20 Things To Do In Arkansas: The Ultimate Bucket List (2023)

Even though it is a smaller state, there is still plenty of fun things to do in Arkansas as well as unique experiences you can’t find anywhere else. Found on the edge of the Midwest and the South, Arkansas is aptly known as the Natural State because of all the pure, untouched wilderness the state has to offer.

Arkansas is a great place to visit if you like camping or outdoor recreation. On the other hand, Arkansas is also ideal if you like exploring pretty cities or visiting historic sites. No matter your hobbies or idea of a good time, Arkansas will satisfy your needs for a memorable vacation. Keep reading to learn about what to do in Arkansas!

20 Things To Do In Arkansas: The Ultimate Bucket List (1)

20 Fantastic Things To Do In Arkansas

Search for Treasure at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Visiting the Crater of Diamonds State Park is one of the best things to do in Arkansas. This is one of the only places in the world where the public can search for diamonds and take home their treasure. Found in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, this 37-acre field is the surface of a volcanic crater.

Learn about the science of the area at the Diamond Discovery Center before renting equipment and digging for diamonds and other gemstones. While over 33,000 diamonds have been found here since the area was designated a state park, you are not likely to strike it rich. Most diamonds found are only about the size of a match stick head. When you are done searching, take your finds to get weighed and registered.

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Soak at Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs National Park is rich in both natural beauty and history. Come here to hike the twenty-six miles of pretty, forest trails and find great views at the Hot Springs Mountain Tower. Make sure to visit the Fordyce Bathhouse Museum and Visitor Center.

While there is nowhere to soak outside, you can appreciate the natural, thermal springs in some of the spas along Bathhouse Row. These historic buildings will give you a chance to relax and unwind. Before you leave the park, make sure to stock up on the super healthy and natural water from the springs. There are plenty of fountains where you can fill water bottles.

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Head Down into Blanchard Springs Caverns

Head underground and discover the gorgeous Blanchard Springs Caverns. There are multiple trails through this natural wonder that beg to be explored. This is an amazing and fun thing to do in Arkansas for anyone who wants to introduce their kids to geology and earth science.

Each tour is lead by a guide who will teach you along the way. The trails vary in length, difficulty, and accessibility, but each will leave you breathless. If you visit in the summer, the cave is a great way to cool down since it remains at about 58 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.

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Shop at Little Rock River Market

There are many cool things to do in Little Rock, Arkansas, including shopping in the historic Little Rock River Market District. Here, you will find a lively downtown vibe that must be experienced when you visit the state capital.

This district is full of farmer’s markets, boutique shops, artists, and live music. There is also a sculpture garden. This is a great place in Little Rock to grab a meal or enjoy one of the occasional events or concerts. If you have kids, bring them to the awesome Riverfront Park.

This is truly one of the Best Towns In Arkansas That You Must Visit!!

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Step Back in Time at the Old Mill

While in Little Rock, you should also check out the Old Mill if you want to feel transported back in time. This absolutely picturesque building is surrounded by pretty landscaping and running water.

It was built as a re-creation of an 1880s mill. An interesting note about the mill is that it was featured in the opening scene of the 1939 classic Gone With The Wind. Movie buffs will love to say they’ve been here. This is truly one of the best romantic getaways in Arkansas!

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Learn About Black History at Little Rock Central High School

In 1957, Little Rock Central High School became the site of a now-famous civil rights event. After the Brown v. Board of Education‘s desegregation ruling, nine African American students, known as the Little Rock Nine, came to this once all-white school for an education but were faced with protests and violence. In the end, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent federal troops to help the students enter the building.

Visiting this National Historic Site is something important to do in Arkansas so you can become more knowledgeable about this dynamic moment in U.S. history. Book a guided tour that will lead you to many important civil rights locations in Little Rock, including the high school.

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See Art at Crystal Bridges Museum

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is located in Bentonville and is one of the best things to do in Arkansas for art lovers. This beautifully crafted museum features galleries full of American art and culture. You will see work here by the likes of Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Norman Rockwell. Interestingly, this museum is great for nature lovers as well. The property boasts a lovely 120-acre park including ponds, gardens, walking trails, and outdoor sculptures.

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Kayak Down the Buffalo National River

Established in the 1970s as the first national river in the U.S., the Buffalo National River is a popular place to visit in Arkansas. This scenic river flows freely for over 130 miles and cuts through the Ozark Mountains. The most common thing to do here is get out on the water in a kayak or canoe and paddle among the trees and towering bluffs. There are also hiking trails and historic structures to discover. If you are looking for a calming time in nature, then the Buffalo National River is for you!

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Hike in Mount Magazine State Park

At 2,753 feet, Mount Magazine is the highest point in Arkansas. Spend some time in one of Arkansas’s best state parks as you search for all of the best lookout points. Other fun activities to do here include mountain biking, ATV riding, rock climbing, and hang gliding. There is also a really nice lodge and cabins if you wish to stay here. Make sure to eat at the Skycrest Restaurant to enjoy a meal with a view.

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Walk Beautiful Downtown Eureka Springs

Downtown Eureka Springs is the only entire American downtown listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Main Street is lined with beautiful Victorian, Queen Anne, and Romanesque architecture. As you stroll along, you will find many unique and local shops, art galleries, and restaurants. To add more interest to your trip, take a tram tour through town while learning the history of the place.

Make sure to check out our list of Best Things To Do In Eureka Springs if you are planning to visit!

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Discover Pretty Thorncrown Chapel

Surrounded by trees outside of Eureka Springs, you will find the Thorncrown Chapel. This unique church was built in 1921 by architect E. Fay Jones, who was mentored by Frank Lloyd Wright. The style of the church is called “Ozark Gothic”. Thorncrown Chapel was created in a way to be one with nature. Because of the glass walls, the outside nature can be clearly seen and the changing light and shadows constantly alter its appearance.

You can attend a Sunday service or visit for free during its open hours. You can also book this gorgeous property as a wedding venue.

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Spot Ghosts at the Crescent Hotel & Spa

The historic, 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa is known as America’s Most Haunted Hotel and has been featured on many shows on the topic. The hotel is still running and is a great place to stay in Arkansas if you love luxury and amazing spa treatments. However, if your interests are more focused on the afterlife and paranormal happenings, you should book a ghost tour or attend one of the Eureka Springs Paranormal Weekend events.

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View Big Cats at the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Another thing to do in Eureka Springs is visiting the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. This is one of the best Arkansas attractions for families. The refuge is home to an assortment of rescued wild cats and bears. This is not a zoo, and the refuge puts the health of the animals and the education of guests first. While here, take a guided tour to learn about the habitats of the furry residents.

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Find Natural Beauty at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks

The Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks is one of the best things to do in Fayetteville. There are twelve themed gardens to explore, each focusing on the natural Arkansas environment. Children will especially love the Children’s Garden and the Sensory Garden, where you can get hands-on with the plants. There is also a butterfly house to admire. There are also many fun events throughout the year.

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Stop by the Walmart Museum

Visiting the Walmart Museum is something you do just to say you’ve been. Found in Bentonville, the Walmart Museum is right next-door to Walton’s 5&10, the second store Sam Walton ever bought in 1950. He continued to buy more stores and grow his business before the first real Walmart opened in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. The rest, as they say, is history. Sam Walton was at one point the richest man in America.

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Stroll Through Garvan Woodland Gardens

Located at the University of Arkansas, the Garvan Woodland Gardens are another of the beautiful places to visit in Arkansas. These spanning botanical gardens are nestled in the mountains and next to a lake. Walk along the amazingly landscaped trails and admire the many fantastic bridges. You will find a gorgeous chapel, lovely wildflower fields, a cool model train garden, and an amazing treehouse.

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Get Your Hands Dirty at Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines

The Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines in Mount Ida is another interesting and unique thing to do in Arkansas for treasure hunters. This location is similar to Crater of Diamonds State Park except you will be digging for gorgeous quartz crystals. These gemstones are larger than the tiny diamonds at the state park and are eye-catching after a good wash. There are a few different experiences you can enjoy here and it is fun for the whole family. And, yes, you get to keep everything you find!

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Enjoy Waterfalls at Petit Jean State Park

Petit Jean State Park was Arkansas’ first state park, and it is clear why this gorgeous area was chosen. The park holds many natural features such as Petit Jean Mountain, Cedar Creek Canyon, and Lake Bailey. The beautiful Cedar Falls is one of the best views in the park. A two-mile round trip hike will lead you to this 95-foot waterfall hidden in the trees.

Spend you time in this park becoming one with nature and making great memories. You will love all of the hiking trails and jaw-dropping overlooks. You can also go fishing, kayaking, and boating. There are swimming pools and playgrounds as well.

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Visit Johnny Cash’s Childhood Home

Johnny Cash moved with his family to Dyess, Arkansas, in 1935 when he was only a few years old. You can now visit the restored cabin where this American icon spent his early years. Before you visit the home, you will need to check out the Dyess Colony Visitors Center and learn about how the Dyess Colony was formed as part of the New Deal. In the Dyess Colony Administration Building, you will find exhibits and discover the impact of this place on Johnny Cash’s music.

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Camp at Devil’s Den State Park

We will end this list of things to do in Arkansas with yet another amazing state park. This pretty, natural area is on of the best places to visit in Northwest Arkansas and offers many camping options if you want to spend more than a day exploring. The park is known for its unique rock formations, caverns, and a rock dam. Lake Devil provides a place to swim, boat, and fish. There are also many hiking trails to explore.

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Arkansas might be often overlooked compared to many Southern states, but it shouldn’t be! There are so, so many fun things to do in Arkansas, and it makes a great getaway for anyone in the Midwest who does not want to drive too far. From natural wonders to cool and lively cities, Arkansas has something for every type of traveler. There are so many tourist attractions in Arkansas to fill your time.


What are two Arkansas attractions? ›

Top Attractions in Arkansas
  • Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. 4,545. Art Museums. ...
  • Thorncrown Chapel. 3,635. Religious Sites. ...
  • Garvan Woodland Gardens. 2,712. ...
  • Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. 2,447. ...
  • Fordyce Bathhouse. 2,166. ...
  • Intrigue Theater. 949. ...
  • Bathhouse Row. 1,361. ...
  • Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. 1,230.

What city in Arkansas has the most attractions? ›

These Are The Most Visited Towns In Arkansas
  • 8 Pine Bluff.
  • 7 Bentonville.
  • 6 Conway.
  • 5 Jonesboro.
  • 4 Hot Springs.
  • 3 Fayetteville.
  • 2 North Little Rock.
  • 1 Little Rock.
Oct 27, 2022

What is Arkansas noted for? ›

Arkansas is known for its lakes, rivers, and hot springs, extreme weather and frequent storms, rice and poultry production, its rich folk music tradition, and the only active diamond mine in the United States.

What is Arkansas known for historically? ›

Arkansas is known for its diamond mine. The first diamonds were discovered in Arkansas in 1906, and since then, more than 70,000 diamonds have been mined from the state.

What food is unique to Arkansas? ›

Here are five dishes that come from Arkansas.
  • Chocolate gravy. This breakfast addition came to us in the early part of the 20th century, with the spread of the use of cocoa powder. ...
  • Possum pie. ...
  • Cheese dip. ...
  • Fried pickles. ...
  • Arkansas Delta Tamales.
Nov 19, 2014

What is the most photographed spot in Arkansas? ›

Whitaker Point, a sandstone rock outcrop jutting out about 100 feet above the forest floor, is one of the most photographed spots in the state. Also known as Hawksbill Crag, it is located in the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area.

What is the most scenic part of Arkansas? ›

1. Whitaker Point (or Hawksbill Crag) Tucked in the Ozark National Forest, Whitaker Point is a short 1.5 mile hike that leads to an incredibly rewarding view! The overlook offers a scenic view of lush mountains, and tops the list as one of the most beautiful places in Arkansas.

What is the most walkable town in Arkansas? ›

When you think about America's Most Walkable Small Towns, Eureka Springs is perhaps the best example in Arkansas. And while Eureka Springs is the quintessential small town, and it was listed as the most walkable in the state, there's another city that deserves some recognition. And that town is Magnolia.

What is Arkansas most famous food? ›

Possum Pie

Arkansas's most-definitive pie, this layered dessert includes a sandy-bottom crust (flour, butter and pecans), cream cheese, chocolate custard and whipped cream with pecan bits on top. The pie gets its name from the term "playin' possum," or pretending to be something you're not.

What is Little Rock famous for? ›

5 Things That Make Little Rock, AR Famous
  • Little Rock Nine. Most notably, the thriving city is home of the “Little Rock Nine,” a group of African American teenagers who made civil rights history in 1957. ...
  • Clinton Presidential Center. ...
  • The Old Mill. ...
  • Billy Bass Adoption Center.
Aug 6, 2020

What is Arkansas famous for that no other state has? ›

One Arkansas history fact no local to the state wants the world to forget is that it was the spot where the largest American diamond was found. Named Uncle Sam, the diamond was an impressive 40.23 carats and was found in Crater of Diamonds State Park.

What is Arkansas minimum wage? ›

To learn more, please read the Minimum Wage Facts. To read the Initiated Act, click here. The State minimum wage is: $9.25 per hour effective January 1, 2019; $10.00 per hour effective January 1, 2020; $11.00 per hour effective January 1, 2021. The Arkansas Minimum Wage Act covers employers with 4 or more employees.

Was there slavery in Arkansas? ›

The growth of slavery in the state was directly linked to this expansion. By 1860, Arkansas was home to more than 110,000 slaves, and one in five white citizens was a slave owner. The majority of these held only a few slaves. Only twelve percent owned twenty or more slaves, the benchmark of “planter” status.

What attracts people to Arkansas? ›

Tourists come to Arkansas for its many sports and recreational opportunities, as well as its natural beauty. Arkansas tourism may have taken root even in the eighteenth century.

What is something cool about Arkansas? ›

The state's highest point, Magazine Mountain, is here. The Ouachita Mountains are in western and central Arkansas, and are known for parallel ridges and valleys. The smallest national park in the United States, Hot Springs, is also in this region. The natural springs here can reach 143℉.

Why do people love Arkansas? ›

Whether you were born and raised in Arkansas or new to the Natural State, Arkansas is a great place to live and play thanks to its low cost of living, friendly people, mild temperatures, great food and entertainment, stunning views, and wide range of activities to suit anyone's taste.

What snack is Arkansas known for? ›

Fried pickles are one of the most unique and delicious of the Arkansas foods. The Atkins Pickle company was the main industry in Atkins, Arkansas for many years. In fact, the town was once dubbed the “Pickle Capital of the World.”

What is the most popular snack in Arkansas? ›

Arkansas: Fried pickles

While fried pickles are a staple at the best sports bars around America, they hold a special place in the heart of Arkansans. Legend has it, this snack was popularized by Bernell "Fatman" Austin at his Pope County drive-in restaurant, The Duchess Drive-In.

What dessert is Arkansas known for? ›

Arkansas Possum Pie is a creamy, layered chocolate and cream cheese pie in a pecan shortbread crust that is sure to please!

What is the most isolated place in Arkansas? ›

Remote spots in The Natural State are easy to come by, but there's only one wilderness location that can truly claim the distinction as the most remote spot in Arkansas: a site on the Ouachita River in the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge of south-central Arkansas.

What is the least photographed place? ›

1) Nauru. Finally, the least-photographed and least visited country on Earth is also the world's smallest republic, Nauru.

What park is most visited in Arkansas? ›

Pinnacle Mountain State Park

With its close proximity to Little Rock, Pinnacle Mountain State Park is one of the most visited state parks in Arkansas.

What is the popular street in Arkansas? ›

Dickson Street is widely considered one of the two most popular entertainment districts in the state, along with the River Market District in downtown Little Rock.

What is the most artsy town in Arkansas? ›

Another town has earned bragging rights as well, Eureka Springs is without a doubt the most artistic town in Arkansas. From its unique buildings to residential statues, this town celebrates all forms of art. Let's get inspired to create as we walk around this artistic enclave.

What is the deserted town in Arkansas? ›

Calico Rock is located in Northwestern Izard County in Arkansas. Calico Rock is basically a town within a town, but nobody lives in East Calico anymore, however, it's still privately owned and now serves as, "The only authentic ghost town within the city limits of a town in America.

What is the hippie town in Arkansas? ›

Eureka Springs, Arkansas is a sweet, funky town in the Ozark Mountains that's commonly known as a Southern hippie town. Eureka Springs holds many festivals, an impressive Pride celebration and the town just has that amazing, free-spirited feel to it.

What is the hipster town in Arkansas? ›

BENTONVILLE, AR (KNWA) – In a new article from Yahoo! Travel, Bentonville has landed on a list of the most “hipster” places in the country. The site credits Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, 21 C Hotel and the Bentonville Film Festival for bringing “hip locals” to the area.

What is the most popular dessert in Arkansas? ›

Arkansas: Chocolate Roll

If you ever visit Searcy County in Arkansas, one dessert that you will come across is the chocolate roll.

What sandwich is Arkansas known for? ›

Arkansas: Fried Catfish Sandwich

In the home of 100 lb. catfish, Arkansans have unique qualifications in preparing this Southern staple.

What is traditional Arkansas food? ›

Finally, Arkansas' cuisine is integral to its culture with such foods as barbecue, traditional country cooking, fried catfish and chicken, wild duck, rice, purple hull peas, okra, apples, fried green tomatoes and grits being part of the people of Arkansas's diet and economy.

Is Little Rock worth seeing? ›

Little Rock's history and culture scene is incredible, and there are lots of parks and bike trails to enjoy as well. Tour the River Market District, or see a replica of the Oval Office at the Presidential Library.

What food was invented in Little Rock? ›

Yep, cheese dip is an Arkansas invention. The consensus seems to be that cheese dip first appeared on a menu in the 1930s at a North Little Rock establishment called Mexico Chiquito.

Why is it called Little Rock? ›

Almost 200 years later, French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe came upon a small rock formation on the south bank of the Arkansas River. He named the rock formation “la Petite Roche”—the little Rock. Thus, Little Rock was born.

Who lives in Arkansas that is famous? ›

Selected Arkansans that have made a name for themselves in the entertainment world are enshrined in the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame in Pine Bluff. Inductees run the gamut from Billy Bob Thornton and Johnny Cash to John Grisham and Louis Jordan.

What are 3 cool facts about Arkansas? ›

Fun Facts
  • The state flag has 25 stars on it to symbolize Arkansas becoming the 25th state.
  • Arkansas is the only US State that produces diamonds.
  • The state is known for its beautiful lakes, rivers, and hot springs. ...
  • The Arkansas state musical instrument is the fiddle.

What is the oldest business in Arkansas? ›

The Oark General Store opened for business in 1890 in order to supply the small community with groceries and necessary supplies. It has been in business ever since and proudly claims the title of the oldest, continually operated store in the state of Arkansas.

What is a livable wage in Arkansas? ›

Living Wage Calculation for Arkansas
0 Children1 Child
Living Wage$15.25$17.75
Poverty Wage$6.53$5.54
Minimum Wage$11.00$11.00

What does Walmart pay in Arkansas? ›

Average Walmart Cashier/Sales hourly pay in Arkansas is approximately $9.85, which is 16% below the national average.

What does McDonald's pay in Arkansas? ›

Salaries at McDonald's range from an average of $18,000 to $30,000 a year.

What city in Arkansas has the most blacks? ›

  • Pine Bluff (65.9%)
  • West Memphis, Arkansas (55.9%)

What states had no slaves? ›

As part of the Compromise of 1850, California was admitted as a free state without a slave state pair; California's admission also meant there would be no slave state on the Pacific Ocean.

What town was founded by slaves? ›

Mound Bayou, in the Mississippi Delta: a town founded in 1887 by former slaves, with a vision that was revolutionary for its time. From the start, it was designed to be a self-reliant, autonomous, all-black community.

Who lived in Arkansas first? ›

The word “Arkansas” came from the Quapaw Indians, by way of early French explorers. At the time of the early French exploration, a tribe of Indians, the Quapaws, lived West of the Mississippi and north of the Arkansas River.

What races live in Arkansas? ›

77.0% White American. 15.4% Black or African American. 0.8% American Indian and Alaska Native. 1.2% Asian American.

What are people from Arkansas called? ›

Officially, residents of Arkansas are Arkansans, but many residents prefer to call themselves Arkansawyers. This is because there is still some debate over the true spelling of the indigenous tribe that lent the state its name.

What are 2 interesting facts about Arkansas? ›

Fun Facts
  • The state flag has 25 stars on it to symbolize Arkansas becoming the 25th state.
  • Arkansas is the only US State that produces diamonds.
  • The state is known for its beautiful lakes, rivers, and hot springs. ...
  • The Arkansas state musical instrument is the fiddle.

What are 2 major landforms in Arkansas? ›

The Arkansas River Valley is up to forty miles wide and includes geological features of both the Ozarks and the Ouachitas, including dissected plateaus like those of the Ozark's and folded ridges like those of the Ouachitas.

Why would you live in Arkansas? ›

Whether you were born and raised in Arkansas or new to the Natural State, Arkansas is a great place to live and play thanks to its low cost of living, friendly people, mild temperatures, great food and entertainment, stunning views, and wide range of activities to suit anyone's taste.

What is good about living in Arkansas? ›

There are plenty of opportunities to get outside to start exploring. Arkansas offers over 9,700 miles of streams and rivers to explore. There are also 600,000 acres of lakes to enjoy. It might not be a coastal state, but locals take full advantage of all of the water that is at their disposal.

What is beautiful about Arkansas? ›

All over the state, beauty is showcased with our mountain ranges, waterfalls, lakes, rivers and different varieties of flowers and plants. You can experience the outdoors in one of our 52 Arkansas State Parks, seven National Park Service sites, three national forests, camping and recreational areas, and more.

What are 5 popular landforms? ›

There are five major landforms that make up the Earth's surface: mountains, plateaus, plains, shields, and valleys. Locate each of these examples on the map below.

When was Arkansas under the ocean? ›

During the Paleozoic, all of Arkansas was covered by the ocean. In the northern part, the ocean was relatively shallow, and marine organisms were abundant, while farther south the water was much deeper.

What is the most famous landmark? ›

Statue of Liberty, The United States

Arguably, the Statue of Liberty is the most iconic landmark in North America. Lady Liberty has her island within New York City.


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