I have to start by saying it is currently a brisk, cloudy 32 degrees outside. Yes, we are half way through April. Yes, 2 days ago I had to close the windows and turn on the AC because it had gotten too warm for us to sleep soundly (well, for me, the pregnant one, to sleep soundly). However, if you live in NWA, this comes as no surprise. Spring is notorious for following beautiful days with bitterly cold ones. We always keep a few sweaters out for this very reason. May 1st of last year, it snowed. Not enough to keep you home from work and children from school but a true snow, none-the-less. Anyway, I digress. We are talking about summer.
We are half way through April, passed spring break and diving head long toward the end of the school. If you have children, you know these days can go by in the blink of an eye. Late spring tends to be extremely busy. Easter festivities, dance recitals, soccer, softball, baseball, graduations, baby showers and the beginning of wedding season…shew. It gets tiring. However, you need to start to thinking of what you will do with those ankle bitters in just over a month to avoid hearing the dreaded “I’M BORED!”. If you are on a budget, this gets tricky, so here are some ideas…
- The 17th AnnualGulley Park Summer Concert Series I heart this because combines beautiful Gulley Park with warm summer evenings, picnics and music! Completely free, the series is every Thursday evening (weather permitting) from 7-9, open to the public and family friendly. Bring a picnic blankets, some snacks and your dancing shoes for an evening of great music and people watching. This year’s line-up includes Sarah Hughes Band; Rosco Bandana; Got it Covered; Wheeler Brothers; Jason D. Williams; Uncrowned Kings. The first concert is scheduled for June 13th at the giant pavilion.
- Dive-in Movie at Wilson Park Beginning at dark, 4 Fridays through the summer, you can watch a movie and cool off in the pool at the same time! Another free attraction provided by the lovely city of Fayetteville, this years flicks include Monster’s University, A Bug’s Life, Frozen, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Get there early because it fills up fast. Concessions are offered but are not free.
- Kids Crops Youth Gardening Offered by the Yvonne Richardson Center, this free club is actually offered year-round as different growing seasons filter through. The most activity happens, during the summer. Children of all ages are taught about gardening and nutrition while planting, growing and harvesting their own crops! Don’t have space or time for a home garden or your thumb isn’t so green? This is a great opportunityto expose the kids to how food actually gets to the table.
- Summer Fun 4 Kids These week long camp sessions offered free through the Yvonne Richardson Center are filled with a variety of activities. Kids will learn about fitness and nutrition, nature and the outdoors, arts. Day trips include Devil’s Den, War Eagle Caverns, the Tulsa Zoo, ice skating at the Jones Center and many more. There are 8, week long sessions and they fill up fast so be sure to contact the center soon!
- Terra Studio Have you heard of the Bluebird of Happiness? Did you know that was made in our own backyard? Terra Studio offers a garden full of art and whimsy as well the chance to watch artist working. Just south-east of Fayetteville on the way to Elkins, this is a great place for a picnic, to take a class or to get lost in a labyrinth. Admission is FREE and the grounds are open daily from 10am – 5pm.
- Fayetteville Itself! Farmer’s Market on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday throughout the spring, summer and early fall has is always a twitter with fresh foods, fantastic music and lots of people watching. Our Greenway snakes it’s way through the city passed parks and buisnesses. The Blair Library offers story times, musicians, magicians and puppeteers throughout the summer. The Parks and Recreation department also offers low cost day camps throughout the summer including drama, outdoor adventures and soccer. Did I mention the Botanical Garden’s, The Drake Air Museum or the Clinton House Museum?Don’t forget about the Highway 112 Drive-In! One of the last in the country, this is a low cost and super fun way to take the family to the movies!
All that and I haven’t even ventured outside of the city!! Add in day hikes at Devil’s Den, War Eagle or Lost Valley or Tanyard Springs (to name a few). Beaver Lake Public Access points like Hickory Creek and the Dam Site. Crystal Bridges and Compton Trail are breath taking. Springdale Aquatic Center, Roger’s Water Park and the Splash Pad in Bentonville (that one is free too) are great choices for cooling off. Gentry Wildlife Safari is just up the road. Head to Eureka Springs for window shopping, historical tours, ghost hunting and Christ of the Ozarks. Have I exhausted you yet because I’m pooped!
If you don’t live in this area, it is a great place to visit. If you do live here, though, lucky you! Now go take advantage of all the wonders our little corner offers!