Above & Beyond in Northwest Arkansas: Metro Appliances & More

Above and Beyond, Cox

Last month we launched a new category for the website called “Above & Beyond in Northwest Arkansas.” This category features stories about local companies doing extraordinary things for our corner of the state.

metro appliances and more logo 680As mothers, we know loyalty counts, so we pay attention to companies who are loyal to customers and the communities in which they do business. This month we’re shining a light on the long list of things Metro Appliances & More does for non-profit organizations and schools in Northwest Arkansas. Here’s a glimpse of what’s going on behind-the-scenes at Metro.

Children Advocacy Center Sky Dive – Metro sponsored a local skydiver to raise money for  the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County. Check out the jump picture!

Sky Dive photo1690Veteran’s Memorial – Metro made a large donation towards the construction of a Veteran’s Memorial in honor of Pea Ridge VFW Post 8109.  The post provides assistance to schools and local veterans as needed.

Ronald McDonald House Charity — Metro donated ALL of the kitchen appliances for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of ARKOMA in Fort Smith, Rogers and the new house in Fayetteville. Check out how good the appliances look in their new Ronald McDonald home:

Ronald McDonald house1Ronald McDonald House Charities Celebrity Chef Throwdown — Metro sponsored this event and provided the cooking appliances for the celebrity chefs from NWA, which raised money for RMHC.

AquaHawgs Swim Team — Metro was the Presenting Sponsor for the swim team’s Bingo Night and is an ongoing volunteer and helps with financial support.

Granny’s Quilts of Love — Metro served as a sponsor of this project.

Kirksey Middle School Fun Night — Metro was the Photo Booth Sponsor for this school fundraiser.

NWA Mom Prom — Metro donated a washer and dryer set to the 2015 NWA Mom Prom charity raffle, which raised money for a local non-profit group called Saving Grace, which gives young women who have aged out of the foster care system an affordable place to live plus mentoring, job preparation training, spiritual support and more.

Monetary donations — Metro has given financial contributions to organizations including  the Children’s Safety Center, First Friends Craft Pint for Half Pints, Rogers High School and product donations for the Prairie Grove High School.

We’re sending out a huge thank you to Metro Appliances & More for their ongoing support of non-profits, schools and kids’ sports teams in Northwest Arkansas. We’re so proud to have you as a sponsor of nwaMotherlode.com.

Speaking of HUGE, have you seen the new building that Metro will be moving into soon? It’s enormous, and we can’t wait to give you a sneak peek inside the new store. Watch for that info coming in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here’s a shot of the new Metro location, which you can see from Interstate 49. It’s so pretty at night!

metro at nightDo you know of or work for a company in Northwest Arkansas that is going “above and beyond” to help give back to our community? If so, click HERE to send us an email about it. We may feature that company in an upcoming post for “Above & Beyond in NWA.”

Cox is the sponsor of “Above & Beyond in NWA,” a series of articles highlighting a wide range of local companies doing great things for those in need in our communities. The company believes that the assistance it offers to local charities is vital to the success of the company and the enrichment of the communities it serves in Arkansas.































New Jones Center fitness center opens, offers free access for a week

Jones Center fitness center

To celebrate the opening of the new Tyson Foods Fitness Center, the Jones Center is giving everyone in the community FREE access to the fitness center from Tuesday, May 30th, to Sunday, June 4th, to try it out. Mark your calendars so you can enjoy all the new goodies with zero cost!

What’s new:

The fitness center has tripled in size and they’ve added a hot yoga studio, more machines and new free weight options. This is a state-of-the-art facility located inside The Jones Center in downtown Springdale. Fitness memberships start at $90/year or a payment plan of just $8/month.

The Jones Center gymnasium is a multi-use complex including a full size basketball/volleyball court, aerobics/dance and gymnastics studio, four-lane walking/jogging track and locker rooms with showers.

The Fitness Center is located on the Center’s main level. The facility features all new equipment including cardio machines, Cybex strength machines, Synergy and a variety of dumb bells and medicine balls.

Click here for more info on the Facebook event page. Click here to visit the Jones Center website.

Summer Activities Spotlight: Parrot Island

Editors’ note: Parrot Island is a sponsor in the featured section of our 2017 Northwest Arkansas Summer Camps & Activities Guide. This story offers additional information about the camps and contact info.

Parrot Island Summer Activity SpotlightParrot Island Waterpark in Fort Smith will officially open for the summer season on Friday, May 26th.


The Parrot Island Outdoor Waterpark is located at Ben Geren Park, which also offers outdoor activities like miniature golf, go karts, playground equipment, outdoor picnic areas and pavilions, softball and soccer fields, tennis courts, a 1 ½ mile fitness and circuit walking trail, two 18-hole disk golf courses, over eight miles of paved bike trails, 11 miles of mountain bike trails, and a 27-hole county golf course.

Prices and Special discounts: 

New this year are 2 options for season passes:

Blue Season Passes are as low as $53 for the entire season during the sale and include unlimited admission during regular operating hours all season long.

Gold Season Pass Parrot Island200Gold Season Passes offer numerous added benefits, and are as low as $71 during the sale.  In addition to unlimited admission all season long, Gold Season Passes also include:

  • 10 early admission dates
  • admission to all six of the new Dark Waters nights
  • and Bring A Friend For Free on all holiday weekends during the season
  • special savings on concessions, retail merchandise, and cabana rentals

Season Passes are available for sale (until May 13th at the discounted prices listed above) at the Parrot Island Waterpark ticket office, located at 7300 Zero Street in Ben Geren Park Fort Smith, or by phone at 479-788-6550 Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (After May 13, 2017, prices return to the regular rate of $59 for a Blue Season Pass and $79 for a Gold Season Pass.)

One-day admission price is $15 for kids over 48 inches tall. For kids under 48 inches in height, it’s only $10. Children age 3 and under are free. (Non-swimmer adults can go in to supervise their kids for $5.)

Water park attractions:

Parrot Island has it all — lazy river, activity pools, slides, and the area’s only wave pool!

PIWP KidSlideThe “splashtacular” pools include:

Caribbean Splash Wave Pool-Jump: Play and swim among “tidal” waves in 85,000 gallons of water in the region’s only wave pool.

Crocodile Creek Lazy River: Enjoy hours of carefree fun floating down a 500 foot lazy river with a tropical waterfall and surprises along the way.

Toucan’s Cove Activity Pool: 250,000 gallons of aquatic fun connected to Crocodile Creek. Lily pads, basketball courts, and more provide for aquatic fun.

Tiny Turtle Island Pool and Splash Area: Short in depth but long on fun. Tiny tots can climb, splash, slide and play to their heart’s content in the dedicated children’s area.

Slides for all ages:

Three Twisting, Turning Thrill Slides:

• Pelican Plunge-The most extreme slide twists & turns for over 265 feet, including “translucent” bands along the way.

• Tangerine Twist- From 35 feet off the ground, riders flow almost 200 feet on a twisting track to the plunge pool below.

• Blue Macaw – This open-top slide is a gentle glide along a 200 foot path from 30 feet in the air to the plunge pool below.

Heart Stopping Speed Plunge Slide:

• Pineapple Plunge-40 foot high Speed Plunge Slide drops you at a 45 degree angle 135 feet to the gentle run out below.

Four Slides for Tiny Tots:

• Double the Fun – The double slide offers side-by-side sliding fun.

• Red & Twisted – The red slide offers gentle twists & turns for little ones.

• Gentle Green – Straight and short, but long on fun.

• Cool Blue – It’s tallest slide for little ones with a curved glide to the water below.

Separate areas for little and big kids:

PIWP GirlPlayingBig kids love the thrilling slides and Toucan’s Cove with water activities galore.

Little ones love Tiny Turtle Island … it is so cute and has really fun tot-sized slides and play features. Everyone loves the wave pool and lazy river.

Water park size:

Parrot Island has over 370,000 gallons of water fun for all ages.

There are also lots of free deck and lounge chairs, great grass lawns for playing and lounging, tables & umbrellas for snacking, both single and double water tubes, and they do have showers and lockers, a Tiki Hut gift shop, and cabanas available for rent.

Party spaces:

Parrot Island offers a low-maintenance birthday party experience because staffers do all the work so you don’t have to hassle with setting up, cleaning up, getting the food, etc.

Here are the two birthday packages:

THE ISLAND BLAST PARTY (All-day “wet and wild fun” with Dining Package)

  • Waterpark Admission for 10 Guests
  • Waterpark Admission for Two Supervising Adults
  • Birthday Honoree FREE with a Special Surprise from us!
  • A Slice of Pizza or Hot Dog for Each Birthday Guest
  • Special Party Pavilion with Host for 90 Minutes  (Plus…Your Parrot Island Party Host will attend to all your needs, including set up & clean up)
  • Unlimited Beverage during Party Pavilion Time

Weekdays $189 / Weekends $229

Additional Attendees: $15 per person weekdays $18 per person weekends

THE SPLASHTACULAR PARTY  (All-day “wet and wild fun” with Beverage Package)

  • Waterpark admission for 10 Guests
  • Waterpark Admission for Two Supervising Adults
  • Birthday Honoree FREE with a Special Surprise from us!
  • Special Party Pavilion with Host for 90 Minutes  (Plus…Your Parrot Island Party Host will attend to all your needs, including set up & clean up)
  • Unlimited Beverage during Party Pavilion Time

Weekdays $159/Weekends $199

Additional Attendees: $12 per person Weekdays $15 per person Weekends

Snack bar:

The Island Breeze Snack Shop has all the kid favorites like pizza, hot dogs, burgers and chicken fingers, and salads, too. There is also ice cream and frozen treats, slushies, and soft drinks.

For more information about Parrot Island Waterpark, click here to visit their website. If you want to like them on Facebook to stay on top of what’s up in real time, click here!

PIWP KidsFloating















Sponsor Spotlight: Thaden School

beacon690Hey, mamas! We’re guessing you’ve heard the name Thaden School mentioned lately. Named for a Bentonville native and famous female aviator, Thaden is a new private school being built in Bentonville. A newly released artist rendering of one of the buildings on Thaden’s new campus is pictured above.  This school is shaping up to be a completely new concept for Northwest Arkansas and will open its doors to the first Thaden students this fall. (Applications for admission are being accepted now.)

Thaden Clayton Marsh roundWe recently had the opportunity to interview school officials and find out more about Thaden’s campus, curriculum, class sizes and more. (Founding Head of School Clayton Marsh moved to Arkansas from New Jersey where he served as Deputy Dean of College at Princeton University.) Hope the info below helps you as you’re making plans for your kids’ next school year.

When will Thaden School open and how big will the school be?

We will open in the fall of 2017 with grades 7 and 9 and grow incrementally over the next four years to serve students in grades 6 through 12. We expect that enrollment in each grade will not be greater than 60 students during our first two years. We continue to welcome applications on a rolling basis for fall 2017 so families should definitely contact us if they have a child who may be interested in joining our founding classes.

Thaden is described as an “independent” school. What does that mean?

The independent school concept is fairly new to Bentonville and this region. The key difference is that an independent school, as a private, nonprofit entity, sets its own mission and is governed by its own board of directors. While Thaden will be accredited by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), we are not required to prepare students for state-mandated standardized assessments. We will have considerable freedom to shape our curriculum and learning goals in ways that advance our mission:

To provide a balanced and challenging education that ignites in our students a passion for discovery and learning, prepares them to succeed in college, and inspires them to lead lives of integrity, purpose, and responsible global citizenship.

We will also select our students through an admissions process that is aligned with this mission.

How will Thaden School be different than other schools in the area? What will the class sizes be?

Thaden has been very intentional about creating a sense of openness and connection to Northwest Arkansas. These goals can be seen in our indexed tuition program that makes the education accessible, a campus design that integrates the school into the fabric of its surrounding neighborhood, a curriculum that carries students off campus to examine issues of local relevance, and events and programs that welcome the community into the life of the school.Thaden logo

Small classes averaging 15 students will be a defining feature of a Thaden education. Small classes allow teachers to provide individual instruction and tailor their lessons to their students’ distinct personalities, talents, and interests. When classes are small, students are also more likely to participate actively, and teachers are able to recognize and celebrate their efforts and achievements.

How will the location and construction of the school play a part in the educational process for students attending during the first two years?

Our location in the heart of downtown Bentonville’s Market District allows us to tap into a rich variety of cultural and educational resources such as Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and its new contemporary art center; Brightwater, the new culinary arts program at Northwest Arkansas Community College; the Scott Family Amazeum; and the Bentonville Public Library. In addition, our signature programs will leverage the nearby regional trail system.

During our first two years, we will run our programs in a combination of temporary and permanent structures (including an athletic field) located on a portion of our 30-acre campus. We will actively look for opportunities to integrate the design and construction of the campus into the curriculum so students can understand and take part in the process of creating their school.

Sustainability will also be a tangible part of a Thaden education: we will weave reclaimed materials and structures into the fabric of the school, and design the campus in ways that will give students hands-on opportunities to minimize their environmental impact. The campus and its instructional spaces, indoors and outdoors, will themselves be teachers that spark curiosity, inspire creativity, and invite reflection.

Thaden_Water Lab 690Do students have to live in Bentonville to attend Thaden?

No, we will assemble a dynamic and diverse community of students from across the entire region. We see great educational value in bringing together students – and faculty – who bring many different perspectives, interests, and talents to the table.

How much will it cost for my child to attend Thaden and what is an “indexed tuition”? Is financial aid available?

Our indexed tuition program makes a Thaden education more affordable to families from a wide variety of economic backgrounds. Rather than charging all families the same tuition, we determine an individualized tuition based on a family’s available resources.

All families, including those that pay the maximum tuition, will pay less than the full cost of a Thaden education because many of our expenses, including those associated with the design and construction of our campus, are heavily subsidized through philanthropic contributions. Tuition payments will be used primarily to recruit and retain our talented faculty and maintain small student-teacher ratios. For the 2017-18 school year, our tuition index ranges from $500 to $23,700 for the middle school (grade 7) and from $500 to $24,800 for the upper school (grade 9).

What is a “trimester” system, and how does a “block” schedule differ from schedules seen at most public schools?

Twelve-week trimesters allow our middle and upper school students to take a greater number of courses in a given year, enabling them to explore more disciplines and subjects. Our trimester calendar also gives teachers more opportunities to diversify their offerings and innovate with new subjects and teaching methods. For one week at the end of the second and third trimesters, during what we are calling an “Intensive,” our students will alter their routine to work with faculty, fellow students, and community members (artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs) to apply what they’ve learned to various projects of local and global significance.

clockClasses will generally meet for 75-minute “blocks” rather than the 50-minute periods that are standard among many high schools. This schedule better supports intensive, problem-based inquiry as well as community-based and experiential work that takes place outside of the classroom or off campus.

Our academic calendar will begin on or near the same date as most public and charter schools in Northwest Arkansas, and will be aligned with sports seasons, national holidays, and traditional breaks.

Will Thaden offer athletic programs or have athletic teams?

We aim in the founding years to field at least two interscholastic teams each season. Fall options may include cross country, mountain biking, and soccer; winter options will likely include wrestling and basketball; and spring options could include track and field, road racing (cycling), and lacrosse. Intramural and club sports will also be available and may include archery, volleyball, rugby, dance, tennis, and orienteering.

Students will also have opportunities to establish and lead a number of clubs and other organizations, such as a school newspaper, yearbook, cooking club, rock ensemble, or robotics team. As Thaden grows, the offerings of our co-curricular programs will also expand.

Louise ThadenWhat is the significance of the school’s name?

We have named our school after Iris Louise McPhetridge Thaden (1905-1979). Born and raised in Bentonville, she was a proud Arkansan and one of the greatest aviators of her time. She won the first all-women’s transcontinental race against her friend Amelia Earhart and other star pilots of the era. Her pioneering and innovative spirit – at once regional and global in its orientation – inspire our efforts to create a school that gives students roots and wings, enabling them to build strong foundations and reach new heights as they pursue their dreams and make their futures.

For more info about our newest nwaMotherlode sponsor, Thaden School, click here to visit the website or the Facebook page. You’ll find more in-depth information about Thaden’s faculty by clicking here. You can also reach the school by calling 479-268-5321 or send an email by clicking here.

Thaden_Northwest Corner 690












Friday 5 Sponsor Spotlight: Meet the owner of Black Apple Crossing + see upcoming events

BAX patioBlack Apple Crossing (BAX) in downtown Springdale is the new sponsor of our super-popular Friday 5 series.

Leo Orpin, black apple crossingEach Friday, we bring you some of the most family-friendly events happening in Northwest Arkansas that upcoming weekend. And we’ve also started adding a few date night options at the bottom of the post from BAX as well!

Now, let’s get to know the owner of Black Apple Crossing, Leo Orpin:

What inspired you to open the state’s first cidery? 

My business partners Trey Holt and John Handley and I home brewed as a hobby. Our favorites to make were English style ales and ciders. We decided to make our hobby a business and by the time we did our friends and family encouraged us to pursue and pioneer cider rather than open another brewery.

What are your most popular cider drinks? 

Currently our balanced Ozark based 1904 is our best seller but our newest hibiscus infused cider the Cardinal Kiss is gaining in popularity.

We just released our newest pineapple cider: Upside Down! This tropical treat will be great for drinking on the patio this summer.

BAX drink

How long has Black Apple Crossing been open?

 We opened in July of 2015 so it will be two years this summer.

Tell us about your weekly events: 

We have trivia night every Monday at 7pm. We have Taco Tuesday featuring dollar tacos from Taqueria Don Guero across the street.

Every Wednesday is Board Game Night.

Then we feature live shows for our Ciderday Night Live series every Friday and Saturday night at 8pm.

BAX pic

How would you describe the “vibe” at the cidery? 

Words that have been used to describe our atmosphere: very relaxed, chill, nostalgic, warm, welcoming. We are also family friendly and pet friendly.

Tell us about your family:

I’m happy to announce my business partner Trey and his wife Kendall just had another little boy named Hayden last week and I am very happy for them. I have a amazing wife named Misty and the coolest stepson named Crey.

What about you? When you’re not dreaming up new cider drinks, what do you enjoy doing? 

I like spending my precious time away from the business with Misty and Crey. I enjoy kayaking, camping, culinary adventuring, playing board games and video games.

What’s on tap this weekend for entertainment at BAX?

BlackAppleNewLogo♦ Friday night (April 21): Hard Cider Boys music at 8 p.m.

♦ Saturday night (April 22): Stand-up/Stay-Up Comedy Show featuring BradChad Porter (free event):

All the way from Oklahoma City, Comedians NWA is proud to present BradChad Porter. BradChad has lived many lives which inform his comedic sensibilities. He has worked as a teacher, a minister, a salesman and for a brief stint the caretaker of a cemetery. Comprised of rich stories and observations delivered with intense conviction, his comedy speaks to the righteous anger and frustration within us all, a response to a world that just doesn’t work like it should.

BradChad has worked with some of the biggest names in comedy, such as Kyle Kinane, Doug Stanhope, Maria Bamford and Paul F. Thompkins just to name a few. BradChad also has comedy album entitled “Yelling at Giants”.

Joing BradChad will be Ryan Trickey from Kansas City. Regularly witty and often ridiculous, Ryan Trickey performs in bars and clubs all across the Midwest. With his raw and honest take on everything from society to the psyche, this Kansas City native demolishes frowns, annihilates relationships, and slays audiences.

And kicking the show off will be Comedians NWA’s Stetson Banks and Zac “Bone Daddy” Slusher. Seating will be limited, so get there early, grab a good seat and enjoy a cider. As always, the Stand-Up/Stay-Up Comedy show is FREE!!

CLICK HERE to visit the BAX Facebook page to stay informed about new events, shows and ciders to enjoy.