activities for kids in Hot Springs

9 FUN Activities for Kids in Hot Springs, Arkansas

The options are endless for activities for kids in Hot Springs, Arkansas. This happens to be one of our favorite towns to vacation in with our kids. We have made so many unforgettable memories there and we keep going back.

Activities for Kids in Hot Springs, Arkansas

If you’re looking for the best camping with kids in Hot Springs, kid-friendly activities in Hot Springs, activities for thrill seekers, or even the best place to grab lunch with kids in Hot Springs…you’re in the right place!

1. Camp at Lake Catherine State Park & go horseback riding

When I was little, horseback riding was one of my favorite activities. I still love it and I love that you can do it at Lake Catherine State Park! Be sure to check it off your EPIC Arkansas bucket list!

P.S. Even if you aren’t the “outdoorsy” type, Lake Catherine has great cabins that are calling your name!

The park has 20 fully equipped cabins. The park offers 70 campsites, six primitive tent sites, one Rent-A-Camp, and one Rent-A-Yurt. Many of these sites are on the lakeshore. Park interpreters offer hikes, lake tours, and programs year-round. Guided horseback rides are offered seasonally.

Arkansas State Parks

Be sure to rent a peddle boat on the lake too!

Horseback riding in Arkansas
Image by Siggy Nowak from Pixabay

2. Rent a boat at Lake Ouachita State Park

Rent a boat at Lake Ouachita and enjoy a day on the water! Did you know that you can even rent houseboats?

Arkansas’s largest lake, Lake Ouachita offers 40,000 acres of clear, clean water surrounded by the scenic Ouachita National Forest. Swimming, skiing, scuba diving, boating, kayaking, and fishing are enjoyed here. The park has 93 campsites (58 Class AAA, 23 Class D, and 12 walk-in tent sites), some right on the water.

Arkansas State Parks

You will also love: Can you swim in Lake Ouachita?

Don’t miss: Best Hot Springs Arkansas Family Vacation Ideas

3. Go Camping!

Hot Springs offers many places in the area to find some great camping. Some of the best state parks in Arkansas for camping are near Hot Springs! If you’re a camper that likes to get off the beaten path, Hot Springs has free and primitive camping options that you’ll love.

There are many free camping options on Lake Ouachita that are near Hot Springs if you want to enjoy nature with your kids.

Sounds adventurous, doesn’t it?

camping in Hot springs arkansas with kids
I bet there’s chili in that pot.

Don’t miss: Best State Parks in Arkansas for Camping

4. Learn something crazy at the Mid-America Science Museum

The Mid-America Science Museum is one of those places where you initially decide to go because you want to do something noble. You want to learn about science. You think it’s high time you do something scholarly and expose your children to a museum full of dinosaur bones and boring fact-filled tour guides because that’s what good parents do.

Then, you get there and realize you completely misjudged this place! There are families laughing together while they create stop-animation films. There are huge round tables that spin while kids place objects on them that zing around and teach them about inertia, gravity, and gyroscopic force.

You see a DinoTrek outside where you can walk through the forests of Arkansas and see huge dinosaurs.

There are places for kids to climb, create, and learn everywhere!

You leave several hours later feeling smarter and your kids are worn out…which means they’ll need a nap. Bonus!

Serving as a unique destination for generations of families for 40 years, Mid-America Science Museum continues to provide an escape for curious minds of all ages. 

Located less than a mile from Hot Springs National Park, Mid-America Science Museum is surrounded by a beautiful natural setting. 

Mid America Science Museum
kid activities in Hot Springs Arkansas- Mid America Science Museum

Don’t miss: Mid-America Science Museum Review

5. Become a Junior Ranger

My daughter will never forget the day she became a Junior Ranger. We were in Hot Springs and I had recently learned about the Junior Ranger program from a travel website. I knew it was something she would love so we went for it!

The NPS Junior Ranger program is an activity based program conducted in almost all parks, and some Junior Ranger programs are national. Many national parks offer young visitors the opportunity to join the National Park Service “family” as Junior Rangers.

Interested youth complete a series of activities during a park visit, share their answers with a park ranger, and receive an official Junior Ranger patch and Junior Ranger certificate. Junior Rangers are typically between the ages of 5 to 13, although people of all ages can participate.

National Park Service
junior ranger program for kids in hot springs national park
This kid has collected a lot of Junior Ranger badges from all over the country!

6. Be amazed at Tiny Town

Mr. Moshinskie, pictured below, created Tiny Town, mostly from household scrap items or trash. There are people carved out of wooden spools. Weeds became trees.  Wood clothespins became people. Dryer motors were refurbished to power the lights and run the trains of Tiny Town. It is amazing to see, and run the trains.

Tiny Town

If your kids love toy trains and miniature towns, they’ll love Tiny Town! Tiny Town has moving trains and other animated parts that make it spectacular. The best part is when the lights go out and you get to see the town at night!

tiny town in hot springs arkansas - activities for kids
Photo credit: Patrick Swinnea

Mr. Moshinskie cleverly mingled in famous scenes from throughout America in his handiwork. Above, Christ of the Ozarks from Eureka Springs, Arkansas looks over Tiny Town from a mountain top.  Others scenes depict Niagara Falls, Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Thousand Islands in New York, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina, Hot Springs’ famous downtown Water Fountain, Mount Rushmore, and Mississippi River Bridge.

Tiny Town
activities for kids in hot springs arkansas
Photo credit: Patrick Swinnea

While you’re there, be sure to check it off your EPIC Arkansas Bucket List!

You’ll find it here:
374 Whittington Avenue
Hot Springs, AR 71901 501-624-4742

You’ll also love our list of Unique Arkansas Products and Gifts

7. Hot Springs Mountain Tower- for the brave

If you aren’t afraid of heights and you’re braver than I, head on over to the Hot Springs Mountain Tower. The view from the top is amazing…or so I’m told. I’m chicken, y’all.

Hot Springs Mountain Tower is the thing to do in Hot Springs, Arkansas! The tower elevator will transport you 216 feet to the observation decks where you’ll enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Ouachita Mountains, Hot Springs Mountain, and Diamond Lakes area – all at 1,256 feet above sea level.

Two ways to get here – take the beautiful scenic drive to our parking lot or hike the 1.5 mile trail from Fountain Street.

Hot Springs Tower
Hot springs mountain tower with kids
The view from the top of the Hot Springs Mountain Tower. photo credit: Amy Ashcraft/Flickr

8. Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo

If your kids love animals, this is the place for you!

Visit the Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo today for an opportunity to be a kid again. Hold a baby alligator, feed and pet miniature goats and see wolves, mountain lions, monkeys, raccoons and more up close and personal. There’s something fun for everyone in your family.

You can also feed baby alligators some meat on a stick and witness live alligator feeding shows every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at noon, May through mid-October.

Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo

You’ll find it here:
Whittington Ave, Hot Springs, AR
501-623-6172 847

9. Pirate’s Cove Putt Putt!

This is the BEST Putt Putt course I have EVER seen. I’m not kidding. It’s pristine, creative and fun!

Pirate's Cove Putt Putt in Hot Springs

Activities for Kids in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs is one of our favorite towns for a family vacation. There are so many things to do that make it an unforgettable experience!

I know you will love it too!

Check out my tip jar!

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