Hot Springs Things to Do

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

Best Rated Things to Do in Hot Springs

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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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    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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    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 National Park

    by jedd43 Updated Apr 4, 2004

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    Map

    Hot Springs National Park
    This is a highly developed park in a small city
    surrounded by low lying mountains.
    Rangers lead tours to the open hot springs, except in winter.
    I remember hiking trails and beautiful flowers and taking scenic mountain drives.
    There was a bathhouse to relax in the hot spring water.

    map courtesy of AHTD .

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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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    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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    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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    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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  • ***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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    Central Avenue Old Buildings with Decoration

    by BruceDunning Updated May 1, 2009

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    Believe room available upstairs
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    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.

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    Trail Walks and tower

    by BruceDunning Updated May 1, 2009

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    Sign for the walk information
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    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.

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    Crystal Mining

    by angiebshoppin Written Jul 6, 2005

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    You can find some of these

    Talk about cheap entertainment. My son and I went digging for crystals. It cost me ten bucks, my son was free. You can dig as long as you want (or til they close at dusk), and you get to keep everthing you find. Make sure and bring clothes you will never wear again, (except to dig for crystals), garden tools, garden gloves, and something to carry your treasures in. My 7 yr old was so amazed to find the beautiful crystals-and get to keep them! Lots and lots of fun. Try to get there early in the morning if you go in the summer....it is hottttt.

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    Crystal Falls/Magic Springs

    by angiebshoppin Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Hold On

    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.

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    Oaklawn Park

    by Bostephenson Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Oaklawn houses some of the best horse racing in the nation, and eventually, when the state legislature is ready for it, it will house some sort of casino gambling as well. Even if you don't like gambling, but you do like horses, this is worth your visit.

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    Fordyce Bath House Museum

    by grandmaR Written Apr 10, 2006

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    Stained glass ceiling
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    The sign outside Fordyce Bathhouse (which has been restored to the original appearance by the NPS) says:

    "Inspired by the spas of Europe, Colonel Samuel Fordyce opened this Renaissance Revival bathhouse in 1915. With its copper-framed glass marquee and elegant window design, the Fordyce reflects a crowning achievement of the Golden Age of Bathing.

    The bathhouse occupied an ideal location next to the Formal entrance to the park, its roof garden was within sight and sound of the grandstand on the hillside above."

    Entrance to the museum is free.

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Hot Springs Things to Do

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