During spring at Jones Orchard, families gather to bound through the territory’s rows of fruit, peeling back leaves to get at the ripest morsels hidden deep within the thicket. Since growing their first peaches more than seven decades ago, the Jones family continues to ripen juicy varieties of peaches, strawberries, and other fruit on their 600-acre farm, eschewing long-distance produce shipping for local distribution, mostly available at farmer’s markets and during the orchard’s pick-your-own fruit season. Inviting families to pick fruit together is one of many ways the Jones family lures visitors to their orchard seasonally—come autumn, the farmers transform the fields into a vast corn maze. Visitors not content to wander the idyllic grounds can enjoy the orchard’s bounty at the Country Café, where matriarch Juanita Jones flavors her fresh pies and preserves with fresh-plucked fruits.
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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.
During the 15-lap option, adrenaline addicts join in classes that kick off with a one-hour drivers' meeting, where motor jockeys will learn about high-speed travel techniques, safety procedures, and what to do in the event of an unexpected monster-truck attack. After classroom instruction, autoists buckle up behind the wheel for hands-on track-lapping excitement. The entire experience lasts about 2.5 hours. Family and friends are welcome to sit in the bleachers, cheering students on to photo finishes and jumpsuited glory.
The LuvMud Benefit Event sends costumed sprinters charging and trudging along a 5K course riddled with mud, obstacles, and more mud in order to raise funds for Habitat for Hope, a nonprofit organization supporting the families of seriously ill children. Having grown each year since its inception in 2010, the annual race challenges individuals and teams to conquer tough terrain designed with varying levels of difficulty so as to accommodate participants of all fitness levels. Along the route, spectators gather to scout the action, and volunteers stand by to provide directions and tips, such as reminding racers not to eat any mud without sprinkling on a few blades of grass first.
After making it through the final, massive, 50-foot mud pit and crossing the finish line, finishers recharge their bionic legs with fruit, water, and snacks. Meanwhile, an all-day festival celebrates the occasion with live music and food vendors, and showering equipment supplied by the Memphis Fire Department cleans off any caked-on mud and sweat from the race. LuvMud also holds special races that allow participants’ dogs to join in the fun, as well as all-night camping events that include nighttime racing and live music.
Drivetech fulfills childhood dreams of being a bona fide racecar driver by buckling grown-up gear heads into a variety of acceleratory vehicles for blistering journeys around Montgomery Motor Speedway. Those yearning for a gravel-treading solo excursion will revel in Drivetech's entry-level Shootout! package, which allows fledgling speed demons to seize control of a professional stock car. After strapping into the vehicular classroom for a 60-minute driver's meeting, thrill seekers take the wheel for a 15-lap orbit around the straight-aways, bends, and metaphorical road forks of Montgomery Motor Speedway's road course. Pavement pilots ride solo with the instructor's voice coaching them around the course and urging them to drive fast even when playing Foghat's "Slow Ride" on the stereo.