“What is there for kids to do at the Ozark Medieval Fortress?” I’ve been asked this at the gift shop before the tour as well as off property. The first thing that comes to mind is to say “Everything”, because, basically, the only rule we have is to not go up on the castle walls. I usually explain, however, that besides the chance to go inside a castle courtyard, speak with the masons that work on the walls and see the tread wheel crane in action, there are artisans and other special things to see and do. Most are obvious from the public brochures or ads, but I like to make a special mention of two. Those are the Good Wife and stone carvers.
Kids especially love visiting the wool cottage at the farm. They learn about Medieval family life, livestock and commerce without realizing that they are doing anything except having fun. There are sheep to feed, wool to spin on a drop spindle and the Good Wife to visit with at her cauldron or loom. There is also a special opportunity to make a bracelet of wool gathered from our resident sheep. I am always pleased to see the young people get so involved and have so much fun while learning about these important aspects of Medieval history.
Kids also not only enjoy watching the stone carvers at work, but have the opportunity to take home a stone that they get to carve. Stone carving classes are held throughout the day for kids or adults who want to try their hand at this essential castle building skill. These classes are taught by one of our stone carvers who are usually busy carving stones for the castle itself. While learning to carve a design of their choice, guests are free to ask questions about the history and tools of stone carvers of the Middle Ages.
For some strange reason, though, no matter how good the people and activities going on at the Ozark Medieval Fortress, the horse always seems to be the most popular with children. But that would the same, I think, whether we were in France in 1226 or Arkansas in the 21st century. Some things never change.