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Hot Springs, Arkansas is somewhere I've always heard about but never had the opportunity to visit until a couple of weeks ago. My family and I were invited by the local CVB to come down and visit local places of interest. We had a great time, and we got to explore quite a few places, all in one day. The following 10 places are just a few of the local places you can visit if traveling to Hot Springs, Arkansas….
Garvan Woodland Gardens
You'll definitely want to take a stroll through Garvan Woodland Gardens. Of all the places we visited while in Hot Springs, Garvan Woodland Gardens was our absolute favorite. It's definitely a must see place, and don't forget your camera. They have all sorts of walking trails through beautiful gardens and forests. You'll catch magnificent views of Lake Hamilton, and you'll find a quiet peace and serenity in this place. The plants and trees are just gorgeous, and you probably won't want to leave.
Mid-America Science Museum
The Mid-America Science Museum is a great place for kids to explore to their hearts' content. They can experiment, create, and explore underground tunnels. Our boys had a great time climbing in the belly of an earthworm, pushing all kinds of knobs and buttons, talking into the “Whisper Dish,” and more. Of course, the best part of the visit was the Tesla Coil and the lightning that it produced. Amazing stuff.
The Purple Cow Restaurant
If you're looking for a bite to eat, I highly recommend The Purple Cow Restaurant. You'll find a diner-like atmosphere, oldies playing overhead, delicious food, and the creamiest milkshakes made from Yarnell's Ice Cream. Read my full review here.
Hot Springs National Park
While the town itself is considered the national park, as well, you can actually drive up the mountain and enjoy beautiful views of Hot Springs. We were actually hoping to drive up the mountain to the Hot Springs Mountain Tower, but unfortunately, due to the government shutdown, the road was closed. Hopefully, we'll be able to go back when all is said and done.
Maxwell Blade Theater of Magic
Maxwell Blade treated us to a 45-minute snippet of his magic show, which the kids really enjoyed. We all scratched our heads and asked, “How'd he do that?” a few times, especially when Jacob was pulled up on stage and into a magic act. Armed with popcorn and sodas, the show was a nice retreat from a day of exploration. Maxwell himself is super friendly too and very dedicated to his work. You can tell he really loves the art of magic.
When we went to McClard's, we were all still pretty full from lunch, but we just had to visit. We'd heard so much about McClard's Bar-B-Q that we couldn't visit Hot Springs and not give it a try. The restaurant has a very nostalgic, retro feel, which I love. A family business, McClard's has been going strong since 1928. I highly recommend the Half Spread (One Tamale), which seemed like a full spread to me. It was so delicious, my mouth waters even thinking about it now.
Arkansas Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo
Ever held an alligator? You have the opportunity to do so at the Arkansas Alligator Farm. Plus, feed the goats and deer, and visit a host of other animals, including around 150 alligators. I didn't know that alligators can live longer than 50 years; just a fun fact we learned on our visit.
Hot Springs, the town
If you're in the mood to shop or explore the town, you have ample opportunity to do so. There are all kinds of shops, from souvenirs to cupcakes and more. You can also take a carriage ride and see more of the sights. Next time we go, we are definitely going to get a jug and fill it with spring water, something we didn't do this last time around. You'll also find beautiful places to just sit and relax and do a little people watching. Hot Springs is full of all types of activities for young and old alike.
Superior Bathhouse Brewery & Distillery
We were fortunate to meet one of the owners, Rose, who took us on a little tour of Superior Bathhouse Brewery & Distillery. They serve not only drinks but food, as well, with a full menu. We stopped in to try just a bite of Gelato. I was curious about the bathhouse and was surprised when Rose showed us a few of the old tubs in a back room that is under construction. They're individual tubs. I guess I pictured more of a swimming pool like atmosphere; I'm not sure why. Anyway, the restaurant atmosphere is that of a place to chillax and enjoy a drink, even a Root Beer. And they serve, as much as possible, foods from local artisans. Rose was so wonderful to talk to, and we were grateful to have the opportunity to meet her.
Comfort Inn & Suites
Looking for a quiet, comfortable place to rest your head at night? I can definitely recommend Comfort Inn & Suites in Hot Springs. We had a very roomy space, and our room was very clean. Not only did we have a place to rest, but they also serve a hot breakfast every morning. From biscuits and gravy to scrambled eggs and waffles, the free hot breakfast was a huge plus for our budget. They also have a very nice indoor pool, and the staff are incredibly friendly. Even Jaden's stuffed animals were set just right on the bed when we came back, something we've experienced at a couple of hotels now. He's always so happy when his animals are treated so kindly, waiting for him when he comes back to the room.
Those are just a handful of the many, many places you can visit in Hot Springs. We had a great time on our many adventures. If you really want to learn more and stay up to date, be sure to follow @HotSpringsCVB on Twitter and Like Visit Hot Springs on Facebook.