Little Rock sits on the south bank of the Arkansas River with the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains to the west, the Ozark Mountains to the north, and the flat lowlands of the Mississippi River Valley to the east. This beautiful region offers outdoor enthusiasts year-round adventures. Scenic rivers and crystal clear lakes provide world-class fishing and superb boating, while lush forests and grassy plains offer great hunting, camping and award-winning hiking trails. The new Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Little Rock, which opens Nov. 13, will outfit those who enjoy Arkansas’ natural resources in a store that perfectly reflects the Natural State’s landscapes and lifestyles.
The 100,000-square-foot Little Rock Bass Pro Shops, located at 1 Bass Pro Drive, is a tribute to Arkansas’ rugged beauty and abundant wildlife, and it offers something for everyone who enjoys the outdoors, whether it’s camping, fishing, hunting, boating, and more. It is scheduled to open Wednesday, Nov. 13, after a ribbon-cutting ceremony that begins at 6 p.m.
The store’s imagery, murals, and displays reflect the region’s varying geography, wildlife and waterfowl. From bluff outcroppings and sparkling waterfalls to distant mountains and wooded hills; rich farmland to delta marshes; from deer and hogs, bobcats and turkeys, elk and ducks—all find their place inside the store.
Bass Pro Shops – Store, Museum, Art Gallery, Entertainment and More
Bass Pro Shops’ uniquely designed, award-winning stores are often considered to be part museum, art gallery, antique store and aquarium, and centers for conservation education and fun. They also offer the area’s largest selection of high-quality outdoor gear as well as a staff of dedicated professionals who promote the outdoor lifestyle and live it as well. In fact, Bass Pro Shops has been voted best in delivering service excellence two years in a row by J.D. Power and Associates.
Using many area artifacts, antiques, period pictures, state record wildlife mounts and memorabilia, the store becomes a living museum of the region and its hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor legacies.
Learn About Bass Pro Shops Dedication to Conservation
Since the beginning, Bass Pro Shops’ Founder Johnny Morris has been dedicated to inspiring people, especially youth and families, to love, enjoy and conserve the great outdoors. That commitment, demonstrated over the course of several decades, is a big reason why Bass Pro Shops is known as the outdoor industry’s corporate conservation leader. Bass Pro Shops’ has partnered with and supports the efforts of many organizations that work to conserve and manage the nation’s natural resources. The company’s key conservation initiatives include fish and wildlife habitat improvements, conservation and outdoor skills education, improving water quality and quality of our lakes and springs, and conservation advocacy.
The Conservation Partner Wall, which is located near the checkouts at the Little Rock Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, reflects that commitment to conservation with a display showcasing the logos of national conservation groups that Bass Pro Shops partners with.
“The people of our company believe very strongly that the future of our industry, the sports we serve, and the sports we personally enjoy are absolutely more dependent upon how we manage our natural resources than anything else,” said Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris. “It is far more important than any catalog we mail, any new store we open, or any new product our vendor creates.”
Decorating With Nature in Mind
Hand-painted murals wrap the store’s interior and depict familiar scenes of the region. One gets the sense of traveling through Arkansas’ landscape as the murals transport the viewer through a series of panoramic vistas—all beautifully replicated with the stroke of an artist’s brush. Through the use of special lighting techniques, the murals take on a living, breathing quality.
- In the main entrance, customers are greeted by a display of Arkansas hogs, waterfowl, deer, turkey, bear and mountain lions. In the grand hall, murals display elk walking through a hemmed in hollow and elk bedded down near a rural farm.
- A wall in the camping department depicts an expansive sunset scene with distant mountains, tree-covered hills, and a waterfall cascading down a bluff outcropping.
- Another mural in the hunting department shows wooded hills awash in fall color and highlights turkey and deer. Dioramas show turkey in their native woodlands. In addition, quail are seen flying out of a thicket and being chased by coyotes.
- In the footwear department, a mural exhibits a golden sunrise over a delta with mallards, pintails and green-winged teal taking off from a grassy marsh.
- Customers are treated to a collection of world-record white-tailed deer mounts in a typical cabin setting in the archery department. Vintage photos and antique gear highlight the area’s original sportsmen and women
The murals are unique in the fact that what starts out many times as a simple painting extends into an actual fish or wildlife mount or some other property creating a 3D effect.
A large stone fireplace complements the lodge-like setting in the lobby. A majestic, museum-quality full-body elk mounts sits on top of the fireplace. In addition, shoulder mount trophies of many species grace the walls.
A 27,000-gallon freshwater aquarium is a focal point of the store and features a backdrop of a 3-D diorama and mural that displays a mountainscape at Hawksbill Crag with elk and a bear. The aquarium will be stocked with more than 150 fish native to the area such as largemouth bass, white bass, sunfish, black/white crappie, channel catfish, longnose gar, bowfin, walleye, freshwater drum, bigmouth buffalo and more.
Wildlife Exhibits Showcase Arkansas Species
Museum quality wildlife exhibits and dioramas are seen throughout the store. At any moment visitors could expect to come upon a bed of resting deer, a flock of turkeys, wandering elk or wild hogs foraging.
Ducks of the delta flyway—canvasback, wood duck, redhead, mallard, northern pintail, and green-winged teal—all are scattered throughout the exhibits and imagery of the store.
Bass Pro Shops’ dedication to detail is evident wherever visitors look as artisans work to create a visual style unique to that store, including handcrafted ornate metal fire screen doors, iron railings, sconces and more.
The Merchandise Matches Local Shoppers’ Needs
But the attention to detail doesn’t stop with store design and imagery elements. The same consideration is given to merchandise selection. Visitors will have the area’s largest array of freshwater rods, reels and fishing accessories to choose from – all specially selected for the area.
The White River Fly Shop, featuring antique and collectible fly fishing memorabilia, has a vast selection of the latest in fly fishing gear. Experts will continue the art of hand-tying flies on site and assisting customers in making the perfect selection.
In the hunting department, customers will find an equally impressive array of hunting clothing and gear while the archery department offers a bow set-up shop.
More than a hunting and fishing store, visitors also will find items perfect for camping, hiking, outdoor cooking, bird watching or whatever their outdoor pleasures may be. A gift and nature center offers a variety of items such as:
- Bird feeders
- Home decorating items
- Gifts for the holidays
- Cooking accessories such as cookbooks, spices, grills, and jerky making items.
A wide selection of men’s and women’s footwear and apparel, featuring popular brands including Columbia, North Face, and RedHead, are also available.
Bradford Marine, an authorized Tracker Marine boat center, displays a full range of boats from Tracker Marine, the world’s largest manufacturer of fishing boats. From big water boats to small fishing boats, canoeing and even kayaking, customers will find exactly what they need to have fun on the water with selections from Tracker, Nitro, Tahoe, Sun Tracker, Mako and more.
Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World has hired 250 associates from the Little Rock area. In addition, the store will offer free outdoor skills workshops for adults, kids and families that will help maximize outdoor fun by teaching new skills and improving existing ones.
A special Evening for Conservation to help benefit area conservation groups will take place the night before the official grand opening. This exciting, celebrity-packed event is free and open to the public. Information regarding this event will be available soon. For more information regarding the Little Rock Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World visit http://www.basspro.com/littlerock.
Images courtesy Arkansas History Commission/ Bass Pro Shops