Arkansas amusement parks provide entertainment for countless families every year. With both theme parks and water parks available, Arkansas is perfect for adventure and exploration during your next big vacation.
Arkansas' Only True Theme Park
Magic Springs & Crystal Falls in Hot Springs
While there are plenty of tourist attractions in Arkansas, Magic Springs & Crystal Falls, a two-for-one theme park and water park, is the only true theme park in the state. Among the roller coasters and log rides, they have the X Coaster, which is one of the biggest reasons to visit this park.
Located at 1701 E. Grand Ave. in Hot Springs, this theme park and water park complex is open during the spring and summer months, and they're popular enough to earn a 3.5 rating on both Yelp and Trip Advisor. Many visitors thought the ticket prices were an excellent value. One reviewer even recommended that customers buy the season ticket, if they live nearby, as opposed to the day ticket because it only costs $20 more. However, the general consensus was that this complex was no Six Flags or Disneyland. One reviewer who gave the park 5 stars said he did so to improve the rating, pointing out, that the park was "much improved from five years ago."
Magic Springs Attractions
Highlights of Magic Springs' major attractions include:
- X-Coaster: If there is one ride you should check out at Magic Springs, it is the X-Coaster. This roller coaster shoots you 150 feet in the air and then goes into a 360-degree corkscrew. "It isn't much to look at," said one reviewer, "but it packs a punch. When the train turns you upside down, WOW!"
- Arkansas Twister: The Arkansas Twister is a classic. It's an old-fashioned wooden rollercoaster that takes you on a speedy expedition through the Ouachita Mountains. I enjoyed this coaster very much," said one reviewer. "I am a fan of out-and-backs, and this one is definitely a winner in my book."
- Dr. Dean's Rocket Machine: if you feel like being launched almost 100 feet into the air only to fall back down to ground level in seconds, this is the ride for you. One impressed customer said, "Although it is very fast, it is also very smooth, and it's my favorite ride to watch peoples reactions"
- The Hawk: This ride spins 360-degrees clockwise and anti-clockwise. At its highest, you will hang 50 feet in the air. As one customer stated, "It flips you every which way possible... at ridiculous speeds."
- The Gauntlet: On this 2,200-feet long roller coaster, you will drop 110 feet at 50 mph. One customer stated, "It's probably the smoothest SLC i have ever been on."
This amusement park also boasts a creative kids' area and various concerts throughout the summer for the entire family to enjoy. From R & B to classic rock, there is a musical event for every individual to enjoy.
Crystal Falls Attractions
Although Crystal Falls seems very much like Magic Spring's Little Brother, it has its own thrill rides, family rides, and kiddie attractions. One recent reviewer said the water park "is very well planned and FUN!"
If you want a space of your own you can rent a cabana next to a pool starting around $125 for four people, and that includes your own food server. "I think the cabana was worth every penny!" said one woman. "My husband and I had a shaded spot to sit when we weren't floating in the endless lazy river."
Major attractions include:
- Splash Island: Splash Island features 10 water slides, a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket, bubbler jets, and water wheels, as well as water curtains, net climbs, pools and waterfalls.
- Rapid Falls Raceway: A high-thrill ProRacer Slide, this raceway includes six slides.
- Seven Falls: Within this 10,000-square-feet pool, there are three speed slides, four tube slides, and a play pool. It's great for teenagers and kids.
- Kodiak Canyon Adventure River: On this tube ride, 320,000 gallons of water propels you along a river, through waterfalls, and down short rapids. It is one of the water park's most popular family rides.
Find out more about Magic Springs & Crystal Falls, including upcoming events, by visiting their official website.
Additional Water Parks in Arkansas
Wild River Country in North Little Rock
When you need to cool off, think about paying a visit to Wild River Country near Little Rock. This water park, located at 6820 Crystal Hill Road in North Little Rock, has the bragging rights of being Arkansas' largest water park. Here you will find classic tube slides such as Black and White Lightning, perfect for all ages and levels of courage.
Other attractions include:
- The Vortex: This slide sends riders down the tube in complete darkness.
- The Accelerator: This slide is recognized for its amazing speed.
- The Pipeline : The slide is styled more like a roller coaster and up to two people can ride together.
- The Sidewinder: This is a fun raft ride designed for parents and young kids to share together.
- The Wild River: Tube down the winding path.
- The Wave Pool: This feature is always a favorite, and the big wave hits about every ten minutes.
- The Tad Pool: This area is design for toddlers to enjoy.
Wild River Country has achieved mixed reviews on Trip Advisor, where it achieved a 3.5 rating. As far as ticket prices go, some reviewers said that "The park is small, but it is pretty cheap." However, the general consensus appears to be that it's not as good as nearby Magic Springs, and it's only worthwhile if you have young kids. Older kids may find it difficult to last the entire day.
Willow Springs in Little Rock
Willow Springs offers water fun, but it is not the type of modern water park most people have come to expect. Built in Little Rock in 1928 and located at 3903 Willow Lake Road, this park takes advantage of its surroundings rather molding them. Although the park does have a 400-foot water slide, as well as a couple of log rolls and water trampolines, you won't find surf riders, funnels or automated wave pools here. They just offer good family fun in a small lake setting.
Since Willow Springs doesn't have a lot of expensive features to maintain, ticket prices are more reasonable than most other parks and vary based on whether or not you are fishing or camping. This means the entire family can afford to take endless trips down the big water slide without spending a fortune. The park also hosts an annual bible camp, and it provides discounts to church groups throughout the summer months. Group rates also apply to more mainstream activities such as birthday parties.
There are not many reviews for the park, but reviewers at Trip Advisor gave it a full 5 stars, citing Willow Springs' family friendliness as its biggest plus. For example, one customer stated that the park provides grills on site, and that "people definitely make the most of them."
Take the Family
Whether you prefer riding high on a roller coaster or floating down a relaxing river, each of these amusement destinations provides plenty of thrills for everyone. So if you're looking for something fun to do as a family, set aside a day, gather the family into the car, and head to one of these theme parks.