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See Arkansas First: Fun family weekend getaways in Central Arkansas

Pack up the kids, grandkids and cousins and head to Central Arkansas for fun family weekend getaways. Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas, is just a three-hour drive from Northwest Arkansas and just over an hour from Hot Springs.

On the way:

Heading south into the capital of Arkansas on I-40 during the fall, stop near Conway in Mayflower at Schafer’s Corn Maze for hayrides or to explore a corn maze that changes annually. In spring and summer, stop to pick peaches in Clarksville or at any of the farmers markets along the way. On I-30 heading east, stop at Mary’s Place in Bryant for train rides, but watch out for Bad Bart, who has been known to stage a holdup.

Where to stay:

For fun family weekend getaways that last longer than a day, downtown Little Rock and the River Market District offer a variety of lodging options. Choose from a wide range of hotels, ranging from Marriott and Hilton to Hampton Inn and Residence Inn to the beautifully restored historic Capital Hotel. If your family prefers a more intimate option, there are bed and breakfast facilities in the surrounding neighborhoods.

What to do:

There’s plenty to do in the capital of Arkansas–the River Market District is filled with restaurants, bars, shops, art galleries, museums, the main library, bars and seasonal farmers market. The Ottenheimer Market Hall has a variety of permanent merchants who offer diverse specialties year-round. From right-from-the-oven pastries, hand-roasted coffee and succulent barbecue to fresh cut flowers and gourmet foods, there is a wide selection.

The Little Rock Zoo has long been one of Arkansas's great treasures and an integral part of many fun family weekend getaways. The Zoo includes more than 725 animals representing 200-plus species, many on the endangered list. The Zoo itself has become one of the state's greatest educational and conservation resources. Make sure you ride the historic Over the Jumps Carousel, the only one of its kind still in operation. Don’t miss the Penguin Pointe, Wild Wonders Animal Show, Lorikeet Landing interactive exhibit, and Café Africa.

Children’s Theatre, located in the Arkansas Arts Center, is recognized by The Drama League as one of the best regional theatre companies in America. As the only professional company in Arkansas, Children's Theatre creates exceptional theatre for family audiences. Well-loved contemporary stories and classic tales come to life with fantastic characters, brilliant lighting, colorful costumes and a little magic in fully staged productions here in the capital of Arkansas.

Toltec Mounds in Scott, Arkansas

Toltec Mounds, Scott

The Toltec Mounds site is a National Historic Landmark that preserves and interprets the state's tallest Native American mounds. The state park visitor center features exhibits, an audio-visual theater and archeological research lab. Park interpreters lead two site tours: the 0.75-mile barrier-free trail and the 1.6-mile turf trail. Visitors enjoy geocaching, bird watching, nature study and ancient crafts using biodegradable and renewable natural materials.

Check out some of the other great weekend getaway destinations in Arkansas!