In west Little Rock on Denny Road, you'll find the Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts It has six gardens & is the largest park in the Southeast that's dedicated to the performing arts.
Burns Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the U.S. with boating, wildlife trail, miniature golf, & tennis. It also offers hiking trails, picnicking areas, two 18-hole golf courses, & campsites. It's located in North Little Rock along the river
Pinnacle Mountain seems to dominate the landscape in this area & is home to a State Park that has a visitor center with exhibits about geology, flora & fauna. The mountain is cone-shaped & juts 1,000 ft above a heavily forested park, bordered on the west by a huge lake called Lake Maumelle. There are great hiking trails, including one that climbs the park's namesake peak & another that gives a panoramic view of the Arkansas River. Fishing, boating (ramps), picnicking, & a playground are available. There's also a gift shop.
Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park is 15 miles southeast of North Little Rock off of US 165 on AR 386. In the mid-1800s, Gilbert Knapp discovered huge mounds on his property & thought the mounds had been built by the Toltec Indians of Mexico; he named them the Toltec Mounds. Archaeologists later found that the Toltecs had not built the mounds; yet, the name remains. It is the site of one of the largest & most complex prehistoric Native American settlements in the Lower Mississippi Valley! You are able to see several mounds & a remnant of the embankment. You need an appointment & to pay a fee for a guided on-site tou,departing from the visitor center. The Center has exhibits that explain how archaeologists work as well as the history of the site.
As you can see, the Little Rock Area provides plenty of outdoor sites that most every age group can enjoy.
There is plenty to do in & around Eureka Springs.
I was particularly fond of Thorncrown Chapel, a stunning glass chapel structure that is tucked in the woods in the Ozarks. It is designed by noted architect E. Fay Jones.
This modern steel/glass structure somehow co-exists with the natural rocks & trees in this lovely spot. It is so tranquil & filled with a feeling of peace.
Five miles west of Eureka Springs off of US 62, you will find Eureka Springs Gardens which is made up of specialty gardens as well as natural garden settings. The best time to visit is the spring or the fall; however, I'm sure it's beautiful year around.
Christ of the Ozarks is a seven-story-tall statue of Jesus Christ, & it weighs more than one million pounds. The armspread is an astounding 65 feet! It is really something to behold.
Withrow Springs State Park is a large recreation area that stretches across mountains & valleys along the bluffs of War Eagle River. There is a large gushing spring from a shallow cave at the foot of a soaring bluff. There is a swimming pool, hiking, tennis, picnicking, canoeing with rentals, a playground, camping with hookups and a dump station, & a snack bar. There is a Visitor Center also. Route 3, Huntsville.
Onyx Cave Park is an interesting & unusual onyx formation cave where it is always 57 degrees. There is a blind cave fish
display, a museum of "Gay 90s costumes, dolls & antique button collections. Also, there is a gift shop. They have continuous tours. Located three miles east on US62, a little over three miles north on Onyx Cave Road.
Pivot Rock & Natural Bridge where I could not believe it but it's true that the top of Pivot Rock is 15 times as wide as the bottom; yet it is perfectly balanced. They think the caves here were a hiding place of Jesse James. About half mile west on US62 and two & a half miles north on Pivot Rock Road.
With all these options, I think most people would enjoy these outdoor activities near Eureka Springs.
Hope is southwest of Hot Springs and is where President Bill Clinton was born. Clinton's Birthplace Home on South Hervey Street is where he lived from his birth in 1946 until his mother married Roger Clinton in 1950. It's a National Register Historic Site. It also serves as a vistor center and has a gift shop.
Hope is also known for its gigantic watermelons! They can grow to 250 pounds (113 kilograms)! One watermelon weighed 262 pounds!
Each August, Hope hosts the Watermelon Festival, and the grower of the largest watermelon wins a prize. People at the festival compete in watermelon-eating and seed-spitting contests!
Dogpatch U.S.A. was a theme park in northern Arkansas not far from the Buffalo River which I visited when I was younger. It had a hillbilly theme...L'il Abner characters, rides, shacks, a pond for paddleboats and so on... Unfortunately, it's no longer there...it closed down. The park was located near the town of Marble Falls, and the town actually changed its name to Dogpatch...I guess to exploit the park and attract more tourists. When the park closed, the town ended up changing its name back to Marble Falls. I hear that some of the buildings at Dogpatch U.S.A. can still be seen from the road, but "souvenir hunters" have taken everything else. If you're one of the lucky people that got to visit Dogpatch while it was still in business, it might be worth trying to get a look at the place if you're in the area.
This trail was really off the beaten path, but the nicest "easy" trail I have ever hiked. It is not very long, or steep, but has spectacular scenery. It ends at a cave that is supposed to have a waterfall in it, but we never did locate the waterfall, even after climbing and crawling around the cave for an hour, with the help of another family. We did see bats, and got very dirty. Bring flashlights!!
The trail is located a few miles south of Ponca , see website for details. It did take a long time to get there.
We drove from Mount Magazine to Mount Ida and went to a crystal mine. We were there for a very long time, and left with several large buckets of crystals. It was very dirty work, but the kids had a blast. Bring a shovel!
There's a beautiful drive from Hot Springs to Northwest Arkansas up Hwys. 7, 9 and 10. If you're in Hot Springs, check out Gulpha Gorge Park for some beautiful scenery - roll up your pants and walk down the creek a bit (but watch for the snakes).
This is the longest loop hike in Arkansas. It is actually a combination of three trails (the Little Missouri, the Athens-Big Fork, and part of the Viles Branch Horse Trail). It loops through a large chunk of the Ouachita National Forest southwest of Hot Springs. I hiked this on a backpacking trip last year, and let me tell you, it is pretty difficult. We camped for 2 nights, one night was chilly and rainy. Don't attempt unless you are in pretty good shape. If not, i would suggest you camp more than 3 nights. This map pic isn't very good, but there is a downloadable map at the website below.
The C-130 Flight Simulator at Little Rock AFB in Jacksonville.
Arkansas is the world center of C-130 training!! Individuals from all over the world come here to fly this universal aircraft. You'll see them flying overhead all over the state, usually below 500 ft AGL.
To get here, you will encounter a very scenic drive, especially if you are travelling between here and Hot Springs. This is one of the newest state parks in Arkansas. Signal Hill is the very highest point of Mount Magazine--and all of Arkansas. While the summit itself is wooded, there are views and overlooks in the immediate region. Some cliffs are on the mountain. If you come at the right time of year, the fall colors are sure to be spectacular. If you want a nice walk in the woods, the Signal Hill trail is only a half mile to the high point. There will be a sign and a marker there to indicate you are standing on top of Arkansas. There is a well developed campground nearby.
Then you will see the husk after the cotton is removed. This looks like a flower doesn't it? This cotton picking process may look somewhat nostalgic and romanticized. But, you must know, that when cotton was being picked by hand, these tough husks cut the laborers hands unmercifully.
Here is a modern day mechanical cotton picker capable of picking 7 rows of cotton at a time. And this is a SMALL cotton picker. They have gigantic ones now. But this one was being used in a small field.
When this yellow hopper gets full, it is transported to a stationery collector. This collector does not have a bottom. The cotton is setting immediately on the ground. When full, the wheels of the collector will raise the collector up and leave the cotton bale sitting there ready to be transported to a cotton gin.
When this collector (large yellow rectangle) is packed and moved, the cotton is left on the ground in a huge, packed bale form ready to be picked up and transported to a cotton gin (similar in looks to a loaf of bread). There, the seeds will be extracted. Oil is made from the seed and fertilizer from the residue. The cotton is then ginned and graded. The grading determines if it will be used for fine clothing or only for mops, and lessor uses;
Since cotton is a precious commodity, a man is stationed on the ground outside the collector to pick up any cotton which does not remain in the collector. He may be one of the last vestiges of human cotton pickers :)
For those without a car, this is a good place to stay as it is located right at the heart of the...more
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