Hot Springs is every vacationer’s dream. From the Mountain Tower perched high above the Ouachita mountains to thoroughbred racing at Oaklawn, internationally renowned art galleries, three pristine lakes for fishing and water sports, and exciting nightlife. Take a relaxing nature walk at Garvan Woodland botanical gardens, spend a day with the family at Magic Springs amusement park and Crystal Falls water park, shop at one of the area’s antique or specialty gift shops, or experience one of Hot Springs’ legendary baths or spas.  Whatever your pleasure, you’ll find it in Hot Springs.



 


Hot Springs National Park became a U.S. territory in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase. Lured by the natural hot springs in the area, the area’s first settlers in 1807 quickly realized the potential of the town as a health resort. On April 20, 1832, President Andrew Jackson signed legislation that made Hot Springs a Federal Reservation becoming the first “national park” in the nation – pre-dating Yellowstone by 40 years. The area began to rapidly change from a rough-and-tumble frontier town into an elegant spa city.

After a series of devastating fires, the wooden Victorian bathhouses built in the 1880s were replaced between 1912 and 1922 with fire-resistant brick and stucco bathhouses, several featuring marble walls, billiard rooms, gymnasiums and elaborate stained glass windows. The world-famous Hot Springs bathhouses were built during the early 20th century, with each generation bigger and more luxurious than the previous.

“Hot Springs Reservation” officially became “Hot Springs National Park” on March 4, 1921 after its designation as the 18th national park by the newly established National Park Service. The designation ushered in the final phase of construction culminating in the Bathhouse Row we enjoy today.

Through the years, a number of legendary people have visited Hot Springs. Throughout the early 20th century, the town was routinely used as a spring training camp for several famous baseball teams including the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Browns and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Franklin D. Roosevelt made a historic trip to the spa city during the height of the Great Depression in 1936, during Arkansas’ Centennial of Statehood, touring Fordyce Bathhouse and inspecting other bathhouses along the row. Babe Ruth, Ronald Reagan and Harry Truman loved hiking the trails surrounding the Arlington. Rose Kennedy vacationed here as did, most famously, gangster Al Capone whose entourage occupied an entire floor at The Arlington Hotel. Modern celebrity visitors have included Barbra Streisand, Yoko Ono and former President George H. W. Bush.

The city’s most recent claim to fame is as the boyhood home of former President Bill Clinton, who graduated from Hot Springs High School.

Many things have changed over the last 175 years in Hot Springs, but one thing remains the same: people still flock to Hot Springs to enjoy its famous thermal waters in a peaceful mountain setting.

 

Magic Springs and Crystal Falls are Arkansas’ premiere amusement parks. Magic Springs offer thrill rides such as roller coasters perched high above the Ouachita Mountains, outdoor concerts and more; Crystal Falls has exciting water rides. Season tickets are available.

For complete information and the yearly hours and operating schedule, go to
www.magicsprings.com or call 501-318-5370.

 

Visitors from around the world flocked to Hot Springs National Park’s historic Bathhouse Row in the 1800s and early 1900s to bathe in the healing thermal waters, thought to have healing powers. With the advent of modern medicine, the bathhouses were closed, but the buildings are still preserved and many are open for tours. Cool mineral water also flows from the local springs and many people stop on Bathhouse Row to fill up water jugs at the public fountain. For directions and complete information, go to www.hotsprings.org.

 

From January through April, Oaklawn Park is the place to be in Arkansas. Watch and wager on live top-quality thoroughbred racing, enjoy delicious food served up at restaurants and stands and participate in contests and promotions. Oaklawn also offers simulcast racing action and electronic gaming year-round. In recent years, Arkansas Derby winners have also won one or more of the Triple Crown races in Kentucky, Maryland or New York.

During the live racing season, children may enter Oaklawn accompanied by a parent or guardian; children attending during the simulcast season must be at least 48 inches tall to be admitted.

For complete information, schedules and more go to
www.oaklawn.com or call 800-OAKLAWN (625-5296).

 

Hot Springs National Park is located in the Diamond Lakes region of Arkansas. This area features tournament-quality bass and trout fishing as well as year-round water sports on Lake Ouachita, Lake Catherine, or Lake Hamilton.

For complete information go to
www.hotsprings.org or call 501-321-2835 or 800-SPA-CITY (772-2489).

 

For 200 years, the natural hot springs surrounding present-day Hot Springs National Park have been used to treat illnesses and to relax. Rich and poor alike bathed in its healing waters and relaxed in its bathhouses. Hot Springs National Park today surrounds the north end of the city of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Popular activities within the park include touring the historic Fordyce Bathhouse, strolling through the historic district, hiking park trails and driving the scenic roads.  The historic downtown area also features many art galleries and delicious restaurants to choose from.

For complete information, go to
www.hotsprings.org or call 501-321-2835 or 800-SPA-CITY (772-2489).

 


Historic downtown Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, is truly an American treasure. From fun art galleries and delicious restaurants, to Bathhouse Row and too many historic buildings to count, there’s truly something for everyone downtown.

Visit the national headquarters for Mountain Valley Spring Water and its historic Classical Revival building. Tour the historic bathhouses. Bring a jug and fill it up with delicious natural spring water in the community fountain. Shop for antiques, fine jewelry, gifts, souvenirs and more. Or just relax and take in the scenery.

For complete information, go to
www.hotsprings.org or call 501-321-2835 or 800-SPA-CITY (772-2489).

 


Mid America Science Museum is a great family attraction and the largest hands-on science center in Arkansas. Take the “Underground Arkansas” tour of a gigantic indoor cave filled with chambers, bridges, tunnels and slides, or experience the light, motion and sound of the “Virtual Reality Simulator.”

Museum public hours are Tuesday - Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Summer hours from Memorial Day through Labor Day are 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily.

Mid America Museum is the perfect setting for school field trips, birthday parties, summer science camps and more. To learn more, visit
www.midamericamuseum.org or call 800-632-0583 or 501-767-3461.