Wildwood Park’s 104 bucolic acres are home to woodland trails, manicured gardens, and the 625-seat Lucy Lockett Cabe Festival Theater. In service of the center's continuing mission to encourage lifelong learning and fertile imaginations, the expansive grounds host myriad events that marry culture and art, from annual festivals to year-round children’s education programs. Beyond artistic pursuits, visitors can simply savor the center's natural splendor by taking in the sights of the Richard C. Butler Arboretum, wending through the Carl Hunger Wildflower Glenn, or spotting ballerinas in the wild at the park’s eight-acre swan lake. The nonprofit park maintains its gardens, education projects, and other artistic hallmarks purely through help from its community, including volunteers, individual donors, and arts organizations.
At Arkansas Skatium, visitors don ice or roller skates to indulge in family-friendly, frictionless fun atop spacious rinks. During group ice-skating classes, certified instructors show bladers aged 5 and older the fundamentals of gliding before letting them fan across the ice to work through new maneuvers. When the clock strikes 10 p.m., the rink morphs into a broomball stadium where up to 25 athletes take to the ice for sneaker-clad fun.
Arkansas Skatium's snack bar vends sodas, cappuccinos, pizza, and funnel cake to those tuckered out from eight-wheeled and single-bladed maneuvers. The ProShop sells all manner of gliding gear and houses a repair shop for skates dulled by nervous biting before hockey games.
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby, trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. 30 seconds is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
When the Little Rock Zoo opened its gates in 1926, it contained fewer animals than many people's homes. At the time, its inhabitants were, in total, a circus-trained brown bear and an abandoned timber wolf. From its formative days, the Little Rock Zoo has expanded dramatically, now home to more than 700 animals from more than 200 unique species. Visitors can witness lions, tigers, and jaguars up close; interact with exotic birds; and carefully navigate spider monkeys' webs. In addition to conserving wildlife, the zoo also preserves a unique antique carousel, one of only four in the world to feature an undulating wooden track rather than conventional moving poles.
Arkansas Extended Learning Center culls a massive, seasonal lineup of informative classes, recruiting chefs, artists, athletes, and other professionals to share their wisdom with students of all ages. Pupils can pick up new hobbies such as fly-fishing or digital photography, or sharpen nascent abilities in fields such as cooking and wine-tasting. Otherwise, they can tone up their physiques in fitness and dance classes, discover a new way to communicate in foreign-language workshops, or learn how to cut their way out of a hedge maze during gardening and landscaping tutorials.
The The Dive Shop's instructors, drawing from Scuba Schools International's programs, teach water-safety skills to fledgling divers and swimmers of all ages. Classes and activities range from the Scuba Rangers club—where kids aged 8–12 learn to snorkel and scuba dive from the safety of a pool—to open-water dives, swimming lessons, and more advanced stress-and-rescue dive sessions, during which instructors turn dog paddlers into almost-mermaids, minus the pet octopuses.
The Little Rock Carriage Company's stable of american belgian draft horses pull ornate ivory carriages on leisurely tours of downtown Little Rock. Wooden-spoke wheels rotate the rhythms of a horse-hoof percussion quartet as 30-minute carriage rides promenade past MacArthur Park, the River Market area, and enduring views of equine tails. Riders can opt to include additional riders ($5 fee/person) to accommodate perpetual third wheels or hire Tony Bennett to commentate the sights in song.
A storied minor-league franchise for more than 100 years, the Arkansas Travelers have been the Double-A affiliate of the Anaheim Angels since 2001, serving as the stomping grounds for stars such as Francisco Rodriguez, Ervin Santana, and John Lackey and capturing Texas League championships in 2001 and 2008. With two tickets to a Travelers game ($8 each), you and a friend can witness this season's budding stars hone their swings and windups while you wash down bunts, base hits, and botched double plays with two hot dogs ($2.50 each). Prior to the sixth inning, dart to the information desk at Dickey-Stephens Park to drop off a message to be displayed on the stadium's 18' by 32' videoboard. Arkansas Travelers' baseball games are family-friendly experiences, so videoboard messages will be subject to review—meaning that messages should avoid vulgarity, obscenity, and complicated communications to alien overlords.
The Museum of Discovery crams 25,000 square feet of exhibit space with a plethora of displays on world history, culture, and natural science. Features include a rare, uncursed mummy coffin, painstakingly crafted around 600 BC, as well as an animal collection of 51 species including birds of prey, a European ferret, an alligator, and a rare breed of unicorn-Jabberwocky. Permanent exhibits include Passport to the World, which guides visitors on a sweeping cultural tour with authentic artifacts, artworks, and local knowledge that help define the featured nation. Energy illustrates how coal and nuclear power keep homes lit and cell phones charged while guests use their bodies to ignite light bulbs that could illuminate living rooms, dusty attics, and even dustier Lite-Brite consoles.
Ageless Health & Fitness Center's expert trainers keep senior citizens and baby boomers finely tuned with age-appropriate exercises executed in a full-service gym facility operated by a physical therapist with more than 30 years of experience. A two-month membership invites health enthusiasts of any level to explore the exercise emporium that helps keep attitudes and bodies youthful with bench presses, treadmills, and cryogenic stair climbers. Healthy bites from the downstairs bistro help exercisers refuel, and hard-earned sweat can be washed away beneath an individual shower in the spa-inspired locker rooms. The upper level provides a spacious wonderland for group exercise classes (not included in the price of today's Groupon), including yoga and tai chi, which allow guests to expand their mind, balance their body, and practice dangling from the rafters by their toes.
Though there aren't any online user reviews for Cantrell Gallery, the shop does have more than 300 Facebook fans.
The Quapaw Quarter Association's building stewards preserve the historical architecture and nostalgic tales housed within neighborhood haunts. Mosey through five stately stops during the 2011 Spring Tour of Historic Homes, including two houses designed by Arkansan architect Charles Thompson. Featured in the book "Daughters of Painted Ladies," Thompson's spectacular Ragland House boasts a distinctive domed two-story tower, and his Rogers House’s towering Ionic columns offset walls of brick, wood, tile, and saltwater taffy. Stroll around the smaller Urquhart Bungalow's gilded age light fixtures and extensively landscaped front yard, or examine the intricacies of the Turner-Mann House's hand-painted borders and quarter-sawn oak floors. The tour also includes a new renovation: the Bowman House, where cypress and walnut balustrades offset inner spaces that served as a practice facility for the 1896 Olympic hide-and-seek team.
Harnessing more than 24 years of border-building experience, Artistic Edge constructs custom frames on-site from myriad object-encasing supplies. Celebrate an offspring's emergence from the academic cocoon by encasing his or her diploma in a quality frame, or protect your office's overtime schedule from passive-aggressive spitballs by placing it behind glass. With a selection ranging from sleek and minimal to a baroque explosion of swirls, the accomplished framers at Artistic Edge will help patrons choose the perfect frame and ensure that it's lovingly assembled from materials of the highest quality (basic custom framing, $100+). Artist Edge offers on-site parking, allowing easy pick-up of large-format Yoda posters.
Pinnacle Mountain Rendezvous is an annual festival organized by Partners for Pinnacle in support of Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Now in its 18th year, the event celebrates the early days of Arkansas, when the area was part of the vast Louisiana Territory won by Thomas Jefferson in a rowdy game of canasta against Louis XIV. The modern Rendezvous takes its inspiration from late-summer gatherings in the early 1800s, when mountain men and Native Americans would meet to exchange supplies with one another before the arrival of winter. Attractions at this year’s event include the Mountain Man Camp, where reenactors dressed in buckskins will practice such time-honored skills as blacksmithing, rifle shooting, and fantasy football leaguing, and visitors will have a chance to compete at tomahawk throwing. The Pioneer Settlement offers a glimpse into life on the frontier, while the Native American Village shares the rich culture and history of the tribes of Arkansas.
Rave Motion Pictures screens the summer blockbusters in 20 auditoriums outfitted with stadium seating. The theaters' digital projectors allow projectionists to easily play such gripping tales as Scream 4, a documentary about Sidney Prescott's return to Woodsboro, where Ghostface threatens the townspeople's safety (movies playing subject to change). Stretch out while watching as rows are spaced 48 inches apart from one another, one for each of the states recognized by most public-school systems. Check showtimes online for all the movies screening throughout the summer.