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Little Rock Family Blog

Events, activities, news, insight and opinion from the trenches of parenthood by Little Rock Family Magazine Editor Heather Bennett and her editorial staff. Share tips, news and feedback with Heather here.
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7 Healing Steps To Take with the Bully In Your Home (Part Two)

Bullying’s Many Sides: Part 1 appeared in the January 2015 issue of Little Rock Family. The article describes the ages and stages of bullying, the opposite sex and aggression, bullying at the speed of technology, and action steps/resources.

Bullying is a complex problem with often very complex solutions. In many cases, bullies are also victims of bullying or some type of abuse themselves. We partnered with Ally Orsi, LCSW with Methodist Family Health in Little Rock to address the various aspects of the bullying issue this month. She has been a psychotherapist for over 20 years, first with the forensic unit at the Arkansas State Hospital and continuing her work through the years with the chronically mentally ill and as an advocate.

Here, Ally weighs in on some of the very weighty matters of bullying in order to help our readers help themselves or loved ones cope, heal and thrive.

Little Rock Family: How would you describe the bullying epidemic?

Ally Orsi: We often don’t pay enough attention to emotional and psychological abuse, yet we brush it off and it ends in death. You can’t leave a tumor alone because it will grow. The act of bullying is an abnormal focus on someone else. Too many people stay silent when they should say something. Keeping things a secret doesn’t work. Kids, especially teens, are self-conscious as it is. Bullying is like a blister in the sun.

It is important to not engage, but to confront the situation. It is true that if you have confidence you’ll be less likely of a target, but you can’t always go conflict free in your life. It’s a matter of what you’re going to do about the conflict you’re in. Kids can be very mean and need adults to intervene at times. Their impulses are outpacing their judgment.

LRF: Please describe emotional and physical aspects of bullying.

AO: Younger kids threaten, push, damage property and exclude people from things. Bullying generally peaks in junior high and high school, ages 11-18. They’re being made fun of or rumors are spread. Kids are very self-conscious during this stage of development and want to fit in. They may experience gossip and people not wanting to sit with them at lunch. On school buses there can be physical threats or sexual assaults. The behavior can turn into campaigns against someone. These campaigns can be kids to kids or even adults to kids.

Pay attention to your child’s behavior at home to make sure they’re not showing signs of depression. If they are isolating themselves, they may be experiencing some type of bullying. Their intense feelings can translate into self-injury. They try to control the feelings by causing pain someplace else.

Some bullying is malignant and some is isolated. Some individuals are bullied so badly as a child they have flashbacks as adults.

LRF: How is technology playing a part in this issue?

AO: We often try to do a better job of knowing where our children are. But, we need to ask where they are going when they shut their door…when they are going online. People disguise themselves as other people on the internet. Threats are made. Fake profiles are set up to harm others. Provocative pictures are posted and shared. Bullying happens through video games like Club Penguin, Clash of Clans, Minecraft, and more. Kids can wander into trouble very easily. Be wary of Snapchat, Vine, Skype and others. Instagram is where most young people are now. Your child may have surreptitiously set up a site for themselves. A lot of bullying happens through texting as well. Songs are even used to torment, through mean lyrics or ways of making someone feel paranoid.

The thing to remember as a parent is that you DO have the right to control your child’s internet access. I have policies with my kids. We read texts. We have apps for GPS location and parental controls. Key logger logs every stroke and computer activity. It’s important for parents to learn how to use the computer and to be online checking. Always look at ratings. Know the page. Know the people. Know the laws. Online bullying is terroristic threatening and you’ve got it right there in writing. The bully is so busted. Keep it. Take a picture of the page and message.

LRF: What are some ways for caring adults to address the problem of bullying?

AO: The question your child and you can ask the bully is, “Why are you so interested in me to begin with?” Your children have a right to their education. Some schools are really making an effort. Still, too many of them are looking the other way. Some people are able to switch schools or homeschool. For some people that’s just not an option. In some cases, it might even need to go to the school board. Journalists can also be very helpful as in the “Justice for Jada” case where the news of a rape of the 16-year-old in Houston went viral. They came out swinging. If you are hearing any reports, your child needs your help.

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Healing steps for parents to take with their children

  1. Make a point to sit down, ask questions and listen more. Have open dialogue. We’re teaching them we can be trusted.
  2. When you hear a case on the news, talk about it.
  3. Ask kids what their thoughts are. Are they afraid? Are they hurting themselves? Are they refusing to go to school?
  4. Try to remain calm. Our children are watching us and how we deal with the situation. They want to know we’ve got this.
  5. Give them lots of praise for talking about the situation. Ask them if they want to write about it, how they feel and what they think.
  6. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help.
  7. Let your child know if they have made the mistake of bullying someone, it’s never too late to change.

Tagged > bullying

Fun-Filled Backpacks Inspire Outdoor Exploration at Lake Dardanelle

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For adults, tenting and camping is an adventure that includes a lot of the things we look for everyday— a return to nature, relaxation and time spent outdoors. But what about the kids? Are they having fun?

At Lake Dardanelle State Park in Russellville, fun is just a backpack away.

P.A.C.K. is the Park Adventure and Creativity Kit, a backpack filled with items guaranteed to expand a child’s experience at Lake Dardanelle. The full kit includes dozens of items—some of which stay with the pack, and some which the child keeps. Each backpack can be rented for $10 for a 24-hour period and $5 each additional day.

Each P.A.C.K. includes the following:

  1. A black and white P.A.C.K. journal to record the adventure (and to read about other adventures from previous backpack wearers)
  2. A sand pail and shovel for digging
  3. A kite in a bag for flying on windy days
  4. A jump rope to jump with, or to use for other rope applications, such as learning to tie knots
  5. A checkerboard handkerchief full of checkers, for those who love to play games
  6. A bug keeper/collector for capturing and inspecting insects
  7. A small net for picking up those insects
  8. Sidewalk chalk for making artworks or for scratching out a hopscotch course
  9. A handkerchief that displays how to tie different knots
  10. A handkerchief that displays the constellations in the sky (a good reference for stargazers)
  11. A ball
  12. A ruler
  13. Bubbles for blowing
  14. A flat rubbing crayon for use in collecting impressions of leaves, engraved things and such
  15. A ball and cup toy
  16. A flashlight—because every kid needs a flashlight when they’re out camping!

The P.A.C.K. also comes with items that the user gets to keep:

  1. A bag of fire starters (wax-dipped wicks to place in the kindling pile of a campfire, to help get it going)
  2. Binoculars, good for bird-watching and viewing boats and wildlife on the lake
  3. Field guides to birds, animals and other flora and fauna you’ll see in the park
  4. Paper bags for collecting leaves, rocks or anything else you find in the woods—or for picking up trash and taking it to a proper receptacle
  5. A pencil
  6. A 3-D insect puzzle
  7. A magnifying glass for inspecting insects, rocks or anything small
  8. A water bottle, which is also a Lake Dardanelle State Park souvenir
  9. And a P.A.C.K. activity guide, which includes information about the park, as well as information on everything from what to do with the items in the pack to how to track animal paw prints and recipes for campfire treats

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The P.A.C.K. backpack program has been around over a year, but word has been slow to spread. Still, that’s good news for young explorers who’d like to try out the bags and take them to their campsites for an overnight trip.

To take advantage of the program, just check in at Lake Dardanelle State Park’s Visitor Center and pick one up. You have 24 hours in which to use the backpack and explore, engage and enjoy the park. If on return your child would like some of the bag’s permanent items (those not included in the nine items that the child gets to keep), they can be purchased in the park’s gift shop, along with other games, toys and adventure sets.

If you’d like to learn more about the P.A.C.K. backpack program, contact Lake Dardanelle State Park at (479) 967-5516. The Visitor Center is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. More information about the park can be found at ArkansasStateParks.com/LakeDardanelle.

Spring Break at the Lake

Celebrate the arrival of spring with fun, free events each day March 21-28. Did you know the Lake Dardanelle State Park Visitor Center has six aquariums (that’s 8,000 gallons of water!) filled with many of the species found in the lake? You can watch park staff feed the fish at 1:30 p.m. March 21, 24 & 28. Families can also go on guided hikes and bird walks, seine for macro-invertebrates in the water (11 a.m.-noon March 21), look for items in a nature scavenger hunt (6:30-7:30 p.m. March 23), listen to fireside stories (7-8 p.m. March 21), play educational games and more! For a full list of events and to read about more of Lake Dardanelle State Park’s amenities, visit ArkansasStateParks.com/LakeDardanelle.

Northwest Arkansas' Amazeum Announces July Opening Date

Gallery by Amazeum

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Start planning a weekend summer trip to northwest Arkansas! The brand-new Amazeum family discovery center has announced its official opening date as July 15, 2015.

The family museum is the first of its kind in Northwest Arkansas and will be situated near the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. The children's museum will officially be known as the Scott Family Amazeum, in honor of supporters and advocates, Lee and Linda Scott.

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The Amazeum will feature hands-on activities, such as a tinkering studio, a climbable tree canopy, indoor caves and an art studio. In addition, approximately one acre of outdoor space will accommodate year-round learning and provide a backdrop for experiments and workshops inspired by the seasons. Read more about some of the permanent exhibits here.

One permanent exhibit, sponsored by Walmart, will be called The Market. In the interactive space, kids can pretend to shop for groceries, work behind the butcher counter or in the bakery, play cashier and more.

The museum will open to the public July 15; until then, keep up with its progress at Amazeum.org or on the Facebook page here.

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Spring Break: 3 Safety Tips for Family Ski Trips

Image by Shutterstock

Growing up in New Mexico and Colorado, winter sports such as sledding and skiing were a big part of my youth. When my husband and I travel with our kids to visit family in Colorado this month for Spring Break, we are taking our 6-year-old son skiing for his first time.

From a technical point of view, he probably should have started a couple of years ago. (Most ski schools accept kids as young as 3, as long as they are potty-trained.) But, I waited, because I wanted him to be old enough to really enjoy it, and I wanted to be totally comfortable leaving him with an instructor at a ski school. In addition to traditional instruction, the resort we’re going to offers a Mini and Me program, designed to introduce children ages 3-6 to skiing, while mom and/or dad receive important safety and coaching tips.

As with any sport, there are risks involved, but they can be avoided. If you are planning to travel for a family ski trip over spring break, there are some safety tips you should pay attention to. Dr. Michael Hussey, a physician with Arkansas Specialty Orthopaedics, and an avid snow skier, explains what you should consider before you and your family hit the slopes.

Keep in shape and condition muscles before partaking in winter activities.

“Keeping yourself injury free actually begins long before you ever hit the ski slopes, and it starts with body conditioning,” Dr. Hussey explains.

Realistically, most Arkansans are only able to go skiing or snowboarding once a year, and even then it’s usually just for a few days. “So what this means is that the body doesn’t have time to train the specific muscles and build up the endurance needed to perform these sports while out on the mountain,” he says. “They know they only have a short time to ski, so they push themselves beyond their physical limits with a body that is often times poorly conditioned to begin with. That’s where we see most of our injuries."

“I strongly recommend to all of my patients that participate in winter sports that they engage in a year-round fitness program, which includes cardiovascular, weight and endurance training. A specific exercise program focusing on leg and core strengthening is also recommended in the preceding months before going. Ultimately, being in better shape prior to going will make your time on the snow more enjoyable and reduce your risk of injury.”

Rest and refuel while on the slopes.

Take frequent breaks between runs, as this will allow your body time to recoup for the next one. “I would recommend that you bring some energy bars or trail mix with you to refuel,” says Dr. Hussey. “Also, it’s extremely important to stay well-hydrated with water or electrolyte drinks while on the slopes. Most people don’t realize how much bodily fluids they sweat out since it’s a cold-weather sport, so it’s important that the body’s fluids be regularly replenished.”

Know your limits.

“This is probably one of the most important safety tips of all,” he says. “I see a lot of patients that will keep pushing themselves beyond exhaustion or pain, and before they know it, they’ve sustained a major orthopaedic injury. If you feel exhausted, and your body is fatigued, then simply call it a day. If you allow your body time to rest and heal, your chances of injury are reduced significantly and your experience with your family and friends will be much more enjoyable.”

Finally, Dr. Hussey’s best advice for parents of children learning to ski or snowboard for the first time is to make it fun. “Cheer for them, encourage them, and ultimately, be their biggest fan,” he says. “If you make it fun for them, they will pick it up in no time and will be cruising down the mountain having a blast with the whole family!”

11 Central Arkansas Day Camps Your Kids Will Enjoy

Can’t take the week off from work? Spring break day camps and activities in the Little Rock area keep kids entertained while school is out!

Junior Naturalist Camp at Wildwood Park for the Arts

Enrich and enliven your child’s spring break during a day camp led by Central Arkansas Master Naturalists. Campers ages 7-12 will enjoy a week hiking Wildwood’s winding trails, playing outdoor games, and learning about lake ecology, trees, reptiles and insects native to Arkansas. $180 for full week, or $45 per day. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 23-27. For info: WildwoodPark.org.

Looks like Literature! Spring Break Camp 2015 at Arkansas Arts Center

Little bookworms take a week-long adventure through the world of famous author/illustrators. From these masters, 6- to 9-year-olds and 10- to 14-year-olds will explore artwork in the Arkansas Arts Center galleries, create pictures with their words, and build stories from their pictures. The class teaches color theory, storyboarding and page layout/design, digital media and collage, sculpture and creative writing. Lunches and snacks are not included. $249, members $199. 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. March 23-27. For info: (501) 396-0353, ArkansasArtsCenter.org.

Mini Day Camps at Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Kids ages 7-10 learn in nature programs and take a guided hike on a park trail. Advanced payment and registration are required. $15. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. March 25 & 26. For info: (501) 868-5806, ArkansasStateParks.com/PinnacleMountain.

School’s Out Day Camp at River City Gymnastics

Kids in grades K-6 spend 30-minute increments at activity stations, playing on the wooden pirate ship, practicing on the tumble track, making arts and crafts, playing sports and more. Morning and afternoon snacks are provided; BYO lunch (no nuts, please!). $40 per day. 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. March 20, 23-27. For info: (501) 407-8000, River-City-Gymnastics.com.

Spring Break Arts Camp 2015 at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

Students ages 8-12 learn about a variety of visual and performing arts. Snacks will be provided, but students should bring their own lunch. $40. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. March 23-27. For info: (501) 683-3592, MosaicTemplarsCenter.com.

Spring Break at the Arkansas Skatium

Don’t miss spring break activities for all ages: Manic Monday includes a skating exhibition featuring local ice skaters (2 p.m. March 23); get free skate rental if you wear western attire on Texas Tuesday (March 24); watch it snow in the ice arena on Winter Wednesday (March 25); don your beachy attire on Tropical Thursday for a free soda (March 26); and bring your bestie on Friendship Friday to gain two-for-one admission (March 27). Open skate is daily from 1-3:30 p.m. Admission is $13 with both ice and roller skate rentals; $10 without rentals. For info: ArkansasSkatium.com.

Spring Break Camp at Good Earth Learning Center

Campers enjoy life on the farm at this learning center located on a family farm outside of Cabot. Children in grades K-6 will feed chickens, gather eggs, and hold baby chicks; feed lambs; learn how worms create compost for gardens; prepare the earth and plant veggies for spring; tell stories; go on nature walks and look for insects, birds, and wildlife; identify trees by the leaves. $175 for full week. 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. March 23-27. For info: (501) 732-0321, GoodEarthLearningCenter.com.

Spring Break Camp at Unity Martial Arts

Kids in grades 1-6 are invited to attend single days or for the whole week. Each day will be a stand-alone chapter in a larger, week-long episode of the Adventure Quest Story. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. March 23-27. For info: (501) 664-0604, UnityMartialArts.com.

Spring Break Playcation: Pirate Week at The Wonder Place

It’s Pirate Week at The Wonder Place and little landlubbers are invited to play, enjoy special activities and make crafts all week long. $7 per person, per day. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 23-27. For info: (501) 225-4050, TheWonderPlace.com.

Spring Break Super Kids' Quest Camps at The Little Gym of Little Rock

Super Kids' Quest Spring Break Camp is a new adventure-filled three-hour camp offered at The Little Gym for children ages 3-10 years old (bathroom independent). Each day involves a creative storyline that will incorporate opportunities for the kids to exercise their muscles, their imaginations and their cooperation skills. $30 per day; members $25 per day. 9 a.m.-noon March 23-27. For info: (501) 225-5437, TLGLR.com.

Spring Planters Youth Retreat at Plantation Agriculture Museum

State Park This week-long pioneer retreat includes daily themes (to be announced soon). Kids ages 8-12 will join a museum interpreter to explore the activities of daily life on the early Arkansas delta. Events include old timey games and toys, crafts, cotton ginning, outdoor cooking, hands-on learning, and more. Come one day or come all week. Reservations required. $5 per day. 9 a.m.-noon March 23-27. For info: (501) 961-1409, ArkansasStateParks.com/PlantationAgricultureMuseum.

For more events and activities during spring break week, check out our expanded online calendar.

Kevin Delaney Dazzles Museum of Discovery Visitors with Science Demonstrations

Image by Dean Wheeler

Kevin Delaney of the Museum of Discovery

If you’ve been to the Museum of Discovery since the renovated space reopened in 2012, you’ve probably seen Kevin Delaney, Visitor Experience Director. He’s the guy who takes scientific principles and makes them explosively fun (literally explosive, sometimes). Delaney is such a science superstar that he’s even appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” where he has made vortex cannons from trashcans, as well as a giant cloud that enveloped the entire studio. Learn more about Delaney below and visit the Museum of Discovery to watch his science demonstrations!

What was your background before arriving at the Museum of Discovery? Following college, I entered the field of science communication at a zoo in the education department—writing programs about animals and conservation. I learned a lot about informal education by working with the zookeepers and vet staff, thus starting my passion for science education.

Explain your job at MOD. I make sure our visitors have a great time at the museum. I oversee floor shows and programming, such as our adults-only event, Science After Dark. I also handle media appearances on behalf of the museum.

How do you come up with new demonstrations? I’m always reading and researching and keeping an eye out for something fascinating to share. A lot of the demonstrations we do are commonly seen in classrooms and science museums all over the world. We all share techniques and tips—it’s a really supportive community. I also work with our exhibits staff, scientists and educators from local and not so local universities, and other museums to develop new and different ways to demonstrate science.

What is your favorite part of the job? I love the opportunity to learn and to share what I’ve learned in fun and creative ways. I also get to do a good amount of traveling which is a lot of fun, especially around Arkansas which happens to be one of the most beautiful states.

Which science demonstration is your favorite? And which is an audience favorite? Gallium is a favorite element of mine to demonstrate. Gallium is a metal that has a very low melting point. Scientists used to mold it into spoons so that when their colleagues would take a spoon from the drawer, it would disappear as soon as it was submerged into hot liquid. It was hilarious as it sounds. The audience favorite is definitely freeze-frying Cheetos Puffs in liquid nitrogen and then eating them.

Do you have any new demonstrations planned for spring break week (March 23-27)? We will have multiple demos each day. Check out the museum’s Facebook page to see the schedule. We are also excited to partner with our friends at AETN to host Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat the Monday of spring break and Peg + Cat on Tuesday. They’ll meet and take pictures with museum visitors.

Now that you’ve been on national TV, do you get specific requests from museum visitors? I get asked to take a lot of pictures with visitors which is always fun.

What’s the funniest question you’ve ever been asked by a museum visitor? How about an answer? When discussing electricity, I asked a group of students to give me some examples of good conductors. One young man answered Beethoven. He was not wrong.

When you were a kid, what was your dream job? Did anyone inspire you? I wanted to write ghost stories. Specifically, I wanted to live at the beach in a haunted lighthouse and write horrifying stories about all of my ghost roommates. I still hope to do that someday. I’ve been inspired by lots of people—my uncle was a geologist and palynologist, and is certainly to blame for my early love of science.

You’re a New Jersey transplant—what’s the biggest change about living in Arkansas? Being so far away from the ocean.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Little Rock? I love to visit Pinnacle Mountain.

What neighborhood do you live in; what do you like about living there? I live in the Hillcrest area—it’s a great neighborhood with lots of trees and friendly people and dogs. There are lots of great places, but Hillcrest Artisan Meats is definitely a favorite.

Here's Kevin in Action!

Editor’s Note:  Do you remember Sesame Street’s “The People in Your Neighborhood” songs, which highlighted all of the various men and women that make up a community—firefighters, teachers and postal workers? We were inspired by those classic segments for our new feature, “The Neighborhood.” Each month, we’ll answer the question “who are the people in your neighborhood?” by interviewing the diverse, interesting characters that make up the vibrant central Arkansas community.

Greetings From Little Rock: Spend Spring Break As A Tourist in Your Own Town

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You don't have to make big travel plans for big spring break fun! See how the rest of the world looks at your home town when you spend spring break acting like a tourist right here in central Arkansas. Here are 10 local destinations, from museums to mini golf.

Looking for spring break camps? Click here for our full list of day camps and classes during the week of spring break for central Arkansas students, March 23-27.

Destination #1 - Mid-America Science Museum

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Day trip down to Hot Springs and ogle the impressive renovations at Mid-America Science Museum, which reopens March 7. Kids can get moving as soon as they walk in the door: A spacious new entryway contains the Marvelous Motion exhibit full of hands-on interactives. Downstairs, families will find the museum’s popular cave maze, along with an expanded exhibit all about the Natural State’s underground. The Arkansas Underfoot exhibit explores 13 types of rocks and minerals and where to find them in our state. Kids can also sort microfossils under a microscope, spend time inside the giant tree reading nook, and discover “yucky” science like bacteria and decomposition.

In the main gallery, step into the Digital Dome Theater for a telescopic journey through space and the simulated universe. You’ll also find The Workshops and tons of interactive fun: Make a stop-motion animated film; keep a beat on the electronic drums; power a hairdryer by turning a wheel and more. Two major pieces are sure to be kiddie hotspots: the modern jungle gym called the Gyroid Climber and the two-story water tower. Kids can splash around in the water feature, tossing colorful balls into streams that jet them high into the air—up to the second story, in fact. Cannons on the second level allow kids to propel the balls even higher and into a funnel that drops them back down into the fountain’s central feature—a water vortex.

The museum’s upgrades extend to the outdoors, as well. Highlighting the museum’s wooded location, the Science Skywalk juts into the forest canopy 30 feet above the ground. Visitors safely view the trees from a bird’s-eye-view and explore small exhibits in the tree house. Adventurous youngsters can even climb around a cargo net suspended in the center of the walkway! The museum’s grand reopening is March 7. For more info: MidAmericaMuseum.org.

Destination #2 - Big Rock Fun Park

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What’s more “family vacation” than playing a round of mini golf with your crew? At Big Rock Fun Park, you can putt the greens without leaving town. The fun doesn’t stop after scores are tallied: Speed around the go-kart track; battle it out in bumper boats; and rack up tickets in the arcade to win prizes. Don’t miss the arcade’s newest attraction called Lazer Frenzy—a laser maze that players must navigate carefully to complete their mission. During spring break (March 23-27), visitors can take advantage of a buy one, get one free offer just for the brand-new attraction (regularly $3 per play). For info: 455-3750, BigRockFunPark.com.

Destination #3 - Garvan Woodland Gardens

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Garvan Woodland Gardens will put the “spring” in spring break with its annual Daffodil Days and Tulip Extravaganza. From mid-March to early April, the gardens will be blooming with daffodils, azaleas, dogwoods, tulips and more. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for up-to-date photos and blooming schedule. For info: 262-9300, GarvanGardens.org.

Destination #4 - Clinton Presidential Center

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We’re guessing that your kids are going to be Clinton scholars by the time they grow up, but who can resist multiple visits to the Clinton Presidential Center? In addition to permanent historical exhibits on the Clinton administration policies and the family life of the Arkansas-born president, the center hosts free activities for spring break (10 a.m.-2 p.m. March 23-27). Grade-school students can engage in musical activities with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, playing different types of instruments and meeting musicians. Plus, they’ll enjoy activities inspired by exhibits that celebrate Snoopy, Charlie Brown the “Peanuts” crew. The two temporary exhibits highlight different themes in Charles M. Schulz’s iconic comic strips—football and love—and will feature reproductions of the original comic strips, life-size sculptures of Charlie Brown and Snoopy, and themed ephemera. Spring break activities are free; however, admission fees to tour the Museum apply. For info: 374-4242, ClintonPresidentialCenter.org.

Destination #5 - Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum

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North Little Rock’s Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum may just convince your family that you’re spending spring break exploring the open seas. Visitors can step into the USS Razorback, a historic submarine floating in the Arkansas River along North Shore Riverwalk Park. The vessel conducted five combat patrols in World War II and was one of 12 submarines present in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrender was signed. An exhibit illuminates the history of the Razorback’s service. Plus, two new exhibits open March 20, including a display on submarine lifeguard duty and an exhibit on Arkansans who served in the Navy during World War II. For info: 371-8320, AIMMuseum.org.


You can’t play tourist in Little Rock without hopping on the yellow River Rail Streetcars which connect downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock. Hop on for just $1 (50 cents for ages 5-11, and free for ages 4 and younger) and ride the 3.4-mile loop to see the sights. For schedules and a map, visit CAT.org.

Destination #6 - Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre

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Rainy day? Kids sitting inside bored and miserable? Well, you’re in luck. The Cat in the Hat will come to the rescue! The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre brings Dr. Seuss’ iconic picture book to life—and that curious cat will banish all boredom with his mischievous fun. “Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat” plays March 6-29, with special spring break performances at 2 p.m. March 24-27. During your visit, don’t forget to head upstairs and peruse the free art exhibitions in the Arkansas Arts Center galleries. For info: 372-4000, ArkansasArtsCenter.org.

Destination #7 - Museum of Discovery

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A tourist trip to downtown Little Rock isn’t complete until you visit the Museum of Discovery. Beginning March 7, families can discover a new exhibit called “Mindbender Mansion”—which will be a huge hit with puzzle- and brainteaser-fans. You won’t want to miss the “Dinosaurs: Fossils Exposed” exhibit either—kids can dig in a fossil pit, gawk at life-size dinosaur skulls and more. And, especially for spring break week, the museum has invited a few special friends to celebrate science. AETN days are March 23-24; Curious George and the Man with the Yellow Hat will visit Monday and both characters from Peg + Cat will greet guests on Tuesday. For info: 396-7050, MuseumOfDiscovery.org.

Destination #8 - Arkansas Repertory Theatre

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Spring break is going to be “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” with help from the Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s production of “Mary Poppins.” Based on the classic 1964 film about a magical nanny, this Broadway musical includes all of the favorite tunes: “Step in time,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Chim-Chim Cher-ee” and more. Attend a performance during your own “Jolly Holiday”—there are showings all week long. While you’re at the show, be sure to pick up a serving of the special “Mary Poppins”-inspired ice cream—sweet cream with brownie pieces—made by Loblolly Creamery. For info: 378-0405, www.TheRep.org.

Destination #9 - Heifer Village 

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At Heifer Village, your child will get a global perspective of issues and problems that affect families around the world. More than 80 interactive and hands-on exhibits focus on ending hunger and poverty across the globe. During the week of spring break, visitors will be treated to even more fun—free activities all week long. Each day from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. March 23-28, families can take part in activities like a “fishing” game, relay activities and scavenger hunts. For info: (855) 343-4337, www.Heifer.org.

Destination #10 - Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center

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Arkansans are proud to bear the name “Natural State,” so your touristy romp through Little Rock must include a stop at the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center. Located downtown, the completely free center showcases Arkansas’ geographic regions—from the Ozark Plateau to the Mississippi Delta—through a series of living habitat exhibits that house real fish from the regions. Over spring break (March 24-27), families can learn even more at special fishing clinics, wetland hikes, geocaching, nature games, reptile meet and greets, archery workshops and more. For info: 907-0636, www.CentralArkansasNatureCenter.com.

Keep Little Rock Beautiful: Annual Citywide Cleanup Kicks Off March 14

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This weekend, you can gather your crew of kiddos and spend a day cleaning up Little Rock! At 8 a.m. March 14, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola will kick off the 2015 Citywide Cleanup at the Willie Hinton Neighborhood Resource Center (3805 W. 12th St.).

Then, from 8:30 a.m.-noon, volunteers will help pick up litter and beautify neighborhoods and parks around the city, including Boyle Park (2000 Boyle Park Road), Benny Craig Park/Fourche Creek (4610 Gum Springs Road), and War Memorial Park.

The annual effort is led by Keep Little Rock Beautiful, a volunteer-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to litter prevention, recycling and waste reduction, and community improvement and beautification. In 2014, the cleanup resulted in 909 bags of trash and litter, 100 bags plus 8 cubic yards of recyclable materials, 236 acres of cleaned park land, 16.7 miles of cleaned trails and more.

Working with neighborhood associations, parks and Adopt-a-Street participants, KLRB has organized over 30 cleanup sites for this year's event. Get involved in this year's event by emailing info@klrb.org or calling (501) 765-3530. To learn more, visit at KeepLittleRockBeautiful.com.

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About The Author
Jennifer Pyron is the Associate Publisher and Editor of Little Rock Family magazine. She is the go-to gal for family events, activities, news and opinion. She and husband Charles are the proud, exhausted, penniless parents of Charles Jr. and Emily. Plus, should you need a pop culture lifeline on "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire," you may call her.
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