Get Outta Town

Head for the hills or the city for spring break to shake things up and discover new, kidfriendly adventures. Here are a few ideas to inspire your traveler spirit!

By Angela E. Thomas

Mid America Museum

HOT SPRINGS IS KNOWN AS THE SPA CITY, BUT YOU’LL ALSO FIND FAMILY-CENTERED ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS.

Mid-America Science Museum features instructional, informational and entertaining indoor and outdoor exhibits that utilize light, science, gravity, kinetic energy and more, including the thrilling Bob Wheeler Science Skywalk of 200 yards of forest canopy and a tree-house pavilion, 40 feet in the air; 501-767-3461 or midamericamuseum.org.

Speaking of “in the air,” visit Ron Coleman Mining for your next ziplining adventure. While there, dig for crystal and quartz, and take a tour of the mine; 900-291-4484 or colemanquartz.com.

Top off your trip with a visit to Garvan Woodlawn Gardens. Enjoy spring’s floral symphony on Amity Daffodil Hill as well as the mazes, wading pools and elevated walkway of the Adventure Garden; 501-262-9300 or garvanwoodlandgardens.org.

Terra Studios in Fayetteville

HEAD NORTH, FRIENDS, TO EXPLORE FAYETTEVILLE!

One of the city’s treasures (and best kept secrets) Terra Studios offers several art-centered activities, and during spring break, they’ll host classes as well as an Art Lab. Call to schedule a group tour or art party today; 479-643-3185 or terrastudios.com.

It’s hard to beat local favorite Wilson Park for fun. Fayetteville’s oldest park is the place to be on a sunny day. Explore the castle, shoot some hoops and enjoy a picnic. You’ll be in good company. Find it at Prospect and Louise streets and Park and Wilson avenues.

If you live with an aspiring pilot, a visit to the Arkansas Air & Military Museum—home to small aircraft, replicas and military memorabilia—is fitting. It’s just large enough to capture the imagination and small enough for young attention spans; 479-521-4947 or arkansasairandmilitary.com.

Of course, no trip with the kids to the northern region of our state is complete without a visit to the Scott Family Amazeum for hands-on fun in the Hershey Lab, the 3M Tinkering Hub and more. Be sure to check the calendar for special activities; 479-696-9280 or amazeum.org.

Parents, if all these activities leave you parched for an adult beverage, stop in JBGB Brewery for a brew while the kids enjoy games set out just for them; 479-435-6502 or thejbgb.com.

Museum of Discovery

CENTRAL ARKANSAS IS GREAT PLACE TO TAKE A VACATION OR STAYCATION.

Adventures in science await at Little Rock’s Museum of Discovery. Come see more of what has captured the admiration and fascination of many, including Jimmy Fallon, host of “The Tonight Show.” You and your children will enjoy the hands-on activities; 501-396-7050 or museumofdiscovery.org.

Take a walk on the wild side at the Little Rock Zoo. More than 700 animals live there and provide an opportunity for lessons in conservation. Children also learn about agriculture while feeding and grooming animals at the Zoo’s Arkansas Heritage Farm; 501-666-2406 or littlerockzoo.com.

No trip to the capital city is complete without a tour of the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, which is a treat for adults and children alike. Explore from the first floor, where a presidential limo takes center stage, to the top floor, where exhibits highlight the Clintons’ White House years; 501-372-4242 or clintonlibrary.gov.

Looking for kid-friendly dining options? Check out All Aboard Restaurant & Grill, where trains are the thrill, 501-975-7401 or all-aboardrestaurant.com; or the ever-popular The Purple Cow, where purple ice cream is all the rage. Parents, there are treats for you as well: adult shakes with Kahlua, vodka or locally distilled bourbon and more; purplecowlr.com.

Doseum in San Antonio

IT’S A WONDERFUL TIME TO VISIT SAN ANTONIO AS THE CITY MARKS ITS 300TH ANNIVERSARY.

The Run, Jump, Fly! interactive exhibit, complete with a yoga station, rock wall and the chance to “snowboard” at The Doseum is an ideal place to allow the kids to release some of energy. They’ll also enjoy the Innovation Station and solve mysteries at the Spy Academy; 210-212-4453 or thedoseum.org.

Tour an earthquake-formed cave, take a train ride through a wildlife park, defy gravity and more at Wonderworld Park; 512-392-6711 or wonderworldpark.com. Or, get your ride on ZDT’s Amusement Park, where you’ll find water slides, roller coasters and water coasters as well as a video arcade and climbing and trampoline parks; 830-386-0151 or zdtamusement.com.

For even more amusement, SeaWorld San Antonio, 210-520-4732 or seaworld.com/san-antonio, and Six Flags Fiesta Texas, 210-697-5050 or sixflags.com/fiestatexas are sure to please. Of course, the city’s River Walk is a great place to dine alfresco—enjoy a wide variety of delicious food while taking in the sights.

Visiting the Alamo? Don’t miss The Texas Ranger Museum and the opportunity to visit the “Wild West.” You’ll also want to check out the Bonnie and Clyde exhibit as well as the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum; 210-247-4000 or buckhornmuseum.com.

Enjoy tasty sandwiches and other finger foods, like a bucket of burgers at MoMak’s Backyard Malts & Burgers. Get some rest while the kids take advantage of their 10,000-square-foot fenced turf field; 210-481-3600 or momaks.com.

Howe-Garden.jpg

PERHAPS A SHORT TRIP TO MUSIC CITY IS IN ORDER! HERE ARE A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE NASHVILLE ATTRACTIONS.

Inspire your young scientist with a visit to the Adventure Science Center. Kids will love the Destination Exploration and LEGO Steam Park. They’ll also learn about earthquakes, dinosaurs and airplanes. Be sure to check out their Math Moves! exhibit where learning about ratios and proportion is fun; adventuresci.org.

Obsessed with all things aquatic? Dine “under da sea” at the Aquarium Restaurant, where your trip may include a chance to view their “mermaids.”; 615-514-3474 or aquariumrestaurants.com.

Satisfy the botanist and the train lover in your family at the Cheekwood Estates and Garden, where they feature several gardens—including water and sculpture gardens—and the Trains! outdoor exhibit; 615-356-8000.

Catering to the dining preferences of your entire family is easy at Monell’s, where they serve southern comfort food, family style. Breakfast cannot be beat when you’ve got all the basics as well as baked apples, fried chicken, and mouthwatering biscuits and gravy; 615-248-4747 or monellstn.com.

You don’t have to be Willy Wonka to own a piece of this chocolate factory. For just $5, on Saturdays, children 8 and older can take a tour of Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co. It’s a tasty treat as you’ll enjoy a few samples here and there as you take the tour; 615-262-3007 or oliveandsinclair.com.