Give the gift of white water rafting this holiday season!
ARKANSAS RIVER TOURS
Give the gift of white water rafting this holiday season!
ARKANSAS RIVER TOURS
Submitted by the North Little Rock CVB
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (Thursday, November 30, 2017) – On Thursday, December 7, the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office and the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum will hold a Pearl Harbor Day ceremony at 11:30 a.m. followed by free submarine tours at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum (AIMM) at 120 Riverfront Park Drive in North Little Rock.
The ceremony will honor Pearl Harbor survivors from Arkansas; veterans William Chase and Walter Smith are expected to attend. This year’s keynote speaker will be Phillip H. McMath, a trial attorney, an award-winning writer, a Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran and an advocate for Arkansas literature and history. He has written several historical novels, full-length plays and short stories. He is the son of former Arkansas Governor Sidney McMath who served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II.
Following the ceremony, the main deck of the tugboat Hoga will be open. Hoga is a National Historic Landmark recognized for her heroic efforts in Pearl Harbor during the December 7, 1941 attack. Tours of the submarine USS Razorback will be available and free for all veterans, active/retired military and dependents. Refreshments will be provided.
For additional information, contact AIMM at 501-371-8320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katherine Stewart, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
Arkansas has a unique opportunity to take part in a historic event on Dec. 16, when the commissioning of a new Naval vessel, the USS Little Rock, will take place. The ceremony will be held in Buffalo, New York, where the original USS Little Rock, which was decommissioned in 1976, now sits as a museum ship at Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park. The commissioning ceremony will be broadcast live from New York, and a watch party will take place at the Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock beginning at 9 a.m. on Sat., Dec. 16. This is the first time in the Navy’s 242-year history that a new ship has been commissioned alongside its namesake ship.
“The commissioning itself is a huge event,” said Ron Maxwell, the coordinator of the ship’s Namesake Committee and a Navy veteran himself. Approximately 30 Arkansans, including Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola and North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith will be representing Arkansas at the Buffalo event, which has already closed ticketing after receiving far more than the anticipated 5,000 registrations.
“There’s a lot of history and protocol that goes into the commissioning of a new ship,” said Maxwell, who served on the USS Oklahoma City, the sister ship of the original Little Rock, in the 1970s. “There’s a full week of activities,” Maxwell continued, “with parties, receptions and other events” including memorial services, luncheons, sporting events and a tour of the ship. Though the ceremony itself is sold out, those who wish to view the ship in person may do so in Buffalo during Commissioning Week.
The ship is the ninth of 15 new Freedom-class littoral combat ships to be built. These ships are made for shallower waters and can get closer to the shoreline than larger ships can, and instead of propellers, they use waterjets for propulsion. The ship also has a helicopter pad and a small boat ramp, and it can be used by small assault forces. The ship’s name was chosen by former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who served on the original USS Little Rock in the 1970s.
Interested local citizens who wish to experience the sold-out commissioning ceremony are encouraged to come to the Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock’s River Market on the morning of Sat., Dec. 16, for the live-stream event. Doors will open at 9 a.m., and the ceremony begins at 9:45 a.m. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. Seating is limited to the first 300 attendees.
For more information, please visit www.USSLittleRockLCS9.com or contact Ron Maxwell at 501-590-0720.
Traveling – Good Times On A Budget
By Marcella Simmons
I love to travel with my family as much as I love to eat! But sometimes finances (and lack there of) puts a damper on travel plans to some extent. Every year, we take off somewhere during the summer months and stay gone three or four weeks at a time. Yet we have a shoe string budget (no spending money at all except for money for essentials like food, gas and lodging.) We have been traveling as a family for many years. We seldom travel solo as some people do. There are always two or three car loads of kids, grand kids and friends and family and their kids who come along for a little fun! But we have a good time no matter where we end up. Let me tell you our little secret for a traveling good time on a budget.
While you’re traveling too and fro, find the cheapest gas available. Sometimes driving away from the Interstate you may be able to find gas as much as 12 or 15 cents cheaper, give or take. It pays to shop around.
# 1: Book your rooms several months early or in advance to save money. Remember too that room rates are usually cheaper during the first part of the week and the prices go up on weekends. Every few dollars saved can be used for other things. Depending on what time of year it is, consider this: a motel with an inside or heated pool during the winter months is a good idea because the kids can swim. Even in the summer, an inside pool is ideal in case it rains. Have a little fun yourself. Grab your swim toys and hop in!
# 2: If you plan on taking the family someplace fun and exciting, it’s best to plan ahead. Know where you are going. Let the Internet be your next best friend. Get familiar with your destination. Contact the Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau and request brochures, travel guides and maps. Don’t be shy – ask questions. Find out all about the free festivities going on in town for the week of your planned stay. Remember your budget. If you are taking kids and other family members on the trip, the more you have to do the better. Sometimes the freebies is more fun than you think.
Next, decide on one or two paid activities (remember to stay within your budget) such as the zoo or an amusement park and book online. Some zoos/aquariums offers a combo package which can save about $10 or 12 a person – usually you can find some great deals online but be careful when buying tickets online – be sure to read the fine print.
If you have a question about what you are buying, call the number given and ask before you buy. If it’s unclear what you are purchasing online then it’s unclear what you’re getting.
A free adventure tip: If you are running out of things to do, and the kids are bored, take them to visit a local pet shop. It’s free to look. A domestic mini zoo! Sometimes pet shops have activities going on, sometimes not.
#3: Months before the trip, set aside at least two rolls of quarters per person for spending allowance. Tell each person how much money they have for the duration of the trip and stick to it. It’s hard giving in when the little ones spend all their allowance and whine for more. When you’re a budget sometimes you have to sacrifice a few little things to stay within your means.
Quarters spend as easily as dollars. They may seem a little bulkier but this a great way to keep your hands off the credit cards and out of your wallet every where you stop.
# 4: Set aside several rolls of quarters to wash clothes every evening. It makes sense to start saving early. Shop at local dollar stores for laundry detergent. Buy a container that will last the duration of the trip. Whatever’s left over you can always take home.
Bring the kids a beach towel and swim suit. When they’re done at the pool hang the wet items over the shower stall for the next time they ant to swim.
When we first started vacationing with the grand kids, I brought the towels and swim wear but they would go swimming several times a day and not wear the wet swim suit again because they were wet and cold. I’d have at least 4 washers full of wet clothes every day. Not happening now. It may be a little inconvenient for them and a bit cold but they’re going swimming and are going to be soaked in a matter of minutes.
Washing clothes is expensive if you’re budgeting your funds. Save the money for something else.
#5: Stay away from coffee shops. Starbucks is expensive. Why pay $4 or 5 for one cup of coffee when you bring along your own coffee pot and can of coffee. Bring the sugar and creamer too. Like tea? Bring your own. You can drink as little or as much as you want and you’re not spending a fortune on one single cup.
Bring a thermos on the trip. During the drive in and drove home, you can fill a large thermos for les
than what a medium cup of coffee costs, usually around $1.59 per thermos. And it holds several cups.
#6: Carry the coolers. Stock them with plenty of water and your favorite drinks for the road trip ahead.
#7: If you are planning your trip months in advance, this is good. Remember though that you will have to eat. We eat out everyday, once a day usually at a fast food restaurant because of the Value Menus. But one way we do it and not have to take away from our trip budget is simple really. Restaurant gift cards. Every week, several months before our trip, I fudge $10 – $15 out of my grocery money and buy a gift card for Burger King, Wendy’s, Sonic, Dairy Queen, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Applebee’s, Denny’s or I-Hop. Cracker Barrel has cards available, too. There may be others but these are some of our favorites. You can find these gift cards at dollar stores or Walmart and they are redeemable any time.
Buying a card once a week isn’t as bad as it seems. You’ll probably never miss the $10 or $15 dollars you spend out of your grocery money any way.
I do this every week and when it’s time for the trip, I usually have enough gift cards for our family and we eat out in the evenings every day of the trip. It doesn’t come out of our living expense budget set aside for our trip.
I usually book motels that offer a deluxe breakfast (waffles, eggs, the works…) so we don’t worry much about that. Besides, some assorted fruit, breakfast bars, a few boxes of cereal and milk kept in the room takes care of that and in between snacks during the day. Lunch is usually sandwiches and chips or a bowl of soup from a can.
It might seem like a little more work to be prepared but if you limited with spending money for eating out, this is the only way to go. I know. If you have a bunch of hungry kids and no money set aside to feed them a burger once in awhile, you will end up wishing you’d stay home. If they are ungrateful and think you’re cheap, so what? They will forget it and remember only the good times they had with you when it’s all over. Been there, done that!
#8: Take a few minutes for yourself while you are gone. Let someone watch the little ones while you take a dip in the pool, or a relaxing hour in the hot tub by yourself. Or stroll along the beach with your significant other and just enjoy some alone time with your favorite person or alone, whichever you prefer. It’s free, and good for the soul and it’s good for what ails you. Just because you are on a budget doesn’t man you can’t enjoy your trip. I’ve been doing this for over twenty years and each trip we take just gets better and better.
Enjoy a movie in the room while everyone else is down at the pool. Take a hot bubble bath and sip a glass of wine. Relaxation is free and revives the spirit!
That’s my tips for today, Guys! Traveling is fun and exciting and expensive but you can enjoy it on a budget. You just have to learn what works best for you.
Experience the magic of the holidays in Arkansas
Photos available: www.ArkansasMediaRoom.com/press-releases/display.aspx?id=2751
The Arkansas Trail of Holiday Lights returns for its 22nd year with a statewide celebration of the holiday season featuring parades, lighting ceremonies, open houses, Santa visits, concerts and performances, live nativities, illuminated displays and more.
The Trail of Holiday Lights brochure is your passport to seasonal magic, highlighting events and activities throughout December in 54 communities across the state. The brochure is available online at http://www.Arkansas.com/TrailofHolidayLights and in print. Complimentary printed copies can be found at all Arkansas Welcome Centers and at participating Arvest, Subway and Best Western locations. You can also request a copy by calling 1-800-NATURAL or emailing email@example.com.
Now is the perfect time to take a look at the brochure and start planning your own holiday light adventure. Don’t forget to check the Trail’s Facebook page for inspiration at http://www.facebook.com/ArkansasTrailofHolidayLights. You can also share your own holiday photos with us on Facebook or on Instagram (@arkansas) using #ArkansasTrailofHolidayLights.
Explore highlights from each corner of the state:
This area of the state is a delight year-round, but it really shines during the holidays. Traditions include riding the Holiday Express Pajama Train on the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad, ice skating at Lawrence Plaza in Bentonville and attending the Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs. Fayetteville’s Lights of the Ozarks display, stretching from the downtown square to Dickson Street, is not to be missed!
North Central Arkansas
North Central Arkansas is known for small-town courthouse squares that will be decked out with lights and displays throughout the season, in particular in Batesville and Mountain View—and don’t forget Fairfield Bay’s Festival of Trees through December 15. For a unique experience, head to Blanchard Springs for Caroling in the Caverns, taking place through December 17.
Lights of the Delta in Blytheville is among the Mid-South’s largest lights festivals, featuring six million lights and almost 50 motion displays along a 15-mile drive. In Newport, you’ll find 125 lit trees throughout the city, as well as the region’s largest private lights display.
Some of Arkansas’s best-known lights displays are Crossett’s Christmas Wonderland, featured nationally on America’s Great Light Fight in 2015, and Pine Bluff’s Enchanted Land of Lights, which boasts Arkansas’s longest drive-through with more than 280 displays. Fans of old-timey Christmas will enjoy Marianna’s Victorian-themed city park.
For a truly magical walk in the woods, Garvan Gardens on Lake Hamilton is hard to top, with its colorful glow that can be seen from far and wide. Elsewhere in the region, daytime and candlelight strolls of historic homes adorned with period decorations channel the spirit of Christmases past, and a walking tour of the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover features more than 200,000 lights and a show by Santa’s rock band.
Elaborately lit trees are a feature in Central Arkansas, from the massive, two-story trees in Little Rock’s Capital Hotel lobby and the Capitol Building rotunda to downtown Conway’s 54-ft tree—the largest artificial tree in the state! Other favorites in the area include ice skating in Spring Park and strolling through Harding University’s cascading lights in Searcy and Sherwood Forest’s drive-through lights display.
For more information, visit www.Arkansas.com/TrailofHolidayLights.
NEW FAMILY RAFT SLIDE OFFERS THREE-IN-ONE THRILLS FOR GUESTS OF ALL AGES
Posted by Kenneth Morgan-Schleuning
Ray Rush Coming to Aquatica Orlando in 2018
LINK TO BROADCAST QUALITY VIDEO AND HIGH-RES IMAGES: https://www.webcargo.net/d/12595485/1p8ujfZV7Y/
ORLANDO, Fla. (October 12, 2017) – A brand-new family raft slide is splashing into Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark in spring 2018. Ray Rush promises to be a fully-loaded water adventure which will combine three unique slide elements, never before seen at Aquatica, into one action-packed attraction the entire family can enjoy together.
At nearly 60 feet tall, Ray Rush is where family and friends can take on three exciting thrills as they slide, splash and soar like never before. First, riders will be launched at 33 feet per second with water jets designed to propel rafts into the first of several enclosed tube sections. Next, riders will swirl into a colossal translucent sphere which spins the raft around…
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If you’re a foodie, or just love dining out, don’t miss The Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner on Nov. 5 at Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Foodin Bentonville. It’s the best of Bentonville’s culinary talent plus guest chefs serving cuisine under the roof of an incredible culinary school, making for an outstanding event for food lovers.
The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with a reception. Dinner begins at 6 p.m. with a four course meal and beverage tasting that includes red wine, white wine, or beer pairing. The cost is $75 per person for James Beard Foundation members, $85 for general public, and $95 for the performance kitchen seating. Private room seating options are also available. Attire is dressy casual. Register for the event at VisitBentonville.com.
Three guest chefs will participate this year –…
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Eureka Springs is ground zero for Halloween fun. During the entire month of October, this Victorian-era town claims to “deliver more thrills and chills per square mile than any other town in America.” The not-for-the-faint-of-heart fun includes ghost tours, haunted theatrical shows, zombie parade, cemetery tours, séances, haunted hotels, and more.
“[The events are] a little more on the sophisticated side,” says Sean-Paul, creator of Intrigue Theater, a Vaudeville-era show of magic and mystery. “It’s ghost tours and haunted shows, not just a bunch of dark rooms with people jumping out at you.”
Illusionist Sean-Paul and Medium Juliane Fay, through their show Intrigue Theater, take guests back in time for a Victorian, turn-of-the-century experience in traditional mentalist performances like seen in the movies The Illusionist and The Prestige. “We always strive to portray that era,” Sean-Paul explains.
Eureka Springs naturally represents it too with the finest Victorian architecture and haunted history, making it a backdrop hailed straight from the Victorian/Edwardian golden era of ghost stories and spiritualism.
So this October, start with a stay or visit to America’s Most Haunted Hotel, the Crescent Hotel, built in 1886 and perched on a hilltop overlooking the town. Here you’ll find the popular Crescent ghost tour, which starts at the top floor of the building and works its way down to the basement, where you’ll find the morgue of the notorious Dr. Baker from the building’s years as a cancer hospital. The autopsy table is still there. Famous spirits at the Crescent include Michael, the Irish stonemason who fell to his death while building the hotel in 1885; Theodora, the cancer patient of the Dr. Baker who seems to need help finding her room key; and a mystery patient in a white nightgown who appears at the foot of your bed in the luxury suites. These tours are scheduled nightly in October from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and until 11 p.m. on Oct. 31. Tours are about 75 minutes in length. Buy tickets at http://www.AmericasMostHauntedHotel.com.
Visitors to The Halloween City can also enjoy Basin Spirit Tours at Basin Park Hotel in the heart of downtown. These tours are given at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with an additional 6 p.m. tour on Fridays and Saturdays throughout October. This guided ghost hunt starts on the roof of the eight-story hotel and proceeds in stages to an underground cave. It ends with a chilling ghost story told by candlelight, plus a sample of spirits of a different kind for those 21 years of age and older. For more information, visit http://www.SpiritsOfTheBasin.com.
Leaning away from ghosts and floating orbs (take your camera) that are sometimes purported to be seen on the haunted hotel tours are the historical experiences of Voices of the Silent City and Haunted Eureka Springs Ghost Tours. In the former, costumed Eureka Springs residents play the roles of some of the citizens of the town now buried in the cemetery, where the living history presentations take place. Voices of the Silent City takes place from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 19, 20, 21, 27 and 28. The Haunted Eureka tours involve both a shuttle bus and some walking to explore more of the town’s haunted locations. It takes places every night of October. Sign up for the 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. tour.
Other fun options include The Downtown Underground tours, Escape Room 13, and Flickering Tales.
Three shows are offered that will give you goose bumps. ANNA: a haunting theatrical experience, set at Crowe Manor in the 1940s, takes place at Melonlight Theater. Buy tickets at http://www.Melonlight.com. Not Really a Door, a two-woman play performed at the Crescent Hotel, is a supernatural comedy-thriller. Purchase tickets at http://www.ReserveEureka.com/attractions/notreallyadoor. Intrigue Theater, features The Illusionist Sean-Paul and the Ghost Talker Juliane Fay with a series of thrilling paranormal experiments. Tickets available at http://www.IntrigueTheater.com.
“Our Intrigue Theatre show will be the regular show through the month of October but using some Halloween segments within it,” Sean-Paul explains. A special Intrigue Theatre show on Oct. 28 will include a witch trial hanging for Juliane. But Sean-Paul says he will have a noose around his neck too. After all, the duo is in it “til death do us part.”
Since Halloween is on a Tuesday this year, The Halloween City has designated Saturday, Oct. 28 for the big night of fun. In addition to the annual Intrigue Theatre Halloween show at the Eureka Springs Auditorium, there will be a Zombie crawl (parade) at 6 p.m. followed by a Thriller Flash Mob Dance and a costume party at Upstairs at the Grotto.
But actual Halloween night on the 31st still has a special feature. Sean-Paul and Juliane will hold a séance during a three-course dinner at The Crescent Hotel. Sean-Paul says there will be paranormal experiments between entrees and a final one after dinner. Seating is for about 75 people.
Details and ticket information for all of the events can be found at http://www.TheHalloweenCity.com.
“We’re also going to have a house decorating contest for the month of October so that will make the city come alive even more so,” adds Sean-Paul.
Organizers of this Halloween fun intend to grow the month-long event in future years. “We have a zombie parade this year. Next year, we may have a witch weekend and parade,” says Sean-Paul. “It’s our goal that people don’t think about us just that one weekend in October. They can come and have a great Halloween experience all month. We have so much inherent Halloween stuff.”
Additionally, he says it’s a beautiful time to be in Eureka Springs and the Ozarks Mountains because of the great weather and fall foliage. For more information on things to do and places to stay, visit http://www.EurekaSprings.org.
(Photo by Edward Robison.)
and streams have a
special place in my heart.
takes your breath away. I
go there every year. Can’t get
the rapids is
thrilling, exciting, fun.
Nothing can compare to raging
blissful heights, views.
Mountains go on and on.
Snow capped peaks touch the clouds, winding