Little Rock, Arkansas is the capital city and has tons to offer a traveling family. Some people may not consider this place when planning their next family vacation. With so much to do you will surely be planning to come back soon once you have been here.
Getting Around Little Rock
Part of what makes Little Rock such a great place for families is their great selection of free things to do. No matter what kind of activities you enjoy when on vacation or traveling Little Rock probably has something for you.
Nature, art, science, history, dining, and more can be found all within a close proximity of each other. If you stay downtown, we stayed at the Downtown Riverside RV Resort, walking or biking is a breeze to many of the areas attractions.
There are bridges for walking or biking across that connect the city and make traveling around easy. Even if you decide to drive it is one of the easier cities to navigate and traffic flows smoothly. Getting around Little Rock without much stress is part of what makes it such a great place to visit.
Free Things to do in Little Rock With Kids
Heifer International offers families a fun educational experience for free. The indoor exhibits explain what the farm is all about, helping to feed people around the world. To keep the kids engaged they offer a scavenger hunt, there are two levels one for younger kids and one for the older bunch. There are also many hands on displays and lots of pictures. Outside you can see the garden and interact with some of the animals they have on site.
The Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center is another great free place to take the kids. It is also a great place to learn about the different environments and Eco-systems of Arkansas. One wall consists of a large fish tank that holds live animals from each part of the state. On the other side you will find what may be the largest collection of fishing lures ever, it is at least the largest one I have ever seen. Throughout the rest of the center you can see animals that can be found within Arkansas and information about them all.
See the sculptures along the river. Kids love art especially when it’s big, outside, and interesting. There are many sculptures to see if you walk along the river near the market place. It also makes a great place to ride bikes.
Tour the State Capitol building. They offer free guided tours throughout the year or take a self guided tour on your own. If you go make sure you stop by the vault. It is the onsite bank for the capitol and they let you go inside the actual vault. We got a chance to hold $200,000 in cash and they give out a special coin too. The building is beautiful and it’s fun to look up into the dome.
Check out the Little Rock Central High School. This place played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement and it is amazing to learn about it where it took place. There is a wonderful visitors center where you can watch a video about the event. While the museum might not hold the attention of non-readers for long, there are a few displays they might like, while the older ones should find more interesting information in each exhibit.
Visit the Old Mill replica. It is located in a small park space that makes for a gorgeous photograph back drop when the flowers are in bloom. There are some cool stone bridges kids will love to run across, plus you can go into the mill, even upstairs. This makes for a great picnic spot or just a cool place to let the kids get some energy out.
Playgrounds are always cool free places to take kids. Within walking distance of the Old Mill is a very cool playground called Lakewood Park. It has a pirate ship and a kid sized train, both made of wood, that provide a place for their imaginations to run wild. Downtown by the river is another terrific playground, but if you are into the safe plastic repetitive playgrounds you find everywhere, you might not like this one. It is built on the rocks that Little Rock derives it’s name from. There are metal rungs that lead down into the rocks, tunnels through the rocks, and a big tube slide that goes down the side of the rocks. This is probably the coolest park we have seen on our adventure so far.
Last But Not Free
Museum of Discovery in downtown Little Rock is free if you are an ASTC member, but even if you’re not it is worth going to. With their variety of exhibits, shows, and hands on fun the kids are sure to enjoy a visit here.
We love getting a chance to see live animals and petting them is even better. The animals caregiver brought out a Chinchilla and a Guinea Pig which he let us pet. The Chinchilla might be the softest animal I have ever touched!
While this museum does have shows that cost extra, they also offer some free ones too. The two shows we got to see were about lasers and vortexes. During the laser show the instructor incorporated Star Wars into it so of course the kids loved it. We learn a lot from watching these shows, but the kids were also chosen as volunteers from the audience so it makes it even more educational.
This museum also includes exhibits on geology, the body, and nature. We entered the house where they simulate a tornado experience and our youngest son got scared because it was so realistic. This place is a great size because you don’t have to feel rushed to get through it, but there is plenty to do to keep little scientists (OK and us big ones too) entertained for hours.
So Much to do So Little Rock
With so much to offer for families I am sure you will love visiting Little Rock as much as we did. I still can’t believe this great city is not on everyone’s list of places to see with kids. Although I am quite sure it will become a destination city soon, so hurry up and visit before everyone else finds out about how great it is. I hope you enjoyed reading about Little Rock and that you get a chance to visit soon. Leave us a comment about you favorite undiscovered city in the comments.