Reported by The Ozark Traveler

Things to Do with Kids in Northwest Arkansas

The towns of Northwest Arkansas are thriving places where families live and play. There’s plenty to do, and visitors will find lots of opportunities to enjoy the region with kids. You’ll find bowling is a popular pastime, and aquatics and outdoor sports like bicycling and hiking are also big here.

Love the water? Boating and fishing opportunities are everywhere in Northwest Arkansas.

Things to do with kids in Bentonville

  • Walmart Visitor Center

Interesting and informative displays show you how Sam Walton grew his local store to an international giant. The original Five and Dime store has nostalgic items for sale–remember when wax lips, whirly pops, and sock monkeys were hot items? It’s a Memory Lane stroll for the older crowd and an eye-opener for youngsters. 105 N Main. 479-273-1329

  • Bowling in Bentonville

You and the kids can get some good exercise at the batting cages and arcades at Batter Up, 1301 N Walton Blvd. 479-271-2278, and at the lanes of the Bentonville Bowling Center, 902 NW 14thSt. 479-273-2590

  • Melvin Ford Aquatic Center

Swim in the Olympic size pool, cannonball in the diving pool, or splash down the water slide For a very small daily fee. Special wading pool wiith rain drip fountain for the littlest ones Ballfields, playground, skate park, and a fitness trail offer more hours of play with the kids. Restrooms and concession stands, too. 401 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy. 479-273-9206

  • Lawrence Plaza

A splash pad interactive water park with 84 fountain jets for summer chillin’. An outdoor ice rink open Mid- Nov-Jan. Just north of City Square, corner of NE A and Blake Sts.

  • Jump! Zone

Heavy-duty bouncing for the kiddos, wit a special toddler area for small fry. Open play days vary, so call first. 805 SE 22nd St. 479-202-4476

Bentonville has a number of very pleasant parks with walking trails and playgrounds for the kiddos.

The town also boasts a number of museums, from art to history. Click  here for art experiences, and here for history museums, and historic sites worth visiting.

If you and the kids enjoy days in the woods, either hiking or on mountain bikes, this region has numerous places for you to find adventure.


Things to do with kids in Rogers/Springdale/Lowell

  • War Eagle
    A restored old mill, gift shop and restaurant set on rolling farmland east of town. The mill grounds are famous for crafts  fairs held there since the early 1960s. This is the only working mill in the state that’s powered by a 180 ft. cypress waterwheel, and it still grinds fresh grain every day. Explore the mill building, then “set a while” on the banks of War Eagle Creek in the fresh country air. 11045 War Eagle Rd.  866-492-7324.
  • Hobbs State Park

Criss-crossed by woodland hiking and biking trails. Click here for more about Hobbs and other state parks with wonderful family fun opportunities.

  • Arkansas Naturals

Spend a few hours rooting for this minor league team of the Kansas City Royals. Part of the Texas League, the Naturals play home games at their stadium on the corner of 56th and Watkins in Springdale. Inexpensive tickets and the chance to see some possible future major league stars. 479-927-4900.

  • Rogers/Springdale Bowling and Batting

Batter up! at Balls N Strikes, 5414 Hailey, Springdale, 479-531-3294, where you can bowl, too. Forother bowling venues, hit the Rogers Bowling Center, 3500 W Walnut St, 479-636-2320;Springdale Bowling Center, 1303 S Thompson St, 479-751-9207; or Fast Lane Entertainment at 299 N Dixieland St, Lowell. 479-659-0999.

  • Miniature Golf, Springdale

Those old stand-bys, mini-golf, games and pizza are all available at Fun City Pizza, 5320 W. Sunset #157, Springdale. 479-872-7529.

  • Rogers Splash Park

10 in-ground sprinklers, 3 water buckets and 2 moveable water cannons to keep you cool. It’s free, and next door to the skate park. 315 W. Olive St.

  • Arkansas and Missouri Railroad

Departs the Springdale Depot and travels the rugged Arkansas Ozarks, crossing trestles that span valleys 120 feet below, and plunging into the darkness of a quarter-mile tunnel. The refurbished antique passenger cars and parlor coaches date from the early 1900s, and you can even ride in the open-air classic caboose. A several-hour layover in Van Buren gives you time to stretch your legs, eat lunch, and shop in the historic downtown. 134 mile round trip journey. Depot: 107 North Commercial Street, Springdale. 479-751-5763.

  • Rodeo of the Ozarks

If you’re in Springdale for the July 4th weekend, look for the pro rodeo more than half a century old. It’s out at Parson’s Field, 1423 E. Emma. 877-927-6336. In early October, you can catch the annual Demolition Derby there, too.

  • Farmland Adventures

If you visit in the fall, check out the 9-acre giant corn maze, pumpkin patch, pony rides, petting zoo, pig race and kids’ play area. Weekends, Sept-Nov. 5355 Parsons Rd, Springdale. 479-799-5033

  • Wild Wilderness Safari

Half an hour west of Lowell,  this 400-acre spread is home to exotic and domestic animals — big cats and rhinos, farm animals and birds. The drive-through section is 4 miles long, with petting parks and walk-through areas as well. 20923 Safari Rd, Gentry. 479-736-8383.

  • Cave Exploration

Several caves in the area are perfect for family visits. If your kids thrill to the idea of underground exploration, check this out list of caves. 


Things to do with kids in Fayetteville

Fayetteville has an array of family fun places, each with its own flavor.

  • Lokomotion Family Fun Park

Like a small town carnival, featuring arcades, mini golf, bumper cars, go karts and laser tag. 4520 N College Ave, 479-582-5600.

  • Arkadia Retrocade

Nearly 75 vintage arcade games let you show your kids how you rolled back in the day. 1478 N. College Ave. 479-445-7844.

  • Miniature Golf/Bowling In Fayetteville, AR

Gator Golf, 2692 N College, 479-443-0833; Ozark Bowling, 2300 N College Ave, 479- 442-4275.

  • Boingo Bounce

Let the kids romp where toddlers have their own safe room to learn the art of bouncing. 240 E township St, 479-444-1419.

  • Terra Studios 

This glass art studio and gallery is famous for its handcrafted glass Bluebirds of Happiness. The gallery exhibits works by more than 100 regional artists. Watch the glass artists at work, snack in the cafe, or stroll the 10-acre outdoor art garden, filled with magical sculptural creatures. There’s even a meditation labyrinth to walk, if you’re so inclined. It’s all free, and open every day 10- 5 12103 Hazel Valley Rd, Fayetteville. 479-643-3185.

  • Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

Located on 86 acres adjoining Lake Fayetteville with a Horticulture Center, plaza and great lawn, nine 2,000-square-feet gardens, a greenhouse and other garden features, many with special themes. A lakeside hiking trail and a self-guided tree identification tour, too. 4703 N. Crossover Rd. 479-750-2620


Things to do with kids in Siloam Springs

  • Dogwood Junction

Rent bikes or surrey bikes…covered, four-wheel conveyances that add new meaning to “bike ride.” Order up a surrey ride with picnic in the park, and they  provide the table cloth/blanket, picnic basket and food from local eateries. The shop also sells kites. 204 S. Broadway. 479-524-6605.


Things to do with kids in Eureka Springs

Take the kids to festivals, parades, live performances. Pick a trails to hike, bike or ride horseback. Go boating or fishing. Or check out shops that cater to every member of the family. A new zipline opened in spring of 2013.

  • Kaleidokites

Kids –of all ages– enjoy their colorful collection of kites and kaleidoscopes of all kinds.

  • Mud St. Store

Carries puppets and incredibly cute kids’ fairy dresses.

  • Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Gift Shop

A large collection of big cat-related merchandise that will entertain the kids while helping to  support the Refuge.

  • Happy Things and Small World

Toy stores, crammed full of wonderful playthings.

  • Eureka Springs Historical Museum

While downtown, stop in at the Museum at 95 S. Main. Exhibits and photos bring the history of the town to life.
When you’re ready for a change from downtown, there’s plenty more to do.

  • Ozarks Mountain Zipline

A 2-hour canopy tour, billed as the largest zipline and the highest cables in Arkansas. Sign in at 208 W. Van Buren: you’ll be shuttled to the zipline. Extremely safe, accompanied by guides. (479) 363-6699.

  • Pig Trail Kart and Golf

Give the kids a chance to let off some steam on the track, the mini golf course and in the arcade. Batting cages, snack bar and more. On Hwy 62 E. 479-363-6646 or 6642

  • Harmon Park

City park with playground equipment and a cement skatepark. 532 Spring St.

  • Lake Leatherwood Park

For a day’s outing, follow Hwy 62 W. for about 4.5 miles to the park sign on the right hand side of the road. This 1600-acre city park features an 85-acre springfed lake, where you can boat, fish or swim. Fishing suppplies are available at the bait shop.

More than 20 miles of trails with varying terrains for biking and hiking with wildlife, springs, unusual rock formations and historic stone walls and bridges. Cabins and camping March-November. 479-253-7921. More info here.

  • Pine Mountain Theater

Mike and Dale Bishop and their band serve up country, gospel, comedy, bluegrass, blues and rock every night. Free popcorn, too! A family show. 2075 E. Van Buren, 479-253-9156

  • Ozark Mountain Hoe-Down

A little further down the road at 3140 E. Van Buren, The George Brothers take the stage at  for a night of music and comedy. 800-468-2133.

  • City Auditorium

Downtown, this historic venue offers nights of music, drama, dance and more. Click here for the schedule.

  • Intrigue Theater

Illusionist Sean Paul and medium Juliana Fay present a turn-of-the-century style performance: magical demonstrations, feats of astonishing mental capabilities, and other inexplicable mysteries. At the Gavioli Chapel, 80 Mountain St. 479-244-7028

  • The New Great Passion Play

Outdoor drama of the last days of Christ’s life. Call for ticket info: 800-882-7529

  • Snake World

Dale Ertel loves snakes, and he’s got, more or less, 70 of them caged at his property a few miles east of Eureka Springs. If snakes are your thing, go see Dale. Call first; he’s not always available. 870-423-6530

  • Dinner Bell Ranch and Resort

Guided tours from a one hour ride to an all-day excursion on horseback. Select breakfast, lunch or dinner ride, with a break for a rustic campsite cookout with the cowboys. Blend riding and water sport with the Saddle and Paddle adventure, an hour-long ride followed by a seven-mile canoe float. Cabins available for overnight stays. 4462 CR 302, Eureka Springs. 479-253-2900.

  • Steve’s Stable at Pond Mountain Lodge

Steve favors intimate rides — six riders or less on a one-hour guided trail tour. He’ll identify local flora and fauna as you ride, and says his horses are so gentle even six-year-olds can safely ride them. Maybe spend the night at the lodge, too? 1218 Hwy 23479-253-5877

  • Hidden Valley Ranch Stables

Horseback riding on the 650 wilderness acres of this guest ranch. Rent a horse or bring your own to join the trail boss for a ride deep into the ranch acreage. Also offers entertaining hour-long carriage rides across the property. Lodging available. 777 Hidden Valley Ranch Rd.  479-253-9777 <

  • Bear Mountain Riding Stable

Hour-long rides with incredible views of the surrounding hills. Guided by genuine cowboys who tell tall tales to entertain you. Suitable for all ages and riding levels. Lodging available. 5480 Highway 62 W. 479-253-6990

  • Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Seven miles south of town on Hwy. 23, on nearly 500 acres with a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside. The refuge offers lifetime care for abandoned, abused or neglected big cats,as well as some other big mammals and smaller wild cats.
Don’t miss feeding time, when more than 1,000 lbs. of raw meat turns into supper. The cats growl and carol as they wait for their food. And man, they’re some BIG cats. Call ahead to be sure of feeding time; usually around 4 pm winter and 5 pm summer, but can vary. Click here for more info.

  • Promised Land Zoo

A drive-through wildlife adventure. A four-mile track takes you past 58 species in the comfort of your own vehicle. Feeding time at the petting zoo means you and the kids may be able to help bottle feed the baby animals. Open daily 9-6. 32297 Hwy 86, Eagle Rock, MO. Ten miles north of Eureka Springs and a scenic Ozark Mountain drive up AR. Rt. 23. 417-271-3324.