• John-Michael Scurio

Spring springs in Eureka Springs!

Eureka Springs has attracted artists, adventurers, illusionists and entrepreneurs, who, together, shaped this picturesque Victorian town. You will discover unique buildings designed to house tropical plants, chapels presenting mystery shows, and pivoting stones larger than men. Here, you can travel in a historic tram while learning about the city's history and architecture, or have dinner aboard a romantic train. You can also visit many of the healing springs located all over town.

Here are 5 exceptional things to do in Eureka Springs, Arkansas this spring . . .

Zina, Courtesy of Gary P Kurns Photography

1. Blue Spring Heritage Center
1537 County Road 210, Eureka Springs, AR 72632-9418, Phone: 479-253-9244

Only five miles from town, you will find The Blue Spring Heritage Center, a 33-acre garden with lush woodlands, sprawling meadows, and rolling hillsides covered with native plants and a range of hardwood trees. A beautiful lagoon fed by the nearby Blue Spring is filled with trout, and it is a serene place to sit by and relax.


The garden is also a historic site that was inhabited during the Mississippian and Early Archaic periods. Several Native American peoples lived in the area for thousands of years, and there are artifacts that have been excavated at the Blue Spring Shelter that attest to that. Blue Spring Heritage Center has been popular among tourists since the late 40's and is registered on the National Register of Historic Places.

Red Zina, Courtesy of Gary P Kurns Photography
2. Take A Tram Tour
137 W van Buren, Eureka Springs, AR 72632-3650, Phone: 479-253-9572

There is no more entertaining way of exploring Eureka Springs' historic downtown than on

board one of the colorful trams that bring to life old trams that were roaming the streets of Eureka Springs since 1891. Knowledgeable local guides narrate the tram tours, and they will share with you the love for their city, bringing to life its history, culture, and architecture.

The tours start at the Visitors Center on West Van Buren Street just west of the stately Queen Anne Mansion and take about an hour and half. The tram makes two stops.


The first stop will allow you 15 minutes to explore the majestic 1886 Crescent Hotel and to enjoy spectacular views of the city from its 4th floor observation terrace. A stroll through the hotel gardens is also worth spending a few minutes. The second stop is at Grotto Spring, one of about 63 springs in the city, and there are more than 1,200 springs within a seven mile radius of the city limits. During the trip, you will pass by hundreds of beautiful old homes and historic structures that tell the story of the city's past.

Gaillardia, Courtesy of Gary P Kurns Photography
3. Visit Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
239 Turpentine Creek Ln, Eureka Springs, AR 72632, Phone: 479-253-5841

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is a 459-acre sanctuary in Eureka Springs for abandoned, abused, and neglected big cats, mostly tigers. The Jackson family started with two of their own lions in 1978 but soon acquired a large number of animals from illegal trade that were living in horrendous conditions. At the time, there were very few sanctuaries in existence, and the number of people who owned unmanageable exotic pets grew rapidly.


Today, they offer lifetime sanctuary for those animals that cannot be rehabilitated and returned to the wild. Their spacious ranch offers spacious natural habitats for the large exotic animals that now number 130, among them lions, cougars, black bears, bobcats, tigers, a monkey, a coatinumdi, a grizzly bear, and a serval. The refuge is licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture and depends on donations for its funding.

Zina, Courtesy of Gary P Kurns Photography
4. Easter Sunday Service, Christ of the Ozarks statue
935 Passion Play Road, Eureka Springs, AR 72632

Christ of the Ozarks is an iconic statue of Jesus Christ that stands 1500 feet above Eureka Springs. The intricately carved statue was built entirely by hand. The artist poured 24 layers of white mortar over a steel frame to complete the 67-foot-tall piece of art.


On Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, at 7am at the foot of the statue an Easter Sunday Service will commence. Come celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ at this unique Easter Morning Sunrise Service at The Christ of the Ozarks statue.

Gaillardia, Courtesy of Gary P Kurns Photography
5. See a show
80 Mountain St, Eureka Springs, AR 72632-3315, Phone: 855-446-8744

Unique to Eureka Springs and famous for its ghost appearances, Intrigue Theater is the creation of illusionist Sean-Paul and his wife, Juliana Fay, who appears as a medium. The couple run their show out of the historic Gavioli Chapel in Eureka Springs' historic district. It was built in 1901 as a church but now serves as a private building used for weddings and other events, including the performances of Intrigue Theater.


No longer serving as a church, the Gavioli Chapel does have quite an interesting history. It was originally built as a frame church in 1879 by the First Christian Church of Eureka Springs and went by the name "Little White Church." As the congregation grew, it was expanded. In 1912, it was remodeled into its present form. In the 1990s, the congregation moved to a new location and the building was sold to private individuals who used it as a chapel for hire for weddings, memorial services, baptisms and other events under the name of The Old Stone Church." It sold again in 2006 to an individual who, in addition to using it as a wedding chapel, also used it to house his world-renowned mechanical music collection which included a functional 1901 Gavioli Fairgrounds Organ - hence the name Gavioli Chapel.


The couple started their most famous show on Halloween in 2012 in the mysterious Crescent Hotel's Crystal Ballroom, already famous for its ghost tours and spirit appearances. The rest of the year the couple takes their performances to other mysterious, haunted venues in the region. The mysteries of Golden Age of Magic inspire these illusionists, and they appear dressed in Victorian costumes while performing tricks such as ghost talking and voodoo to walking through brick walls.