Located just outside of Little Rock, is the historical town of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Hot Springs is unique because there is a National Park located inside the city limits. Homeschoolers can tour the bath houses and see the luxury of days gone by. Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day or load up the car with camping gear and stay for a week. National Parks Week offers Little Rock homeschoolers a chance to get to know the ins and outs of Hot Springs National Park.
American Sign Language is available for all events upon request. Please contact the park office if you have individuals with special needs. All events are free, there is a fee for camping.
Hot Springs Reservation was the first designation of Hot Springs National Park. The reservation was set aside by Congress in 1832, making Hot Springs National Park the oldest park in the National Park System. Hot Springs Reservation was set aside 40 years prior to Yellowstone.
If you are planning to camp for the week or just for a few days be sure to get to the park early. Campsites at Gulpha Gorge Campgrounds are given out on a first come, first served basis. Fees are $10 per night for primitive camping (no hookups) and $24 per night if you want electrical, water and sewer hookups. Campsites will accommodate RVs but the sites are not pull through. Facilities include bathhouses with flushing toilets and running water. There are no shower facilities at Gulpha Gorge Campgrounds.
Discounts on camping sites are available if you have an Interagency or Access Pass. You can find out how to get one here. America the Beautiful Passes are available for purchase at the Park Store, the Lamar Bathhouse or the Bathhouse Row Emporium.
Tables and grills are available at Gulpha Gorge, Hot Springs and West Mountain areas. There is no fee to use the facilities. Reservations are not accepted. Tables and grills are on a first come, first served basis so try to get there early on busy days.
Get your homeschool group together on the Arlington Lawn for the Park Palooza from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on April 21, 2012 to kick off National Parks Week. There will be entertainment, fun and games for everyone. Homeschool groups must register with the park in advance. American Sign Language is provided at this event.
Gather at the Fordyce Bathhouse for a lunchtime stroll with a park ranger. Meet at the bathhouse at 1:00 p.m. to stretch your legs and learn about the bathhouses. The walk is kid and stroller friendly.
Let’s Move Outside, Junior Rangers on the Move, event on Arlington Lawn from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Homeschool groups need to register in advance by calling (501) 620-6756. Kids, parents, teachers and chaperones will join in games and activities specifically designed for Junior Rangers.
Let’s Move Outside, Get Your Hike On, event from 10:00 a.m. until noon. Kids, parents, teachers and chaperones will join a park ranger at the Hot Springs Mountain Tower for a hike up to the mountain top. The hike is 1.7 miles. Bring water and a camera. Wear sturdy hiking shoes or trail shoes. Groups should call the park office to make reservations.
Homeschool students can join a park ranger at the Maurice Bathhouse to learn about recycling. The event starts at 10:00 a.m. and runs for an hour. Kids will make their own reusable shopping bag. Groups should call the park office for reservations.
Meet up at Central Avenue and Reserve Street at 3:00 p.m. to take part in a guided Taking the Waters program. Taste test water from different springs located in the park. A park ranger will guide you and your group to the different springs.
Civil War School Days activities run from 9:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on the Arlington Lawn. Homeschoolers and their parents will learn about Arkansas and the Civil War. The State Capital was moved from Little Rock to Hot Springs during the war. Groups must make reservations at (501) 620-6756.
From 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. take a behind the scenes tour of the Maurice and Superior Bathhouses on Bathhouse Row with a park ranger. The tour starts on the porch of the Fordyce Bathhouse.
If you cannot make the Civil War Days on April 26 here is a second chance to learn about Hot Springs Park and Arkansas in the Civil War. Groups need to make reservations at the park office. Activities take place on the Arlington Lawn.
Homeschoolers meet at the Gulpha Gorge campground for fun and games. The Olly, Olly Oxen Free program starts at 10:00 a.m. and continues until noon. American Sign Language is provided at this event. Parents, teachers and chaperones are invited to play along with the kids. Reservations for groups is required.
Get out to Hot Springs National Park during National Park Week to have fun and learn about the park and its role in Arkansas’ history. Whether you take a day trip or camp out, there will be plenty to keep homeschoolers interested. It is just a short drive from Little Rock, so if camping is not your thing, you can pick and choose the events you want to attend and spend the day exploring the park.