Arkansas is an awesome place to be during the wintertime. No matter how cold or unseasonably warm it gets, there’s always something to do or to see. The parks around the Natural State are worth a visit, and there are a number of opportunities to learn about history or try out a new skill. Don’t just sit around the house this winter; get out and see what’s around you, Arkansas!
14. Star City
Cane Creek State Park in Star City will offer an Eagle Watch Tour on January 10. Take a cruise on the levee (admission is $6 for adults and $3 for kids) and observe wintering bald eagles through binoculars that are available for you to use on the tour.
"Shakespeare in the Park" will be held at Historic Washington on February 26-27. The tragedy of Julius Caesar will be performed on Friday, February 26 and Henry V will be perfomed the night after. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children (ages 6-12). Performances will start at 7 p.m. Throughout the day on Saturday, January 27, workshops will be provided on Shakespeare performances.
Bentonville's Lawrence Plaza changes from a summertime splash zone to a fun-filled ice skating rink every holiday season. The ice rink will be available for families to spin, twirl, and fall until January 16.
Daisy State Park in Kirby will give you a chance to play outdoors this winter and test your mettle! The Annual Outdoor Skills Weekend will be held February 19-21. A variety of family-friendly workshops will be offered throughout the weekend to educate you in learning new things and sharpening your mind when it comes to what you know. Call 870-398-4487 to get details about the weekend's events.
10. Bluff City
White Oak Lake State Park in Bluff City offers Arkansans an adventure on February 13 with the Winter Wildlife Tour. Admission for this wild ride is $9 for adults and $5 for children. Take a guided wildlife watching tour where you'll see wintering bald eagles, ducks, herons, osprey, and much more. Call 870-685-2748 for more information. Bring binoculars, dress warm, and have fun!
Parkin Archeological State Park will hold a sandal weaving workshop on February 13. Sandal weaving was a likely necessary task for prehistoric Arkansans to get around more comfortably. The sandals weaved in the workshop are similar to sandals found at a number of American Indian sites in Arkansas. Workshop admission is $15; all participants must be age 12 or older.
8. Fort Smith
The Arkansas Men's & Women's State Chili Cook-Off will be held in Fort Smith on February 6 at the Elks Lodge. The charity cook-off will include raffle items and chili tasting kits. Doors open to the public at 9 a.m. and the 'chili turn-in' takes place at 1 p.m. Admission is free!
Hobbs State Park and Conservation Area will host the Wonders of Winter Wildlife event on January 16. Activities and crafts will be a part of the family-friendly festivities. Another event that will bring the public out to cure their cabin fever will be the Arkansas Public Theater's performance of musical comedy 'Spamalot', taking place from February 5-7.
The Maumelle Performing Arts Center will present Arkansas Symphony Masterworks playing 'Firebird Suite' on January 30-31 as well as performing Bernstein & Brahms February 27-28. Visit arkansassymphony.org for details on admission prices and free admission nights for children.
On January 20, the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History will offer a free noontime program that focuses on the effects of the Civil War on an Ozark community. Meanwhile at the Springdale Public Library, an exibition that runs from January until February explores the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and its effects on agriculture and day-to-day life. Lectures and film screenings are included in the library's exhibit.
Jacksonport State Park will host a number of workshops that will keep you from falling into the winter boredom routine. The Winter Bird Feeding & Spring Butterfly Gardening Workshop will be taking place at Jacksonport on January 16, and the workshop focuses on helping the bird population survive winter conditions and plan a beautiful spring butterfly garden. Admission for the workshop is $15 per person and all crafts are provided. (Call 870-523-2143 before January 14 to reserve your spot). The Healing Herbal Teas Workshop will be held on January 16; you can learn about several varieties of medicinal and native herbal teas. Native Arkansas herbal teas are also discussed in detail. Admission for this tea party is $10 - call 870-523-2143 and make a reservation!
3. Little Rock
There's a lot going on in the capital city during the winter season. Pinnacle Mountain will be hosting a number of events, including Wild Women Wednesdays (a free event that's of the Women's Hiking Winter Series) where ladies will hike on one of the state park's gorgeous trails every Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. until March. The Eagle Lake Cruise will be held at Pinnacle Mountain State Park on January 23-24, and January 31 brings the Winter Discovery Lake Cruise where you can reserve a seat (call 501-868-5806 for admission prices for either cruise) to have a look at the bird life that animates Lake Maumelle. Survival Skills Weekend at Pinnacle Mountain will be held on February 20-21. In Wildwood Park for the Arts the annual Lanterns! multicultural festival will be held February 19-21. (Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.)
2. Heber Springs
Heber Springs has something very special that arrives during the holidays and stays until the middle of winter. Beautiful trumpeter swans flock annually to Magness Lake and remain from December until February.
Lake Dardanelle State Park will offer free winter lake cruises throughout January and February. The Lake Dardanelle Eagle Tour is an opportune chance for all to see America's national symbol, the Bald Eagle, as well as a number of other beautifully inspiring birds such as snow geese, ducks, and American White Pelicans. Call the Lake Dardanelle Visitor Center (479-697-5516) to reserve a seat!
In addition to these cool things, there’s a lot more fun to have around Arkansas. If you’re the outdoors type, it’s not difficult to find an adventure during the winter months. If you simply can’t stand the cold, there are lots of places to get inside, warm yourself up, and turn yourself on to learning something new. What do you like to do when the cold weather sets in? How do you prevent yourself from cabin fever? Share in the comments!