One Tank Travels: Jacksonville

The town of Jacksonville has really been working the past several years to let people know what they have to offer visitors. There are some great things to see and do. 

Of course, everyone immediately thinks of the Little Rock Air Force Base when Jacksonville is mentioned. Since it’s only open to the public for certain occasions, you need to take advantage of those opportunities. The base’s free Biennial Open House and Air Show is this year so mark your calendars for September 8 and 9. If you’ve never attended one of the open houses, you’ve missed an awesome show. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels headline the program and they are worth seeing even if you had to pay to do so. The coordination and skill the pilots demonstrate will take your breath away.
In addition, members of the LRAFB 19th Airlift Wing C-130 Combat Airlift will demonstrate their responsibilities. The open house showcases the Team Little Rock mission as the world’s largest C-130 training base and will dazzle spectators with amazing aerial and ground events from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces from varying eras. In what is known as a “combat capabilities” exercise, the base’s own C-130 aircraft will show what they do in combat: paratroopers will jump in an exciting display of military power, and they’ll drop heavy equipment and other cargo. 

If you want to visit Jacksonville before September, there is still plenty to do. For years, the only way you knew you were on the hallowed ground of Reed’s Bridge Battlefield was by the roadside marker. Boy have things changed. Today, this city park has an 1860-era replica homestead and a walking trail with narrative historical markers highlighting the 1863 Little Rock Campaign Civil War battle. During the encounter, Union soldiers tried to punch their way south while Rebel troops tried to protect the Capitol. The area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also an official Trail of Tears site. As we continue to observe the Sesquicentennial commemoration of the War Between the States, this is the perfect time to visit.

The Jacksonville Military History Museum provides insight into the area’s rich armed forces heritage. Displays explore the situation on the battlefield and how things were on the home front, spanning eras from the Civil War and World War II to the Gulf War. And a wide array of cowboy and vintage guitars are on display at the Jacksonville Guitar Museum
If water levels allow, bring your canoe and/or kayak and enjoy a unique trip along the Bayou Meto Urban Canoe Trail.  You’ll see scenery not visible any other way than floating.  Ramps are located at Dupree Park and the Reed’s Bridge Battlefield site. Another quite interesting outdoor experience is the Recycling Education Park.  Eleven educational stations explain the benefits of and encourage recycling. Cool off at Splash Zone in Pleasure Park. It consists of three pools, slides, a diving board and massage bench with Jacuzzi bench.
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