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How to Celebrate Earth Day at Crystal Bridges

Nestled within 120 acres of Ozark forest, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is the perfect place for your Earth Day celebrations. Offering a harmonious blend of natural scenery and a new environment-focused special exhibition, we invite you to honor our planet and connect with the Earth in this inspiring setting!

Aerial view of Crystal Bridges and the surrounding nature.

A Quick History of Earth Day

First held on April 22, 1970, the creation of Earth Day came from a disastrous oil blowout that happened off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. The incident spilled more than 3 million gallons of oil, disrupting the local ecosystem and killing more than 10,000 seabirds, dolphins, seals, and sea lions. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin was inspired to create Earth Day upon seeing an 800-square-mile oil slick from an airplane in the Santa Barbara Channel and touring the miles of beaches covered in tar.

The inaugural Earth Day marked a historic milestone in American history. It united an impressive 20 million individuals—representing roughly 10% of the US population at that time—across 2,000 college campuses, 10,000 primary and secondary schools, and various communities. This extensive engagement established it as the largest single-day protest in recorded history, underscoring its critical role in the rise of environmental activism.

Today, more than a billion people participate in Earth Day actions every year. Over 50 years later, Earth Day has expanded across the world and includes celebrations of all types, from organized events to personal acts of environmental stewardship and appreciation.


Explore the Grounds

One of the easiest ways to appreciate our beautiful world is by spending time in nature, and what better season to explore the trails of Crystal Bridges than spring?

With more than five miles of trails that wind through the museum’s 120-acre site, you can easily explore the beautiful Ozark landscape and connect with its local inhabitants in a whole new way. As a home to over 500 different species of plants and wildlife, you can now explore these species by downloading the iNaturalist app!

Colorful flowers and plants with Crystal Bridges in the background.

iNaturalist is an online social network of people sharing information about local biodiversity. You can use it to record your observations, get help with identifications, collaborate with others to collect this kind of information for a common purpose, or access the observational data collected by iNaturalist users.

TIP: Ride your bike! Our trails stretch from Downtown Bentonville, and with bike racks at each museum entrance, you can show the earth a little extra love by taking the scenic (and eco-friendly) route.

Visit Exquisite Creatures

Our newest exhibition asks, “What is it about the natural world that calls to us?”

Artist Christopher Marley’s art explores the deep relationships between vastly different natural objects and the love and unity we intrinsically feel with them and with nature as a whole.

His work was born of a desire to share nature’s majesty in a way that equally inspires the urbane and the nature aficionado. Marley believes that in the proper light, we can find beauty in every organism and that the deeper our appreciation for the aesthetics of nature, the more eager we are to immerse ourselves in it and conserve it.

Two guests viewing natural artifacts in the Exquisite Creatures exhibition.
Boy experiencing Exquisite Creatures exhibit using a VR headset.

As you navigate the colorful critters in the Exquisite Creatures exhibition, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the plants, animals, and minerals that share our beautiful planet. Plus, remember to stop into the engagement room to help add to our magnetic beetle mosaic or see the world like a creature with our immersive VR experience!

So whether you’re exploring the Exquisite Creatures exhibition or discovering the exquisite creatures that live on our own grounds, make your Earth Day unforgettable by immersing yourself in the natural beauty at Crystal Bridges. Each moment at Crystal Bridges is an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the importance of preserving our natural world.