Surrounded by lush, green trees and grassy areas for lounging, Wild River Country overflows with 13 watery attractions such as the Cyclone, which sends groups of four tubing down a slippery slide for a big splash at the end. After getting the water and Poseidon's bickering out of their ears from the wave pool or the rip-roaring Accelerator, parents and kids can grab a bite to eat at the Cookhouse Grill and enjoy it at the picnic area. The Tad Pool lets the little ones splash and play, and the Lazy River lets tubers linger in the sun for a relaxed float while the Pipeline slings threesomes zooming bobsled-like down the slide in a raft. Family-oriented, and safe for all ages, the water park doesn't allow smoking or alcohol in the facility and offers clean restrooms and showers.
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.
The Museum of Discovery crams 25,000 square feet of exhibit space with a plethora of displays on world history, culture, and natural science. Features include a rare, uncursed mummy coffin, painstakingly crafted around 600 BC, as well as an animal collection of 51 species including birds of prey, a European ferret, an alligator, and a rare breed of unicorn-Jabberwocky. Permanent exhibits include Passport to the World, which guides visitors on a sweeping cultural tour with authentic artifacts, artworks, and local knowledge that help define the featured nation. Energy illustrates how coal and nuclear power keep homes lit and cell phones charged while guests use their bodies to ignite light bulbs that could illuminate living rooms, dusty attics, and even dustier Lite-Brite consoles.
The Little Rock Carriage Company's stable of american belgian draft horses pull ornate ivory carriages on leisurely tours of downtown Little Rock. Wooden-spoke wheels rotate the rhythms of a horse-hoof percussion quartet as 30-minute carriage rides promenade past MacArthur Park, the River Market area, and enduring views of equine tails. Riders can opt to include additional riders ($5 fee/person) to accommodate perpetual third wheels or hire Tony Bennett to commentate the sights in song.
Pinnacle Mountain Rendezvous is an annual festival organized by Partners for Pinnacle in support of Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Now in its 18th year, the event celebrates the early days of Arkansas, when the area was part of the vast Louisiana Territory won by Thomas Jefferson in a rowdy game of canasta against Louis XIV. The modern Rendezvous takes its inspiration from late-summer gatherings in the early 1800s, when mountain men and Native Americans would meet to exchange supplies with one another before the arrival of winter. Attractions at this year’s event include the Mountain Man Camp, where reenactors dressed in buckskins will practice such time-honored skills as blacksmithing, rifle shooting, and fantasy football leaguing, and visitors will have a chance to compete at tomahawk throwing. The Pioneer Settlement offers a glimpse into life on the frontier, while the Native American Village shares the rich culture and history of the tribes of Arkansas.
Pintsize riders trot atop quarter horses and ponies at Kristas’ Corral, where experienced instructors teach introductory lessons in Western-style riding, pairing picturesque panoramas with edifying games designed to impart the sport’s fundamentals. First, students select a steed after perusing a stable of whinnying luminaries that sport such playful names as Curly, Bunny, and Charlie Brown, who was named for his inability to make out adults' garbled speech.