Itinerary: The Best Central Arkansas Spots for Families
Central Arkansas has so much for families to see and do, and for family transplants, exploring the local environment may be just what you and your kids need to acclimate. But where should you go? Here we've revealed some of the locals' favorite spots to visit with the family.
Early Morning: Hike a mountain. It may seem intimidating, but the Pinnacle Mountain State Park trails are perfect for families looking for an outdoor activity. The West Summit Trail steps its way to the top of the mountain and rewards climbers with a breathtaking view of the Arkansas River. A playground and the flat Kingfisher Trail directly across West Summit's entrance is sure to tempt those with young children who can't make the hike.
Mid-morning: Visit the zoo. With more than 700 animals, the Little Rock Zoo is a great experience for both adults and children. A children's farm, carousel and exciting activities make the zoo one of the top attractions for all Arkansans. But it's not just the animals that draw in the crowds. The zoo holds many special events like its "Breakfast with Animals" series and has summer camps and educational opportunities galore.
Lunch: Eat with cows. When the hunger pangs hit after a morning outdoors, there's no better place for a family to munch than at The Purple Cow. This visually pleasing diner's walls are covered in '50s paraphernalia, and an old-fashioned soda fountain beckons the kids with delicious purple milkshakes. Adults will enjoy the meal too — the restaurant's president is Chef Todd Gold, director of programs at Pulaski Technical College's Arkansas Culinary School.
Early Afternoon: Discover an adventure. The Museum of Discovery has everything a kid could possibly ever want to know. Permanent exhibits like Bug Zoo, Arkansas Indians, Imagination Station and more put kids in an educational setting disguised as a good time. Along with the permanent exhibits, the museum has a variety of educational events, including its Big Electric Show and Saturday Discoveries.
Mid-afternoon: Browse for books. For a little break in the day's activities, take your family to the Central Arkansas Library System's main library in the River Market and get your library card. With several libraries across central Arkansas, you'll be able to give that card a workout no matter where you live. While you're at the main branch, catch one of the library's free programs, Saturday Afternoon Fun, where students can enjoy activities that focus on literacy.
Evening: Watch a play. Relax and let a professional theater company provide the entertainment. The Arkansas Arts Center Children's Theatre stages six shows each season, many of them originals and all of them based on familiar kid-friendly books or tales. No need to constantly "shush" the kids — the actors are used to a happy ruckus. It's a great way to introduce children to the theatre on their own terms. Performances are at 7 p.m. on Fridays (as well as 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday).
Even the most ambitious family won't be able to conquer this list of activities in one Saturday. But when you do, the fun doesn't have to end. Little Rock Family magazine, our source for this compilation, helps families plan activities throughout central Arkansas every month. Pick up a copy on newsstands, or check them out at LittleRockFamily.com, Facebook or Twitter.