10 Mind-Blowing Facts About Arkansas You Won’t Believe

Written by Maura Hoff
Published: February 25, 2024
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Established in 1836, Arkansas is one of the 50 states that form the United States. With a population of just over three million, many Americans choose to live in this beautiful southern state. Arkansas is a popular place to visit for outdoor enthusiasts, boasting a lush forest landscape and scenic mountain views. Read on to learn mind-blowing facts about Arkansas as you plan your trip down south.

1. Arkansas was known as the “Bear State.”

Black bear eating buffalo berries

A large population of Louisiana black bears live in Arkansas.

©Bob Hilscher/Shutterstock.com

Arkansas used to be home to a large population of Louisiana black bears. Because of the number of bears that lived in the area, Arkansas earned the nickname the “bear state.” Today, the population of black bears in Arkansas has decreased, and people now refer to it as the “Natural State.” 

2. There are approximately 11.8 billion trees in Arkansas.

One of the top facts about Arkansas is more than half of the state is covered in trees.

©Tammo2011 / CC0 1.0 - License

Trees and forests cover more than half of the state of Arkansas. As of 2021, 56% of Arkansas contains 18.9 million acres of forest. This is equivalent to 11.7 billion trees! The different types of trees throughout Arkansas include pine, oak, hickory, cedar, and bottomland hardwood. Many people enjoy traveling to Arkansas to enjoy the forested lands and nature.

3. The largest diamond ever found in the U.S. was in Arkansas.

Discovered in Arkansas, the nickname for the largest diamond found in the United States is Uncle Sam.

©Bjoern Wylezich/Shutterstock.com

Did you know the largest diamond ever found in the United States is from Arkansas? Discovered in Pike County, AR, in 1924, scientists nicknamed the diamond “Uncle Sam.” Eventually, investors bought the farm where the diamond came from and turned it into a commercial mining property. Today, the site is Crater of Diamonds State Park.

4. Cheese dip was invented in Arkansas.

Spicy Homemade Cheesey Queso Dip with Tortilla Chips

Blackie Donnelly invented the condiment cheese dip in 1935 in Arkansas.

©Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.com

An Arkansas resident invented the condiment cheese dip in 1935. Blackie Donnelly owned Mexico Chiquito, a local Mexican restaurant, and introduced the beloved condiment to his customers. Since then, cheese dip has taken the nation by storm and is now a popular food for parties and gatherings. Another interesting fact about Arkansas is that Little Rock hosts the annual World Cheese Dip Championship.

5. Hot Springs National Park is in Arkansas.

Hot Water Cascade, Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs National Park became an official park in 1921 in Arkansas.

©Bram Reusen/Shutterstock.com

Located in central Arkansas, Hot Springs National Park covers over 5,000 acres of Arkansas land. Established in 1921, Hot Springs National Park is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts interested in natural hot springs. The springs have been used for therapeutic practices for generations. Today, the park includes thermal pools, bathhouses, and other relaxing thermal waters for visitors to enjoy.

6. The largest ostrich farm in the United States was in Arkansas.

Mother Ostrich ahead of chicks

The ostrich is one of the fastest animals in the world.

©nomis_g/iStock via Getty Images

Back in the early 20th century, visitors flocked to Hot Springs National Park to access the thermal waters. Taking advantage of the high amount of tourists, Thomas A. Cockburn created an Ostrich Farm with more than 300 ostriches for people to visit. The birds were available for viewing, raced, pulled small carts, and also gave rides to children.

7. Today, Arkansas is nicknamed the Natural State.

Many people call Arkansas the Natural State because of the abundant forests and wildlife.

©Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.com

Today, people call Arkansas the “Natural State,” the official nickname of the state. The nickname reflects the natural beauty and abundant forests that cover the state. Also, it was an attempt to increase tourism and advertise to outdoor enthusiasts. The goal was to help boost the state’s economy.

8. The ‘Duck Capital of the World’ is in Arkansas.

Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos, wild duck in the flight

The Duck Capital of the World is in Stuttgart, AR.

©Maciej Olszewski/Shutterstock.com

A top fact about Arkansas is that it is home to the “Duck Capital of the World.” Stuttgart, AR, produces more rice than any other state in the United States. Because of this, ducks stop in the area during migration to eat the rice. Today, many hunters enjoy visiting Stuttgart to hunt the different duck species that migrate through the area. In addition, Stuttgart is home to the annual World Duck Calling Championships.

9. The Ozark National Forest covers over one million acres.

Autumn sunset with fall foliage in the Ozark mountains of Oklahoma and Arkansas

The Ozark National Forest is located in northwestern Arkansas.

©Rajesh Jyothiswaran/Shutterstock.com

Many people travel to Arkansas to visit the Ozark National Forest. Located in the northwestern part of Arkansas, the Ozark National Forest is arguably one of the most picturesque places in the entire state. Visitors enjoy recreational activities like hiking, camping, kayaking, fishing, and more. Also, guests can take advantage of horseback riding opportunities throughout the park.

10. The Arkansas state capital was named after a little rock.

The little rock used for navigation in 1722 inspired the state capital, Little Rock, AR.

©Alexander Lukatskiy/Shutterstock.com

Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas. Many people don’t realize that the town’s name actually comes from a little rock. In 1722, French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe used the rock as a navigational resource. The name caught on, and the rest is history. Today, Little Rock is home to almost 202,000 residents.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Rashmiranjan Parida/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Maura Hoff is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is dogs, travel, and hiking. She has been writing for over 10 years and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Pennsylvania State University in 2016. When Maura isn't writing, she spends time with her husband and two Golden Retrievers, Basil and Sunny, in the Colorado mountains. Her passions are cooking, reading, music, and quoting her favorite show, The Office.

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