It's only Thursday, but it's time to get the weekend started! The Harlem Globetrotters will show off their skills at Verizon Arena tonight, Feb. 5! Plus, "The Princess Bride" shows on the big screen.
There are plenty of events to carry you through the weekend too: Celebrate Take Your Child to the Library Day; help your little one reel in a fish at MacArthur Park Pond; or, craft valentines at the Clinton Presidential Center. Read on for details on all of our top 10 weekend events for families!
1. Harlem Globetrotters "Washington Generals Revenge Tour" at Verizon Arena: Enjoy ball-handling wizardry, rim-rattling dunks, trick shots, hilarious comedy and unequaled fan interaction as the Harlem Globetrotters take on the Washington Generals! As part of the festivities, a Harlem Globetrotters Hometown Hero will be honored and a portion of the game will be played with a camouflage basketball as a sign of respect to all who protect our freedom. With a star-studded roster featuring Big Easy Lofton, Ant Atkinson, Hi-Lite Bruton, Thunder Law, Bull Bullard, Firefly Fisher and Moose Weekes, plus female stars TNT Maddox, T-Time Brawner and Sweet J Ekworomadu, the Globetrotters is a one-of-a-kind show. After the game, Globetrotter stars will sign autographs and take photos with fans. $25-$115. 7 p.m. Feb. 5. For info: (501) 975-9000, VerizonArena.com.
2. 4th Annual Take Your Child to the Library Day at All CALS Locations: All branches of the Central Arkansas Library System join with libraries across the U.S. and Canada and celebrate with special programs! Families can sign up for the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program, as well. All day Feb. 7. For info: CALS.org. FREE!
3. Central Arkansas Nature Center's Fishing Derby at MacArthur Park Pond: Bring your fishing pole and bait, and fish with your friends and family at this derby hosted by the Central Arkansas Nature Center! Door prizes and gifts will be given away, too. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 7. For info: CentralArkansasNatureCenter.com. FREE!
4. Retro Night: "The Princess Bride" at Chenal 9 Imax Theatre: Watch this classic fairytale adventure from 1987 on the big screen! Rated PG. $5. 4 & 7 p.m. Feb. 5. For info, click here.
5. A Charlie Brown Valentine's Day at Clinton Presidential Center: Visit the center for a free family program that will include creating valentines for patients at Arkansas Children's Hospital, along with making crafts for your own personal valentines. Family programming is free; however, regular admission fees to tour the Library will apply. Don't miss the Charlie Brown-themed exhibits, "Pigskin in Peanuts" & "Heartbreak in Peanuts," during your visit! 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 7 & 14. For info: ClintonPresidentialCenter.org.
6. Pinocchio Event at Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center: Friends from Arkansas Children’s Theatre read Pinocchio! Stay for craft time, too. 10 a.m. Feb. 7. For info: (501) 978-3870, CALS.org. FREE!
7. Destination: Girl Scouts at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville: It’s time to expand your horizons and the Girl Scouts are here to jump start the journey! Girls in grades 4-12 are invited to cook their own exotic cuisine, play musical instruments from all over the world and pick up a few helpful phrases for their next foreign adventure. ATU students and staff share their expertise to get girls prepared for their own travel experience. Not a Girl Scout? Not a problem. Register online. $10. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 7. For info: (800) 632-6894, GirlScoutsDiamonds.org.
8. Sweetheart Hayride and Campfire at Pinnacle Mountain State Park: Take your sweetheart on a romantic hayride through fields and woods followed by a cozy campfire. Blankets and snuggling recommended. Advance reservations and payment required. $12. 3-5 p.m. Feb. 7-8. For info: (501) 868-5806, ArkansasStateParks.com/PinnacleMountain.
9. 34rd Annual Soup Sunday at Statehouse Convention Center: Taste some of the best soups, breads and desserts in town, generously donated by as many as 30 restaurants in the Little Rock area. This family-friendly event will feature a silent auction, games for children, and live music from The Big John Miller Band. Proceeds from the event support Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families. $25 in advance; $30 after 2/6; VIP tickets $50 each; children 5-12 are $5; under 5 are free. 4-7 p.m. Feb. 8. For info: ARAdvocates.org.
10. Rumpelstiltskin at the Arkansas Arts Center Children's Theatre: It's your last weekend to watch "Rumpelstiltskin" onstage at the Children's Theatre! The Brothers Grimm fairy tale is adapted into a musical by Keith Smith, and is a thriller for young audiences. $12.50, $10 for AAC members. Showtimes are: 7 p.m. Feb. 6, 2 p.m. Feb. 7-8. For info: (501) 372-4000, ArkansasArtsCenter.org.
For more central Arkansas events, browse our full online calendar here.
Black History Month--a time of celebration and reflection on the role of African-Americans in American history--was originally a weeklong remembrance that began in 1926. The national celebration was created with the guidance of historian and educator Carter G. Woodson. He chose the month of February to mark the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass, two champions of the anti-slavery movement.
Families and students groups can learn more by attending one of these events and exhibits in February. And don't forget to visit the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (pictured above in 1924), the state's museum for African-American history!
"1865: The Rebuilding of America," Presented by Parkview Arts/Science Magnet High School Student Program at Clinton Presidential Center: This original production, created and performed by the Parkview Arts/Science Magnet High School's choral, orchestral, and theatre departments, will tell the story of the rebuilding of the United States and its people after the Civil War. Reservations required. Student Programs: 9:30-10:30 a.m., 11 a.m.-noon Feb. 26–27; school groups should RSVP to (501) 374-4242. Public Program: 7 p.m. Feb. 25; general public should RSVP to (501)748-0425. FREE!
2015 Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Distinguished Laureate Lecture Series at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center: Inductee of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame and renowned psychologist, educator, author and community activist, Dr. Robert L. Williams, will discuss the state of race relations in America. Topics will include: police violence and black men in America, black-on-black violence, and other social issues confronting the African-American community. Dr. Williams is a Professor Emeritus of Psychology and African and Afro-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis and a prominent figure in the history of African American psychology. As stalwart critic of racial and cultural biases in IQ testing, Williams is known for developing the Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity and coining the term "Ebonics" in 1973. 9:30-10:30 a.m. Feb. 27. For info: (501) 683-3593, MosaicTemplarsCenter.com. FREE!
African American Heritage Month Events at MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History: The Arkansas National Guard sponsors "A Century of Black Life History and Culture," an event featuring a guest speaker, entertainment and refreshments at 11:30 a.m. Later that evening, a historic film screens at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25. For info: (501) 376-4602, ArkMilitaryHeritage.com. FREE!
Black History Quiz Bowl at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center: Impressive teams of students (grades 6-12) from across Arkansas test their knowledge of African American history, achievements and contributions in this annual statewide competition. For more information, contact Elvon Reed at MTCC. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 21. For info: (501) 683-3592, MosaicTemplarsCenter.com. FREE!
Celebrate Black History Storytime at Barnes & Noble Locations in NLR & WLR: In celebration of Black History Month, come by for storytime and activities featuring two notable figures in history. Featured books are: "I am Rosa Parks" and "I am Jackie Robinson." 11 a.m. Feb. 28. For info: (501) 771-1124 & (501) 954-7646, BN.com. FREE!
The Clinton Foundation and Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Program at Clinton Presidential Center: In partnership with the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame and the City of Little Rock, the Clinton Foundation will host a student program that will engage and inspire. This year's featured speaker is Dr. Robert L. Williams II, a Professor Emeritus of Psychology and African and Afro-American Studies at the Washington University in St. Louis and a prominent figure in the history of African-American Psychology. He is known as the stalwart critic of racial and cultural biases in IQ testing, for coining the word "Ebonics" in 1973. He has published more than 60 professional articles and several books. He was a founding member of the Association of Black Psychologists. Dr. Williams was a 2011 inductee into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Reservations required. Student Program: 9:30-10:30 a.m., 11 a.m.–noon Feb. 26; school groups should RSVP to (501) 374-4242. Public Program: 6 p.m. Feb. 27; general public should RSVP to (501) 748-0425. FREE!
For the Love of the Game: Negro Leagues Baseball Program at CALS Children's Library & Learning Center: The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center leads this program about Negro Leagues Baseball. Geared towards children in grades K-3, the program asks the question: "What is it you love to do?" and has students design a pennant flag with drawings of things they love to do. The program features Rube Foster, the founder of Negro Leagues baseball and explains why players played even in segregated times. 4 p.m. Feb. 20. For info: (501) 978-3872, CALS.org. FREE!
For the Love of the Game: Negro Leagues Baseball Program at CALS Sidney S. McMath Library: The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center leads this program about Negro Leagues Baseball. Geared towards children in grades K-3, the program asks the question: "What is it you love to do?" and has students design a pennant flag with drawings of things they love to do. The program features Rube Foster, the founder of Negro Leagues baseball and explains why players played even in segregated times. 4 p.m. Feb. 24. For info: (501) 225-0066, CALS.org. FREE!
Living History Tribute: Dr. Maya Angelou at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center: Featuring Dr. Gwen Twillie and special guests from Parekview High School's Theater Department, this performance honors the author, poet and activist Dr. Maya Angelou. Reservations recommended. 10 a.m. Feb. 6. For info: (501) 683-3592, MosaicTemplarsCenter.com. FREE!
The Roots of African American Education in Arkansas at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center: The Black History Commission of Arkansas and The Arkansas History Commission will be hosting a symposium on the theme, “The Roots of African American Education in Arkansas.” Featured speakers include Peggy Lloyd, Dr. Joe Hale, Amanda L. Paige and Gwendolyn Twillie. Topics will include Ila Upchurch, the history of the Colored Industrial Institute, the Jeane Teacher Program and a living history presentation about the life of Charlotte Stephens. Teachers can earn up to four professional development hours through attendance. Lunch will be provided. Registration required by Feb. 2. For more information about the symposium or to register, email email@example.com or call (501) 682-6892. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 7. For info: MosaicTemplarsCenter.com. FREE!
Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Piece at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center: A celebration of creativity and self-expression is hosted by local poetry troupe the Foreign Tongues. This free event features youth poets from central Arkansas and a performance by Foreign Tongues. Featured poet, Jon Goode, has made appearances on HBO's "Def Poetry Jam," "Verses and Flow" and was featured on CNN's "Black in America." As a national award winning performance poet, Jon has shared the stage with Jamie Foxx, Mos Def, Kanye West, Tommy Davidson, Will Downing, Kindred, Ledisi, Roy Ayers, Common, Amiri Baraka, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Kim Fields, The Last Poets and many others. Tickets available starting January 20. Limit 2 per person. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (501) 683-3593. 7 p.m. Feb. 7. For info: MosaicTemplarsCenter.com. FREE!
Voices Without Borders at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center: Get ready for a musical extravaganza as Dr. Irma Routen presents her Little Rock-area children’s choir, Voices Without Borders, live in concert! This performance is always a crowd pleaser. For group reservations, please contact Elvon Reed at (501) 683-3592. 10 a.m. Feb. 24-25. For info: MosaicTemplarsCenter.com. FREE!
Exhibit: Arkansas African-American Legislators, 1868-1893 at North Little Rock History Commission: Arkansas African-American Legislators, 1868-1893, a traveling exhibit produced by the Arkansas History Commission and Black History Commission of Arkansas, will be displayed at the North Little Rock History Commission (506 Main St., North Little Rock). The exhibit tells the story of the 85 African-Americans who served in the Arkansas General Assembly in the 19th century. After the Civil War, Arkansas adopted a new constitution in 1868 and its provisions included the right to vote and hold public office for black males. African-American lawyers, merchants, ministers, educators, farmers, and other professionals served in the Arkansas General Assembly. In addition, the North Little Rock History Commission will also have exhibits of the city's black history. The exhibit will be on display through Feb. 27; hours are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri. For info: (501) 371-0755, email@example.com. FREE!
Exhibit: Freedom! Oh, Freedom! at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center: "Freedom! Oh, Freedom!" Arkansas's People of African Descent and the Civil War 1861-1866 is a story of transformation, as it will allow visitors the opportunity to explore the African American perspective of the Civil War from the lens of slavery, the contributions of African American soldiers, and what happened through and after the Reconstruction Era. Exhibit on view through Dec. 31. For info: (501) 683-3593, MosaicTemplarsCenter.com. FREE!
For more central Arkansas events, browse our full online calendar here.
Hey, party people! It’s that time again…no, it’s not time to put your hands in the air like you just don’t care. It’s time for our Birthday Party Survival Guide! We’re here to minimize your planning stress and help you focus on the most important thing—celebrating your growing child.
Your birthday boy or girl can pick from one of our seven activity themes—sports, museums, animals and more. Within each theme, you’ll find some of central Arkansas’ best birthday party locations and providers, all of which offer party packages for your child’s big day. Along the way, you’ll also find bakeries with delicious desserts, places with party supplies and even entertainers who will bring the excitement to you.
For a high-flying fiesta visit this indoor trampoline park, which has 20,000 square feet of interconnected trampolines. Guests can jump, play dodge ball, volleyball, basketball, or launch into a giant foam pit. Party packages include two hours of party time for jumpers, plus pizza, partyware and bottled water. Plus, the birthday guest receives a t-shirt and a one-hour jump pass for their next visit. Maximum number of guests: 250. Cost is $199.99 for 10 guests; $329.95 for 20 guests. 15707 Chenal Pkwy., Little Rock. For info: 353-1281.
At this birthday party destination, participants choose from mini golf, go-carts, bumper boats, batting cages or the “Lazer Maze.” Big Rock’s arcade has more than 30 games, including basketball, Skee-Ball, air hockey, Big Bass, Dance Dance Revolution, Harpoon Lagoon and many more. Plus, the birthday boy or girl gets a free spin on the Prize Wheel! Party packages include game tokens for each participant, fountain drinks and use of the party room for an hour and a half. Table set-up and clean-up are included. Available add-ons include pizza, hot dogs, and additional arcade tokens and activity passes. Party packages start at $99.95 for up to 10 participants and 12 guests; additional participants $10 each. 11411 Baseline Road, Little Rock. For info: 455-3750.
This Hot Springs fun spot offers inflatable rentals for off-site parties, as well as party packages at the indoor jump space and arcade. Each package includes unlimited play all day, as well as two hours in the party room. Bring your own cake and ice cream or choose a package that includes all the goods. Party packages range from $99-$329; inflatable rentals start at $120 and can be reserved for two hours to all day. 619 Albert Pike Road, Hot Springs. For info: 623-5867.
This 25,000 square-foot facility is located in Ridge Plaza in Conway and features arcade games, mini golf, laser tag, bumper cars and a jump zone that includes five bouncy attractions. All birthday packages include 75 minutes in the party room; set-up and clean-up; plates, napkins and cups; and a spin on the Birthday Wheel for the birthday child. Packages also include various amounts of game play and attractions, and can include pizza and snacks. Party packages range from $55-$299. 1350 Old Morrilton Hwy, Conway. For info: 358-3557.
All party packages include an hour and 15 minutes in the arena full of nine larger-than-life inflatables. Plus, you’ll get use of the private party room, and free party supplies like invitations, plates, utensils, etc. Parents can bring a birthday cake or cupcakes, but no other outside food or drink is allowed. $170-$260; varies depending on number of party guests. 4000 Dave Ward Drive, Conway. For info: 932-0970.
This indoor playground in the Maumelle area features seven massive inflatable slides, obstacle courses and bounce houses for kids ages 2-12. Two-hour party packages include time in the party room and the play arena, as well as invitations, paper products, pizza, juice and ice cream for each guest. Parents can bring their own birthday cake. $200-280; varies depending on number of party guests. 9250 Commerce Cove, North Little Rock. For info: 907-5867.
Parties include access to the race track and 30 games, including air hockey and Skee-Ball. The package also grants party-goers access to the party room for an hour and a half, where parents can set up their own cake, ice cream and drinks (pizza is available for purchase from Thunder Road). Plus, each child will receive two go-cart rides, 15 game tokens and a free fountain drink. $99.95, plus tax for 10 children; each extra child is $9.95 per person. 3847 Dave Ward Drive, Conway. For info: 513-1065.
Parties at the zoo combine fun with education. In addition to birthday activities, party packages include a Jungle Party host, drinks for the children, plates, forks, napkins, train or carousel ride, and zoo admission. Birthday child receives a special zoo present and all of the participating children receive goodie bags. All birthday parties are located in the Zoo Education Jungle Room. Choose between different themes, such as Jungle Kids and Superhero Party. Party packages start at $290; members receive a discounted price. 1 Zoo Drive, Little Rock. For info: 661-7229.
Celebrate your child’s next birthday with loving farm animals from the furry to the feathery—Cockrill’s brings the farm to you. Children can also hop in the saddle and ride on a Llama! Maximum number of guests: 20. Cost depends upon the party event and number of children. 2265 Mountain Springs Road, Cabot. For info: 351-4521.
This small, private farm invites children to celebrate their special day with bunnies, chickens, ducks, cats, geese, horses, sheep, dogs, and a donkey. They’ll also meet Petunia the pig, Ivy the mini goat and Primrose the miniature Scottish Highland cow. Children can ride the ponies and enjoy hands-on fun with their new furry friends. Maximum number of guests: 10. $250 for two hours. Crystal Valley Road, Little Rock. For info: 960-0687.
Guests ages 4-17 can play in the private party room for up to 90 minutes, and take a tour of the shelter and interact with animals. Plus, children may bring gifts for the shelter animals. Parents furnish food and drinks; staff sets up, decorates and cleans up. Parties are scheduled for Saturdays, but weekdays are open during the summer. Maximum number of guests: 20. Free; donations welcome. 4500 Kramer St., Little Rock. For info: 376-3067, 590-8765.
This barn facility offers riding lessons and boarding for horses. Parties include a picnic area and two horses for riding (hand-led). If you have more than 10 children, another horse will be added. There is also a large, grassy area for children to play, and big trees for those who want to string up a pinata. $200 for 10 guests; $8 per additional guest. 3406 Midland Road, Alexander. For info: 590-0784.
The Wonder Place now offers three party packages for children ages 0-8. All party packages include admission for guests, and a private party room for two hours. Depending on the option you choose, your party package will include partyware, drinks for the kids, an art activity, birthday invitations, and party helpers who will round up kids, cut and serve the cake, and clean up! Or, you can choose the Do-It-Yourself option for any party package. This will decrease the cost of your party and allow you to lead and conduct your own birthday party. Party times are available 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., as well as after hours every day of the week. Packages range from $150-$350. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock. For info: 225-4050.
Each guest ages 5 and up can create his or her own keepsake. Choose from either pottery, mosaic or silver jewelry. Parties include balloons, a hostess and a birthday plate for the guest of honor. You are welcome to bring refreshments and presents. $60-$100, varies by package and number of guests; a $50 deposit is required to hold the time slot. 5622 R St., Little Rock. For info: 280-0553.
Choose from a variety of themed-party packages for children ages 3-10, including “Let’s Luau,” “Pretty Little Princess,” “Ahoy Matey!,” “Howdy Partner” and more. All parties are one hour and 30 minutes and include crafts, hair styling, glitter makeup, nails, beverages and paper goods. Maximum number of guests: 20. Prices vary depending on size of party. 11525 Cantrell Road, Ste. 305, Little Rock. For info: 227-4436.
Children ages 5 & up get creative with canvas and make a painting to take home. Painting supplies are provided, and a trained artist leads a step-by-step lesson to create a painting chosen by the birthday boy or girl. Maximum number of guests: 40. $240 for 12 kids. 5610 R St., Little Rock. For info: 296-9903.
Hire one of these professionals to provide awe-inspiring entertainment—from magicians to musicians.
This company specializes in high-quality princesses and characters for children’s parties. Professionally-trained staff arrives in costume to sing, read, dance, play games and entertain your little one and guests. Choose from a list of characters and party packages, including a popular Snow Queen, Mermaid, Woodland Fairies and more. Party packages start at $100. For info: (540) 664-1610.
Coming to your birthday party site, this fun-filled, interactive children’s music party features original music by Brian Kinder. The program is 35-40 minutes long and best for children ages 3-8. The birthday child receives choice of CD or t-shirt (when available). $300 for Little Rock area. For info: 374-4542.
This interactive show includes magic, tons of comedy and balloon art. Performances run from 40 minutes for a magic show only and up to two hours when you add balloon twisting to your event. Plus, a sound system and kid-friendly music is provided for all events. Maximum number of guests: 20 children for a one-hour balloon twisting party. $175 for a 40-minute magic show; $175 for a one-hour balloon twisting party; $250 for a two-hour balloon twisting event. For info: 529-1633.
Birthday parties for children ages 5 and up include a guided tour of the submarine USS Razorback, a gift for the guest of honor, soft drinks and paper goods. If your kiddo wants an unforgettable slumber party, ask about booking a birthday party with the overnight program. Maximum number of guests: 30 people. $75-$200; $25 (plus tax) nonrefundable deposit required. 120 Riverfront Park Drive, North Little Rock. For info: 371-8320.
Celebrate your youngster’s big day at the renovated museum after it reopens March 7. Party packages include the party room for one hour for up to 20 guests, plus admission to the museum for a full day. Explore renovated science exhibits, the new outdoor walkway built amongst the trees and the new digital dome theater. Party package: $200, plus $10 for extra guests. 500 Mid America Blvd., Hot Springs. For info: 767-3461.
Choose from one of five themed parties that help youngsters discover science, conduct experiments and have fun: Tinkering Party, Mad Scientist Party, Safari Party, Dinosaur Adventure and Do It Yourself Party. Party-goers can go an introductory tour of the facilities. A personal host will make presentations and clean up. Party supplies such as paper products are all provided, and party invitations are available. $300 for 35 guests (children and adults); birthday child and two adults are free; each extra attendee $10. 500 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock. For info: 537-3078.
During summer, enjoy the Splash Zone family aquatic park. Families can book a Splash Zone Pool Party or rent out the community center’s indoor pool for a private party. The community center has an indoor pool, gym, banquet hall and meeting room rentals available. Maximum number of guests: 50 for indoor pool. Indoor Pool: $95 for private party. Splash Zone Pool Party for $250-$500. 5 Municipal Drive, Jacksonville. For info: 982-4171.
Loco Ropes is a heart-pumping ground, tower, and treetop adventure of over 35 challenges to test your nerve, endurance, agility, & strength—all in the name of fun and adventure, using cutting-edge technology & ACCT standards. Three packages are available, including the Birthday Package, which allows season pass holders to invite 15 friends for a Treetop Adventure at half price. Other options include the Tower Power Pack (choose between the Flying Pig ZipLine, HotShot FreeFall and Planks Peak Climbing Wall) and the Treetop Adventure package (complete one of the high-flying Loco Lines 1, 2 & 3). Prices vary by package. Ozark Folk Center State Park, 1025A Park Ave., Mountain View. For info: (870) 269-6566, (888) 669-6717.
Bring party guests to this living history farm for an educational celebration. The pumpkin patch is a premier attraction from Oct. 1-31. $7 per person. 1625 Wesley Chapel Road, Quitman. For info: 589-3122.
The amusement park’s 2015 season will be held April 5-Sept. 27. Little ones can hop on the carousel, train, Tilt-a-Whirl and other small amusement rides. Parties, groups and pavilion rentals are available. Birthday party package includes hot dogs, chips, drinks and rides for each child. $150 for first 10 children, $10 for each additional child. 25 Funland Drive, North Little Rock. For info: 753-7307.
Host an adventure for thrill-seeking youngsters (participants must weigh between 40-300 pounds). Take a tour through the treetops by flying down 14 zip lines, hop on a horse for a trail ride, or float the Little Missouri River by canoe or kayak. Full Zip Line Tour $80 (group discounts available); Short Zip Line Tour $40; Horseback Trail Rides $40; Canoe/Kayak Rental $30 per watercraft. 13695 Hwy. 51 South, Okolona. For info: (870) 274-3001.
When the water park opens for the season in the spring, warm-weather birthday babes can celebrate with a day of splashy fun. Party package includes day admission for eight party guests and two adult chaperones, as well as a birthday table and a party host. All 10 guests will also be treated to hot dog combo meals and ice cream cups. Maximum number of guests: 20. $249.99, additional guests $20.99. 6820 Crystal Hill Road, North Little Rock. For info: 753-8600.
Kids can collect food items for the Arkansas Foodbank from party guests or in lieu of birthday gifts. Then, bring the birthday child to drop off the donations at the food bank where they will be given a tour of the warehouse. Free. 4301 W. 65th St., Little Rock. For info: 565-8121.
Arkansas Skatium has two party options for public roller & ice skating parties. Private party rental options are available also. Party prices range from $139.95-$295.95 plus tax. 1311 Bowman Road, Little Rock. For info: 227-4333.
ATA provides fun party activities including a 30-minute karate class, karate relay games, ninja dodge ball and more. You can have an unlimited number of guests and ATA membership is not required! Turtle Mascot is available for an additional fee ($50) for a demonstration and pictures. $199 for an hour and 30 minutes. 5501 JFK Blvd., North Little Rock. For info: 753-6100.
This baseball birthday package for kids ages 5-14 includes admission to a Travelers game, hot dog, drink, souvenir and ice cream. The 2015 Travs season begins in April and continues through Sept. Packages range from $16-$18 per child and $6-$12 per adult. 400 W. Broadway St., North Little Rock. For info: 664-1555.
A party “coach” leads guests ages 5 and up through games including flag football, dodge ball, soccer, kickball, an obstacle course and more. You will have full use of the party room, where you can eat your birthday treats. Parents are responsible for food, drinks, plates, napkins, etc. Parties may be scheduled on Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays. Prices vary. 10 Viewpointe Cove, Little Rock. For info: 588-3910.
Impact provides party entertainment for active kids ages 4 and up—they’ll play fun games like Ninja Dodge Ball and participate in a high-energy TaeKwonDo class. Plus, the birthday boy or girl gets the chance to break a board and cut the cake with a Samurai Sword. Party packages that include cake, drinks, pizza, and clean-up are also available. You can also choose to add on fun items like ninja headbands and foam nun-chucks for an additional cost. Party packages range from $149-$249 for birthday child and 20 guests; $10 per additional child. 9808 N. Rodney Parham Rd., Little Rock. For info: 224-1222.
Birthday parties for children ages 6 and up include an hour and a half of climbing followed by 30 minutes in our party loft. Parents must provide food and drinks. Group and party rate: $16.50 per climber. Maximum number of guests: 25. 12120 Col. Glenn Road, Ste. 7000, Little Rock. For info: 227-9500.
Kids ages 16 and under can knock down pins at the bowling alley; party packages include shoe rental, party set-up, bowling pin souvenir, cake and one game of bowling per child. And an extra game of bowling, pizza or hot dogs for an added fee. $10.79 per child; $25 nonrefundable deposit required one week before party date. 901 Towne Oaks Drive, Little Rock. For info: 224-9040.
Birthday party packages for kids ages 2-12 include two personal party coaches, your choice of sports and games or swimming, the “soft play” maze, private party room, ice cream, cake, drinks and favors. Our Happy Castle moonwalk is available for a fee. Parties are held on Sat. and Sun., and are 90 minutes long. Maximum number of guests: 20. Party packages range from $160-$225; Happy Castle moonwalk is an additional $20. 3804 McCain Park Drive, North Little Rock. For info: 812-5555.
Birthday parties are 90 minutes long and consist of tons of fun for kids ages 4-12. The first hour of your party is spent in the 25,000 square foot facility. Your time in the gym consists of pirate ship play, obstacle course, tumble track, games and gifts. Your party concludes in one of two party rooms for cake and drinks (must bring your own refreshments). Maximum number of guests: 24. 5310 S. Shackleford Road, Little Rock. For info: 407-8000.
Private birthday parties for children ages 1-12 include invitations, birthday leader and assistant, set-up, clean-up, paper goods and drinks. Birthday child receives a Little Gym T-shirt. Parties last 90 minutes. Maximum number of guests: 25. $200 for 15 guests, additional guests $10; members $175, additional guests $8. 1121 S. Bowman Road Ste. C-1, Little Rock. For info: 225-5437.
Birthday parties are two hours of fun and excitement on a field where so much history has taken place. Each party is given access to the locker room for presents and refreshments, as well as playing time on the field. Choose from the Touchdown Party, which includes cake, ice cream, drinks and invitations; or the Extra Point Party, which includes your choice of hamburgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, chicken strips. The meals include your choice of french fries or chips and a drink. Touchdown Party is $300 for 30 children, $2 for each additional child; Extra Point Party is $400 for 30 children, $5 for each additional child. 1 Stadium Drive, Little Rock. For info: 663-6385.
Complete your birthday bash with balloon décor for any size event. Birthdays to Remember provides additional party fun, including clowning and character entertainment. Cost varies. 404 E. Kiehl Ave., Sherwood. For info: 835-3905, 472-2294; AddSumBalloons@ATT.net.
Hire this limousine service to celebrate a big birthday in style! Cost varies. 7704 Fluid Drive, Little Rock. For info: 771-9500.
A fun and affordable selection of party rentals are available for children’s birthday parties ages 2-10, including inflatables, tents, and yard games. Full-day rentals range from $125-$200, plus taxes and delivery. 20211 N Springlake Drive, Little Rock. For info: 699-0634.
This rental company provides inflatable bounce houses, carnival games and concession equipment. Families can choose between picking up the units on your own, or request convenient delivery and set up (within a specific delivery area). Bounce houses start at $150 and package deals are available upon request. For info: 833-0542, JCHC.Inc@gmail.com.
Get everything you need to throw a terrific birthday party at this discount party supplies super store. 11218 Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock; 4822 North Hills Blvd., North Little Rock.
Order custom birthday cakes, petit fours, and cupcakes. These cakes and fillings are made from scratch (no cake mix!) and the company specializes in tiered and sculpted cakes. The smallest cake starts at $22, and basic tiered or 2D cakes at $76; sculpted cakes start at $180; cupcakes start at $27 a dozen. All first birthday cakes come with a complimentary “smash” cake. 6800 Cantrell Road, Little Rock. For info: 868-7771.
Order your favorite cupcakes, cake pops, sugar cookies or custom-decorated cake. Or, host a cupcake-decorating party for children ages 3 and up in The Cupcake Factory’s party room. Choose your theme and let their staff do all the work. Maximum number of guests: 75. Packages start at $179. 18104 Kanis Road, Little Rock. For info: 821-9913.
Choose from a plethora of unique cupcake varieties for your child’s special day. Items are baked from scratch daily using the finest all-natural and organic ingredients. Plan a cupcake decorating party at home or at the Kavanaugh store for children ages 7 and up. In-store parties include four cupcakes to decorate per child, plus water or soda for guests. The birthday boy or girl also receives a free apron. Decorating Parties for 10 children: store rental costs $150 for one hour, then $50 per 30 minutes; $20 per child. 5625 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock. For info: 664-2253.
Mickey’s Cakes and Sweets has a variety of cake flavors and designs along with other delicious pastries, making it a well-rounded wonderland. Call and speak with a customer service expert to receive insight and advice on which cake or dessert is best for you and your event, or visit the baker and meet with someone customize your creation. Prices vary. 11614 Huron Lane, Ste. C, Little Rock. For info: 221-1989.
This cupcake shop and bakery in Bryant has a party room for you to host cupcake decorating parties for one sweet birthday child ages 3 and up! The Birthday Party Package for 10 includes two hours in the party room with a hostess, plus 4 cupcakes per guest, 12 different colored icings and 20 cupcake toppings! Plus, the birthday child receives a smash cake. Maximum number of guests: 25. Birthday Party Package $135; Cupcake Decorating Party Package $125. 5407 Highway 5 North, Ste. 12, Bryant. For info: 952-3472.
Owner Kelli Marks whips up pretty (and tasty) treats, like iced sugar cookies and French macarons, as well as custom occasion cakes. Shaped cakes can be crafted to suit just about any birthday boy or girl’s dream theme—superheroes, movie characters and more. Prices vary. 8210 Cantrell Road, Little Rock. For info: 613-7780.
It's something we all have to do: eat. And here at Soirée, we take food pretty seriously, good food. That's why writer's Steve Shuler's blog post from LittleRockFoodcast.com immediately caught our attention and we asked to share. Shuler listed 10 of his favorite dishes from local restaurants in January. Here's a preview and where we will be making reservations soon:
Roasted Duck Breast at South on Main
While the yock box from the South on Main/Lost Forty dinner was doubtlessly the most unique and engaging item on the menu that night, it was unmistakably an “everyman” dish. That’s not to knock it or other highly accessibly dishes; in fact, some of my favorite foods over the years have been common menu items elevated to become something special. But at a special event like this dinner, there is an expectation for the chef to flex his or her technical muscles, and this is where Bell decided to show his classical culinary ability. The duck breast here was as perfect as you can make it, a juicy breast cooked to medium rare with a crispy skin that crackled under the fork. To accompany the duck, Bell tossed some Arkansas winter kale in black garlic (garlic slowly caramelized over the course of days). And of course, it wouldn’t be South on Main without an egg on one of these dishes. While this was prepared for a special dinner, you can find the same duck breast on South on Main’s dinner menu every night. Don’t second-guess it. It’s an entrée you can order with full confidence.
Crawfish Creole at Maddie’s Place
The last of the Lost Forty-inspired dishes in this month’s write-up, this particular dish was created to pair with the limited Red IPA that came out a few weeks ago. The beer is quite good, though not Lost Forty’s best. But the pairing that Maddie’s Place chef Brian Deloney devised for this beer was remarkable. Deloney packed this dish with an absurd amount of crawfish tails; it seemed that there was always plenty left no matter how much I’d eaten. A Creole-seasoned roux with okra and tomatoes made for a traditional broth with balanced heat and brightness. But the real star here, the element that brought crawfish and roux and beer together, was the mound of sublime cheese grits in the center. I’ve spent time exploring grits in Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. These could stand up with the best I’ve ever had. Rich, creamy, perfectly cooked, the grits took this dish from very good to something truly memorable. While this was a special, Deloney has the elements on hand to make this entrée on a regular basis, and I really hope to see it again in the future.
Grilled Bread and Butter Spreads at Lost Forty Brewing
That’s right, I’m putting two bread items on this list, and for good reason. They’re both outstanding examples, if extremely different from each other. This bread at Lost Forty Brewing is a testimony to both recycling and relationships. The grain used in the mash to make Lost Forty’s beer is sent off to Boulevard Bread Company, which makes this bread and sends the loaves back to Scott McGehee and his team. The bread itself is outstanding, with deep flavors of molasses and cream that come out after a little bit of toasting from the grill. Three butters come on the side, and while the smoked jalapeño and the dill butters are both good, the honey cinnamon butter is the one that goes best with the bread. As if that weren’t enough, a trio of pickles accompanies the plate, with the curry cauliflower pickle standing out there. There is plenty to like about Lost Forty, but for me, this bread is the one dish I have to have every time I visit.
To see the remaining favorites on Shuler's list, check out his post here.
Hungry for a Whole Foods update? You got it.
We recently told you about the opening date for the brand spanking new Whole Foods Market, which is at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18, in case you forgot.
Currently located in The Village at Pleasant Valley shopping center on Rodney Parham, Whole Foods had a little problem with elbow room, so they decided to upgrade to a 34,000-SF location at the intersection of Bowman and Chenal.
“We will provide only the highest quality of natural and organic products available, offered by genuine team members specializing in authentic ‘Southern Hospitality’ with each guest and each other,” Whole Foods said about the Little Rock market on its website.
That's all well and good, but we know you've been itching for details, and we finally have some for you. Whole Foods is expanding its offerings of natural and organic products, as well as a coffe and juice bar and beer and wine bar.
Here's a taste of the full list of features:
Instead of ribbon cutting ceremonies, Whole Foods hosts bread-breaking ceremonies. The west Little Rock store will hold the ceremony at 7:30 a.m. on opening day, with specials, entertainment, activities and tastings all day. Plus, if you're one of the first 500 customers, you get a free Whole Foods reusable shopping bag.
It's the first full weekend in February (what) and there's a lot going on. Whether it's WWII poems or Julia Roberts, this weekend is shaping up pretty nicely. And don't worry, we're saving all the ooey gooey Valentine goodness for next week. Cheers.
“Fourteen Minutes and Fifty-Nine Seconds: Recent Works by Guy W. Bell” opening reception at Thea Foundation, 401 Main St., North Little Rock: In the latest installment of The Art Department, the Thea Foundation is proud to feature Guy W. Bell. In this exhibit debut, Bell will reveal a floating statue. Yes, we know what we just said. The reception starts at 6:30 and includes hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, live music from John Willis and Late Romantics and the chance to win an original work by Bell. For more information, click here.
"For the Love of Art" musical showcase at the Lettermen's Club, War Memorial Stadium, One Stadium Drive, Little Rock: Presented by Art Porter Music Education, Inc., the night will include the musical stylings of Rodney Block, New Era Jazz Project, Synergy, SOULutions, Sound So Good and more. Guest will also enjoy food and a cash bar. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. Enter at Gate 7. The show starts at 7 p.m. For more information, click here.
"Pretty Woman" at CALS Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Ave., Little Rock: There's a reason this 1990 movie makes it into the upper echelon of so many people's favorite film lists. Julia Roberts. Richard Gere. This is classic movie history, folks. It deserves to be watched in a theater. The screening starts 7 p.m. For more information, click here.
Central Arkansas Heart Ball at the Statehouse Convention Center, 101 E. Markham St., Little Rock: To coincide with the rest of the American Heart Association awareness festivities, the Central Arkansas Heart Ball is a premiere black-tie event that helps raise funds for research, prevention and treatment of heart disease and stroke. Festivities start at 5:30. For more information, click here.
The Roots of African American Education in Arkansas at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, 501 W. 9th St., Little Rock: This special symposium is hosted by The Black History Commission of Arkansas and The Arkansas History Commission. The day will include talks by Peggy Lloyd, Dr. Joe Hale, Amanda L. Paige and Gwendolyn Twillie. Teachers in attendance can also earn up to four hours of professional development. Registration is required. For more information, click here.
"Frost Bite Me" at The Joint Theater, 301 Main St., North Little Rock: Stop by The Joint and get your dose of The Main Thing. They've got a show full of sketch comedy and parodies, including an original piece about Sherwood, Arkansas’ number one private eye. Plus, The Joint has plenty of food and drink to make the night even better. The show starts at 8 p.m. both nights. For more information, click here.
34th Annual AACF Soup Sunday at the Statehouse Convention Center, 101 E. Markham St., Little Rock: At this yearly favorite, the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families serves up an evening of soups, breads and sweets from some of Little Rock’s finest and favorite restaurants. Check out our Q&A with event chair Molly McGowan to learn more about the organization and it’s most popular event. The soup starts flowing at 4 p.m. For more information, click here.
"How to Kill: World War II Watercolors by Robert Andrew Parker" at the Arkansas Arts Center, 501 E. 9th St., Little Rock: Based on the series of poems by WWII soldier Keith Douglas, the work of Robert Andrew Parker is a more gentle take on the poems' harsh themes, creating an odd and fascinating contrast. The exhibit will only be at the AAC until March 8, so plan accordingly. For more information, click here.
"The Whipping Man" at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, 601 Main St., Little Rock: In The Rep’s latest upcoming production, a jewish Confederate officer and his two former slaves remain, Simon and John. The three are left in the ruins of their hometown, forced to learn how to live in a post-slavery world. What unfolds as they wait for their loved ones’ return is full of pain, faith, horror, strength and secrets. Check out our review of "The Whipping Man" here. For more information, click here.
Art in the Park UALR Exhibit at Wildwood Park for the Arts, 20919 Denny Road, Little Rock: Come out and enjoy the newest exhibit in the Art at the Park lineup. The show includes work from students, faculty and alumni from UALR in a variety of mixed media. The exhibit is open on weekdays from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. and on weekends from noon- 4 p.m.. For more information, click here.
Charles Schulz exhibits at The Clinton Center, 1200 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock: Snoopy gets the presidential treatment as the Center celebrates 65th anniversary of Charles Schulz’s famous pup and the rest of the crew with their newest exhibits, “Pigskin & Peanuts” and “Heartbreak in Peanuts.” The Center is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, click here.
“It's not just a man's disease.”
That’s the message the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women has been trying to get out for years. You probably know the red dress as the symbol of the fight against heart disease and stroke in women.
On the first Friday in February, the symbol comes to life with National Wear Red Day. If you want to get involved, it’s just that simple: Wear red. Show your support for saving women’s lives with just the color of your getup.
Then comes the best part, the part where you share the news. Get on social media and show the world how you #GoRed. When people ask you what it means, tell them. Tell them that heart disease and stroke kill a third of women, despite being 80 percent preventable.
Then tell them to go to GoRedForWomen.org and donate to help raise funds for awareness and research.
Look for us in red.
Here’s what I remember about my daughter’s first birthday. We made a big fuss—she had no idea what was going on. She was not even interested in the carrot cake I had made especially for her. What I wish I had realized instead is that her birthday was a big deal for us, but just another day in babydom for her.
Now that I’m older and wiser and my daughter is older and more wise-cracking, these are the gifts I wish I had lined up for her on her first birthday. Then, if I had served a cake and she had barely noticed, it could have been to celebrate her parents for being so smart and planning ahead. So, implement as many of these suggestions as you can by the time your child turns one. And if you have not implemented them by that first birthday bash, be sure to give them some serious birthday cake for thought.
Whenever you receive monetary gifts from relatives, put half in your child’s savings account. Why? Even though you think you need every kiddy gadget when your child is young, you can often find items discounted or gently-used for a lot less. Heck, you might even be next in line for a bunch of hand-me-downs from friends and family. So stash some of your child’s gift money now. You will be so glad you did later. Plus, a few of the suggestions that follow require money.
Safety Deposit Box
Savings accounts are a vague concept for kids to understand. This is how they think: “You want to take my money away from me and go put it in a boring-looking building where I can’t even visit it?” But all kids understand the concept of treasure. And this is why you should have one (a safety deposit box). Take them to visit your family treasures once a year. Show them how you keep a little cash, some jewels, and copies of important documents, and watch their eyes grow wide with excitement every time you go to the bank. Then, while you have their attention, teach them all the ways you use the bank to secure and manage money.
If you can put aside just $50 per month, it will add up over the years and make a significant dent in your future college costs. Better yet, start with $50 a month and continue to grow that number as your child grows. A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future college costs. 529 plans, legally known as “qualified tuition plans,” are sponsored by states, state agencies, or educational institutions and are authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. All 50 states and the District of Columbia sponsor at least one type of 529 plan. For more information on the AR 529 options, visit TheGiftPlan.com.
Your child is probably too young to understand personal economics. How about you? If you are one of the many Americans who feel overwhelmed, inexperienced or uninformed when it comes to money management, let your baby be your wake-up call. Get involved in money management coaching by searching for a certified coach online. Or, swing by your local bank once in a while and ask your local banker for a little money-management advice based on how much you are earning and saving each month. Sometimes just having a neutral mentor to discuss savings strategies can make a wealth of difference. As your child grows, either coach your child on money management yourself or call on your trusted mentor to help you do the job.
As parents, you can give thousands of dollars to your children each year without any tax consequences. Are you taking advantage of every tax-saving option available to your family? Furthermore, if you are overspending on taxes, that money could be going into your child’s savings or college accounts. Make sure you are working with the most reputable and vigorous tax professional you can afford to help your family legally save as much as possible.
Name as URL
We are living in the digital age and life is only going to become increasingly virtual. It’s nice to know that your future celebrity or entrepreneur has digital security in the form of their name reserved online. How will they use it? This is a lot less important right now. Besides, you already saved some of that gift money, right? Use it for this and they won’t even owe you anything when they become rich and famous. But don’t worry about hosting. Only pay for the URL itself and the privacy to keep personal info offline.
Family Library Card
Your child may be too young for a library card, but make sure you sign up for at least one library card for your family. Having one card makes it easier to keep track of checked out items. Take your baby to the library for storytime, puppet shows and other educational events. As your child grows, introduce him to the various sections of the library. And don’t forget about the multi-media options both at the library and online. A family that makes the most of library resources is a rich one indeed.
Journalist, author and writing coach, Christina Katz offers creative saving and spending strategies to families who would like to enjoy a sense of future security. Her latest book is “The Art Of Making Time For Yourself.”