Indian tribe “Arkansa” of Quapaws Indians
Nickname: The Natural State
State bird: Mockingbird
State flower: Apple Blossom
Capital: Little Rock
Time: Central (GMT – 6)
The State: Arkansas has a varied landscape of plains, mountains, forests, rivers, cattle farms, industrial centres and oil wells. The main claims to fame of this State are the beauty of its outdoors and that former President Bill Clinton was the Governor in Little Rock before moving to the White House – there are museums and exhibits dedicated to his life.
One of Arkansas’ earliest settlements, Little Rock is a thriving place filled with museums, art exhibitions and parks. Attractions include the Decorative Arts Museum; River Market District; the Governor’s Mansion; Historic Arkansas Museum; Arkansas Arts Center; and theMuseum of Discovery.
The William J Clinton Presidential Center and Library is currently under construction and is due to be completed in 2004. The Rock Island Railroad Bridge and the Choctaw Station, originally built in 1899, are also being renovated. The best time to visit Little Rock is during Riverfest on the last evening of Memorial Day weekend, when the locals celebrate in style in Julius Breckling Riverfront Park with bands, dancing and a fireworks display.
The glorious Ozark Mountains stretch from southern Missouri through northern Arkansas. The village of Mountain View is a musical mecca, home to the Ozark Folk Center and events such as the Arkansas Folk Festival in April and the Arkansas State Old-Time Fiddle Championships in September. Fishing in the White River is another option, but before casting out, a fishing licence must be obtained from one of the local stores.
Excursions can be taken to Buffalo National River, which is a great spot for canoeing, or to the Blanchard Springs Caverns on the south border of the Ozark National Forest, which covers 0.5 million hectares (1.2 million acres) and is home to Mount Magazine, the tallest mountain in the State.
Eureka Springs draws millions of tourists to its Great Passion Play outdoor drama and the Christ of the Ozarks statue, which stands 1.8m (6ft) high and was completed in 1966. At Hot Springs National Park, visitors can soothe their worries away in a choice of bathhouses, cheer on thoroughbreds or fish and swim at three great lakes.
Texarkana lies on the border with Texas; in the Museum of Regional History there is an exhibition devoted to Scott Joplin (the African-Amercian ragtime pianist and composer), a famous former resident of the town.
Other State attractions include the Crater of Diamonds State Park, where visitors can dig for diamonds, Fort Smith National Historic Site and Toltec Mounds Archaeological State Park.