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Built with over 300,000 bricks salvaged from other buildings, the Arkansas Governor's Mansion was completed in 1950. This grand Georgian colonial mansion sits on 8 pristine acres (3 hectares) of manicured herb gardens maintained by the National Herb Society. Visitors can partake in guided tours on Tuesday and Thursday and must be scheduled one day in advance. The tours are completely free and include a visit to all rooms deemed public.
This lesser-known Little-Rock landmark on the outskirts of downtown was constructed in honor of the state's 150th birthday in 1986. This sundial is made from various stones and artifacts given as gifts to the state by countries all over the globe. It is located just a short walk from downtown across the Broadway Bridge to North Little Rock. While you are there, take a walk through the riverside park. It is a wonderful place to admire the beauty of Arkansas.
The official seat of the Arkansas state government, the Arkansas State Capitol gleams brightly with a pristine white facade. Awash in semblances of striking Neoclassical style, this palatial building sits atop Capitol Hill and is fronted by rolling verdant lawns. However, history has it that Arkansas State Capitol's design was originally intended to be the Montana State Capitol after a competition was held to find a new design. However, the Montana capitol was never built, and the architect brought his design to Arkansas instead. The rest is history. The very place where Bill Clinton governed before taking up President-ship, the Capitol is solemnly crafted using Arkansas limestone. Sitting under a monumental dome, the capitol today is complete with exhibits illustrating the state's long-standing history, culture, traditions, and governance. The capitol is an incandescent canopy during Christmas, where a towering tree graces the rotunda while a string of lights bedecks its outsides. Having been used in plenty of films, the Arkansas State Capitol is truly the crowning glory of Little Rock.
Dubbed the 'Little Rock Nine' for being the first nine African American students to attend Little Rock Central High School after segregation was ruled unconstitutional in 1954, this statue depicts the brave individuals fighting for their civil liberties. As the only civil rights memorial located on any of the State Capitol grounds in the South, the statue features plaques with the students names and a brief comment from them. Symbolically opening the doors of segregation in America, this moving testament is a must visit.
Home to a variety of festivals and concerts, this park is the center of activity in Little Rock. Here you can see the actual "little rock" that inspired European-explorer Benard de la Harpe to name the city. Take a break from shopping and visiting museums downtown to watch barges and riverboats float down the lazy Arkansas River. Children can enjoy the playground, while adults check out the history pavilion, which offers background on the park and the city. Bands often perform at the amphitheater. In May the park is filled with the frivolities of the annual Riverfest.
The River Market is the most popular locale in Little Rock, both for tourists and locals. With more than 17 merchants housed inside, you can buy fresh bread, pastries, flowers, coffee, and international groceries. There are several cafés located in the market where you can taste Japanese, Italian or local cuisines. Just outside the market, you will find even more interesting shops, bars, and restaurants. This is the place to come for the perfect souvenir on your trip to the city. Besides, this place is always buzzing with concerts, festivals, and other interesting activities.
The Clinton Presidential Center is a monument to the 42nd president of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton. This $200 million library offers visitors a view of the controversial former President that is as complicated and as multi-dimensional as the man himself. The Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the U.S. economic expansion, balancing the budget and the budget surplus, NAFTA; they're all there. The Center also has a lot to say about the scandals that rocked the Clinton presidency, including the historic impeachment that preoccupied the country in his second term. The Clinton Presidential Center does provide a well-balanced portrait of this elemental and larger than life charismatic leader of America and the free world.
As the headquarters of Heifer International, an organization dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger through the donation of livestock and agricultural lessons around the world, Heifer Village is truly a Little Rock gem. Here you can tour the eco-friendly, green building, which is located next to natural wetlands. Groups of 10 or more can contact the village for tour, event and program information that can include hands-on exhibits, scavenger hunts and more. This is a great educational attraction for families that help educate the public on global issues and other cultures, a must visit for the Little Rock area!
The Little Rock Zoo is the wildest place in town. With over 500 different species on display, the zoo is home to exotic tigers, lemurs, tortoises, and elephants. Children will want to visit Kiddieland and take a small train to ride around the park. The Zoo Café, located within the park, serves hot dogs, nachos and cold drinks.
Old Mill has been called the most picturesque spot in North Little Rock. The actual mill, which operated in the 1800s, provided the background for the opening scenes of 'Gone With the Wind'. Today, visitors can explore the inside of the mill or sit on the surrounding mushroom-shaped benches and watch the waterwheel churn. In the spring and early summer, flowers decorate the banks of the pond. You can take in the scenery while enjoying lunch at one of the numerous picnic tables in the surrounding TR Pugh Memorial Park.
This pleasant and popular park, located four miles from Cantrell Road, features two playgrounds, two soccer fields, eight pavilions and plenty of shaded picnic areas. Just south of Murray Lock and Dam, the park is on the banks of the Arkansas River. It offers a boat launch for fishermen and pleasure cruisers alike. There is plenty of parking here. A bike lane runs out to the park from Cantrell Road, providing a nice alternative to city traffic. Murray Park also has a dog park.
This jewel of a park is hidden in the valley of Pinnacle Mountain, only a 15-minute drive from Little Rock. Everything you need to have a relaxing weekend is available here. There are plenty of shady camping spots, some even by the Arkansas River's banks. Families appreciate the huge-covered pavilions, complete with picnic tables and grills. A playground is within walking distance from the camping area, and there is a pleasant-little picnicking area there as well. A boat launch is a popular spot with local fishermen.