Amazing Ozark Surprises

When I think about the Ozark mountains in Arkansas, Jed Clampett immediately comes to mind. In fact, the Beverly Hillbillies were supposed to come from here.

With that in mind, would you find it surprising to find that this is the home of “Jesus of the Ozarks,” a 66′ statue similar to the one that overlooks Rio de Janeiro? How about a museum to the largest retailer in America? Or a world class collection of 500-year old Bibles and manuscripts? How about a 10′ by 10′ section of the Berlin Wall? Or a full-size recreation of the Jewish Tabernacle? A world class museum of American art? Or a huge amphitheater with a stage that takes up an entire hillside and can show, at once, all the events of the last week of Christ’s life?

These marvels of the Ozarks are located in Eureka Springs and Bentonville, Arkansas. Eureka Springs (about an hour from Branson) is home to the world famous Passion Play, depicting the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. At the same location are a museum, which houses hundreds of Bibles, including many originals from the 1500’s; the imposing statue of Christ, and the piece of the Berlin wall, saved because of its Christian “graffiti.” It also houses a walking tour that includes about 10 or more illustrations of biblical structures or events, including the Tabernacle, which has a glass wall along one side to they can describe everything inside.

A little more than another hour away lies Bentonville, world headquarters for Walmart. Here you will find a museum depicting the history of Sam Walton, his family, and his stores (Walmart and Sam’s Club). The front is designed after the original 5 and 10 cent store that formed the foundation for the Walmart empire.

The Walton family began collecting American art, and built a magnificent museum across the small river that flows out of Crystal Springs. Since the museum bridges the river in multiple places, it is called Crystal Bridges.

Ah, yes, the Arkansas Ozarks. Who knew?