Bathhouse Row features eight bathhouses: Buckstaff, Fordyce, Hale, Lamar, Maurice, Ozark, Quapaw, and Superior. A number of these have closed, while others have been repurposed. The Fordyce, which was always the most elaborate and expensive, reopened in May 1989 after an extensive renovation which restored it to its original splendor. The third flood parlor is now a museum, and it is well worth a visit. But there is something to be said for getting the full experience, and for that, you need to visit the Buckstaff Bathhouse (or one of the several other, non-Bathhouse Row facilities in town).
The National Park Service website gives you an idea of what to expect if you plan to "take the baths":
- No appointment needed.
- Walk in and purchase a ticket
- Leave your valuables in the personal lock box for which you carry the key around your wrist
- Go to the dressing room where an attendant provides you with a bath sheet to wear
- In the bath halls you have a private bath tub which your attendant has cleaned and filled with fresh 100 degree water; the tubs are big enough for you to stretch out and soak for twenty minutes. (One option is the loofa bath mitt scrub with your personally purchased mitt.)
- Full steam cabinets (two minutes) or head out cabinets (five minutes) can benefit lung or sinus conditions
- Sitz (sitting) tubs filled with 108 degree water for ten minutes are great for problems and pains in the lower back
- Applications of hot packs (up to four packs for twenty minutes) provide heat therapy for specific aches or pains such as tennis elbow or sprained ankle
- The two minute cool down shower is a refreshing tingling experience
- A full body Swedish massage lasting twenty minutes or more can given either to relax or invigorate. The massage is optional and costs extra.
- A cool down period of twenty to thirty minutes wrapped in your bath sheet completes your traditional bath.
- After dressing and retrieving your valuables, you are on your way to feeling like a new person.
They only failed to mention that you are encouraged to drink several glasses of mineral water throughout the process, which runs a little under two hours.
I took advantage of all the options, and had a splendid time. The cost? $64.00!! Well worth it. If you really want to splurge, you can add the paraffin hand treatment for $12.00.
During the Season (March 1-November 30), the hours are Monday through Saturday - 7:00 am - 11:45 am & 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm, Sundays 8:00 am - 11:45 am.
This is the headquarters for the operation and still has offices here. The company is about number 20+ in volume of spring water. This building is called Classical revival style and form 1910. In 1921, they added a ballroom for the locals to frequent and enjoy water, a fad then and now again. It was bought by Mr Schafly who kept operation here until sold out in 1987, and now it is under new owner since 2004. The building does not hold much to see as a museum, but they do sell water.
Visit the bath house to get a view of the extravagant style. We chose the national park's bath house instead of one in use. It is in the visitor's center on bath house row. Wander around and see the old styles of showerheads, baths and some beautiful stained glass windows and statues.
Open All Year 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Open From 06/1/03 To 08/3/03 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Okay, I'm from Texas so I'm used to everything being big....lol This place is like a mini Six Flags. Their biggest roller coaster is about as big as Six Flags Over Texas medium roller coaster. There is a small water park there. It was fun though. There were no long lines, and since it is smaller then Six Flags there is not as much walking. parking is great. The water park is great to cool off at, and the view from the top of the roller coaster is beautiful (mountains-well big hills). I would suggest getting your tickets through your hotel as a package.
The Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo is a family owned operation in Hot Springs. It's a fun, somewhat corny thing to do. I've taken my kids when they were young, and just recently took my daughter, who is now 16. She enjoyed it as much this trip!
The alligators are interesting, but don't do very much! (Unless you're lucky enough to go at feeding time - check with owners when that is.) You can go into the pens at the petting zoo, with the goats, sheep and deer.
They also have other animals that you can see, but not pet, such as the largest mountain lion I've ever seen, wolves, turkeys, etc.
This is a non profit entity affiliated with Univ of Arkansas. Entry to the garden is $7.75 for senior, but there are discount coupons to be found. The walk take you through a trail of about 1 1/2 miles. It has many colorful areas, and special plants to feature along the way. Pavilions and bridges also are to be seen. It is a very nice presentation and throughout the year various flowers are sprouting. During the season they have daffodils, camellias, azaleas, wild flowers, and every day other colorful flowers.
The chapel is designed by Maurice Jennings, the same ones who styled the Thorncrown chapel in Eureka Springs. This is one larger. It is 160 seats and used for many events and services. Close by is a great site called the Carillon, a towering structure of wood that is simply magnificent.
They have duck tours-a lot of them-hawking off the street for you to sign up. They leave about every 1 1/2 hours, and the tour is 1 hour. Cost is $4-5. You get a trip down Central to the end of the street that leads into the Lake Hamilton. Turn around and come back. In season there also are cruises and dinner events of boats on the lake.
The adventure and to keep in shape is to take a series of different trails that run up the mountain maintained by the Parks Service. On top is a tower of 216 feet high for the view, and also an overlook view of the valley. The tower is open 9-5. There are 17 different trails that can be taken; or if you like you can drive to the top. Trail lengths are from 3 blocks to 8 miles.
The AME Methodist church stands out withe the large silver dome and pointed brick columns. The St. John CAtholic church is also one of great beauty. The County Courthouse is form 1936, and art deco for that time period. It is the third courthouse on those grounds form 1888. On the hill top is what is not the rehab center, but used to be an old soldiers home since late 1800's. It is on Park Service grounds. The old mansions are now out of repair, but may come back.
The Arlington Hotel is the big kahuna on the block. It has 300 rooms and was last built in 1924. They have all the amenities and spa/hot springs treatments and a lot of other luxury. It stands out on the corner of Central and Park Ave. The next door How House Hotel is closed; looks like not to be revived
These structures are really quite magnificent and some still kept in good condition. Most are form 1920-30's era, and brick was the thing to build with then to protect from fires, as happened in the past. The Plaza hotel may be open and comments says has 35 rooms. The adjacent building was on old movie theater that still has a balcony overhang with bulb lights.
These are along the row on Central. Most are from early 1900's because in 1878 a fire destroyed a lot of the existing buildings, and the last time they were all rebuilt-it was of brick, after two previous tragedies of fire. Due to decline of hot spa treatments and cure theories around 1960's, all but Buckstaff closed by mid 1980's. Lamar is from 1923 and cost was then $130,000; and closed in 1985. Buckstaff opened in 1912, and today offers the full treatments, even sitz. It is named for the family and has 27,000 SF space. The Ozark was completed in 1922 in Spanish revival style; closed 1977. Maurice was opened n 1912, and closed in 1974, while this 23,000 Sf three story building was family owned by them all that time. The Fordyce was donated by the family to Park Service, who opened it for tours in 1988, while before that since 1962 they were to have operated as a spa bathhouse, but precluded due to piping problems. It has 28,000 Sf space and two courtyards that are very nice.
Of the row buildings, this one stands out more. It also is open for service, unlike the others, since 2008. A hot pool dip is $15 and treatments of massage, facial, are available ranging $50-100 generally. This house was started in 1922 and closed last in 1984. Original cost was $215,000. They got a spring under the building by blasting out rock and that increased the flow. The name come from the Quapaw Indians
This is the bathhouse operated by National Parks Service. It is not open for use, but the rooms and services as they would have appeared in the old time era, are all intact. There is a map layout covering the three floors. There are 8 buildings along the row, and Fordyce is the only one open by the Park Service. The tour is fabulous, though, the well worth the trek inside. The tour trip in Fordyce operated by Park Service takes about one hour + and cost is $3 each and it includes a movie of the history of the town which is good, and 23 restored rooms. It is open 10-5 daily and 1-5 Sunday. The Government has been involved here since 1832 when it took control of plots of land people were claiming for bath rights.