The Arkansas State Parks fete vibrant visitors and loping locals alike with a dizzying array of landscapes, natural and cultural resources, and myriad learning opportunities at parks scattered throughout the state. Familial units with children 18 and under can flex their pass muscles multiple times throughout the year at a wide range of museums, gleaning valuable state knowledge while conversing with park guides or well-read white-tailed deer.
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award–winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
Liz London experimented in college. After a K-12 career spent learning the likes of ballet and modern dance, she was ready for the harder stuff, and that’s when she fell in with the belly-dancing crowd. Eventually, the flirtation grew into a full-blown infatuation, and she started Memphis Raqs, a troupe of professional dancers. Still, Liz never gave up on her first loves, and Memphis Raqs couldn’t completely accommodate her dream of creating a modern-day salon for all types of dance traditions.
When she created MidSouth World Dance Center, she rounded up a crack-team of professional instructors—along with her belly-dancing troupe. The group includes a Brazilian-trained flamenco dancer, a choreographer, and a former Fly Girl. Together, they teach recreational world-dance classes for adults and children. Their evolving class schedule features salsa, hip-hop, belly dancing, tango, and hula hoop, and they continually add new dance styles as more and more people escape from that town in Footloose. Augmenting the international moves, the studios host kids' summer camps and children- and adult-themed parties.
In January 2012, Amanda Gonzales and Edgar Mendez—a former principal dancer and choreographer for the Los Rumberos dance company—founded Madison Dance Studio to share their love of rhythmic movement with all ages. The duo and their team of talented instructors lead classes, including salsa and hip-hop, atop of a wood floor illuminated by floating party lights. In addition to helming belly-dance sessions, they channel Latin-inspired dance moves and global party beats in Zumba fitness classes. Amanda encourages ladies to confidently express themselves on club dance floors during her signature Hip Hop in Heels class.
After all hips have been shimmied and snaked according to U.S. government standards, students and instructors can rest atop the cushy sectional sofa while admiring the sky-blue chevron murals, which add a modern vibe to the room's exposed brick.
Most of the modern world is mapped—GPS devices capably guide people through entire road trips and atlases describe more terrain than most people could cover in an entire lifetime. While it's difficult to reawaken humanity’s sense of surprise and discovery, The Mid-South Maze is up for the challenge. Every year, the maze’s manufacturers spend months carving up their cornfield into clever patterns that, when viewed from the sky, might appear as a famed sports logo or the face of a long-departed pharaoh. On the ground, however, that pattern vanishes, leaving wanderers to use their wits to navigate the arching corn passageways.
The Mid-South Maze entertains with more than just its winding labyrinth. On Friday and Saturday nights in October, actors clad as ghostly apparitions haunt the herbaceous hallways of a spooky tractor ride. A giant jumping pillow launches kids skyward and gently cushions their falls, and a corn cannon fires ears of corn at targets up to 100 yards away. Anyone who hits a target wins a prize from one of the maze's sponsors and the right to eat nothing but popcorn balls until Thanksgiving.
At Blue Suede Ballroom, a team of world-class dance instructors helps to guide students across dance floors with Latin and ballroom techniques including salsa, swing, and tango. During three tiers of group lessons, instructors use repetition to encode the muscle memory dancers need to move gracefully while conversing or reciting pi to 100 places. The individual attention of private lessons allows students to learn at their own pace as they explore unfamiliar techniques or work out the kinks in their favorite maneuvers. Students as young as 10 may take lessons at the studio, developing moves that can wow their peers at school dances without resorting to shooting soda from their noses.
Blue Suede Ballroom regularly hosts open dance parties, venues for showing off techniques learned in American rhythm, American smooth, international Latin, and international standard classes.