arkansas Post Museum, Hampson Museum, the 1872 Courthouse at Jacksonport State Park, Lower White River Museum, and the 1886 Frisco Depot and Frisco caboose at Mammoth Spring State Park. And there will no longer be a fee to see the exhibits at Parkin Archeological State Park, Plantation Agriculture Museum, Powhatan Historic State Park, the Battlefield Museum at Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park, and Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park. Butts said, “Fees will still be charged to join a park interpreter on a guided historic or archeological site tour. However, self-guided tours will now be free.” He emphasized, “Education is in integral part of the Arkansas State Parks mission. Arkansas State Parks is a leading provider of hands-on, resource-based programs for students, teachers, and visitors alike.” The majority of our interpretive program are offered free of charge, so we felt that access to all the discoveries that can be experienced through our museum collections and exhibit galleries should be accessible to everyone, too.”
The museums of Arkansas State Parks offer park visitors the opportunity to travel through time from the present back to prehistory. From archeological discoveries including effigy vessels to oil field technology, from Arkansas pioneer history to a turn-of-the-century train depot, from cotton agriculture to one of the South’s finest repositories of guns and Bowie knives, there is so much to explore and experience. “Each artifact will forge a connection between you and the people and events of Arkansas’s past,” said Butts. He noted that the state parks are open throughout the year; however, some facilities are closed seasonally or on certain days of the week. Admission to the state parks is free; however, a variety of fees are charged in the parks for designated facilities, activities, some interpretive programs, and special events. Butts emphasized, “Fees, donations, and other such park-generated revenues support the operation of the parks system. All other fees remain in place, such as for camping, lodging, pavilion and boat rentals, golf, at swimming pools, restaurants, and other such facilities.” He continued, “But, like free access to all the state parks, many activities and facilities in the parks are available at no charge, such as hiking and multi-use trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, boat launch ramps, and the majority of park interpretive programs. Now, access to Arkansas State Parks museums and exhibit galleries will be free, as well.”
All fees and charges in the state parks are detailed online at ArkansasStateParks.com. They are also included in the Arkansas State Parks guidebook, the 80-page full-color guidebook to the 52 state parks. To order this free brochure, contact: Arkansas State Parks, 1 Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201; 888-287-2757 (toll free). For further information, contact: Joan Ellison, public information, Arkansas State Parks, 1 Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR. Phone: 501-682-2873.