Pea Ridge National Military Park preserves one of the more important battle sites of the Civil War. The ground there decided the fate of Missouri and set the stage for the Union to conquer the Confederate land west of the Mississippi. While not as famous as the battles that came later and farther to the east Pea Ridge was an important point in the war and a must see for any Civil War history buff. The military park encompasses 4,300 acres and includes the reconstructed Elkhorn Tavern, museum/visitor center, 2.5 miles of trail from the Trail of Tears, 7 miles of driving road with 10 interpretive stops, and a 7 mile hiking trail. Pea Ridge National Military Park is the most complete Civil War battlefield in the United States. The park does a great job of showcasing what happened on those fateful days when 26,000 soldiers fought to determine what kind of nation the United States would be.
We started our visit at the visitor center and museum which gave us a great overview of the battle and what took place there. The museum was very well done with several displays of artifacts from the battle, the story of the soldiers that fought there, as well as layouts of the tactics used on each of the two days of battle. With 2 little ones in tow we decided to skip the 28 minute orientation film so I cannot tell you if that is worth seeing or not, but make sure you stop by the visitor center for continuing on to the rest of the park. After our visit to the Pea Ridge museum we took the 7 mile auto tour which really gave a great visual understanding to the battle that took place. Seeing the reproduction cannons overlooking the battlefield and walking the ground where history was made makes the things that we learned about in school relevant. We have been to several Civil War battle spots and every time there seems to be a feeling of walking on hallowed ground. Seeing where so many sacrificed so much is great way to make America more than an idea but something real. As a history teacher I love seeing the stuff that I teach about, it makes me feel like my job is important.
We enjoyed our visit to Pea Ridge National Military Park, but it is not the best Civil War site that we have ever visited. Karen and I enjoyed Vicksburg much more than Pea Ridge. Overall, if you are in the area then it is a great stop to learn about the story that took place there, but I would not go out of my way to see it. Fortunately, there are a lot of things to see and do in the area so if you find yourself in northwest part of Arkansas add Pea Ridge to your plans.
To see our reviews of other Arkansas attractions click here Pea Ridge National Military Park
Located at 15930 E Highway 62 Garfield, Arkansas
Hours of Operation: April through October 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. the rest of the year 6 to 6. The visitor center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Cost as of this Posting: $15 per Vehicle
For more information visit their website at http://www.nps.gov/peri/index.htm
Get free daily email updates!