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.
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.
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.