With summer vacation in full swing, many families are getting together for their annual reunions. Arkansas has plenty of out of the box or unique activities for families of all sizes and ages to enjoy.
Cave City Watermelon Festival
This year’s Cave City Watermelon Festival will take place July 29-31. It has become quite popular for family reunions, especially for those native to the area. The festival was recently named the ‘Most Missed Festival of 2020’. Country-music artist Tracy Byrd will headline this year’s festival. There will also be an all you can eat watermelon feast on July 31, beginning at 4 p.m. Organizers said the feast is a chance for farmers to give back to the community and express appreciation. For more information, visit cavecitywatermelonfestival.com.
Ouachita Kayak Tours
Does your family prefer the great outdoors? Ouachita Kayak Tours in Hot Springs is one option to explore one of over 200 islands and nearly 700 miles of shoreline for one of Arkansas’ largest lakes. A guided tour will not only help you navigate, but can help paddlers of all ages & skill levels. Half day and full day tours are available for individuals, couples, and groups. Tours depart from multiple launch points. No prior kayaking experience is necessary. Lake Ouachita is one of the cleanest lakes in the country and is the perfect spot for you and your family to go snorkeling. All tours are private this year, which gives families a chance to snorkel, swim or paddle. Half day and full day tours are available for individuals, couples, and groups. Tours depart from multiple launch points. No prior kayaking experience is necessary. For more information, call (501) 725-2925.
Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo
Get the kids involved in the family group activities and let them pet a live alligator at Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo. The farm features more than 150 alligators and a petting zoo with a mini donkey, sheep and goats, a small museum and other exotic animals. Groups of 20 or more please call to schedule a visit. Enjoy live alligator feeding shows every Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at noon through October. Free bread is available to guests to feed petting zoo animals. There are military and senior discounts available. Children under 2 get in for free. The farm is located at 847 Whittington Avenue in Hot Springs. Groups of 20 or more please call (501) 623-6172 to schedule a visit. For more information, visit alligatorfarmzoo.com
Fordyce Bathhouse Museum
The Fordyce Bathhouse opened for bathing in 1915, and currently operates as the National Park’s Visitor’s Center and a historically furnished museum. The Fordyce Bathhouse is the largest bathhouse on the row depicting the immersive history of the bathing in Hot Springs National Park. Families can enjoy a free self-guided tour through all three floors of the Fordyce or talk with a park ranger for more information on ranger programs and the National Park. Be sure to visit the top floor to see the Fordyce Bathhouse Gymnasium, a historically intact gym from 1915.
Building capacity is 100 visitors at a time and face masks are required while inside all federal buildings. Park rangers are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist with any questions. The bathhouse is located at 369 Central Avenue in Hot Springs.