If you still think of North Little Rock as a Capital City suburb, think again. Over the past decade or so, North Little Rock has come into its own on all fronts…especially tourism destinations.
The north shore of the Arkansas River has undergone some important transformations with the additions of the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum, the USS Razorback submarine, and the Arkansas Queen riverboat. The AIMM was established in 2005 to commemorate America’s rich maritime heritage. It also includes Arkansas’s naval history, information on maritime trade on the Arkansas River, and the USS Razorback. The sub is a veteran of five combat patrols during World War II, sinking Japanese vessels, capturing Japanese POWs and rescuing American pilots who had been shot down. At the end of WWII, she was one of only 12 submarines selected to be present in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrender was signed. You’ll also find a research library, a theatre, and the USS Snook Memorial. You can also go “down under” for tours, and rent the sub for group overnight stays and birthday parties. Group tours are available. City leaders hope to add the USS Hoga towboat to the collection later this year or early next year.
Next door is the striking Arkansas Queen, an elegant three-deck replicated stern wheeler. This modern riverboat has two climate controlled decks and a topside deck. Sightseeing excursions, as well as lunch and dinner/dance, plus late night music cruises are provided year-round on the beautiful Arkansas River. The Arkansas Queen is also perfect for groups, weddings, reunions, special occasions and events.
Also in the area is Dickey-Stephens Park, home field for the Arkansas Travelers AA minor league baseball team. The state-of-the-art field makes watching America’s pastime a pleasure. Verizon Arena is the perfect setting for major concerts and sporting events. Located in the facility is the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Museum. The legends of sports, some familiar and some not as well known, in Arkansas are highlighted here. Highly interactive exhibits make it an entertaining stop for the whole family.
During the season, the Central Arkansas Farmers Market features the best of locally-grown produce, meats, and plants. Next door is the Argenta Market, a farmer-owned store with fresh food products and some organics. The North Shore Riverwalk, part of the Arkansas River Trail, is a great place for strolling, jogging, bicycling and rollerblading.
We certainly couldn’t talk about North Little Rock without mentioning the city’s best-known landmark: The Old Mill. One of the most picturesque places in the state, this city park is legendary for its appearance in the classic 1933 film “Gone With the Wind.” It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And, of course, there is Burns Park, a 1,700-acre playground. Also on park grounds are a pre-Civil War cabin and one of the state’s few covered bridges. For some old-fashioned fun, don’t miss the carnival rides at Burns Park Funland.