5 Stops to Make at Little Rock's Riverfront Park
Downtown Little Rock’s Riverfront Park is often overlooked, but it’s actually a fantastic family attraction with several spots to play and learn.
Bring the family for a full day of fun in the River Market area, visiting other venues like Museum of Discovery and Heifer Urban Farm to make the most of your time downtown. If you’re there on a Saturday morning, make sure to stop by the Little Rock Farmers Market in the River Market Pavilion!
And while all of these locations are within walking distance of each other, you can also jump on the air conditioned trolley for a break from the heat and a free tour of the city.
Little Rock Parks and Recreation gave us the scoop on the best elements of the Riverfront Park to visit with kids. Whether you hang out at all five or pick a favorite place to relax while the kids play, here are five stops to make at Riverfront Park.
1. Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center
If you want to make an indoor stop, the Nature Center is the perfect place! Check their website (CentralArkansasNatureCenter.com) for regularly scheduled events such as storytimes and educational crafts and classes. The center showcases native fish and wildlife and is free to explore. Alligator feedings are a highlight every Friday at 2 p.m. The grounds feature beds of native plants found throughout the state and basking water turtles, butterflies and migrating pelicans are common sights.
2. Children’s Splash Pad
This splash pad is designed for children who are 5 years old and younger, giving them a playspace that’s not dominated by older children. It’s located just west of Marriott Hotel, adjacent to the Margaret Clark Adventure Park, and sits near the bank of the Arkansas River. Two main water features, a waterfall and fog misters, are the highlights in this area.
Kids should wear non-slip water shoes when playing at the splash pad to reduce the chances of falling. Benches around the area give parents a place to sit and watch as kids play.
3. Peabody Park and Splash Pad
Located west of the Junction Bridge in Riverfront Park, Peabody Park and Splash Pad are unique play environments, designed with help from children! The space encourages imagination, exploration and discovery through a variety of interactive activities. Some of the area’s many fun features include outdoor and underground tunnels (great for providing shade in the sunny summer months), large native stones for climbing and a large slide. Parents can relax at the Ozark Pavilion while supervising kids play.
4. Pedestrian/Cyclist Trails
Walk or bike along a wonderful system of trails through Riverfront Park that crosses over Arkansas River by the Clinton and Broadway Bridges and loops back into the park. It measures out around two miles for a full loop and offers wonderful experiences on both sides of the Arkansas River.
If you don’t want to lug your bikes downtown, you can rent from Rock Town River Outfitters in the River Market. Make sure to wear a helmet!
5. Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden
This isn’t your typical garden. This artsy area is located just east of Marriott Hotel, featuring natural terraces and walkways along the Arkansas River. Kids and adults alike can take a look at and even touch more than 50 unique sculptures. Wandering through the Sculpture Garden is a great way to start conversations on art and encourage kids to showcase their own creativity.
Follow up your visit to the Sculpture Garden with a creative activity at home, such as providing supplies (pipe cleaners, pom poms, glue, paper, etc.) to kids and inviting them to create their own sculptures.
To get a closer look at these attractions, check out Little Rock Parks & Recreation's interactive online map!