You know what they say about the best-laid plans, right? I know I do! They often go awry.
Or, in the case of Spring Break 2018, they get drenched.
I had this vision of taking my mom and daughter to explore parts of northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri in late March.
I had dreams of strolling paths leading to waterfalls along spring-fed creeks, as well as discovering the art on the nature trails at Crystal Bridges.
Mother Nature decided a lot of our time would be spent indoors or on scenic drives avoiding flash floods.
The bright side is that, thankfully, there are many great indoor attractions that are free to explore.
However, one sticks out in my mind as a must-see for people of all ages: The Museum of Native American History (MONAH).
What first started as a way to keep out of the rain became an intriguing and educational experience for my family. The amount of artifacts and displays at this museum overwhelmed me at times. It is indeed a lot to take in!
Keep in mind, I have been to the Museum of the Cherokee in North Carolina and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. So, when I saw MONAH listed as a free indoor activity in Bentonville, Ark., I was interested.
However, what the TripAdvisor reviews stated were not accurate. They downplayed this beautifully displayed and extensive collection.
I can safely say that this gem in Bentonville exceeded my expectations.
The MONAH tour goes through time, starting with the Paleo Period. Each individual on the tour is given an audio wand. By pressing the numbers found on certain exhibits, individuals can listen to information about that artifact. There are also short films at various points of the tour.
Fun fact: I learned what an atlatl is. I had no idea that this precursor to the bow and arrow was once used to bring down mammoths.
I was so interested by this information that I soon found myself looking up YouTube videos of atlatls in action. Even at the age of 44 I am learning new things and hope my education never stops!
While St. Louis is closer to me than the Ozarks are, I really do hope to revisit this part of the country again sooner than later. Perhaps I will even get a moment where there’s some sunshine!
I can safely say that rain or shine, I will find my way back to MONAH. It is a place worth revisiting.
If you would like to learn more, visit them online at monah.us or call them at (479) 273-2456. MONAH is open Monday through Saturday, 9 to 5. Admission is free and it is handicap accessible.
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(Michelle Turner lives in Union, Mo.)