The First Tee of Central Arkansas welcomes golfers with two distinct challenges: a championship-length nine-hole course and a par-3 nine-hole course. The longer of the two, the par-36 Chairman’s course sends golfers swinging across 3,428 yards of fairways lined with sparsely populated groves of trees. A golfer who is confident with a driver or shower-curtain rod can conquer the course’s lengthier holes, which include 539- and 551-yard par 5s and a 475-yard par 4 that is the course’s most difficult, due in part to a water hazard that hugs the left side and a misplaced track-and-field commentator who encourages the use of the flagstick as a javelin. For a more leisurely round, players can test their short iron skills on the par-3 Honors course, which features holes that range from 65 to 113 yards in length.
Along with its public courses, The First Tee of Central Arkansas uses the game of golf to teach local youth life skills through Jack Stephens Youth Golf Academy. The academy reaches out to low-income and special-needs children, providing free access to the program as a means of enriching their lives and preparing them for the future.
The Arkansas Arts Center stokes the innate creativity of all its visitors with a close look at artistic expression. Since its creation in 1960, the AAC has amassed a permanent collection of more than 5,300 drawings and paintings (primarily American and European), 1,000 contemporary crafts and sculptures, and 27 lost mittens. Examples of French neo-impressionist drawings share space with the work of old masters, while early modern paintings complement studio-forged glass sculptures and other pieces dating as far back as 1465. Throughout the year, the museum also casts its light on the local community by hosting special exhibitions of established artists and emerging talent.
Outside its gallery, the AAC encourages the community in another way. Through classes and workshops, instructors explain the fundamentals of composition in photography, ceramics, painting, woodworking, and printmaking while helping students create their own pieces. An onsite children's theatre, meanwhile, routinely stages family-friendly shows, and the troupe even offers workshops on the art of acting.
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.
Stretched across a 30-acre produce farm and peach orchard, Scott Pumpkin Patch marks autumn's arrival with a seasonal slate of family-friendly activities. Every year, the family-owned operation presents visitors with wholesome, hands-on amusements, including an animal barn, a playground, and scenic tractor rides that coast leisurely around the property. Before heading home, families can stock up on keepsakes, such as photos snapped at themed displays or a perfect pumpkin picked according to its size, weight, and silky singing voice. The onsite farmers' market stocks edible souvenirs, too, ranging from fresh picked pecans and peanuts to jams and jellies.
"When you think of like New York, Milan, and L.A. and all these major cities there’s something that’s missing. It’s a freshness," Brandon D. Campbell told Arkansas Times in 2009, the year he debuted the first Little Rock Fashion Week. It's not that he has anything against the style of those towns—after all, as a TV writer and producer, he worked on red-carpet coverage for networks such as E! and MTV. But throughout his career, he retained a lingering fascination with the creativity bubbling just under the radar in his hometown.
Today, burgeoning clothing designers, up-and-coming models, and local boutiques all shine in the spotlight during Little Rock Fashion Week, exciting audiences with new styles and, as importantly, making connections, both local and national. Models are sourced from the community in an open casting call and selected by a panel of local movers and shakers such as boutique owners, journalists, and strutting experts.
Nearly a century ago, the Hippodrome opened as a combination movie palace and vaudeville theater, spending more than 70 years hosting big names such as Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra. Following a double-decade period of slow business and bad hairstyles, the Hippodrome closed down in 1990. Now, however, after an exhaustive restoration project that reanimated the theater’s chandelier-lit arches, the mural above the proscenium stage, and the grand-theater boxes that hearken back to opera’s heyday, the Hippodrome reopens to the delight of Baltimore’s cultural landscape.