Educational and fun “worst-case scenario” – The Free Weekly

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Don’t call it an escape room, says Terri Trotter, president and CEO of the Jones Center, of the new immersive exhibit at the JTL Shop in downtown Springdale. “It’s not like that at all.

“The worst-case scenario survival experience” is, she says, “best described as an interactive ‘survival challenge’. It is a full body, “hands-on, mental” experience that includes both games and learning activities and a portion of obstacle courses and physical activities. »

What she hopes this will accomplish is easier to explain.

“Our goal with the exhibit, in addition to families having fun, is to activate new spaces on our campus and add more activity to downtown Springdale. And we want people to have fun and hopefully learn something.

Trotter is well known in the northwest Arkansans, having been at the Walton Arts Center for 15 of his formative years, starting in communications and ending as chief operating officer. She left in 2014 to lead the Sun Valley (Idaho) Center for the Arts, an organization that, in addition to showcasing many different artists and groups, also had a professional production theater and art museum. contemporary. Then it moved in 2016 to the Midland (Mich.) Center for the Arts, which included “theaters (1,500 and 400 seats) where we presented everything from Broadway tours to speakers to artists from around the world ; museums (art, history and science); and a rehearsal/gathering space”, as well as running the Midland Symphony Orchestra and producing a regular season of community theatre.

So Trotter returned to northwest Arkansas, armed with everything she needed to push the Jones Center – opened in October 1995 as the Jones Center for Families by philanthropist Bernice Jones, widow of the founder from Jones Truck Lines, Harvey Jones – to a new level.

“It is a flagship Springdale entity, and as Springdale continues to grow and evolve, I know the Jones organization can be at the forefront of working together to strengthen efforts, he said. she said in January, when she announced her new job. “Above all, I view the Jones Center as a key partner and collaborator in continuing to develop Springdale and northwest Arkansas as one of the most desirable places to live and work in the nation.

“Furthermore, the Jones Center is committed to inclusion and diversity and to being a place where everyone feels welcome. There is an incredible legacy, and I look forward to working with the team to continue to build and evolve the organization.

‘Worst case scenario’

“In my previous role, I ran an interactive science museum, and we often had traveling exhibits,” Trotter explains. “This show came from a company I’ve worked with in the past, and the dates and times lined up for us to bring it to Springdale. This is a new exhibit – it premiered in 2019 just before the pandemic – so I liked that we could be one of the first places to make it available to people.

As Trotter describes it, “There are two types of activities in the exhibit: Hall of Fame exhibits and Survival Gym challenge activities. The Hall of Fame introduces guests to the stories of real-world survivors – first responders, wildlife rescuers, psychologists, physical trainers and everyday people – through artifacts, photographs and video. The Survival Gym is where guests tackle unexpected – but possible – real-life scenarios, such as defusing a bomb, jumping off a train, landing on a plane, escaping from a sinking car and outsmart a variety of angry animals, with lots of fun and excitement along the way.

“In addition to the challenges mentioned above, other experiences include the Germ Tunnel, Lock Picking display, Disguise Display, Storytime with Burt, Flatulence Display, and Climbing Wall,” adds Trotter.

“For visitors to the exhibition, in addition to being a laugh, the exhibition is a STEM-based learning experience that inspires children and adults to reflect and rely on their DIY skills and decision-making,” she continued. “As guests immerse themselves in real-life worst-case scenarios in the Survival Gym, they are encouraged to exercise their creative thinking skills, test their problem-solving accuracy, and approach extreme situations with ingenuity.”

Trotter says guests typically spend 45 to 60 minutes investigating “The Worst Case Scenario,” and with the exhibit open until October 14, “it’s a lot of fun to repeatedly visit.”

Beyond that, it is meant to exemplify the “Jones Center core values ​​– family and community; inclusion; have fun and learn,” says Trotter. “The exhibition is multi-generational and bilingual – Spanish and English – and we have also translated it into Marshallese. It is an opportunity for people to have fun and play physically while learning and being together. Inclusive opportunities are at the core of who we are, so we want people from different backgrounds, different communities, even different states to enjoy!

“The only requirement is a minimum height of 38 inches to enter the ball pit.”

just the beginning

Trotter says “The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Experience” is “representative of the new kind of visitor experience the Jones Center is bringing to families and the community in the heart of downtown Springdale.”

“With amenities like the only indoor skating rink in the area — in fact, one of only two in Arkansas! – and the world-class Runway Bike Park, the Jones Center has long been Northwest Arkansas’ premier destination for recreation, fitness and family learning,” she says. “We are in the process of planning the campus to make it more welcoming, more connected with downtown and bike paths, and more relevant and interactive for people throughout northwest Arkansas. As we grow and develop with downtown Springdale, we will build on our education and outdoor programs, including new opportunities in arts, culture and education for children and adults.

“Activating the exhibit in the newly renovated JTL boutique space makes sense due to its central downtown location,” adds Trotter. “We plan to continue activating different areas of campus, and especially those closest to downtown, with unique programming even after the Expo.”

The Jones Center also has more immediate plans. The first Jones Center Cinema Plus, an outdoor movie and music night, was held on June 17. Trotter hopes the series — which continues July 22 with the animated movie “Soul” — “invites families to experience summer at the Jones Center like never before. and “connects the community through film, food and live entertainment”.

There’s also “a brand new program this summer for teens who are passionate about Broadway and musical theater,” adds Trotter. Broadway Full Out is bringing New York artists from Broadway Imagined to the Jones Center from June 27-30 for “an intensive workshop…open to students in grades nine through 12 and 2022 high school graduates.” Registrations are in progress on

“Plus, we’ll be announcing a series of culinary experiences later in the summer,” Trotter teases. “These are girls’ night out/girls night out type events that offer hands-on dining experiences – as well as eating, socializing and having fun.

“The Jones Center is looking to the future and specifically how best to use our campus – over 50 acres – in downtown Springdale to maximize the value we provide to the community,” concludes Trotter. “There are exciting things happening downtown and evolving activities on our campus and we’re making sure we’re helping to both stimulate and support this unique Springdale growth.”



“Worst Case Scenario”

WHEN — Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 6 p.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. until Oct. 14.

WHERE – The JTL store on Emma Avenue in downtown Springdale

COST — $6 for children 12 and under who are Jones Center members and $8 for children 12 and under who are not members; $10 for adult Jones Center members, $12 for non-member adults; and children 3 and under are admitted free

INFO — Tickets can be purchased in advance at or at the door during exhibit hours. The Jones Center also offers a Summer Fun Membership with discounted access to the exhibit, as well as the Jones Center Aquatic Center and Ice Rink. For more information, contact the Guest and Member Services team at 756-8090.



Jones Center Cinema Plus

“Soul” evening

Starts at 6:30 p.m. on July 22

Live Entertainment: Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society Jazz All-Stars Youth Ensemble, 7:15 p.m.

Activity for children: Make your own jazz-inspired artwork.

Feature film: “Soul”, Disney-Pixar animated (PG)

Night “in the heights”

Starts at 6:30 p.m. on August 12

Live Entertainment: Son Sin Gnero Tropical Latin Band, 6:45 p.m.

Activity for children: Make your own maracas.

Feature Film: “In the Heights”, Live Musical (PG-13)

The outdoor plaza and natural lawn amphitheater is located near the east entrance of the Jones Center (nearest Arkansas 265). Bring blankets and lawn chairs. There will be food and beverage concessions available for purchase.

For more information, visit

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