Monthly Archives: April 2015

Billy Sims to Visit His Bentonville Restaurant

Bentonville_Billy_Sims_BBQIf you’re a fan of Billy Sims, former Detroit Lions running back and Heisman Trophy winner, you have a chance to meet him this weekend. Sims will host a Guest Appreciation Day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 2 at Billy Sims BBQ in Bentonville. Founder of the restaurant, he will be there to meet guests and sign autographs and memorabilia.

The restaurant will also offer $2 pulled pork sandwiches to guests who stop by. Billy Sims BBQ’s extensive menu includes nine meats with favorites such as ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, chicken, turkey and even bologna.  All meats are smoked daily over pecan wood in the restaurants. Completing the lineup are traditional sides with a twist such as baked potato salad and mustard based potato salad, freshly smoked corn, cole slaw, baked beans with pulled pork, green beans with bacon and entrée size salads with fresh vegetables. All Billy Sims BBQ restaurants showcase the smoker in the front of the restaurant with a strategically placed cutting station which shows guests that meats are pulled right off the smoker and freshly sliced prior to serving.

The restaurant is located at 3511 SE J St.

Wild Wilderness Drive-Through Safari is Full Day of Fun


20150323_133433Wild Wilderness Drive-Through Safari in Gentry makes for the perfect day trip. The 400-acre safari is home to a variety of exotic animals living in the natural environment of a beautiful Arkansas landscape with several large ponds.

My family, which includes two boys now ages 9 and 13, have been to the safari many times over the years. We went again during Spring Break and had just as much fun there as we always have. It’s definitely a place to go back to again and again over time.

20150323_144347One section of the safari is a walk through area, where you can see kangaroo, goats, turtles, monkeys, giraffes, and more. We loved the monkeys, in particular, who were rambunctious and playful. You can also take pony and camel rides.

The drive-through portion is about four miles long. It took us about one hour and 15 minutes to make it all the way through. Even if there are a lot of cars ahead or behind you, like there was during Spring Break, it doesn’t feel crowded. Everyone goes at their own pace. If you want to stop and look at something – tigers, zebras, prairie dogs – you pull to the right and people go around you if they want. Everybody is going slow to look at all the animals and take photos. The ostriches were our favorites on the drive through. They come right up to your window and are beautiful and scary all at the same time. We kept our windows up, of course.20150323_124030

We actually drove through the park first. We took a picnic lunch and enjoyed that on one of the picnic tables before walking through the petting area. They do have concessions there as well, plus a gift shop. It’s a full day of fun.


Northwest Arkansas Naturals Baseball

Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Tonight is the first home game of the season for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals and should kick off another great year of Texas League baseball. The six-game homestand that starts tonight puts the Naturals against the the league champion Midland RockHounds over the next three days and then they’ll take on the Frisco RoughRiders early next week.

Let’s make sure the Naturals know all of Northwest Arkansas wants their season to get off to a great start by winning these first few early-season home games. Championships are won one game at a time, and the summer just feels better when there’s a winner in our midst.

Finally, let us not forget that Arvest is a great baseball venue, but it’s also a place for those interested in people watching and all the other activity. The photograph by Naturals team photographer John Owen during the 2013 season reminds us that the fireworks shows are impressive, and they happen regularly throughout the season.

Best of luck to the Naturals!

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

WestFork_Devils_Den_State_ParkMost of us don’t go out and forage for food. In fact, many of us probably wouldn’t know what was okay to eat out in the wild or which plants can be used as medicine. Maybe you know the taste of wild blackberries, but did you know acorns make great flour that you can incorporate into scones and biscuits? If you’re interested in learning about consuming wild plants, head to Devil’s Den State Park on Saturday, April 18 for an Edible Trees and Plants Workshop. It takes place from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Café Pavilion by the Ridge Runner store and costs $10 per person or $5 for children younger than 12.

In the workshop, participants will learn to identify several native plant species. You’ll also learn how to prepare some deliciously wild dishes and then enjoy eating them. The course incorporates concepts of conservation, history, culture, and plant identification. The instructor is Dr. Tamara Walkingstick, associate professor of Extension Forestry with the UA Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service.

Contact Devil’s Den State Park to register at 479-761-3325 or e-mail Park Interpreter Terry Elder at for more information. Registration is limited.

Fish Stories: Early Images of American Game Fish

Bentonville_Crystal_Bridges_Fish_StoriesArt and anglers are united in the newest exhibit opening today (Saturday, April 4) at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville – “Fish Stories: Early Images of American Game Fish.”

It is a collection of the most admired 19th-century color lithography and explores the story of American printmaking as well as distinctly American fish in their national surroundings. The color plates capture a number of distinctly American fish in their natural surroundings, including the striped bass, sheepshead, bluefish, weakfish, red snapper, pompano, and brook trout. Each fish’s shimmering colors and delicate scales are amazingly vivid.

“Game Fishes of the United States,” one of the largest and most spectacular of American sporting books, was printed in 1879 -1880 at the zenith of late 19th-century American chromolithography. The work, which is included in the Crystal Bridges Library collection, features 20 color plates based on the original watercolor paintings by well-known sporting artist Samuel Kilbourne, with text written by ichthyologist George Brown Goode, head of the fish research programs of the US Fish Commission and the Smithsonian.

The collection conveys the drama of sport fishing and highlights the exploration and celebration of nature in American art—one of the major themes in Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection.

Many of the fish in the exhibit can be found in nearby rivers and lakes. So put your fishing gear in your car before you head to the museum because you’ll likely be inspired to go fishing.

The exhibit runs April 4 through Sept. 21. In addition to viewing the color prints, visitors are encouraged to share their fish stories or personal memories with an interactive exhibition, The One that Got Away; visit the Museum Library with more than 50,000 volumes of art reference material; or participate in one of the many programs tied to the exhibit:

April 17: Keynote Lecture » Neil Shubin on Humans and Creatures

April 20: Art Talk » Fish Stories Exhibition Opening Talk

May 30: Drop-in Art Making » Fish Prints

June 28: CR(EAT)E Food Series » Brews and Fish of the Ozarks

Ozark Mountain UFO Conference is April 10-12 in Eureka Springs

Eureka_Springs_UFO_ConferenceThe 28th annual Ozark Mountain UFO Conference is set for April 10-12 at the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center in Eureka Springs. This weekend event provides new and thought-provoking information about other worlds around us.

Two films will be shown during the conference: “A Dolores Cannon Tribute: Lecture Video,” and “The UFO Incident,” the 1975 made-for-television film recounting Barney and Betty Hill’s experiences recalled during hypnosis of the first alien abduction event of modern times.

The featured speaker is Richard Dolan, who has been researching UFOs for twenty years, and believes that they constitute the greatest mystery of our time. He is the author of several volumes of history and a speculative book about the future. In his latest work (2014), “UFOs for the 21st Century Mind,” he discusses important sightings, encounters, politics, cover-up, ancient aliens, bizarre science, disclosure, and offers advice on being both critical and open-minded in today’s world. He hosts his own weekly radio show, The Richard Dolan Show on KGRA, is a frequent guest to Coast-to-Coast AM, and is featured in the new television documentary series, Hangar One.

Richard Dolan

Dolan’s lecture title is “UFOs, the Real Power Struggle, and the End Game.” He will analyze the UFO cover-up and explain how the UFO phenomenon has quietly transformed our world: first, from the presence of “other beings” here on our world; second, from the acquisition of radical technology; and third, from the need for eternal secrecy on the matter.

Other speakers include Peter Davenport, director of the National UFO Reporting Center since July 1994. He has had an active interest in the UFO phenomenon since early boyhood. He experienced his first UFO sighting over the St. Louis municipal airport in the summer of 1954, and he investigated his first UFO case during the summer of 1965 in Exeter, New Hampshire. In addition, Peter has been witness to several anomalous events, possibly UFO related, including a dramatic sighting over Baja California in February 1990, and several nighttime sightings over Washington State during 1992. His most recent sighting occurred over Eastern Washington in October 2011.

Barbara Lamb is M.S., MFT, CHT is a psychotherapist and regression therapist in Claremont, California. She is one of the leading crop circle researchers and educators, and has lectured widely in the U.S., England and other countries.

Kewaunee Lapseritis is a Holistic Health Consultant, Master Herbalist and Master Dowser with background in anthropology, psychology, and conservation. As a world authority on the Bigfoot/Sasquatch phenomenon, he has meticulously researched the subject for the last 55 years. In 1979, Lapseritis was first telepathically contacted by a Sasquatch and an ET simultaneously, which was the shock of his life. He says the contact changed him and he developed psychic ability overnight. He has been a guest on more than 420 radio and television talk shows and has lectured and presented papers throughout the United States.

Linda Moulton Howe, reporter and editor of and investigative reporter for Coast-to-Coast AM radio, will present 2015 groundbreaking news about the U. K. RAF Bentwaters/Woodbridge phenomenon of December 1980 in Rendlesham Forest, and new information about a once-secret U.K. restricted study of non-ionizing radiation from Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP/UFO).  UAP radiation is linked to damage of human tissues and manipulation of human minds. Joining Linda for a segment of her program will be retired USAF Tech Sergeant John Burroughs, the only RAF Bentwaters airman to have interacted twice with the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP/UFO). John had to undergo open heart surgery in December 2014 for damage linked to the UAP radiation in Rendlesham Forest. Even with the help of U. S. Senator John McCain and attorney Pat Frascogna, John’s 1979-1980 medical records from RAF Bentwaters are still “classified.”  Howe will also present new witness testimony about physical evidence that a space-time distortion occurred at the UAP site in Rendlesham Forest.

Nikki Pattillo graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas and began her career as a molecular biologist. She was psychic as a young child and later in life her Angels and Guides came to her and asked her to channel messages that humanity needed to hear. She is author of, “Star Children: Advice for Parents and Star Children” and “A Spiritual Evolution.”

Thomas Reed is an award winning South Beach fashion photographer, and the founder of Miami Models, with clients: Polo Black Label, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Loren. He held positions in upper management with companies Honeywell and Entergy. His family’s UFO case is considered historic. Several of his childhood sketches from 1969, depicting what he witnessed first-hand involving his encounters, are displayed at the Roswell UFO Museum. His lecture title is “Authenticating His Family’s Off-World Encounter that Stands as the Only Case in the Nation to be Inducted by a Historical Society and Deemed as a True Event.”

Sherry Wilde is the author of “The Forgotten Promise.” In 1989 The Center for UFO Studies investigated Sherry Wilde’s missing time episode, and after extensive research, concluded she was the victim of alien abductions. It was determined that this was not just one singular event, but had been an ongoing phenomenon. The contact continues to this day. In her lecture, Wilde will share the reasons why she rejected the label of abductee and embraced the term coined by Dolores Cannon, that of volunteer. She will speak candidly about her interactions with the ET’s she refers to as “her guys” and relate the coping techniques she uses to live with one foot in this world and one in theirs.

Melanie Young is a Texas neonatal nurse that hopes a 900-year-old skull holds the secret to treating some of the conditions that stop many babies from surviving and thriving. Young worked in the neonatal unit of a busy hospital for more than 14 years before she was given the strange gift of two skulls that changed her life.

A dinner with the speakers is offered from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, April 11. Limited seating is available and the cost is $32.50 for a delicious meal, cash bar, and mingling with your favorite speakers.

Click here for the detailed schedule. Click here to register for the event.

Inn of the Ozarks is located at 207 W. Van Buren. Call 479-253-9768 for reservations or visit

By Jill Rohrbach

Birds & Blooms at Ozark Natural Science Center


Ozark Natural Science Center in Huntsville

I used to think Fall was my favorite season, but now I know it’s Spring. I love the gorgeous shades of green that pop out on trees and bushes across the Arkansas landscape. The buds and blooms of trees and flowers, singing birds, and warmer days make me feel more alive. Plus, there are a ton of events to help us all enjoy the great outdoors.

The Ozark Natural Science Center in Huntsville, for example, has two upcoming events.

Birds & Blooms is April 10-11. Dust off your field guides, grab your binoculars, and lace up your hiking boots for a weekend venturing out on the ONSC trails in search of early spring wildflowers and migratory songbirds. The cost for this exploratory weekend is $125 per person and includes lodging and meals. It’s for those ages 18 and older. Click here to find out more and make reservations.

ONSC offers BioBlitz on April 18. The group will explore everything from critters that fly, crawl, or slither to plants, trees and fungi. This free event is from 6:45 a.m. until 8 p.m. You can sign up for just one part or participate in them all. Meals and snacks are included. Click here to find out more and to register.

You can call 479-202-8340 for additional information.

By Jill Rohrbach, travel writer for the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism.

Three New Spring Tours at Crystal Bridges

Bentonville_Crystal_Bridges_Spring_Showcase_Trail_TourCrystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville offers three new tours this spring that help you explore the art and beauty of the outdoors.

The Big Picture Tour takes place at 11 a.m. on Saturdays through May. It’s a new indoor/outdoor offering that provides a fun, general overview of the art, architecture and landscape of Crystal Bridges. Tour guides discuss one of the museum’s most iconic paintings as well as highlights of the building’s architectural design. It concludes with a short walk to Crystal Spring, the natural spring the museum is named for. Just meet in the lower lobby to take part in this one hour tour.

The Spring Showcase Trail Experience is about discovering spring blooms, spectacular dogwoods, and the museum’s soft-surface natural trails. You’ll take a walk to the Dogwood Trail and it includes many steep stairs, so wear appropriate shoes. Meet at Walker Landing. This one mile walk begins April 1 and runs at 11:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays through May 15.

A new Art Trail Experience takes place on Fridays at 4 p.m., beginning April 3. The tour follows a paved trail, but includes a steep incline. You’ll learn about the sculptures, waterways and native plants found along the Art Trail. Meet in the south lobby.

In addition to these tours, on April 11 the popular Discover the Grounds series returns with “Woodland Wildflowers for the Home Garden” with Crystal Bridges Horticulturalist Cody George.

Crystal Bridges is located at 600 Museum Way.

By Jill Rohrbach, travel writer for the Arkansas Dept. of Parks & Tourism.


Wines and Vines in the Garden is April 11

Fayetteville_BGSO_Wines_Vines_eventThe Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville has a fun inaugural event coming up on April 11 titled Wines & Vines in the Garden. This wine tasting festival celebrates Spring and great wines from across the region and country.

The event is from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and tickets are $40 for individuals or $75 for couples. Sample from more than 50 wines, enjoy live jazz from Block Street Hot Club, socialize and wander through the beautiful blooming Botanical Garden. Local food trucks will be on hand to sell their finest dishes.

For tickets or more information, call 479-750-2620. The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks is located at 4703 N. Crossover Road in Fayetteville.