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Top Activities to Enjoy with Your Grandkids in Central Arkansas: A Guide by The Manor Senior Living Communities

Updated: Jun 21

Senior Grandparents enjoy quality time with their grandchildren while that say at their independent living townhome.

Your grandkids coming to visit your home at The Manor provides a wonderful opportunity to create lasting memories and enjoy quality time together. Central Arkansas, with its blend of natural beauty, historical landmarks, and engaging attractions, offers a myriad of activities that cater to visitors of all ages. Whether you're crossing the Big Dam Bridge, exploring the Museum of Discovery, or enjoying the scenic views at Riverfront Park, there's no shortage of fun adventures to embark on. At The Manor Senior Living Communities, our independent living townhomes offer the perfect base for these family excursions, ensuring both comfort and convenience. Dive into this guide to discover the top activities to enjoy with your grandkids in Central Arkansas, curated to make your visits enriching and delightful.

Outdoor Adventures

Explore the Big Dam Bridge

Spanning over 4,226 feet, the Big Dam Bridge is the longest pedestrian and bicycle bridge in North America. It's an ideal spot for an afternoon outing with your grandkids. As you walk or bike across the bridge, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Arkansas River and the surrounding landscape. The bridge is also a gateway to various trails, making it perfect for a day of exploration. The accessible design ensures that visitors of all ages and mobility levels can enjoy the experience. Plus, the bridge has several observation points for those wanting to take a break and soak in the scenery. Whether you're an avid cyclist or prefer a leisurely stroll, the Big Dam Bridge is a must-visit. This activity not only offers physical exercise but also provides a great backdrop for engaging conversations and photo opportunities.

Visit Riverfront Park

Nestled along the banks of the Arkansas River, Riverfront Park offers a delightful blend of natural beauty and recreational activities. This expansive park features lush gardens, playgrounds, and walking trails that provide endless opportunities for fun and relaxation with your grandkids. One of the park's highlights is the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, which showcases an impressive collection of public art that can spark creativity and curiosity among young visitors. Additionally, the park's amphitheater often hosts family-friendly events and concerts, adding to the vibrant atmosphere. For a bit of history, you can explore the Junction Bridge, a former railroad bridge now converted into a pedestrian crossing, offering stunning views of the river and cityscape. Whether you're picnicking, playing, or simply enjoying the outdoors, Riverfront Park is a versatile destination that promises a memorable day out for all generations.

Discover Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Pinnacle Mountain State Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a range of activities that are perfect for a day out with your grandkids. The park features over 15 miles of hiking trails, catering to both novice and experienced hikers. For a rewarding challenge, take the ascent up Pinnacle Mountain itself, where you'll be greeted with breathtaking panoramic views at the summit. The park also boasts several picnic areas, making it easy to enjoy a leisurely meal surrounded by nature. Younger visitors will love the Arkansas Arboretum, a 71-acre site within the park that showcases the state's diverse plant life along a self-guided trail. Additionally, the park offers canoeing and fishing opportunities in the Little Maumelle River, providing a serene setting for some quiet bonding time. Whether you're hiking, picnicking, or exploring the arboretum, Pinnacle Mountain State Park offers a rich, engaging experience for visitors of all ages.

Educational Experiences

Museum of Discovery

The Museum of Discovery in Little Rock is a treasure trove of interactive exhibits and educational fun, perfect for sparking your grandkids' curiosity. Located in the heart of downtown, this museum offers hands-on experiences in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) that cater to children of all ages. From the Tornado Alley Theater, where visitors can experience the power of a simulated tornado, to the Tinkering Studio, which encourages creativity and problem-solving, the museum provides a wide array of engaging activities. The Tesla Theater is another highlight, showcasing electrifying demonstrations that captivate audiences. Additionally, the museum frequently hosts special events and workshops, ensuring there's always something new to discover. For a well-rounded visit, don't miss the Discovery Hall, which features exhibits on the human body, physics, and more. A trip to the Museum of Discovery is not only educational but also a fun way to bond with your grandkids while exploring the wonders of science and technology.

Central Arkansas Nature Center

The Central Arkansas Nature Center, located in Little Rock, offers an enriching experience for nature lovers of all ages. This facility provides an in-depth look at the local wildlife and ecosystems of Central Arkansas through a variety of exhibits and interactive displays. One of the main attractions is the aquarium, which houses a diverse range of fish species native to the region's rivers and lakes. Additionally, the center features live animal displays, including reptiles and birds, providing up-close encounters that can fascinate your grandkids. The outdoor trails offer a peaceful setting for a leisurely walk, where you can observe native plants and animals in their natural habitat. Educational programs and workshops are also available, offering hands-on learning experiences about conservation and the environment. A visit to the Central Arkansas Nature Center is both informative and enjoyable, making it a perfect outing for grandparents and grandkids to discover the wonders of nature together.

The Old Mill

The Old Mill in North Little Rock is a historical treasure that offers a picturesque setting for a day trip with your grandkids. This charming, reconstructed gristmill is famously featured in the opening scenes of the classic film "Gone with the Wind." Nestled in a serene park, The Old Mill is surrounded by beautiful gardens, rustic bridges, and flowing water features. As you explore the grounds, you and your grandkids can learn about early 20th-century milling techniques and the history of the area through informative plaques and displays. The park also has plenty of benches and picnic spots, making it an ideal location for a relaxed lunch amid nature. The intricate details of the mill and its surroundings provide ample opportunities for photography, sketching, or simply enjoying the tranquil environment. Visiting The Old Mill is both an educational and aesthetically pleasing experience, allowing families to step back in time and appreciate the region's heritage.

Unique Family Fun

Ride the METRO Streetcar

Taking a ride on the METRO Streetcar is a delightful way to explore Central Arkansas with your grandkids. This historic streetcar system operates two routes that connect Little Rock and North Little Rock, offering a convenient and scenic way to discover the area’s attractions. The vintage trolleys are a charming nod to the past, providing a unique experience that combines history with modern convenience. As you travel, you can enjoy views of the Arkansas River, historic buildings, and vibrant neighborhoods. Key stops include the River Market District, Argenta Arts District, and the Clinton Presidential Library, making it easy to hop on and off to explore these popular destinations. The streetcar is also a comfortable option for those with mobility issues, ensuring everyone can join in the fun. Riding the METRO Streetcar is not just about transportation; it’s an adventure that adds a touch of nostalgia and excitement to your family outing.

Explore a Submarine at Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum

The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum, located on the banks of the Arkansas River in North Little Rock, offers a fascinating journey into naval history. One of the main attractions is the USS Razorback, a World War II-era submarine that visitors can tour. Exploring the submarine provides a unique, hands-on history lesson that your grandkids are sure to remember. As you navigate through the cramped quarters, you’ll get a sense of what life was like for submariners during wartime. The knowledgeable guides share intriguing stories and insights, making the experience both educational and engaging. In addition to the submarine, the museum features various exhibits on naval history and maritime artifacts, including the history of the USS Arkansas and other notable vessels. The outdoor area offers picturesque views of the river, making it a great spot for a family photo. Visiting the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum combines adventure with education, providing a memorable outing for all ages.

Big Rock Mini Golf & Fun Park

For a day filled with laughter and excitement, head to Big Rock Mini Golf & Fun Park in Little Rock. This family-friendly venue offers a variety of attractions that cater to all ages, making it an ideal spot for a fun outing with your grandkids. The highlight is the creatively designed mini golf course, which features challenging obstacles and whimsical themes that add to the enjoyment. In addition to mini golf, the park includes go-karts, bumper boats, and a batting cage, providing plenty of options to keep everyone entertained. The arcade area offers a range of classic and modern games, perfect for a break between outdoor activities. Big Rock Mini Golf & Fun Park also has picnic areas, so you can bring along snacks and refreshments for a relaxed meal. This destination combines physical activity with playful competition, ensuring a fun and memorable experience for the entire family.

Historical Sites and Tours

Fordyce Bathhouse

The Fordyce Bathhouse, located in Hot Springs National Park, is a beautifully restored example of the opulent bathhouses that made the area famous in the early 20th century. Now serving as a visitor center and museum, the Fordyce Bathhouse offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of spa culture and the therapeutic use of hot springs. As you and your grandkids tour the facility, you’ll see intricately tiled baths, luxurious lounges, and historical exhibits detailing the science and social aspects of the bathhouse era. The museum also features interactive displays and guided tours that make the history come alive. The beautiful architecture and detailed restoration work provide a visually engaging experience, perfect for sparking conversations about the past. A visit to the Fordyce Bathhouse is both educational and enjoyable, offering a unique way to connect with the history of Hot Springs while spending quality time with your family.

The Gangster Museum of America

The Gangster Museum of America in Hot Springs offers a captivating look into the town's notorious past as a hotspot for infamous gangsters. This unique museum provides an intriguing glimpse into the lives of well-known figures like Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, and other mobsters who once frequented the area. Through a series of exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia presentations, visitors can explore the history of organized crime in the early 20th century. The museum features recreated environments, such as vintage casinos and speakeasies, which help bring the stories to life. Guided tours provide additional context and fascinating anecdotes, making the experience both educational and entertaining. The museum's engaging content is sure to capture the imagination of your grandkids while offering a rich historical perspective. A visit to The Gangster Museum of America is a unique way to delve into an intriguing chapter of American history, providing a memorable and educational outing for the whole family.

Lake Ouachita

Lake Ouachita, located near Hot Springs, is a pristine reservoir known for its crystal-clear waters and scenic beauty. This expansive lake is surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest, offering a tranquil setting for a variety of outdoor activities. Whether you're interested in boating, fishing, swimming, or simply enjoying a picnic by the shore, Lake Ouachita provides the perfect backdrop for a family outing. The lake is also famous for its numerous islands, many of which are accessible by boat, offering secluded spots for exploration and adventure. For those interested in history, the area around the lake is rich with stories of early settlers and Native American heritage. Hiking trails around the lake provide opportunities to discover the diverse flora and fauna of the region. A visit to Lake Ouachita is both a relaxing and educational experience, allowing you and your grandkids to connect with nature and enjoy the great outdoors together.

Botanical and Wildlife Attractions

Garvan Woodland Gardens

Garvan Woodland Gardens, located near Hot Springs, is a stunning 210-acre botanical garden that offers a serene escape into nature. This meticulously landscaped garden features a diverse array of plant collections, seasonal blooms, and themed areas, making it an ideal spot for a peaceful stroll with your grandkids. Highlights include the picturesque Japanese Garden, complete with koi ponds and stone bridges, and the enchanting Anthony Chapel, a breathtaking glass structure nestled among the trees. The children's area, Evans Children's Adventure Garden, is designed to engage young minds with interactive exhibits and water features. Walking trails wind through the gardens, providing opportunities to discover different plant species and enjoy the beauty of the natural surroundings. Seasonal events and light displays add to the charm, ensuring there's always something new to see. A visit to Garvan Woodland Gardens is both an educational and visually captivating experience, perfect for creating lasting memories with your family.

Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo

The Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo in Hot Springs offers a unique and exciting experience for animal lovers of all ages. Established in 1902, this historic attraction provides an up-close look at alligators, from hatchlings to adults, and offers feeding shows that are both thrilling and educational. In addition to the alligators, the farm features a variety of other animals, including monkeys, wolves, and emus, providing a diverse wildlife experience. The petting zoo area allows your grandkids to interact with and feed friendly farm animals like goats, sheep, and deer, making it a hands-on experience they will cherish. The knowledgeable staff are on hand to provide interesting facts and answer any questions, ensuring that the visit is both informative and fun. A trip to the Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo combines adventure with learning, offering a memorable day out for the entire family.

Mid-America Science Museum

The Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs offers an engaging and interactive experience that captivates visitors of all ages. This award-winning museum features over 100 hands-on exhibits that explore various scientific principles, from physics and engineering to natural sciences and robotics. Highlights include the Marvelous Motion Gallery, where kids can learn about kinetic energy through fun, interactive displays, and the Oaklawn Foundation Digital Dome Theater, which presents immersive shows about space and natural phenomena. The museum's outdoor area, the Bob Wheeler Science Skywalk, is a suspended walkway that provides an adventurous way to explore the surrounding forest while learning about the local ecosystem. Educational programs and workshops are regularly offered, making each visit unique and enriching. A trip to the Mid-America Science Museum is not only educational but also a fun way to spend quality time with your grandkids, fostering their curiosity and love for science.

Learn More About Independent Living at The Manor Senior Living Communities

We hope this guide has inspired you to explore all the wonderful activities that Central Arkansas has to offer with your grandkids. From outdoor adventures to educational museums, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of independent living at The Manor Senior Living Communities, we invite you to reach out to us. Our comfortable and convenient townhomes are the perfect home base for all your family adventures.

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