Eureka Springs Great Passion Play

The Great Passion Play, Eureka Springs AR

It’s the holiday season once again and Eureka Springs is bustling with festive activity. Those looking for an appropriately themed Christmas attraction would have to range pretty far to outdo The Great Passion Play. The Christian theme park is open all year long but goes all out for Christmas with a variety of popular attractions.

You likely already know about the seven story tall Christ of the Ozarks, located on top of Magnetic Mountain. Both it and The Great Passion Play christian theme park owe their existence to Gerald L. K. Smith, a conservative politician who retired to Eureka Springs in the 1960’s.

Christ of the Ozarks was Smith’s first big project in the area and it remains one of the most popular. His next idea was even more radical: a live-action, Christian theme park. The attraction opened in 1968 and continues to draw thousands of visitors to Eureka Springs every year.

Visiting The Great Passion Play

The Great Passion Play theme park is home to a variety of Christian-themed attractions.

The most popular attraction, of course, is The Passion Play itself. This hour-and-forty-five minute presentation of the Christ’s last week of mortal life is presented on a multi-level set with special effects, live animals, and a cast of 170 actors. The play is performed several times a week each month, May to October, with special performances around Easter and Christmas. While the play is truly stunning and absorbing it’s not all you’ll find to see and do at the park. Not by a long shot!

The Great Passion Play, Eureka Springs AR

The Holy Land Tour is another extremely popular park attraction, allowing you to step back in time to experience the people and places of the Bible first-hand. The Holy Land Tour includes such sights as the Tabernacle in the Wilderness and an opportunity to meet and speak with actors representing biblical characters.

The Sacred Arts Center is home to over 1,000 works of art, some of which date back to the ninth century. The Bible Museum contains more than 6,000 bibles in over 600 different languages. You can also hike or mountain bike the park trails, some of which lead to the base of the Christ of the Ozarks.

Other attractions include a history museum, backstage tours, screenings of God With Us: New Testament film, gift shops, dining, and more.

Christmas at the Park

The Great Passion Play goes all out for the Christmas season with two, special holiday attractions.

The first is a Christmas Drive-Through Light Display with over 250 Christmas trees and dozens of nativities leading to the Christ of the Ozarks statue, which will also be lit. The drive-through light display is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from Thanksgiving night through January 1st, 2023.

The second special attraction is the annual Christmas Snow Village with Trains display, the largest display of its kind in the south! The exhibit includes over 300 buildings, 3 0 scale trains, an 0 scale trolley, and a Polar Express train. Such tiny details! The Christmas Snow Village with Trains will also be open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from Thanksgiving through January 1st, 2023.

Christ Of The Ozarks at Christmas

Other park attractions open during this season include the Holy Land Tour, museums, and Backstage Tour. Visit the park online for more details.

The Great Passion Play is open 9am to 5pm all year-round, excepting Sundays, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas. ​Christ of the Ozarks and the park trails are open sunrise to an hour after sunset, 365 days a year.

Best of all, The Great Passion Play is located less than a half-hour’s drive from Sugar Ridge Resort! Spend a couple of hours or more at the park, then it’s an easy and scenic drive back to the comforts of your Beaver Lake cabin or suite.

Happy Holidays!

Discover Beautiful Thorncrown Chapel

Thorncrown Chapel

If unique and beautiful architecture in a truly sublime setting sounds like something you’d enjoy, we recommend a visit to Thorncrown Chapel. The stunningly crafted architectural marvel is nestled in the woods, just 15 minutes from Sugar Ridge Resort.

Visitors to the Beaver Lake Eureka Springs area will find no end of attractions and activities to keep them occupied. Outdoor adventure like boating, fishing, and hiking, along with some of the region’s best art, food, fun, shopping, sightseeing, and more.

The area is home to lots of unique sights and attractions, as well. Natural caverns, springs, and rock formations, along with the fascinating works of man. Things like historic downtown Eureka Springs, Christ of the Ozarks, and Quigley’s Castle. In this latter category, nothing is quite as affecting or beautiful as Thorncrown Chapel.

Thorncrown Chapel

Thorncrown Chapel is located at 12968 Highway 62 West, just outside Eureka Springs, AR, a 15 minute drive from our Beaver Lake cabins.

Thorncrown Chapel interior design

The chapel, built in 1980 by E. Fay Jones, stands on a narrow, wooded shelf on a north slope of the Ozarks. Landowner Jim Reed contracted Jones, who apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright, to create a structure that would attract passer-by to worship.

The chapel is simple, yet enchantingly majestic and considered one of the finest religious spaces of modern times. Many think the structure is open to the air when they first see it. That’s because the chapel walls are glass. 425 separate sheets, in fact, comprising over six thousand square feet of glass!

The rest of the chapel, with little exception, was constructed using materials taken from the local wilderness. The intricate and mostly wooden structure rises forty-eight feet up into the forest canopy. The foundation uses more than 100 tons of native stone, topped with colored flagstone, allowing it to blend seamlessly into its surroundings. Inside, angular beams support the peaked roof with perfect, interlocking symmetry.

It truly is a sight to be seen. No matter your personal beliefs, its beauty is universal.

Thorncrown Chapel is open March through November, 9am to 5pm, with occasional closings for special events. Sunday services are 9am and 11am, April through October. November through the third week in December, 11am only. Services last approximately one hour. Everyone is welcome.

Learn more by visiting the chapel online at thorncrown.com. You can also find the chapel on Facebook.