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.
Amid Hardy's hardwood forests and rocky bluffs resides terrain that the Griffin family has called home for more than 60 years. Throughout the decades, the family has built Griffin Park into a destination to relax, play, and test the latest camouflage fashions amid the area's scenery and wildlife. In 2011, Gregg Griffin and his brothers overhauled the park, removing old fences and flood debris. Their cleanup efforts made way for new campsites, beaches, and a performance venue. Today, the melodies sung by artists such as Neal McCoy frequently fill the park, setting an upbeat mood for adventurous attractions including zipline and horseback rides. The Spring River passes through Griffin Park and carries canoes, kayaks, and tubes down its watery freeways. Fish such as smallmouth bass swim beneath the water's surface while more than 400 bird species sing and beat box overhead.
Elvis striking a pose behind a mic. A colorful jukebox. Vinyl records. Decades ago, these were all part of everyday life in America—and at Back to the 50s Mini Golf, they still are. Planted across from The Grand Palace Theater, the 18-hole course sends visitors putt-putting through the past with 1950s-themed decor peppered across its landscape. Although an appearance from the actual Elvis might be hard to come by, the facility resurrects The King and other iconic images in the form of obstacles and course features. After rounds, players can celebrate with a stop at the neighboring Cakes and Creams or by improvising a cheerful doo-wop about their winning club.
They may not have to take big chances or make the tough decisions of adulthood just yet, but kids visiting Indian Point Hydro-Slides still get to experience the thrill that comes with taking a giant leap. That's because the park boasts a 357-foot water slide, upon which swimsuit-clad kids and adults can zoom down before splashing into the pool below. As an added bonus, the massive slide is situated near Indian Point's lush zipline course, where people can be seen soaring above the high trees.
The Forrest Gump Challenge transports its participants into the middle of the classic Tom Hanks film, when the title character runs across America. Many themed activities await participants at the half marathon race's finish line, including a screening of the movie, ping-pong, and giant inflatables. The Forrest Gump Challenge is just one event produced by Cross Country Missions, a non-profit Christian running organization.
As a fishing guide, Dave has been trawling the waters of the Tri-Lakes area for more than two decades. He takes eager anglers out to his favorite fishing spots, where each participant has the chance to haul trout and bass aboard the trusty vessel. A US Coast Guard–approved outfitter, his business furnishes clients with all the gear they'll need for full- and half-day trips, leaving them to procure only a license and trout stamp for themselves.