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What to Expect at Listening Forest in 2023

People stand on a bridge at night looking out onto a ravine lit with bright white lights.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will be closed Monday, May 13, to prepare for the visit of Antiques Roadshow. We will return to normal hours of operation Wednesday, May 15.

It’s time to return to the forest!

After a successful debut in August of 2022, Listening Forest, created by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, returns for the third and final season of the outdoor, nighttime experience in the North Forest.

Open August 30 to December 31, 2023, this immersive exhibition includes eight installations that can only be activated with your participation. From platforms that share your pulse with a forest of lights to towering giants made of motion-controlled light, Listening Forest only comes to life with your participation.

With interactive activities, youth discounts, matinee-style pricing on Wednesday and Thursday nights, and free admission for youth ages 6 and under, the exhibition is a great activity for families and groups that keeps everyone active and creates truly unique experiences. That said, we know you probably have questions—and we want to help.

To help you plan your trip, here’s what you can expect during the Listening Forest experience in 2023:

Getting Here

Your journey begins at the parking garage on the corner of Museum Way and J St.


Listening Forest is located in the North Forest at Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas. Starting Wednesday, October 18, we’re asking that all guests attending Listening Forest park at the new parking complex dubbed “Campus Parking” next to the Amazeum. Bright blue and on your right as you turn onto Museum Way, you can’t miss it!

Parking is free for all guests, so there’s no need to reserve passes or register your car. Just cruise on in and park in any available space. Note that there is limited clearance in the garage: If your vehicle needs more than 8 feet, 4 inches of vertical clearance, you’ll need to park in the gravel lot across Museum Way.

From Campus Parking, follow the path of lights into the North Forest. The check-in kiosk is found just within the trees. Once you check in, keep following the paved path.

Psst: If you attended North Forest Lights in previous years, you already know where you’re going—it’s the exact same path!


Eight Things to Know Before You Go

There are a few things you should know before you arrive:

A sign in Listening Forest that says
  1. This is a nighttime, outdoor event, so please check the weather before you go and dress accordingly.
    • Pro Tip: You can always call the Inclement Weather Line at (479) 657-2488 to check on any cancellations or delays.
  2. We recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes. The eight installations are spread throughout the North Forest, so be ready to explore.

Note: Accessibility assistance is available for anyone needing it—scroll down for more info.

  1. Plan on spending 1–2 hours at Listening Forest to see and enjoy the whole experience. You’re of course welcome to spend more or less time depending on your preferences.
  2. Taking photos and videos is encouraged, however, flash photography is prohibited. Flashes from phones and cameras will interfere with light experiences.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Listening Forest, "Pulse Forest", 2022, Bentonville Arkansas / United States. Photo by Jared Sorrells.
  1. Please Note: The exhibition relies on sensors and recording cameras to activate each installation. Rest assured that the recordings are only used for archival purposes and will not be shared anywhere beyond the exhibition.
  2. You can bring your furry friends! Well-behaved dogs on a leash are allowed in Listening Forest.
  3. No outside food and drinks will be allowed inside, but that doesn’t mean you have to go hungry. There’s always plenty of seasonal snacks and drinks available for purchase at the Village inside the forest (keep scrolling to learn more!).
  1. Listening Forest is a cashless experience. Please bring a credit or debit card to make purchases in the exhibition.

Once You’re Here

Be prepared for lots of walking. Accessibility assistance will be available.


a black and white map of the eight installations of Listening Forest and where they can be found throughout the North Forest

Click to zoom.

There will be about 1.5 miles of walking in total, including the walk to and from Campus Parking. The trails created for this experience are wheelchair and stroller-accessible. Depending on the age and abilities of your group, you may also choose to bring strollers or wagons.

We understand that this might be a lot for some family members, so we will have assistance available. A mobility shuttle will be offered to transport folks with accessibility needs by request from the parking complex to the entrance of Listening Forest where they can meet back up with their party.


Installations and Experiences

As you make your way down the North Forest Trail, you will come across two of the installations before you make your way to the main event:

  • Recorded Assembly merges the facial features of participants into a constantly changing portrait of previous forest visitors
  • Arkansas Text Stream consists of brief texts sourced from Northwest Arkansas community members animated as a slow stream of letters. Projected on the footpath, these letters transform into phrases as the presence of people is detected.

The other six interactive installations are waiting for you deeper in the forest. Get ready to use your body, your voice, and your memories to create an unforgettable experience and bring each work to life:

  • In Pulse Forest, visitors can add their heartbeat to an array of 3,000 lightbulbs, each glimmering to the pulse of a different participant from the past.
  • Thermal Drift features a thermal camera that registers a visitor’s heat signature and visualizes that energy as particles floating into the surrounding space.
  • Remote Pulse consists of two identical pulse-sensing stations that connect strangers and beams of light across the forest. One is located in the Village area near the restrooms and the other is located near the Rock Ledge Shelter (see map above).
  • Embodied Light Beacons allows guests the opportunity to control giant, 20-foot-tall stick figures made of light.
  • In Voice Forest, guests can leave a voice recording that joins a chorus of voices left by previous forest visitors.
  • In Summon, microphones pick up sounds from visitors on a bridge and translate them into an array of light in the ravine below.

Learn more about the installations and artworks here.



Food, drinks, and restrooms are available inside Listening Forest.

The Village food court area will offer snacks and drinks, including warm, cold, and alcoholic beverages. A smaller drink and snack stop is also available in the North Forest as you make your way to the entrance of the experience.

Restrooms and merch stands are also available in this area. No outside food and drinks will be allowed inside.

Listening Forest is a cashless experience.

Just a friendly heads up that there is no cash in the Listening Forest experience in an effort to minimize contact and speed up transactions. Please bring a credit or debit card to make purchases in the exhibition.

Other Questions

Have a question we haven’t answered here?

Check out our FAQ, or contact Guest Services at (479) 657-2335.

Reserve Your Listening Forest Tickets Today!

The forest is waiting—are you ready? See available dates, choose your timeslot, and get tickets today.


Willard & Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, Inc.

Kenneth and Mandy Davis | Arvest Bank | Mary Kathryn and Matt Brown | Shannon and Charles Holley | Norman and Lyn Lear | Sue and Charles Redfield | Ozark Production Services, LLC