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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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5 Events for Weekend Fun: Oktoberfest, Fossils and a Glow-in-the-Dark Race!

Image by Mark Friedman

Get excited! This weekend, Oct. 10-12, is packed with amazing events for families. The Arkansas State Fair celebrates its 75th anniversary, and will even host a free parade in downtown Little Rock this Saturday, Oct. 11 (read more in our full article here).

Plus, Magic Screams stirs up frightening fun at Magic Springs Water & Theme Park, Columbus' ships sail into Little Rock on the Arkansas River, and pumpkin patches are in full swing! And, don't forget to check out our list of October festivals and fairs to see what else is going on this weekend.

In addition to all of those exciting extravaganzas, here are five more events for families:

1. Oktoberfest & StoryFest at Fairfield Bay Conference Center: Fairfield Bay offers two festivals in one weekend! OktoberFest includes German food, motorcycle rally, car show, arts and crafts, live music and dancing. StoryFest celebrates the rich and diverse art of professional storytelling. Join the festivities at 9:30 a.m. and dive into all-day storytelling sessions, featuring the talent of Bill Lepp and Tim Tingle. Free for Oktoberfest; $10-$15 for StoryFest. OktoberFest is: noon-10 p.m. Oct. 10-11; the motorcycle rally is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 11.; StoryFest begins at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 11. For info: (501) 884-4202,

2. Fossil Day at Museum of Discovery: See fossils found across the world and in Arkansas, learn how fossils form, meet a paleontologist, enjoy a dinosaur tinkering activity and get a preview of the new dinosaur exhibit coming to the Museum of Discovery in November! Included with general admission: $10, kids 1-12 are $8, under 1 & members are free. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 11. For info: (501) 396-7050,

3. Angel One 5K at Two Rivers Park: The Angel One 5K is a fun run/walk organized by the Angel One crew to help families of children transported to ACH. After the run, stay for the festivities, which include bounce houses, appearance by Scout, the ACH mascot, and an ambulance and helicopter. Many children are transported long distances to ACH for the special care they need. The proceeds from this event help the Angel One crew provide financial assistance when needed to families. $30. 8 a.m. Oct. 11. For info: (501) 364-1476,

4. IllumiNight 1K/5K Race in Downtown Conway: Blackbird Academy hosts the second annual glow-in-the-dark 1K/5K race fundraiser. Art vignettes such as musicians, dancers, and glow-in-the-dark displays will be incorporated throughout the race. Everyone is encouraged to deck themselves out with their craziest neon colors and glowing accessories for a chance to win specials prizes at the end of the night. Registration prices: $30 for 5K & $20 for 1K. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10. For info: (501), 336-8200,

5. Fall Canoe Float at Pinnacle Mountain State Park: Paddle your way through Pinnacle’s majestic lowland river to glimpse large cypress trees and a variety of wildlife. No paddling experience is necessary, but you should be comfortable around water and wear shoes that can get wet. Advance payment required. $40 per canoe. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 12. For info: (501) 868-5806,

For more events, browse our full online calendar here.

Johnny Cash Exhibit Opens in Little Rock Oct. 10

Image by UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture

Johnny Cash strumming his guitar onstage in Hot Springs, October 1968. Courtesy: UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture.

The UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture unveils a brand-new exhibit about one of Arkansas' greatest musical legends, Johnny Cash. Opening in downtown Little Rock's Underground Gallery in the Arkansas Studies Institute this Friday, Oct. 10, "Johnny Cash: Arkansas Icon" illustrates the profound ways in which Arkansas affected Cash's music.

The exhibit explores the life of the Man in Black through never-before-seen photographs, newspaper images, historical documents, audio recordings and other memorabilia. Visitors will discover Cash's Arkansas connections over the decades, from his 1930s childhood in Dyess to his comeback in his later years.

The exhibit's opening day celebrates Cash's music with three concerts on Oct. 10, including Billy Nesbitt's performance for local schools (10:30 a.m.). As part of Second Friday Art Night, the Shape Note Singers from Mountain Home will perform at the exhibit reception from 5-8 p.m. And at 6:45 p.m., Jeff Coleman and the Feeders will bring their sound to the Ron Robinson Theater, to be followed by W.S. Holland Band at 7:30 p.m. All performances are free, but seating is limited.

The exhibit will be open for field trips; click here for more information. Teachers can also access lesson plans and educational materials to before and after visiting the exhibit; click here for teacher resources.

"Johnny Cash: Arkansas Icon" will be open from Oct. 10-Jan. 24. The Underground Gallery at the Arkansas Studies Institute is located at 401 President Clinton Ave. in downtown Little Rock. The gallery is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat.

For more info, visit

Pictured above: Cash strums his guitar on stage in Hot Springs, October 1968. Courtesy: UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture.

Magic Springs Transforms into Magic Screams Oct. 11-Nov. 2; Win Tickets from Little Rock Family

Image by Magic Springs Water & Theme Park

A trick-or-treat trail, haunted houses, and thrilling rides -- Magic Springs Water & Theme Park transforms into a Magic Screams, the ultimate Halloween hang-out for families from Oct. 11-Nov. 2. Plus, Little Rock Family will be giving away tickets to our readers each Wednesday in October (more details below)!

Here are five things your family will love at Magic Screams!

1. Kiddie Treats

On the trick-or-treat trail, kids can play games for candy prizes. Kiddos can also brave the haunted house made especially for them, called "Shiver Me Timbers." The pirate-themed attraction offers a milder experience for smaller children. Or, hop on one of the kids' rides for a little thrill.

2. Coasters and Rides

Bigger kids can take a whirl on some of their favorite Magic Springs rides and coasters, including the SkyShark, X-Coaster, The Gauntlet, Wild Thang, Big Bad John, Ozark Mountain Taxi Co., Razorback Roundup and the Carousel.

3. Haunted Houses

In addition to the kiddie haunted house, "Shiver Me Timbers," Magic Screams features two themed haunted houses. Braver souls can wander into the two terrifying attractions -- "Psychophobia" and "Paradox."

4. Superhero Fun

The fun isn't all frightening -- superhero fans can participate in a superhero-themed contest at 6 p.m. on Oct. 11 for a chance to win up to four 2015 season passes. Contestants will have the first chance to meet and greet Wolverine; a public meet-and-greet will be held immediately following the contest, and will be followed by a screening of Despicable Me 2. All three activities will take place in the Split Rock Grill.

5. Movie Screenings

New this year, families can catch a classic Halloween flick at the Split Rock Grill. Movies shown include Despicable Me 2 (Oct. 11-12), Corpse Bride (Oct. 18-19), Beetlejuice (Oct. 25-26) and Monster House (Oct. 31, Nov. 1-2). All films begin at 7:30 p.m.

Ticket Info

Tickets are $29.99, children over 3 and under 48 inches in height $19.99. $10 discount tickets are available at area Walgreens, or visitors may bring a non-perishable food item and receive a $5 discount. Food items will be donated to the Project Hope Food Pantry in Hot Springs.

Tickets can be purchased online at

Little Rock Family Giveaway

Little Rock Family will give away two admission tickets to Magic Screams each Wednesday in October (Oct. 8, 15, 22, & 29). Visit our Facebook page each Wednesday and follow the instructions for your chance to win!

10 Things to Do at the Arkansas State Fair

Gallery by Arkansas State Fair


This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Arkansas State Fair! From Oct. 10-19, families can celebrate the milestone anniversary by enjoying all that the fair has to offer -- from rides and slides to livestock competitions and professional bull riding.

Here are 10 things to do with your family at the 2014 Arkansas State Fair!

1. 75th Anniversary Parade

To commemorate the big year, the Arkansas State Fair will host a special parade in downtown Little Rock -- the first State Fair parade in the state since 1986. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. Oct. 11, with marching bands, floats, cars, animals and more promenading down Broadway to Capitol Ave. and concluding on the east side of the State Capitol building. The event is free to the public.


2. Midway Rides

You'll find 56 carnival rides in the massive midway, including several new rides like The Enterprise, a ride that exerts centrifugal force on riders as it transitions from horizontal to vertical. Other new rides include Hang 10, YoYo, Baja Buggies and Happy Swing. Ride tickets are not included with gate admission.


3. Professional Bull Riding

Alright, cowboys and girls. The Professional Bull Riders Tour rides into Barton Coliseum with veteran competitors and up-and-coming riders. Ridin' in the Rock performances are at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17-18. General admission tickets are $10, reserved seats $20; gate admission to State Fair is not included.


4. Fair Food

You can smell that deep fried goodness for a mile -- play it safe with perennial favorites like funnel cakes, cotton candy and corn dogs. Or, try one of the inventive new fair foods, including Cajun fried ribs, fried peaches and cream, bacon-wrapped fried chili dog, a French fried baked potato or even fried lemonade. Either way, you can choose from approximately 50 delicious food vendors when your family needs a snack.

5. Live Concerts

Check out the concert lineup, which will please fans of all musical tastes. "Bad to the Bone" George Thorogood will kick things off on Oct. 10. The week will also include performances from country artist Travis Tritt (Oct. 11), '90s R&B group Color Me Badd (Oct. 15), Sisqo-fronted R&B act Dru Hill (Oct. 16), classic rockers REO Speedwagon (Oct. 17), and "Cooler Than Me" singer Mike Posner (Oct. 19). All concerts are included with general admission. Premium upgraded concert seats are available for $15.

6. Livestock Competitions

This annual tradition showcases some of the state's finest beef and dairy cattle, swine, sheep, goats, poultry and rabbits. The Junior Livestock Sale of Champions will be held in Barton Coliseum at 1 p.m. Oct. 17. Livestock competitions will also be held daily on the fairgrounds. Families can also wander through the livestock stalls to chat with the competitors and meet the animals.

7. History Museum

Do you know the fair has its very own Arkansas State Fair History Museum? The museum has been open for five years! You can relive the 75 years of history in the museum, which is located adjacent to the Farm Bureau Arts & Crafts building. Music lovers can also check out classic rock memorabilia in the Barton Rock and Roll Museum located inside the northeast concourse of Barton Coliseum. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily for both.


8. Attractions, Attractions, Attractions

Take a break from the high-flying rides in the midway to enjoy a few popular attractions, including the dancing, 9-foot-tall Rock-It the Robot. Another hit is the Exotic Animal Petting Zoo, featuring animals from around the world and pony rides for kids. And don't miss shows like the Swampmaster Gator Show, New York Daredevil High Dive Show and the Show Me Swine Racers.

9. Creative Arts

In the Farm Bureau Arts & Crafts Building, visitors will see artists displaying their crafts, hobbies and even cooking skills. Judging for the Gold Medal Flour Cookie Challenge with take place at 3:15 p.m. Oct. 13, and an Arkansas Photography Contest for amateur photographers will be judged at 1:15 p.m. Oct. 10. Other competitions include amateur wine, floral arrangements, honey, ice cream, pies, barbeque and chili.

10. Fireworks Finale

The 75th Anniversary Arkansas State Fair will end with a bang on Oct. 19, with a fireworks show lighting up the night sky. Following the main stage act that evening, the fireworks will begin at approximately 8:15 p.m.


Ticket information:

Advance Purchase Ride Passes are available at 77 participating Walgreens stores in Arkansas and redeemable for a one-day unlimited ride armband at the State Fair. The special $22 pass can be redeemed at midway ticket booths any day of the fair, except Dollar Day (Oct. 13), and will save patrons $3.

Advance gate admission tickets are $5.99, children and seniors $2.99. Advance gate admission tickets may be purchased at Walgreens locations through October 10, or at the Fair Ticket Office and online at before 5 p.m., Oct. 10.

Regular gate admission is $10, children ages 6-12 and seniors ages 60 and older $5, children under six free; fairgrounds parking is $5 per vehicle.

Families can also take advantage of daily deals and specials, including Dollar Day in which admission, parking and rides are $1 each; Kiddie Days in which children ages 6 and under can ride Kiddie Rides free; and more. Click here for all fair promotions.

Healthy Habits: 5 Important Vitamins You Need During Pregnancy

Image by Shutterstock

In our October issue, Dr. Kimberly K. Reynolds, a practicing physician at The Woman’s Clinic, P.A., who is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, shared a few rules for necessary diet changes for a healthy pregnancy. She detailed which foods women should skip completely and which are safe to consume in moderation. You can read the full article here.

Dr. Reynolds also gave a few suggestions for vitamins and supplements that women should plenty of during pregnancy. Here are five she recommends:


You need 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily to help build Baby’s bones and teeth. Get your daily dose through milk products or non-dairy sources like broccoli, dark leafy greens, sardines, or calcium supplements.

Folic Acid

“Taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily for at least 1 month prior to pregnancy and 600 micrograms of folic acid daily during pregnancy may help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s spine and brain called neural tube defects,” says Dr. Reynolds. You can supplement your prenatal vitamin with foods like dark green leafy veggies, orange juice, beans and fortified cereal.


“During pregnancy, you need double the amount of iron; the daily recommended dose of 27 milligrams will help your body make more blood to supply oxygen to your baby. Prenatal vitamin supplementation and foods rich in iron should be part of your daily intake,” says Reynolds. Stock up on animal proteins, or veggies like soybeans and spinach.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Found in many kinds of fish, omega-3 fatty acids are important to your baby’s brain and eye development. Women should eat a least two 6-ounce servings of low-mercury fish or shellfish (such as shrimp, salmon, catfish, pollock, scallops and sardines) per week. If you aren’t a seafood lover, another solution is DHA supplementation and most prenatal vitamins now contain this mercury-free omega-3 fatty acid. DHA supplementation is not a replacement for seafood intake, but can help improve the nutritional deficiency.

Vitamin D

“Pregnant women need 600 international units of vitamin D a day,” Reynolds says. “Good sources are milk fortified with vitamin D and fatty fish, such as salmon. Exposure to sunlight also converts a chemical in the skin to vitamin D.”

Bonus: Water!

“By drinking 64 fluid ounces of water (approximately 8 cups) per day, plus adding 1 cup per 1 hour of light exercise, you are preventing dehydration,” says Dr. Reynolds. “In the third trimester, dehydration can lead to preterm labor.”

Scare Your Family Silly at These 4 Halloween Attractions

Looking for a scare? Meet EMOBA’s “Kustomer Scare Liaison” Agatha Von Pettigrave.

Brave a haunted house, shiver at scary science or scream your way through a roller coaster ride. This month, get a chill down your spine at one of these Halloween haunts.

Science That Spooks

Are you afraid of the dark? The Museum of Discovery’s newest exhibit, In the Dark, explores nighttime, as well as darkness found in ecosystems like caves, the deep sea and underground. Visitors learn about the sometimes creepy critters and how they adapt to their dark surroundings. In the Dark opens Oct. 3. Included with general museum admission.

Tricks & Treats

Boo at the Zoo is a no-brainer for families—and not because a zombie got the munchies! The Little Rock Zoo’s festival is sweet enough to please little ones, but has enough bite to thrill older siblings. Don costumes and trick-or-treat through the zoo, which will be all decked out with lights and decorations. Older kids ages 8 and up looking for a scare can check out a haunted house, while tots fly in a bounce house. Activities also include dance contests, free carousel rides, glitter tattoos, a dance party and more! Boo at the Zoo will open 6-9 p.m. Oct. 18 & 19; 6-9 p.m. Oct. 24-Nov. 1. $10, or $20 all-inclusive armband.

Old Haunts

Scaredy-cats beware: central Arkansas’ haunted houses are not for the faint of heart. That said, if your family is serious about its scares, don’t miss EMOBA’s annual Haunted Cathedral. A scarecrowtorium graveyard leads visitors into the attraction, which is located in the former First Baptist Church in downtown Little Rock (1208 Louisiana St.). The multi-level haunted house makes use of its historic structure with features like a nightmarish claustrophobic den, strategically-placed actors and a winding maze. Safety pins are available for those who don’t want to be scared by actors. Haunted Cathedral will open Oct. 10-11 & Oct. 17-Nov. 1: 7-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 7 p.m.-midnight Fri. & Sat; must arrive 30 minutes before closing. Tickets are $20 Fri. & Sat.; $15 Mon.-Thu. For info: 372-0018.


Chills & Thrills

The monsters come out at night at Magic Springs Water & Theme Park. The annual Halloween festival, Magic Screams, offers plenty of family attractions—including rides for kids and a haunted house for younger children. Little ones can visit a trick-or-treating area and play family games. Plus, on Oct. 11, Wolverine will visit and families can enter a super hero costume contest. But scarier monsters and activities emerge from the shadows at dusk. Several of the park’s big kid rides will also be open, including SkyShark, X-Coaster, The Gauntlet, Wild Thang and Big Bad John. Magic Screams will open Oct. 11-Nov. 2: 4-11 p.m. Sat. & Oct. 31; 4-9 p.m. Sun. $29.99; children under 48” inches $19.99; children under 3 free; tickets available at Walgreens for $19.99.

Eat Out and Benefit Easter Seals Arkansas Throughout October

Image by Easter Seals Arkansas

Donating never felt so delicious! Appetite for Awareness is a campaign for Disability Awareness Month. During the month of October, local restaurants will help increase awareness and meet the needs of children and adults with disabilities through special deals, promotions and donations.

This month, you can support Easter Seals Arkansas' community-based programs and services by frequenting your favorite local restaurants. Keep your eyes open, as you might see donation jars at your local McAlister's Deli, for example.

Easter Seals has been posting the specials on its Facebook page, and here are a couple that we're currently craving:

  • Cupcakes on Kavanaugh: Purchase the special lily cupcake and Cupcakes on Kavanaugh will make a donation to Easter Seals.
  • Orange Leaf: Each Monday in October, Orange Leaf will donate 20 percent of sales to Easter Seals.

For more info and to keep up with the special promotions, check out the Easter Seals Arkansas Facebook page.

75th Arkansas State Fair Begins Oct. 10; Win Tickets From Little Rock Family!

Image by Arkansas State Fair

The Arkansas State Fair celebrates 75 years of fun from Oct. 10-19! For 10 days, families can enjoy carnival rides, fair food, concerts, rodeo and livestock competitions, creative arts and more.

The annual festivities include two special events this year to mark the 75th anniversary: a parade in downtown Little Rock on Oct. 11 and a fireworks display after the last performer on the Wendy's Main Stage on Oct. 19. The celebratory parade on Oct. 11 will march through downtown Little Rock, beginning at 10 a.m. on Broad Street and ending at the State Capitol. Spectators are free.

To celebrate the milestone anniversary, Little Rock Family is giving away multiple admission packages to our readers! All contests will be held on our Facebook page here. Here's the full giveaway schedule:

Tuesday, Oct. 7: Four gate admission passes, four PBR Ridin' in the Rock tickets, one parking pass

Thursday, Oct. 9: Four gate admission passes, four PBR Ridin' in the Rock tickets, one parking pass

Monday, Oct. 13: Four gate admission passes, one parking pass

You can purchase advance gate tickets for $5.99, children ages 6-12 $2.99. PBR Ridin' in the Rock tickets are sold separately. All concerts are included in the admission ticket; premium upgraded concert seats are available for $15. All tickets can be purchased online at

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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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