Arkansas Attractions October 28, 2016
by J.B. VanDyke 10 Extraordinary Places In Arkansas That Will Make You Feel Like A Kid Again
Does anyone else feel like they need a break from cynicism, politics, constant debates, and the hustle and bustle of modern life in general? I think most of us would be a lot happier if we could simply step back into the kind of wonder and joy typically found in children, if only for a few hours.
Try to remember the last time you experienced pure joy. Not delight in the missteps of others, or the pleasure of hearing a witty sarcastic remark, or even slapstick laughter watching someone on TV trip over a piece of furniture, but real joy absent of any cynicism. What the 10 places on this list offer is just that—pure enjoyment without any irony or skepticism. These are places where you can step back into childhood and truly feel like a kid again.
1. Terra Studios (Fayetteville)
Terra Studios is an art studio and an art park. The whimsy and wonder you’ll find at Terra Studios is unsurpassed anywhere. The sculpture garden is full of trolls and fairies and flowers with faces. In the main building you’ll find glassblowers making the Original Blue Bird of Happiness, which you can purchase in the gift shop. You can visit Terra Studios at 12103 Hazel Valley Road in Fayetteville.
2. Mountainburg City Park (Mountainburg)
Mountainburg City Park is impossible to miss if you’re driving through that tiny town. Located on Highway 71, the city park has all the things you’d expect from a tiny municipal playground: swings, slides, climbing equipment, and a short walking trail. What sets this small park apart is the dinosaur sculptures that tower over it. So if you’re looking for a way to satisfy your inner child, simply head up to the small town of Mountainburg and enjoy the prehistoric view from the swings.
3. Kopper Kettle Candies (Van Buren)
Kopper Kettle Candies is going to make your inner child and your sweet tooth really happy. This old-fashioned candy store makes the candy right there, and you’re going to love all their delicious sugary offerings. (Though they also have sugar free candies if you're trying to keep your sugar intake down.) You’ll find Kopper Kettle Candies at 6300 Alma Highway in Van Buren.
4. Loco Ropes (Mountain View)
To restore your childlike wonder, why not take a trip through the trees? You can do just that at Loco Ropes. They have towers and ziplines that I’m pretty sure will make you feel just like Peter Pan. Loco Ropes is located at 1025A Park Avenue in Mountain View.
5. Pedestal Rocks (Witts Springs)
How about spending some time with incredible natural formations that will tower over you while leaving you in awe of their awe-inspiring shapes? You can have just that experience at Pedestal Rocks Scenic Area on Highway 16 near Witts Springs.
6. Mammoth Spring State Park (Mammoth Spring)
Nothing says childhood like a pedal boat on the lake fed by Arkansas’s largest natural spring. At Mammoth Spring State Park you’ll find plenty of ways to play, including visiting the beautiful old dam and touring the old Frisco depot on the grounds. You’ll find Mammoth Spring State Park at 17 US Highway 63 North in Mammoth Spring.
7. Hogwild Family Fun Center (Conway)
Hogwild Family Fun Center is a fantastic place to play away the day. Laser tag, bumper cars, black light mini golf, and a rockin’ arcade are all you need to step back into your childhood. You’ll find all that and more at Hogwild Family Fun Center at 1350 Old Morrilton Hwy in Conway.
8. Riverfront Park (Little Rock)
Stretching eleven blocks near the Arkansas River, Riverfront Park is thirty three acres of natural space right in the heart of the largest city in the Natural State. There’s plenty of space for you to play, lots to explore, and you’ll feel like a kid again as you wander through this unique park. You’ll find trails, a sculpture garden, and so much more at 202 La Harpe Boulevard in Little Rock.
9. Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery (Heber Springs)
Nothing will bring back your sense of wonder like marveling at all the life you’ll find growing at Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery. There is an aquarium in the visitor center and you can take a thirty minute self-guided tour through the hatchery. The hatchery is located at 349 Hatchery Road in Heber Springs.
10. Garvan Woodland Gardens
Nestled among the Ouachita Mountains, Garvan Woodland Gardens spans 210 acres, and every corner of that wondrous place is full of little details that will remind you just how breathtaking natural places can be. The gardens have picturesque bridges, lovely little waterfalls, and all the gorgeous plants you’d ever want to see. You’ll find Garvan Woodland Gardens at 550 Arkridge Road in Hot Springs.
To find parks that will make you feel like a kid again,
try this list. For more places in the Natural State that will fill you with wonder, do this incredible road trip.
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