Things to do in Riverfront Park in little Rock Ar

Rachael Ray may dine her way through a city on “$40 a Day”, but Little Rock’s Riverfront Park offers a great day trip and loads of fun – all for far less than forty dollars! The Julius Breckling Riverfront Park, known locally as “Riverfront Park,” is an eleven-block stretch of properties along the south bank of the Arkansas River on LaHarpe Boulevard in Little Rock, Arkansas. Riverfront Park is home to such capital city attractions as Riverfest Amphitheatre, History Pavilion, La Petit Roche, Riverfront Park Belvedere, the Sculptural Promenade, and Ozark Pavilion. Adjacent to Riverfront Park are several more points of interest: the vibrant and eclectic River Market, the Peabody Hotel and its infamous Peabody Ducks, the Museum of Discovery, the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center and the William J. Clinton Presidential Center & Park. And best of all, many of these attractions are open to the public and free of charge!

* The Peabody Ducks
Start your day at the Peabody Hotel, where the ducks parade to a marble fountain each morning at 11:00 to begin a day of swimming and entertaining guests. From there, you can visit the Peabody Park, an innovative play area for children, with green spaces, a climbing wall, tunnels, tube slide, splash fountain, “tree room,” and a spacenet. Ozark Pavilion offers parents a good spot to watch the kids while relaxing and enjoying the sights of the Arkansas River, as well as the play area, a hillside stream, and the splash fountain.

The Peabody hotel is the most recent business or individual to partner with the city of Little Rock to provide donations to renovate Riverfront Park. The Peabody hotel will donate $250,000 over the next several years. West of Peabody Park, two gardens and Belvedere Pavilion welcome guests. The Jack Fleischauer Garden features native grasses and plants and is located behind the Peabody Hotel on the Arkansas River Trail. The “Forever a Rose” sculpture by Denny Haskew is featured in the “Forever a Rose” Garden on the banks of the Arkansas River. Continue your day-trip by strolling through a number of other outdoor attractions in Riverfront Park.

* Riverfront Park Belvedere
The Belvedere in Riverfront Park was constructed north of what was then the Excelsior Hotel (now the Peabody) in 1986, in commemoration of the sesquicentennial of Arkansas’ statehood. This small structure is like a concrete gazebo and serves as a performance space for a variety of instrumental music events.

* Riverfest Amphitheatre
In 1987, this multi-use stage and amphitheatre was built on seven and a half acres. The first “for-pay” event was held in 1989. Many of Little Rock’s concerts are held at the Riverfest Amphitheatre.

* History Pavilion
Take a trip back in time at the History Pavilion. This exhibit will teach you about the history of Little Rock and the state of Arkansas. View drawings, maps, descriptions of natural landmarks and the geographical makeup of the city skyline as it appeared to early explorers.

* Indian Head
This statue was carved in 1975 by Peter Toth and originally sat in MacArthur Park. Refurbished by Eagle Scouts, the statue now sits in the History Pavilion for all to see. This statue was one of sixty Native American likenesses that Toth carved in all 50 states as a tribute to Native Americans.

* Nature Center
Stop in and visit the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center and learn about Arkansas’ abundant wildlife. Dozens of mounted specimens are displayed, along with several tanks of live fish and even a couple of baby alligators. View a brief film in the center’s theatre, and tour a simulated “frontier cabin” where pelts and skins are mounted on the walls. The Center has a gift shop and is open from 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. on Sundays.

* Le Petit Roche
Stroll on down to see the city’s namesake… La Petit Roche. So named by explorer Jean-Baptiste Benard de LaHarpe in 1772, La Petit Roche, or the “little rock,” is located near the Junction Bridge, and today this outcropping is a shadow of its former self but still considered the landmark that gave this city its name.

Finish your day in a number of ways. Have lunch at the Clinton Presidential Center & Park and tour the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. Catch the River Rail trolley and ride through downtown Little Rock. Stroll through the River Market and have coffee and cheesecake at Andina, pick up some fresh veggies in the Farmer’s Market, and buy a crafty necklace, scarf, or piece of art from one of the many artists, artisans and vendors. If hearty burgers are more your thing, stroll across the street and visit Big Whiskey’s for a burger or some nachos and a tall, cold brew. Take the kids to play and learn at the Museum of Discovery, or stop in the Clinton Museum Store and get a cute replica of Socks the Cat for your desk.

The Peabody Ducks retire each evening at 5:00 with a parade out of the fountain and back to their night-time abode. While this is a free event, you should still have a few bills left in your wallet from your day. However, with all there is to see and do in Riverfront Park and the surrounding area, by then your energy may very well be depleted.

Resources:
www.peabodylittlerock.com/peabody_ducks/
www.centralarkansasnaturecenter.com
www.clintonpresidentialcenter.org
www.rivermarket.info