Hot Springs Things to Do

  • Brochure of Quapaw info
    Brochure of Quapaw info
    by BruceDunning
  • Map of Larger area
    Map of Larger area
    by BruceDunning
  • Layout map of some floors
    Layout map of some floors
    by BruceDunning

Most Recent Things to Do in Hot Springs

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    Architecture of the Other Spa Bathhouses

    by BruceDunning Updated May 1, 2009

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    Lamar at the end of the row
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    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.

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    Quapaw is One of the Best

    by BruceDunning Updated May 1, 2009

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    Angle view of the building
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    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

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    • Museum Visits
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    Views of Old Time Spa Equipment

    by BruceDunning Updated May 1, 2009

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    Layout map of some floors
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    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.

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    Fordyce BAthhouse

    by BruceDunning Updated May 1, 2009

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    Statue of Desoto getting water from an Indian
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    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. Quapaw is private and offers pool dips and spa massages.
    SAm Fordyce was a cured person after Civil War, and in 1872 started construction of the most elaborate building. MOney ran dry and it got completed in 1915. Good and bad times continued over they years, until in 1962 the family closed it down. After a lot of discussion, the Government got the structure to re-open, but due to piping problems, that never happened. The tour is fabulous, though, the well worth the trek inside.

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    Bathhouse Row offers eight...

    by Pamela_Peace Updated Mar 30, 2008

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    Bathhouse Row offers eight turn-of-the-century buildings. Hot Springs is famous for its thermal baths. People come here from all over the world to experience the healing thermal waters that are indigenous to the Hot Springs area. Here, too, you can find a visitor's center and a museum,

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  • Hands-on Scientific Fun

    by ittsamee Updated Nov 3, 2007

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    The kids had a great time winding their way thru the interesting and educational (they didn't even realize they were "learning") activities at Mid-America Science Museum on a recent visit.

    The facility is huge, and it's set in a wonderful outdoor setting with a nature trail and creek running thru it.

    They had "The Brain" exhibit and we had some hands-on fun learning about the mushy grey mass that controls our bodies.

    In the midst of all this brain stuff was this big red "cage" that houses a Tesla Coil... didn't even know such a thing existed until we saw this one. Turns out it had just been named as a Guinness World Record holder. At the push of a button, it puts out a jolt of electricity that melts the wax right out of the ears!

    The museum is a bit off the beaten path, but well worth taking the few extra minutes to visit. Pack a lunch to enjoy on the nature trail.

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  • Gallery Walk

    by ittsamee Written Nov 3, 2007

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    Gallery Walk, held the first Friday of each month in downtown Hot Springs, is an opportunity to stroll beautiful downtown Hot Springs National Park and enjoy some of the finest contemporary art in America.

    Locals and tourists find it a great place to meet and greet artists and enjoy an evening get together with family and friends.

    The galleries host artists receptions from 5p.m. until 9 p.m., often with music and complimentary refreshments. The artists whose works are on display also turn out to chat with visitors. Don't miss this monthly opportunity to enjoy the arts that earned Hot Springs the No. 4 ranking in the Top 100 Best Art Towns in America.

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  • ***AVOID*** Wegner's Crystal Mines

    by ldj07 Written Jun 26, 2007

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    I picked up a brochure for WEGNER'S CRYSTAL MINES in Mount Ida. We have been to crystal mines before and decided to check it out. BAD IDEA!!! The brochure said one price but they wouldn't honor it and charged us an extra $9.00. Then we had to fight biting bugs and cow crap to get to the mine area. Afterwards - we went to return the screens and equipment. I had a bleeding cut on my finger from the sluice box and asked for a Band-Aide - she point blank told me NO! Then one of my kids picked up a sliver of crystal about the size of a Corn Flake out of the PARKING LOT. The lady "help" came running outside and went BALLISTIC! She stated "I SAW THAT! Put it back! We charge $20.00 a pound for those!" I thought she was just joking at first - she wasn't! She yelled at an 11 year old for picking up a sliver of rock from the PARKING LOT! There were no signs anywhere saying not too - it's a parking lot. Then she overcharged my mother-in-law on gift items she had bought! They were clearly marked one price but the lady said - oh no - I have to charge you 2.00 more for each item! So long story short - they ended up overcharging us a total of $15.00, were EXTREMELY RUDE, and made an 11 year old CRY!

    ***AVOID WEGNER'S CRYSTAL MINES *** Go to Coleman's mine in Jessieville if you want to have a good time and not get yelled at!

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    Ride the Ducks

    by sweetheart519 Updated Aug 11, 2006

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    Going into the water from land
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    Ok so they trick you by advertising "only $4 to ride the ducks!". However once you go in to pay, you will soon find out that it only costs $4 when you buy a combo ticket that includes the museum, winery, and whatever else is on there. But regardless, I really enjoyed this. We had a great guide who gave us lots of historical and other info about Hot Springs, and we enjoyed the ride on the lake. For those unfamiliar with the "Duck" rides, it is both a car and a boat - it looks like a boat with wheels. You get a land tour first by driving around the city, then you get a tour on the water, then back on the land again for more sightseeing.

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    Go Hiking!

    by sweetheart519 Written Aug 11, 2006

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    My hubby and son up ahead
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    Our favorite part of our short visit to Hot Springs was hiking in the mountains. There are several trails of different length. The one we did was about a mile long. It really is beautiful, and the trails seem fairly safe (i.e. no sharp cliffs, clearly marked trails). Just be sure to look at the map before you start out so you know where to go when two trails intersect.

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    Shop shop shop!

    by sweetheart519 Written Aug 11, 2006

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    Downtown
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    Go downtown and go shopping. You must do this while you are in Hot Springs (really there aren't a whole lot of other things to do anyway). You will find some awesome deals on oil paintings and other crafts. Don't get suckered into paying to park downtown in one of the lots off the street. There is a very large, free garage available to the public. Just look for the signs.

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  • World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade

    by SouthernScibe Written Aug 10, 2006

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    Belly Dancers get into the Irish Spirit
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    The First Ever Fourth Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on historic Bridge Street in downtown Hot Springs on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2007. Bridge Street, which connects Central Avenue and Broadway in the downtown area, became famous in the 1940s when Ripley’s Believe It or Not designated it “The Shortest Street in the World.” The centerpiece of the citywide celebration, the parade has grown in its three short years of existence into one of the highlights of the State of Arkansas. It’s quirky parade entrants, from Irish belly dancers, to Irish Order of Elvi (a cadre of Elvis look-alikes) attracts media attention from all over Arkansas, as well as a crowd of 8,000 to 10,000 watchers. The first grand marshal (and continuing honorary marshal) was Dick Kelley, step-father of President Bill Clinton. For year two, George Wendt led the parade to cheers of “Norm!” and Pauly Shore led the 2006 parade

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    Fordyce Visitor Center

    by Small_World Written Jun 18, 2006

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    Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor's Center, interior

    I remember my friends going to Hot Springs to be pampered by the baths and massages, even in recent years, so I was surprised to see that most of the bathhouses are not in operation anymore. I haven't figured out what's going on yet, or why they've covered up the springs with concrete boxes. Seems strange that something that was so popular at one time has virtually disappeared.

    Almost all the bathhouses are vacant now awaiting rennovation (except for the one still in operation), and the only one besides the Buckstaff that you can actually enter is the Fordyce Visitor Center, an opulent Spanish Renaissance Revival bathhouse built in 1915 and opened as a visitor's center in 1989.

    The geology of the springs fascinates me. Arkansas doesn't have any underlying magma near the surface, like the springs in Yellowstone Park, but I do know there's the New Madrid fault that runs through Arkansas. So this is what I've gleaned from reading about it: The hot springs in this area come from a couple of types of rock that through the process of uplift have been slanted into a vertical position, resulting in rainwater flowing through the cracks and being heated deep in the earth. Ultimately the water resurfaces, at 143 degrees F., in the area of Hot Springs called Bathhouse Row, where people have traveled from all over for many years to benefit from the springs' healing powers (in a luxurious atmosphere).

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  • Clear waters, even the locals don't know about

    by wifeofrus Written May 25, 2006

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    Beautiful crystal clear waters, swimming a must, canoeing a plus, fishing. If you have an extra day and you've done most of the tourist things to do, try the Albert Pike Recreation area in the Ouachita National Forest. it is on the Little Missouri River and is one of the prettiest places I've ever been. Pack a lunch before you go because you will most likely want to stay all day. It's not the easiest place to find but once you do, it is worth it. Here are some directions in case you are interested.

    From Hot Springs take Highway 70 west 36 miles through Glenwood to Salem. Turn west on Highway 84 and go 13 miles to Langley. At Langley turn north on Highway 369 and go 6 miles to the recreation area.

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    Oaklawn

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 10, 2006

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    Crossing the finish line
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    Thursday, we went to Oaklawn Racetrack (it wasn't open in February except on weekends). Bob had never been to the horse races, and he was bored to death. He also thought it was quite expensive. I had fun however, betting on paper, and I ended up (on paper) $1.80 ahead when I bet $2 to show on each horse that I thought would win. I think that's pretty good. Had I bet with real money, I would have paid for the price of the program.

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Hot Springs Things to Do

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