14 Things To Do During Winter in Central Arkansas
It's easy to hate winter, that special time of year when any hint of inclement weather may cause mass hysteria at the grocery store and you could wake up to frozen water pipes on any given morning.
But winter in Arkansas can be a great time to get out and explore with your family, too. Battle cabin fever and bond as a family with these 14 things to do when it's cold in central Arkansas.
1. Go On a Cruise
No, we don't mean an escape to the warm Bahamas (although that would be nice). Take a mini cruise right here in central Arkansas! If you dress appropriately (and it isn't 10 degrees), you won't freeze. Head to the Jolly Roger's Marina in Pinnacle Mountain State Park for an Eagle Lake Cruise or Winter Discovery Lake Cruise in January and February. Visitors will try to spot wintering bald eagles and other wildlife on and around Lake Maumelle.
2. Experience the Outdoors ... Inside
Can't entice your family to brave the chilly temps outside? Get a dose of the Arkansas outdoors at the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center in downtown Little Rock. Pass through various living habitat exhibits that depict the different regions of Arkansas, from the Mississippi Delta to the Ozark Plateau. The center is completely free and hosts special events for the public, including a weekly storytime for kids ages 6 and younger, fish and animal feedings, and other workshops. Find more free events at the Nature Center here.
3. Have a Movie Marathon
Hibernate at home and plan a movie marathon. Introduce the kids to one of your favorite "oldies," and allow them to choose a flick they love, too. You can even check out a winter weather survival kit of movies from the Main, Maumelle, Nixon, Milan, and Terry branches of the library. Don't forget the popcorn! Or, head to one of the CALS libraries for a free movie showing — some that include a free snack! Just select "movie" in the "event type" dropdown menu and peruse the CALS calendar here.
4. Plan a Play Day
Take the kids for a play day. Children under 8 can slide, climb, splash, build and create at The Wonder Place. Or, visit Jump!Zone in North Little Rock to pounce and slide on massive inflatables in the shapes of a sinking ship, carousel and more.
Older kids will enjoy the obstacle course, dodgeball, aerial silks and more at the extreme recreation park right here in Little Rock — Third Realm. Or try jumping around at Altitude Trampoline Park, an indoor expanse of more than 125 inter-connected trampolines. Test your jumping skills on any number of obstacles, shoot hoops on basketball lanes, or even launch yourself into a giant 60-foot foam pit.
5. Head to the Arcade
There are lots of fun indoor spots that paretns can enjoy, too! Try arcade games and amusements at Big Rock Fun Park. Or take the whole family to Dave & Buster's and enjoy a delicious lunch at the restaurant after you've gamed your hearts out.
6. Get Competitive
Knock down some pins at Professor Bowl West in Little Rock or Millennium Bowling Center in Maumelle. If the kids have a lot of energy, it may be the perfect time to try out paintball and laser tag at Jack's Ultra Sports in Conway.
7. Visit the Library
Pick out a new book to read individually or as a family. Then, stick around for one of the many free activities at your local library: movie screenings, games, snack times, crafts, tea parties, storytimes, concerts, knitting classes and more. Check out the winter program guide here and find activities at all 14 branches of the CALS!
8. Cheer on a Sports Team
Visit UALR's Jack Stephens Center to root for the Trojans! In December, January and February, both the men's and women's basketball teams will be in Little Rock for home games. Find the full schedules here.
9. Go to a Show
Visit the Arkansas Arts Center Children's Theatre to see "This Little Piggy Went to Market" from Feb. 1-17.
If you're looking for something a little more energetic, head to Verizon Arena on Jan. 19 for the Harlem Globetrotters. These aren't any ordinary basketball players - they'll showcase ball handling wizardry, rim-rattling dunks, trick shots, hilarious comedy and have fun fan interaction.
10. Go Skating
The chill in the air always makes us yearn for a trip to the ice skating rink. Glide (and slip) around the Arkansas Skatium's indoor arena, and sip on hot chocolate from the snack bar when you need to warm up. Take advantage of cheap skate admission every Thursday from 6-8 p.m., which includes both ice and roller skate rental for just $7.
11. Meet up at the Museum
Schedule a play date with family or friends at a local museum. The Museum of Discovery's current temporary exhibit is made entirely of tape! "Tape and Tunnels" is a series of interconnected tunnels and slides that guests of all ages can explore, climb, crawl and slide through. The museum also offers free Wiggle Worms workshops for youngsters on most Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Check the calendar for a full schedule.
Or, day trip to Hot Springs' Mid-America Science Museum to discover their exhibits including the Marvelous Motion Gallery, the Oaklawn Foundation Digital Dome Theater and many more. And you can check out the brand new huge dinosaur exhibit that opened in spring 2018.
12. Get Artsy
ArtLab is the perfect destination for your kids who are always wanting to color, paint and create. The space opened in July 2018 and offers a multitude of art supplies and a place where kids can feel free to get messy. The open studio allows kids to experiment with watercolor, tempera, Play-Doh, Legos, peg board, chalk/felt board and sensory stations as well as the studio's Art Buffet.
13. Go Sledding
If we're lucky enough to get more snow this winter, then it's time to grab the sleds (or cardboard or trash can lids, whatever works). Bundle up and head to one of these two destinations for the perfect sledding hill. And make sure to have hot cocoa mix waiting when you get home!
14. Get Crafty
If you just want spend the day at home and relaxing, crafts are a perfect way to stay occupied. Try these snow day crafts or get a head start on homemade Valentines!