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Guide to Little Rock

Family Fun in Little Rock

Little Rock has endless possibilities for family fun.  Whether cooling off from the heat or coming in from the cold, strolling around or running, Little Rock has something for all ages to enjoy. 

Beating the Heat

When the temperature starts to climb in the summertime, nothing beats the heat like a trip to the water park.

Wild River Country, Arkansas' largest water park, is a favorite summertime destination.  Located in North Little Rock, Wild River Country offers adrenaline-pumping slides and slow river floats as well as a toddler play area for the little ones.  With drinks, snacks, and a convenient in-house restaurant, families can spend a whole day at the park without interruption.

A short drive away in Hot Springs is Magic Springs & Crystal Falls.  Magic Springs is an amusement park that has thrill rides, family rides, and rides just for young children.  Crystal Falls is the adjoining water park with activities for the whole family.

Both Magic Springs and Wild River Country offer season passes; for a flat fee, families can enjoy the parks all summer long.

 City Parks

Walkers enjoying the crimson foliage in Allsop Park. Photo courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.One of the more popular parks in Little Rock is Allsopp Park, which has a playground, tennis courts, a large pavilion, an open field, and concrete paths for joggers and cyclists.  The playground equipment is anchored in soft turf and sand for those inevitable toddler falls.  Located in the Hillcrest area, Allsopp is within walking or biking distance for many neighborhood residents.

Murray Park has become much more famous since the opening of the Big Dam Bridge, but enduring advantages include the many pavilions, open space, and docks on the river.  Murray also boasts a fenced-in dog park where owners can take their pooches to socialize.

The newest playground in town is Peabody Park.  Peabody opened in May of 2008 after the City of Little Rock partnered with the Peabody Hotel to commit $250,000 to renovating the Riverfront area.  Designed to inspire imaginative play, the new park features a rock climbing wall, tunnels, a net, a large tube slide, and a hollowed-out tree.  In the summer, kids can run through the fountain sprays to cool off while their parents watch from the benches.

Burns Park in North Little Rock is one of the largest municipal parks in the country.  Spanning over 1,600 acres, Burns offers a long list of recreational activities from fishing to horseback riding to camping in the family RV.  It also has an amusement park and a water slide.  For a trip just across the river, families can make the most of a holiday weekend with something for everybody to do at Burns.


Museum of Discovery. Photo courtesy of Department of Parks and Tourism.The Museum of Discovery is currently closed for renovations.  The Grand Re-opening is scheduled for January 2012 and will transform the facility into a premier science center with exhibits for children of all ages!

The Little Rock Zoo is open year-round and offers much more than a look at the animals.  Kids (and adults!) of all ages can feed the Koi fish in the ponds, attend a "Breakfast with the Giraffes," or celebrate a fun and safe holiday at Christmas in the Wild or Boo at the Zoo.  Children under one get in free, and the zoo offers a variety of annual passes to suit family needs.

Williams J. Clinton Presidential Library at night. Photo courtesy of Department of Parks and Tourism.The William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, also known as the Clinton Library, is known for its futuristic design and rich stock of research materials.  The museum features photographs and documents from the former President's time in office as well as art exhibits from around the world.  Inspired tourists can travel down the road to the Clinton Museum Store for "I miss Bill" souvenirs.

A hands-on, global education facility located across from the Clinton Presidential Libary, Heifer Village is to home to interactive exhibits that introduce visitors to the possiblity of a world free of hunger and poverty.   

Culture and History

For a tour of Arkansas history, families can visit the Old State House Museum, located in downtown Little Rock between the Peabody and Doubletree hotels.  Once the state capitol building of Arkansas, the Old State House Museum is now famous as the celebration site for former President Clinton's election victories in 1992 and 1996.  With ever-changing exhibits and more than 1000 articles from the Arkansas News Archive, everyone is bound to find something of interest.  The museum is open seven days a week throughout the year and admission is free.

Arkansas Arts Center. Photo courtesy of Department of Parks and Tourism.The Arkansas Arts Center is the premier art gallery in Little Rock, located on 9th Street in the downtown area.    The AAC has worked for three decades to build a gallery that would educate the public and would also be free.  The gallery now contains a collection of original works from the Renaissance to the present.  The AAC also offers a Children's Theater production as well as art classes for children and adults.


Annual Festivals

Every October, families from all over the state look forward to games, rides, ice cream and smoked turkey legs at the annual Arkansas State Fair.  The fair is held at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds and offers rides and games for all ages as well as a chance to watch competitions in livestock, creative arts and commercial wine sampling.

Riverfest. Photo courtesy of Department of Parks and Tourism.Riverfest is a Little Rock tradition that attracted a crowd of over 250,000 at the 2008 festival.  Riverfest is an annual 3-day outdoor event held at the end of May at the Riverfront Park.  Performers include famous musicians, gymnastics groups, magicians and more.  The Kid Zone features clowns, zoo docents, and ventriloquists.  And local food vendors set up shop in the park so visitors can stay all day long.