After nearly 10 years in the making, the Scott Family Amazeum opened its doors to the public for the first time today.
Executive Director Sam Dean kicked off the celebration and introduced featured guests, including Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – courtesy of signature sponsor Nickelodeon.
Dean thanked the Scott family, as well as key supporters, including The Walton Family Foundation, General Mills, Hershey’s, Walmart Stores and 3M. Those partners help ensure that the Amazeum serves the community and region for years to come.
“We have been able to provide teasers and tidbits about what is in store, but it’s not until you see what’s inside and experience this place that you can fully grasp what truly makes it amazing for all ages,” Dean said.
The Scott Family Amazeum’s opening is the latest quality-of-life success in fast-growing Northwest Arkansas, a region with more than 500,000 residents that’s serves as the world headquarters for Walmart Stores, Tyson Foods and J.B. Hunt Transport Services.
The Razorback Regional Greenway, a 36-mile bike-pedestrian trail running through seven Northwest Arkansas cities, opened in May. In 2014, the region celebrated the opening of the Walmart AMP, an outdoor music venue that so far this summer has hosted music superstars such as the Dave Matthews Band, Chicago, Third Eye Blind and Brantley Gilbert.
The region’s best-known quality-of-life amenity is Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Established in 2011, the museum is recognized as one of the nation’s most important art museums to open in a decade. The Amazeum sits near the museum’s main entrance in Bentonville, a city that’s one of the centerpieces to Northwest Arkansas’ ever-improving arts and cultural scene.
The region’s largest city — Fayetteville — is home to the University of Arkansas, the state’s flagship university, and the Walton Arts Center, and nearby Springdale is home to a Kansas City Royals minor league baseball franchise. The Texas League’s Northwest Arkansas Naturals arrived when the city built Arvest Ballpark in 2008.
The Amazeum joins Crystal Bridges, the Walton Arts Center, Arvest Ballpark, the Razorback Regional Greenway and the Walmart AMP as key parts of the region’s incredible quality-of-life amenities.
Conversations about the Amazeum began a decade ago between Northwest Arkansas community leaders. In 2006, the group obtained 501c3 non-profit status and organized a founding board of directors.
The next year, they joined the Association of Children’s Museums and conducted an initial feasibility study. In 2008, they hired the first team member and began “Museum without Walls” programming.
The capital campaign started in early 2011, and Dean came on board in 2012. The official groundbreaking was held in 2014.
Museum admission is $9.50. Children under 2 will be admitted for free. All memberships include unlimited admission.