A day at Crystal Bridges always makes for the perfect family outing. From art to nature to architecture, and with activities for every age, we have something for everyone, but with multiple gallery spaces, endless events, and four miles of art and walking trails on 120 acres of Ozark woods, it might be tough to know how to plan your day to meet your family’s needs and wants.
Here are 11 ways to prioritize your day and make the most out of your family trip to Crystal Bridges:
Talk to your kids about your upcoming trip to the museum and what they can expect: an indoor/outdoor museum. While touching the artwork is not permitted, there will be opportunities to play and draw throughout the galleries and in the Experience Art Studio (more on this below).
On any given day, there are multiple events happening at the museum including free tours. Check out the events happening on our website before you go to see if there are any activities you’d like to include in your plans for the day.
We have all the amenities needed to fit a family of any lifestyle. Feel free to bring your bikes to ride along the trails during your stay! We have bike racks conveniently located around the museum and along the trails.
Family restrooms are located throughout the museum, and be sure to take advantage of our checkroom to store carriers, bags, and coats as you walk through the galleries.
If you’re coming to the museum between now and September 3, 2018, don’t miss your chance to see the temporary exhibition, The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art! Discover the artwork of one of the most iconic painters of the twentieth century and see the work that is being done by artists today tackling similar themes. An art station can also be found in the exhibition where kids can draw objects in the form and style of O’Keeffe. Tickets to the exhibition are $10 for adults and FREE for members and youth ages 18 or younger.
Be sure to pick up a free Artist Discovery Guide at check-in, which provides an interactive tour of The Beyond!
There are plenty of great spaces to stop and have a picnic. Enjoy the art and sculptures on the trails and give your family a chance to explore nature. If you’re visiting on a Friday or Saturday and looking for a quick meal, pedal pop, or refreshing drink on the trails, feel free to visit High South on a Roll, Eleven’s food truck, located on the North Forest Trail.
Break up your time between the galleries to visit the Experience Art Studio! Located just off Walker Landing, Experience Art Studio invites children and adults to explore various ways of looking at and thinking about art by getting hands on with activities and crafts. Children are free to enjoy artmaking, toys, books, a puppet show, and games provided in this space for fun and play.
If you’re visiting on Saturday or Sunday, spend some time in one of our Drop-In Artmaking classes between 1 and 4 p.m.! This is a great opportunity to let your family get hands-on experience making art based on the works they see in the galleries. Drop-In Artmaking is located in the studios off Walker Landing and is free for all ages. There will also be a special Drop-In Artmaking class this Wednesday, July 4th.
If you’re looking for a guided tour through the galleries specifically geared to help your children understand the artwork, consider joining the Family Adventure Tour, which is offered every Thursday and Saturday at 1 p.m. Our experienced Gallery Guides will lead you on a fun, interactive experience suitable for all ages. Tours are free – feel free to drop in throughout the day.
Here are some of the most photogenic spots in the museum to snap that perfect IG photo:
Tag #mycrystalbridges in your post to share your experience with the museum!
Although touching the artwork is not permitted, we do have an exception. Felix Gonzalez Torres’s Untitled, located in the last corridor of the Contemporary Art Gallery, is a strip of hard green candies individually wrapped and placed on the floor. The artist intended for guests to take a part of the installation with them. The candy is replenished daily, so please encourage your children to take a candy (and feel free to take one for yourself!).
A day at Crystal Bridges can definitely be exhausting, so grab a coffee (or a beer) or food before you leave at the Coffee Bar, located at the front of Eleven. Grab-and-Go weekly sandwich specials and baked goods are available throughout the day, in addition to the kids choices on the Eleven menu.
Feel free to express yourself, laugh, discuss artworks, and get excited about your favorite works as you walk through the galleries and up and down the trails. No need to whisper – in fact, feel free to express the ways in which different artworks strike you. Have conversations with your kids about their favorite artworks and why they like them. You can never start a love of art too early!
Additionally, Crystal Bridges is committed to making the museum accessible for all visitors. We offer a number of on-site accommodations for guests with disabilities in order to assure an enjoyable and engaging experience, and we work with organizations to develop programs for individuals with disabilities. Learn more about these programs and more here.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will be open on July 4th regular summer hours, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Bring your family to the museum and celebrate the United States with American art and nature. The City of Bentonville will celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks in Orchards Park (across the street from the museum’s entrance) at 7 pm. Enjoy a day at the museum and a spectacular firework show that evening!