What Goes “Zip!”, “Wow!”,” Ooo!”, “Roar!” and “Splash!”?

A Eureka Springs Summer Vacation!

A family summer vacation in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, can be historical and hysterically fun thanks to some new attractions and some legendary ones with a new twist.

This year families can enjoy the new Ozark Mountain Ziplines, Intrigue Theater, Ghost tours and tales of the macabre at the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa, 34 new big cats at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge and all the nuances of Beaver Lake’s Starkey Marina.  These are in addition to the dozens of other family-friendly venues and events located in and happening around this Arkansas Ozark Victorian village.

“It seems as though in years past the age of the average vacationing visitor has been creeping up,” said Bill Ott, past chairman of the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce, “but with the addition of some new attractions and classic attractions being rediscovered, the age has been coming down and this year should see a huge jump.  Moms and dads, as well as grandparents, are loading up the kids of all ages -even those sophisticated older teens- and everyone is having a wonderful vacation in a destination known as ‘The Extraordinary Escape’.”

When the question is inevitably asked, “What’s there to do in Eureka Springs, especially for kids and families?” it can now be answered quite easily and enthusiastically.  Heading that list for 2013 is the new Ozark Mountain Ziplines (OMZ).  This popular, nationwide craze, which originated in Costa Rica, has never seen a better setting than the Arkansas Ozarks in and around Eureka Springs.  OMZ allows guests -ages three to 83- to soar more than 200 feet high over vast, gorgeous, beautiful hardwood trees and limestone cliffs with cable lengths up to 1,800 feet, the length of six football fields.

“I could not believe the thrill,” said one recent patron.  “It was like flying.  The best part about it was that my entire party and I felt super-safe in every phase of the adventure.  There’s minimal hiking from one point to the next and an air-conditioned van took us back up the mountainside.  Whoever said man cannot fly never took a ride on a zipline like the ones they have in Eureka Springs.”

Another relatively new attraction is Intrigue Theater.  Set in a eerie and intimate redeveloped Victorian church, this show takes audience members on a magical, humorous, and mind-blowing venture into the world of telepathy.

“My family and I were not only amazed, they were thrilled about being so close to such a high level of talent,” said one father as he exited the theatre following a performance.  The talent about which he spoke are noted illusionist and medium, Sean Paul, and his lovely assistant, Juliane,

The couple weaves an accompanying tale of intrigue as the unexplainable happens right before your eyes,” added the father.  “It was so entrancing, my teenage girls actually put down their smart phones and stopped texting.  Both the monkey and I approved of that.”

Sean Paul explained, “We place the audience into a time-capsule of the mind.  In doing so, members of the audience actually become part of our unfolding, mystical tales, magical demonstrations and introductions to special guests from ‘the other side’.  We even ask one member of the audience to come up on stage and, while under hypnosis, will have that volunteer regress back to a previous life only to return with physical proof of having crossed over.”

And speaking of “the other side”, no building is more famous for their “guests who check out but never leave” than the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa.  Well-respected as a mountaintop spa resort and wedding destination, this Historic Hotel of America takes guests on a hotel ghost tour every night giving them the chance to perhaps meet apparitions like Michael, Theodora, or the Lady In The Mist.

Recognized by many as America’s most haunted hotel, the Crescent has added a late-night nuance to their presentation of the paranormal.  “Flickering Tales” has guests, especially teens, sitting around an open campfire -in chairs- and being introduced to regional ghost stories almost lost to history.  These macabre stories are theatrically spun by noted international thespian, Keith Scales.  Once the hair is suitably standing up on the back of patrons’ necks, Scales leads them into a special trip to the hotel’s infamous “morgue” as the grand finale.

One of the biggest guesses at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR) is wondering just how many big cats do they take care of at this 450-acre ranch located just a few minutes from downtown Eureka Springs.  But guests should never be too quick to hit the total button because it seems the folks at TCWR are adding to the number of abused, abandoned and neglected lions and tigers (and a bear) all the time.

Most recently, TCWR rescued nearly three-dozen big cats from a nearby county where they were being inadequately housed and cared for by a lady, due to her age and health condition, who could no longer give the animals proper care.  With this transition in its final stages, guests can meet the latest “cool cats” at this magnificent and breathtaking refuge that now houses nearly 150 animals including 138 big cats including mountain lions, cougars, panthers, bobcats, oh… and a bear.

On one of America’s most popular U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ lakes, Beaver Lake, sits Starkey Marina, located just west of Eureka Springs.  This floating cavalcade of watercrafts is the lake’s most popular stop for those who like to play on the water.  They will surely secure that standing in 2013 as they open a small, new restaurant as well as vastly increasing the number of personal watercrafts, pontoon and fishing boats to their fleet.  All the proper and required accoutrements are also available at Starkey ensuring your exploration of this clear blue 28,370-acre lake with its 480 miles of shoreline will create the finest in “memory chips”.

More information about these and all of Eureka Springs’ family-style attractions can be found at EurekaSpringsOnline.com as well as lodging-attractions packages and hot deals.  To avoid standing in line, attraction tickets may be purchased in advanced at ReserveEureka.com.

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