Mom and child beside fountainWe’re going to let you in on a little secret.  Kids don’t really like visiting Hot Springs --- they LOVE it!  From amusement and water parks to hands-on museums and more, there’s no shortage of fun for families in the Spa City.  Moms and dads love bringing the groups here because there are plenty of options to entertain groups containing toddlers and teens.

We know that planning a trip, however, can feel daunting.

So we’ve done the work for you! We’ve created a sample 3-day itinerary specifically designed for families visiting Hot Springs.  We’ve planned for everything, big adventure, rain, and staying in (roughly) the same area of town.  Pack your bags and get ready for FUN!

 

DAY ONE – Adventure Awaits!

Breakfast

Rise and shine! If you’re a parent, you know that full bellies are happy bellies (at least for an hour or two.) Mueller’s Bakery has a variety of breakfast options that will please the pickiest of palates. Choose from donuts and muffins to biscuits and gravy or even a platter with eggs, toast and sausage to get the day going.

No family trip to Hot Springs is complete without visiting Magic Springs and Crystal Falls.  In some cities, you’re going to have to pay separate admission to visit an amusement park AND a water park PLUS a concert. Pricey…right? Luckily, at Magic Springs, all of those are bundled into one admission ticket. Plus, there are discounts for kids under 48” in height and toddlers 3-years-old and under enter for free. This, plus rides for smaller children, definitely helps if you have littler ones with you. 

It’s always a good idea to get there early to beat the crowds (and the heat).Arkansas Twister at Magic Springs

Lunch

Outside of designated “Cooler Sundays,” you can’t bring a lunch with you to Magic Springs – but you can feed the kiddos anything from burgers to pizza, chicken or salads while you’re there.

Late Afternoon

Once you’ve ridden the rides at Magic Springs, continue the family fun continues at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf on Central Avenue. With waterfalls, caves, and shipwrecks – everyone will have a blast trying on the two 18-hole courses available.

Dinner

After you leave Pirate’s Cove, a quick drive up the street will allow you to continue a day of adventure by encouraging the kids to try some new foods at the Hibachi Sushi Buffet.  Kids will be very entertained my teh chef and flames if you choose to sit at a hibachi and order off the menu.  But if you decide on teh buffet outgoing kids may love to sample some sushi, but safe staples like chicken strips are available as well.

 

DAY TWO – Rain, Rain Go Away…

Breakfast

Oh no! You’ve opened the curtains and see some ominous looking rain clouds. No problem – there are plenty of indoor options around Hot Springs.  For breakfast, head over to Alexa’s Creperie.  Kids are tickled to see the light pastries overflowing with fillings and parents are happy to see fresh fruits top their plates. Plus, applesauce and crème filled crepes are easy to share with teething toddlers.

Just a quick drive away will find you at the newly renovated Mid-America Science Museum. After receiving a $7.8 Million grant from the Reynolds Foundation, the updated museum has seen rave reviews from new visitors and long-time fans.  Kids are encouraged to get hands-on with the science experiments, and you’ll be happy to see them playing and learning at the same time.  Don’t forget to get tickets to their 180-degree dome-theatershows, which are out of this world!

Kids ad Mid- America Science Museum

Lunch

Check out the Café at Mid-America which includes a self-service station stocked with popcorn, nachos, pizzas, drinks and vending machines.  There are also a wide variety of restaurants and fast-food chains nearby on Albert Pike Road.

Afternoon

Does it seem like rain makes your kids extra wiggly? Not a problem! Take them over to Hog Wild Events Party Center. They’re primarily open Thursday through Sunday, but are open for reservations Monday through Wednesday.  This party center is filled with inflatable bounce houses, a snack bar, and a game arcade.

Early Dinner

A Little Rock original, The Purple Cow Restaurant in Hot Springs has been delighting kids of all ages for years.  Their extensive list of sandwiches, salads, and hand-dipped milkshakes will mean that everyone will find something to fill their tummies.  If not, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt is a quick walk over. Their fat-free flavors can be topped with fruit, nuts, and candy.

Evening

Do you believe in magic? Your group certainly will after catching one of Maxwell Blade’s amazing shows! The award-winning illusionist is located in Historic Downtown Hot Springs and offers a evening filled with music, magic, family and fun with show times starting at 8 p.m.

 

DAY THREE – Historic District Day of Fun

Breakfast

The Colonial Pancake and Waffle House has worked hard to earn its fan base! Even Morgan Murphy of Southern Living’s Off the Eaten Path fell in love with the delicious dishes being served up in this Historic District staple.

Morning

Up the street from the Colonial, on Whittington Avenue, lies a farm that isn’t what Old MacDonald had in mind. If your kids are brave (or just curious) take them over to the Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo. There they’ll find hundreds of alligators, pet pygmy goats and llamas, and tour a museum with a variety of monkeys and mountain lions.

As you walk around the Historic District, keep your eyes open for a series of distinctive green markers. They’re part of the Historic Baseball Trail and a must-see for any fan of America’s Game.  Your little leaguers will love learning about how Hot Springs played a role in the lives of the sport’s biggest role models!

Lunch

Bubbalu’s Burgers and Hot Dogs is located on Central Avenue across from Bathhouse Row.  Kids will love the variety of sandwiches and dogs, parents will love the wallet-friendly prices.

Afternoon

Can’t decide between a scenic drive or a day on the lake? Ask your kids if they’d like to take a ride on a duck! (No…we’re not piggy-backing on Donald or Daffy’s shoulders.)  Located at 418 Central Avenue, the Duck Tours will drive you down Central Avenue and right into Lake Hamilton.Lake Hamilton

When you return, let the kids pick up a charming souvenir from The Toy Chest, a locally-owned store that specializes in the type of toys that are sure to be passed down for generations to come.  Afterward, get a first hand glimpse of what it means to be a “kid in a candy shop” when you visit the brand-new Kilwin’s.   They are stocked with delicious chocolates, ice cream, caramel apples, brittles, and caramel popcorn for you to enjoy.

Dinner

Haven’t the parents earned a delicious dinner by this point in the trip? ABSOLUTELY! Head down the street to Fat Jack’s for oysters, shrimp, and gumbo plus live music and a friendly atmosphere. The rustic interior will have kids playing “find the hogs” while they wait for their food. 

Evening

Need to let the kids run off some steam? (Or work off the sugar from Kilwin’s?) No problem! Arlington Park (located across from the Arlington Hotel and next to the Superior Bathhouse) has plenty of room for running, jumping, and admiring some of the hot springs that have earned the town its name and reputation.