20 Things To Do In Hot Springs, Arkansas With or Without Kids

Hot Springs Arkansas

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Hot Springs has many cool places and things to see, with or without kids. It has a very exciting outdoor scene that thrives alongside contemporary attractions such as medieval architecture, a thriving downtown (for all your shopping needs), and much more.

20 Things To Do In Hot Springs, Arkansas With or Without Kids

Hot Springs is a popular destination for its thermal waters, as well as Arkansas vacations in general. People enjoy the relaxing water along with the various festivals that occur here from time to time. There are numerous Hot Springs events celebrated by residents and visitors alike every year. From music festivals to catfish dinners and country fairs, one will never run out of things to do while in or around this beautiful part of Arkansas. Some of the most popular things to do in Hot Springs are listed below!

1. Arkansas Alligator Farm

If you love alligators, this is your chance to hold baby alligators in your arms and take photos that will create a lasting memory for your family. You are also allowed to feed (from a distance) the large alligators. There is a petting zoo as well, and you will find goats, sheep, emu, giant turtles, bunnies, donkeys, and other animals inside this zoo. Animals are enclosed for the safety of your kids. At a small fee, you can feed these alligators in the presence of a staff member. If you want to carry a souvenir home, there is a gift shop that sells alligators’ heads, feet, and other items.

Price/fees: $9 (adults), $7 (kids over 12 years)

More info: Arkansas Alligator Farm Website

Location: 847 Whittington Avenue, Hot Springs, Arkansas 71901, United States

2. Garvan Woodland Gardens, Hot Springs, AR

This is a beautiful botanical garden inside Arkansas University and also existing as part of the Ouachita Mountains. There are amazing flora and fauna to explore here, beautiful picnicking sites, serene spots (and beautiful grounds) for relaxation, and an interesting architectural setup (including Anthony chapel that we discuss later). There are stunning sites in almost every corner, offering you excellent photo opportunities and amazing walking trails. For instance, you can take a leisure walk to the waterfall on Lake Hamilton, take a moment to see wildflowers on the sunrise bridge (or the Perry wildflower overlook) or relax at the Weyerhaeuser bonsai garden.

Price/fees: $15 (age 13 and up), $5(ages 4-12)

Opening hours: 10 a.m to 6 p.m

More information: Garvan Woodland Gardens website

3. National Park Aquarium

When looking at Things to do in Hot Springs, this is always a gem! Fish and marine life lovers can visit this aquarium to enjoy a very wide variety of marine life. There are turtles, tortoises, lizards, frogs, salamanders, numerous fish species, and other invertebrates on display here. Some of the fish you can expect to see here include freshwater fish species (cobalt blue cichlid, red-bellied piranha, frontosa cichlid, alligator gar, and archerfish) and saltwater fish species (fuzzy dwarf lionfish. koran angelfish, percula clownfish, and sailfin tang).

Price/Fees: Adults (13 to 59): $6.50, Seniors (60 and older): $5.25, Children (4 to 12): $4.75, Children (3 and under): FREE

Opening hours: Varies, check website for rates

More information: National Park Aquarium website 

Directions: 209 Central Avenue Hot Springs, Arkansas 71901

Gangster Museum of America, Hot Springs, AR

4. Gangster Museum of America, Hot Springs, AR

This is a unique spot that takes you down Arkansas history when people flocked to the state from all over the world during the mining craze. They have an amazing collection and exhibition of some of the toughest and notorious gangsters to ever exist in the American criminal system. You will learn more about these events as you take an audiovisual tour in the 7 galleries here, back to the 1920s through 1940s. 

Price/Fees: $15 adults, $6 children

Opening hours: 10 a.m to 7 p.m

More information: Gangster Museum of America website 

Directions: 510 Central Ave Hot Springs, Arkansas

5. Things to do in Hot Springs: Tiny Town Trains

Your kids will not want to leave this location. There are numerous, interactive model railroads to play with. The scenery has been re-enacted to perfection, detailing various locations that have a historical significance including Mount Rushmore, Niagara Falls, and Colorado Rockies.

Price/Fees: $6 adults, $4 children

Opening hours: 10 a.m to 4 p.m

More information: Tiny Town Trains website

Directions: 100 Reserve Street Hot Springs, AR 71902

6. Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort

People who love horse racing will be at home here. Take a moment to visit the stables to sample some of the finest racing horses in Arkansas. If you are more adventurous, the casino has numerous games to while your time away and have some fun.

Price/Fees: Varies

Opening hours: 24 hours

More information: Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort 

Directions: 2705 Central Ave. | Hot Springs, AR 71901

7. Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs national park is among the best place to visit in Arkansas if you love the wild outdoors, scenic mountain views, and thermal springs that are deemed to have healing capacities. You can enjoy therapeutic walks here, below a canopy of lush foliage, cascading waterfalls, and beautiful wildflowers. Bird lovers will also have a great time here, as bird watching is one of the favorite sports in this location. 

Price/Fees: None

Opening hours: 5 a.m to 10.00 p.m

More information: Hot Springs National Park

Directions: 101 Reserve Street, Hot Springs, AR 71901

Hot Springs National Park

8. Ouachita National Forest

At 1.8 million acres, this forest has everything an outdoor enthusiast would hope for. Stunning peaks on beautiful mountains, sprawling plains, lush forest cover, rivers, beautiful lakes, picturesque open grounds that are fantastic for recreation purposes and thriving wildlife await you in the Ouachita national forest.

Price/Fees: Free

Opening hours: n/a

More information: Ouachita National Forest 

Directions: 100 Reserve Street Hot Springs, AR 71902

9. Lake Catherine State Park

This is a small attraction spot that will enchant you with its beautiful trails (the best one being the waterfall hike) that take you directly to a breathtaking waterfall. You will encounter many day hikers here, and some fishing enthusiasts who enjoy fishing from the park’s pier and marina. Camping is also popular here, with 20 fully equipped cabins ready for rental.

Price/Fees: Fees vary. Check current fees on the website link provided

Opening hours: 10 a.m to 6 p.m

More information: Lake Catherine State Park

Directions: 1200 Catherine Park Rd

10. The Maxwell Blade Theatre of Magic

The Maxwell blade show in Hot springs promises a mesmerizing act, complete with stunning illusions – and delivers excellently. You will be astonished at some of the stunts and illusions the cast pull during their shows. Learn about the Malco Theatre that was established in 1947 on a location that once showcased silent films and continues to attract thousands of visitors every year. The ticket prices vary depending on the kind of acts being showcased for the day.

Price/Fees: Vary, see website for rates

Opening hours: n/a

More information: The Maxwell Blade Theatre of Magic

Directions: 817 Central Ave Hot Springs, AR 71901

11. Adventureworks Hot Springs

This is the home of extreme adventure and adrenaline-filled experiences. Ziplining courses, aerial adventures, obstacle courses, team-building programs, hiking on suspended platforms among the trees and other numerous adventures are available for your family here. 

Price/Fees: Varies depending on the adventure sought

Opening hours: 10 a.m to 4 p.m

More information: Adventureworks Hot Springs

Directions: 1700 Shady Grove Rd, Hot Springs, AR, 71901

12. The Grand Promenade, Hot Springs, Arkansas

This is a moderate, half-mile trail that is located behind bathhouse row and runs to Fountain Street. It is a well-paved trail that runs parallel to the bathhouse and allows you to mingle with beautiful flowers and lush foliage as you pass by downtown hot springs and the Arlington Lawn. It is an amazing place to take beautiful photos and indulge in quiet, clean outdoors without being too far from the town center and that is why we have it in our Things to do in Hot Springs list.

Price/Fees: Free 

Opening hours: 10 a.m to 6 p.m

More information: The Grand Promenade, Hot Springs, Arkansas

Directions: 101 Reserve Street Hot Springs, AR 71901

Ouachita National Forest

13. Charlton Recreation Area

This is a first-come-first-served camping location that provides some of the best camping spots in Hotsprings during the summer. It is more ideal for wild camping because of its remote location. Birds chirping in the morning and water streaking down the streams are all the sounds you are going to hear if you take a short walk from the campground.

Price/Fees: Varies. See the website for more information

Opening hours: N/A

More information: Charlton Recreation Area

Directions: 523 Hwy. 270 East Royal, AR 71968

14. Magic Springs Water and Theme Park

Magic springs theme pack has some of the best thrill and family rides in Arkansas. Plan to spend a whole day exploring attractions inside this place when you visit here. The brain drain coaster will blow the brains out of your mind (literally). Your kids can also enjoy other less engaging rides including the carousel, the looney ballooney, the bugga booga wheel, and the Krazy Kars.

Price/Fees: $49.99 (Single-day tickets for adults)

Opening hours:  N/A

More information: Magic Springs Water and Theme Park

Directions: Online 

15. Hot Springs Art Gallery

If you are an art lover, head over to the art gallery to enjoy inspired displays from both local and international artists. A lot of festivities and events happen here every year. Enjoy murals, statues, both traditional and contemporary art as well as a budding mystique art scene.

Price/Fees: Varies

Opening hours: See website for details

More information: Hot Springs Art Gallery

Directions: 724 Central Avenue Hot Springs, AR 71901

16. Anthony Chapel

This is part of the Garvan Woodland Gardens but it deserves a special mention because it is one of the most sought-after wedding avenues in Arkansas. You will not be allowed into the church when it is rented out for private weddings or events, so check with the information office first before visiting here. Imagine being in a church, singing in the middle of the forest, being surrounded by such wonderful natural beauty all along. Its structure is made from a combination of glass and wood, allowing you to share in whatever event is happening inside the chapel whilst still enjoying the nature and serene environment surrounding you.

Price/Fees: Free with a Garvan Woodland Gardens Pass

Opening hours: 10 a.m to 6 p.m

More information: Anthony Chapel

Anthony Chapel

17. Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf

This is an easy one for kids when looking for Things to do in Hot Springs! Enjoy putting away in one of the most creative golfing grounds in Arkansas. This is not your typical golfing course. You will be battling your way to winning a game by putting through pirate ships, mountain caves, waterfalls, and other exciting obstacles. It is a great adventure for people who want to have some fun by golfing.

Price/Fees: Varies

Opening hours: 9 a.m to 11.00 p.m

More information: Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf

Directions: 4612 Central Avenue Hot Springs AR 71913

18. Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center

The Fordyce bathhouse on Bathhouse row stands out as one of the oldest (and most opulent) of the bathhouses in Arkansas. It was the only bathhouse to have a bowling alley and businessmen in the city would flock here for a massage and a bowling game. Today, you can visit the bathhouse to enjoy the beautiful architecture, the huge stained ceilings, the modern exhibits in the dressing rooms, and beautifully tiled floors covering the whole building. You will watch an orientation movie to learn about the traditional bath routine that made this place popular. 

Price/Fees: None

Opening hours: 5 a.m to 10.00 p.m

More information: Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center

Directions: 369 Central Avenue, Hot Springs, AR 71901

19. Funtrackers Family Fun Park

Arcade games, go-carts, bumper boats, miniature golf, laser tags, obstacle courses, and other games are some of the attractions that await you in Funtrackers Family fun park.

Price/Fees: Varies

Opening hours: 11 a.m to 10 p.m

Directions: 2614 Albert Pike Rd. Hot Springs, AR 71913

More information: Funtrackers Family Fun Park

20. Mid-America Science Museum

If your family members love science, this is a location they wouldn’t want to miss when they visit Hot Springs. Numerous exhibits located here are designed to stimulate interest and excitement about science. Your kids will enjoy the numerous workshops and interactive activities that will spark their interest in science. You may learn a thing or two as well, about your interaction with science and how it affects your daily life. They also hold summer camps for kids!

Price/Fees: $10

Opening hours: 9 a.m to 5 p.m

Directions: 500 Mid America Blvd. Hot Springs, AR 71913

More information: Mid-America Science Museum

Did we miss anything? Let us know!

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