Travel With Kids: The Great Passion Play

Travel With Kids: The Great Passion Play 1

Hidden away in the rolling green hills of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, you will find an amazing outdoor theatrical production with stunning scenery, a talented cast of 125+ people, live animals, and engaging special effects. The Great Passion Play, which has been called "America's #1 attended outdoor drama," follows the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

The 667-acre property also includes the following attractions:

  • Berlin Wall Section
  • Bible Museum
  • Biblical History Museum
  • Buffet Dinner in The Great Hall ($)
  • Christ of the Ozarks Statue
  • Church in the Grove
  • Cross Prayer Garden
  • Hiking Trails
  • Holy Land Tour ($)
  • In-Depth Tabernacle Teaching ($)
  • Israeli Bomb Shelter
  • Jerusalem Chapel
  • Main Gift Shop ($)
  • Mountain Biking Trails
  • Noah's Ark Park Petting Zoo
  • Playground
  • Pre-Show Performances: The Parables of the Potter and David the Shepherd
  • Sacred Arts Museum
  • Sculptor's Shop ($)
  • Snack Shop Concessions ($)
  • Virtual Reality: The Life of Jesus ($)

* Items denoted with a $ indicate that they are available for an additional fee. All other items are included with your Great Passion Play ticket.

TICKETS TO THE GREAT PASSION PLAY

Tickets to The Great Passion Play can be purchased online:

  • Adult (ages 17+): $30
  • Youth (ages 12-16): $20
  • Child (ages 4-11): $15
  • Family Pass (2 adults and up to 4 children): $90

If you want to add on The Holy Tour and do both the play & the tour, ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adult (ages 17+): $50
  • Youth (ages 12-16): $38
  • Child (ages 4-11): $29
  • Family Pass (2 adults and up to 4 children): $150

If you choose, you can also add on other items for an additional cost, such as a buffet dinner, a backstage tour, an in-depth tabernacle teaching, or a virtual reality tour of the holy land.

Advanced reservations are not currently required for The Great Passion Play, but they are recommended. That being said, advanced reservations are required to tour the Holy Land on days that the play is not performed (year-round).

TIMES AND DATES OF THE GREAT PASSION PLAY

The Great Passion Play is performed on Good Friday & Saturday and also on select nights from May until October. Performances are on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays during June and July. In May, August, September, and October, performances are always on Fridays and Saturdays and sometimes on Tuesdays. Check the full schedule to plan your visit.

The Great Passion Play begins at 8:30pm (7:30pm after August 15). Seating begins at 7:50pm (6:50pm after August 15) after the pre-play performances of the Potter and the Shepherd, which are included with your ticket.

PARKING AT THE GREAT PASSION PLAY

Parking is plentiful at The Great Passion Play. RVs and buses can also be accommodated.

HOLY LAND TOUR

The Holy Land Tour is a 2-hour interactive Biblical teaching tour where you will meet characters from the time of Moses to the time of Christ.

Upon arrival, you board a bus and your driver explains various exhibits as you drive by them. There are five stops along the tour where you will exit the bus to watch a brief presentation by a costumed Biblical character.

According to The Great Passion Play, "each of the individual exhibits in the Holy Land Tour have been
researched for historical accuracy and have been recreated as authentically as possible." The characters themselves do a commendable job of staying in character. For example, when I asked Mary if I could take her picture, she feigned ignorance about such modern inventions. ;)

The five stops on the Holy Land Tour include:

  • Listening to a “Levitical Priest” near a replica of Moses' Tabernacle in the Wilderness
  • Visiting a replica of a first century Inn, typical of the kind where Mary and Joseph may have asked for shelter
  • Standing inside a first century stable typical of where Jesus was born
  • Walking beside the "Sea of Galilee" with Simon Peter as he speaks about his last days with Jesus
  • Visiting the upper room where Jesus and his disciples feasted for the Last Supper

PRE-SHOW PERFORMANCES

Although you can choose to waltz in right before the main stage production starts, we wouldn't recommend it. The pre-show performances, which are included with your ticket purchase, are well worth an early arrival.

There are two different demonstrations that run back-to-back. Performed by talented artists in costumed character, these 20-30 minute shows are infused with Biblical truths and are lovely to behold:

  • David the Shepherd: David talks about how he overcame Goliath and gives a demonstration with an actual shepherd sling. If you are lucky, he might even let you practice with marshmallows! David the Shepherd is performed at 7:00pm (6:00pm after Labor Day) before each Great Passion Play performance.
  • The Potter: As he works the clay, The Potter teaches from inspirational passages of the scriptures, including Jeremiah 18. Parables of the Potter is performed at 7:30pm (6:30pm after Labor Day) before each Great Passion Play performance.

THE GREAT PASSION PLAY

The Great Passion Play itself is a marvelous and memorable experience. The huge open air theatre features a 550-foot-wide, multilevel stage in an outdoor amphitheater which has 4,100 individual seats. You have to see it in-person to truly grasp how large the stage is! The set includes Pontus Pilate's house, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Court of the Sanhedrin, the Upper Room, etc.

The play itself lasts approximately 2 hours and is performed in rain or shine.

CHRIST OF THE OZARKS STATUE

Standing 67 feet hight, the Christ of the Ozarks Statue on property at The Great Passion Play is seven stories high! Constructed in 1966, the statue features a somewhat morose looking Jesus with arms outstretched as if preparing to embrace the viewer in a hug. Free with paid admission.

NOAH'S ARK PARK

Noah's Ark Park is a petting zoo on property at The Great Passion Play where guests can interact with sheep, a pygmy goat, a dog, a llama, miniature horses, chickens, a rabbit, and ducks. If you bring spare change, you can also purchase food to hand-feed the various animals. Free with paid admission.

BUFFET AT THE GREAT PASSION PLAY

There is an all-you-can-eat buffet on-site at The Great Passion Play, which is somewhat reminiscent of a church potluck or a camp dining room. You'll grab a tray, a brightly colored plate, and a plastic cup - and make your way through the buffet lines to fill your plate with chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, string beans, and jello.

Prices are as follows for the Buffet: $16.99 for adults, $15.99 for youth (ages 12-16), and $9.99 for kids (ages 4-11).

Dinner is served from 4:30pm - 7:30pm each day the play is performed (4:00pm - 7:00pm on Good Friday & Saturday and after August 15).

If you have special dietary needs/requests (gluten-free, vegetarian, etc), be sure to call 800-882-7529 prior to your visit and the chef will make something special for you!

THE GREAT PASSION PLAY WITH A BABY OR TODDLER

Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers are certainly welcome at The Great Passion Play. Note that there may be some instances that may be frightening. For example, an actor, who is dressed in black with a corresponding hood, represents Satan. His presence is sometimes accompanied with smoke, fire, and scary sound effects. Note that the crucifixion is not particularly graphic or gruesome and the distance from the stage makes that part of the play less frightening than it could be.

Are there changing tables in the bathrooms at The Great Passion Play?

Yes.

WHAT TO WEAR TO THE GREAT PASSION PLAY

The Great Passion Play is outdoors so it is important to dress for the weather. If the temperature is expected to be high, wear breathable, lightweight clothing and consider bringing a fan and a bottle of ice water.

WHERE TO STAY NEAR THE GREAT PASSION PLAY

For a memorable stay in Eureka Springs, consider Eureka Springs Treehouses, Caves, Castles, and Hobbits (7 minutes away), Beaver Lakefront Cabins (26 minutes away), or Sugar Ridge Resort (28 minutes away).

TIPS FOR THE HOLY LAND TOUR

  • Be sure to check the forecast on the day of your visit and to dress according to the weather. Most of the attractions are outdoors and are not climate-controlled. The buses for the Holy Land Tour are old school buses, which do not have air-conditioning so dress in cool, light layers if the temperature is expected to be high.
  • Make use of the restrooms at the designated bathroom stop (there is one such stop on the tour).
  • Bring your own ice-filled water bottle for the Holy Land Tour. Cold water is sold for $1.

TIPS FOR THE GREAT PASSION PLAY

  • Gates for The Great Passion Play theatre open at 7:50pm (6:50pm after August 15), but it would best to arrive much earlier to catch the pre-show performances and to wander around the grounds. We arrived around 3:00pm for the Holy Land Tour, Buffet Dinner, and Pre-Show Performances - but we could easily have arrived at closer to 1:00pm without risking boredom as the property is quite vast.
  • Since The Great Passion Play is a 501(c)(3), envelopes are provided before the show if you choose to provide an additional donation to assist with operations of the organization.
  • David the Shepherd sells slingshots ($7-$25 depending on the style) after his performance (and online!), which children will be intrinsically drawn to. A perfect souvenir for The Great Passion Play experience!
  • Church services are sometimes held on Sundays at the Church in the Grove.
  • The Great Passion Play also offers a Christmas Light Drive Thru event from Thanksgiving through New Years.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS NEAR THE GREAT PASSION PLAY

Northern Arkansas and Southern Missouri are surprisingly beautiful and offer an array of things to do and places to explore, including:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE GREAT PASSION PLAY

Can we visit the grounds in the morning and then come back for the play in the evening?

Absolutely! If you are staying nearby, you are welcome to explore the property in the morning and then come back later the same night for the play.

Are seats assigned at The Great Passion Play? Which seats are best?

Seats are not assigned so you are able to select your seat when you arrive. With 4100 seats, however, it is unlikely you will have to arrive early to get a good seat. On the night we attended, there were plentiful open seats - from very close to the front to all the way at the top of the amphitheater. Almost all of the seats provide an excellent view of the enormous stage.

Are the seats at The Great Passion Play comfortable?

They are stadium-style seats with backs. If you prefer extra comfort, feel free to bring a cushion with you.

 Do any of the cast members speak or is all of the dialogue pre-recorded?

The cast members speak, but the audience hears the pre-recorded dialogue.

Does The Great Passion Play offer any homeschool discount days or events?

The Great Passion Play does not currently offer any events or deals for homeschool students/families.

Does The Great Passion Play offer any birthday party packages?

The Great Passion Play does not currently offer birthday party packages, although you could certainly bring a group to the play or the Holy Land Tour to celebrate a special event.

Does The Great Passion Play offer field trips for schools?

Yes. Call 479-253-8559 to inquire about setting up a field trip for your school.

Is the Gospel presented at The Great Passion Play?

Yes. Costumed characters present the story of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection with compassion and steadfastness.

I am interested in being part of the cast. What is the audition process?

Learn more about current openings on The Great Passion Play employment page.


Have a wonderful time at The Great Passion Play!

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