96 Fun & Interesting Facts about Arkansas

Are you ready to learn about a state known for its dazzling diamonds, rushing rivers, and deep forests? Let’s journey to Arkansas, a place filled with natural beauty and interesting stories. From hidden treasures beneath the earth to thrilling outdoor adventures, Arkansas has a lot to discover. So, grab your explorer’s gear, and let’s dive into some fun facts about Arkansas!

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First up, did you know that Arkansas is called “The Natural State”? That’s because it has some truly amazing natural sights. Arkansas is home to the only place in North America where you can dig for real diamonds on your own! It’s called the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Imagine finding a real diamond while playing in the dirt. That could actually happen here!

Arkansas is also famous for its hot springs, especially in a town aptly named Hot Springs. People have been visiting this town for hundreds of years to soak in the warm, healing waters of its natural hot springs. These springs are not only relaxing but are also surrounded by beautiful parks and paths that make for great exploring.

And here’s another really coo fact about Arkansas; it has a deep connection to American history, especially with its capital, Little Rock. Little Rock was a key location during the Civil Rights Movement and is home to the Little Rock Central High School, where in 1957, nine brave students made history by integrating the school under the protection of army troops.

Are you excited to learn more facts about Arkansas? From digging for diamonds and bathing in hot springs to exploring its rich historical sites, Arkansas is a state full of adventure and stories. Let’s keep our curiosity alive and find out all the incredible things that make Arkansas a fascinating place to learn about!

Discover more facts about other cool places like our Facts about Minnesota and our Facts about Michigan.

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Facts about Arkansas

  1. Mount Ida, a town and mountain of the same name, is considered the Quartz Crystal Capital of the World.
  2. Rice, soybeans, and wheat are some of the important crops in the region.
  3. The forests in Arkansas cover 56% of the entire state! There are more than 19 million acres of forest cover and 11.9 billion trees. There are two major forests – the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest and the Ouachita National Forest.
  4. In 1541, Hernando de Soto explored the Southeastern US and crossed the Mississippi River. Hence, he might have even become the first European to step into the land of present-day Arkansas and even Louisiana. 
  5. The most well-known Arkansas nickname is “The Natural State.” That’s because Arkansas has remained largely undeveloped. Much of the state’s landscape is still quite natural, earning the state its moniker.
  6. Arkansas is one of the world’s largest producers of bromine, which is mainly used as a flame retardant. According to the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission, the Arkansas bromine industry extracts more than 40 million cubic meters of brine a year from the so-called Smackover Formation.
  7. Arkansas has strange laws. One is the law that prohibits owners from letting their dogs bark after 6 pm in Little Rock. Another odd one is that you can’t own more than 4 dogs.
  8. The first Walmart was opened in 1962 by Sam Walton in Rogers, Arkansas. Walmart employs a staggering 2.3 million associates around the world, out of which 1.5 million are employed in the U.S. alone.
  9. In 1993, Bill Clinton of Arkansas became the 42nd President of the United States.
  10. If you happen to keep an alligator, it’s illegal to put the animal in your bathtub in Arkansas.
  11. Arkansas also provides roughly 90% of all bauxite (from which aluminum is made) in the US. The state also produces bromine, natural gas, silica stone, and petroleum.
  12. Despite being called the Natural State, only 0.18% of Arkansas is covered with national or state parks, the 7th lowest percentage of any state.
  13. In 2002, Walmart officially became the world’s largest company.
  14. Mount Magazine at 2,753 feet is the highest point in the state. It is situated in the Arkansas River valley.
  15. The White Tail Deer is a large part of America’s history, and as such is the state animal of Arkansas. The state shares this animal with 11 of the great 50 states of the United States. 
  16. There are over 200 days of sunshine in Arkansas. You won’t have to worry about cloudy skies here. The state only experiences an average of 50 inches of rain each year.
  17. Magnet Cove, just one of many natural glories of Arkansas, is home to 102 varieties of minerals, including calcite, melanite, and sodalite.
  18. Arkansas has over 600,000 acres of lakes and 9,700 miles of streams and rivers.
  19. In 1957, Little Rock Central High School was propelled to national fame. Three years earlier, it was decided by law that schools needed to be desegregated so that all students could have the same educational opportunities.
  20. The US has 61 national parks. Out of these, the smallest national park, Hot Springs National Park, is situated in central Garland County, Arkansas. The Hot Springs National Park is spread across an area of just 5,550 acres.
  21. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has one of the most extensive collections of art from American artists spanning different styles. 
  22. Republican Ira Gurley became somewhat of a tragic icon in Arkansas when she was crushed by an elevator in the state’s capitol building in 1932.
  23. Arkansas is also the only state in North America where you can find a diamond field. The largest diamond ever discovered in North America was found in Crater of Diamonds State Park in 1924. At 40.23 carats, it was named “Uncle Sam.” 
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  1. In 1981, when Arkansas was at the height of the AIDS pandemic, a lone woman, Ruth Cocker Burks, held funerals and buried over 40 gay men when their own families wouldn’t.
  2. In 1985, milk was officially named as the state beverage by the Arkansas General Assembly. 
  3. Cheese dogs are another American favorite that has its roots in Arkansas when the Finkbeiner Meat Packing Company first introduced the delicious cheese-stuffed sausage in 1956.
  4. The World Championship Duck Calling Contest has its roots in Arkansas and was founded in 1936. The event is held in Stuttgart every five years.
  5. In 1957, for the first time in the history of the state, nine African Americans were inducted into Little Rock Central High School. The school previously allowed only white students to attend. This event marked an important milestone in the nation’s civil rights movement.
  6. Mount Magazine gets that title as it stands at 2,753 feet above sea level. Not only is this peak the highest point in the state, but it’s also the highest point in the US Interior Highlands. 
  7. While Arkansas’ highest point is the highest elevation in the entire region, there’s a 2000-foot difference between it and the lowest point in the state. The lowest point in Arkansas is just 55 feet above sea level.
  8. While Arkansas’ highest point is the highest elevation in the entire region, there’s a 2000-foot difference between it and the lowest point in the state. The lowest point in Arkansas is just 55 feet above sea level.
  9. Award-winning novelist John Grisham was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas in 1955. He has sold 225 million books to date, including The Firm and A Time to Kill.
  10. Cheese dip was first served at the Mexico Chiquito Restaurant in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1935. Arkansas celebrates this glorious discovery by hosting the annual World Cheese Dip Championships each year. The 10th anniversary of the event was held in 2020.
  11. Despite the immense resources, Arkansas is one of the poorest states in the union. However, it is also one of the most generous states.
  12. In 1921, the capital was moved to Little Rock, a city named after a rock formation on its river.
  13. Rice production is a billion-dollar industry in Arkansas. Arkansas is the largest producer of rice among the 50 states.
  14. The Apple Blossom has a long history in Arkansas and was named the state flower in 1901 to commemorate the state being one of America’s largest producers of apples.
  15. Arkansas sees long, hot summers and mild winters.
  16. Arkansas was once the home of the oldest woman in America. Hester Ford died at the ripe old age of 116 years.
  17. Every governor of Arkansas was a member of the Democratic Party from 1874 to 1967.
  18. Bill Clinton was the governor of Arkansas before becoming the president of the U.S. He served two terms as the governor of the state.
  19. Arkansas Post was the first territorial capital of Arkansas Territory from 1819 until 1821 when Little Rock was made the capital of the state.
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  1. The first woman senator was from Arkansas. The first elected female US senator helped bring women to the forefront of political issues in the United States. That woman was Hattie Ophelia Caraway. She served from 1931 until 1945. She represented Arkansas.
  2. The state changed its nickname from “Land of Opportunity” to “The Natural State” in 1995. This was done to promote tourism in the state.”
  3. The Arkansas River Valley divides two important natural terrains in Arkansas: the Ozarks and the Ouachita Mountains. This area is a popular place for visitors due to its proximity to both mountain ranges.
  4. In 2011, flooding of the Mississippi covered more than 1 million acres of cropland, with 63 Arkansas counties declaring it a disaster.
  5. If you’re flying in an airplane with a moose, it’s against the law to push the live animal out of the moving airplane.
  6. The state has had several different nicknames in the past including: “The Wonder State”, “The Bear State”, and “The Toothpick State”.
  7. Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto was the first European to reach Arkansas in 1541
  8. President Theodore Roosevelt established the Ouachita National Forest in 1907. The forest is considered the oldest in the South. The Ouachita Mountains are known for their unusual ridges that run east to west instead of north to south.
  9. The popular makeup brand Maybelline might be officially headquartered in New York City, but in practice, Maybelline has been based in Little Rock since 1975. There’s even a Maybelline Road in Little Rock.
  10. Indigenous people have lived in Arkansas for at least 12,000 years and likely hunted wooly mammoths in the area.
  11. In 1871 the University of Arkansas was founded, with three faculty members and eight students in the first year. Today, it has around 1,500 faculty members and over 29,000 students.
  12. Arkansas has not always been on the side of the Confederacy and was once on the side of the Union until it switched sides in 1861.
  13. “Ring of Fire” singer Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland, Arkansas, in 1932. This small town still only has a population of around 450 people. Johnny Cash’s song “Five Feet High and Rising” draws its inspiration from the great flood in 1937 that saw his hometown of Dyess Colony being evacuated due to rising waters.
  14. To this day, no one knows why over 1,000 blackbirds fell from the sky in Beebe, Arkansas in 2011. It remains a mystery.
  15. Arkansas is the leading producer of rice and poultry in the US, producing half the nation’s output.
  16. The civil rights movement changed state voting laws. Before the civil rights movement, many states in the South tried to limit voting rights by instituting a “poll tax.” That meant that if you couldn’t afford to pay a fee, you wouldn’t be able to vote.
  17. In 1932, when a fire broke out in that house, Hemingway saved his manuscripts by throwing them out of his upstairs window. Their house is now a museum, the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center.
  18. Hot Springs, Arkansas, used to be known for a few things: its national park, scenery, and its ostrich farm. The largest farm for these large birds in the US was once within the city’s limits.
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  1. Agriculture is responsible for providing more than 243,000 jobs to the state’s residents. It also provides about $16 billion to the state’s economy!
  2. The flag of Arkansas was a topic of hot debate for many years until a competition in 1913 saw the design by Willie Hocker being chosen as the state’s flag.
  3. The State Capitol building’s elevator crushed Representative Iva Gurley to death in 1932.
  4. Catfish is a popular dish in Arkansas, with more catfish being eaten here than in any other state in America. Catfish were first farmed in Arkansas in 1950.
  5. Henri de Tonty is considered the “Father of Arkansas”. In 1686, he set up the Arkansas Post.
  6. Henri de Tonty is considered the “Father of Arkansas”. In 1686, he set up the Arkansas Post.
  7. The forest of Arkansas started growing around 9500 BCE.
  8. In 2006, the Big Dam Bridge in Little Rock, North America’s longest pedestrian and cycling bridge was opened.
  9. Ostrich racing was a thing in Arkansas in the early 20th century. It was a popular activity at Cockburn’s Ostrich Farm in the town of Hot Springs.
  10. Still, nearly 19 million acres of Arkansas is forestland, which makes up 56% of the state. There are approximately 11.8 billion trees in the forestland area.
  11. Mammoth Spring in the north of the state is the world’s 7th largest spring. Over nine million gallons of water flow from it hourly, at a constant cool temperature of 58°F (14°C).
  12. Arkansas was ranked number 8th on the list of the states with the most underprivileged children
  13. Only one film that was shot and set in Arkansas has ever won an Academy Award. The movie is Sling Blade (1996) by Billy Bob Thornton. The film won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
  14. Arkansas produces nearly every type of crop in the US, with the exception of citrus fruits.
  15. Arkansas has the second-lowest cost of living among all 50 states in the United States and is very popular among entrepreneurs and business owners.
  16. The Arkansas state flower is the Apple Blossom, which was chosen in 1901 because the state was one of the biggest suppliers of apples at the time.
  17. Minnesota might be the land of 10,000 lakes, but Arkansas has its fair share of them as well. Throughout the entire territory, lakes take up more than 600,000 acres. 
  18. The state is also home to some 300 native species of birds including bald eagles, blue jays, flycatchers, and more.
  19. It is prohibited by law to mispronounce the name of Arkansas.
  20. Arkansas has a bizarre phenomenon called the Dover Lights: an unexplained illumination that’s visible from a neighboring overlook in an uninhabited valley of the Ozark Mountains. Local legend claims that the unexplained illumination is caused by the restless spirits of soldiers from Spain who died while searching for treasure.
  21. Arkansas also has 52 state parks (by contrast, California has 270, more than any other state, while Alabama and Rhode Island have the least, 22).
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  1. In 1804, Arkansas was part of the Louisiana Purchase, when the US purchased a huge area of land from France.
  2. The diamond mine is the only one in the world that allows the public to keep what they find. Interestingly, a 13-year-old girl from Missouri found a 2.93-carat diamond in  Crater of Diamonds State Park.
  3. If you plan on driving in Arkansas, pay attention to the speed limit signs. While in residential areas, you likely won’t go faster than 30 mph like in most states, you’ll have to pick up the speed on the highway. The highest speed limit in the state is 75 mph.
  4. The highest speed limit on rural highways in the state of Arkansas is 75 mph. Before this speed limit was raised in 2019, the maximum speed limit was 70 mph.
  5. Fur trader Henri de Tonty, the Father of Arkansas, founded the first European Settlement on the Arkansas River.
  6. In 1906, the first diamonds were found in Pike County.
  7. The state’s largest ostrich farm closed in 1953, and at one time was the home of over 300 ostriches.
  8. Little Rock is the largest city by population size with around 202,000 people in the state.
  9. On April 5, 1993, the white-tailed deer was declared the official state animal of Arkansas. 
  10. On June 24, 2022, Arkansas banned abortion across the state.
  11. In 1899, wooden coffins were unearthed during the excavation of the former Arkansas Penitentiary. The Arkansas State Capitol was built on these grounds.
  12. The highest temperature ever recorded in Arkansas was 120°F (49°C) in Ozark in 1936.
  13. Arkansas has one national park: Hot Springs National Park. It features a row of early 20th-century bathhouses built atop the thermal water source.
  14. In 1957, Little Rock became a focal point of the American Civil Rights movement over the controversial desegregation of schools there.
  15. The city of Alma, Arkansas, has declared itself the Spinach Capital of the World. They even commemorated this by painting their water tower as the world’s largest can of spinach.

Do you have even more interesting facts about Arkansas? Share them with us in the comments! 

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