There’s still a chill in the air, but I think spring has sprung here in Arkansas. The trees are blooming or budding out, and the doves are cooing in the mornings. If you are a parent, you’ve noticed restlessness in your children. Today, I heard a parent at school say she was over winter and ready for spring. When March hits, we all know the countdown has begun. It’s time for spring break.
Many families will be making treks to the beach, to national parks, something Disney, or to see family during spring break. The issue after a divorce is that not everyone can afford the lifestyle they once enjoyed. Fortunately for those of us in this lovely natural state, there are more affordable options for your family than traveling to Florida.
In our hometown of Fort Smith, we have a nature center where children can safely explore and learn about wildlife, play on the playground, fish, and go on hikes with family--for free. A few other options that are easy on your wallet, aside from some drinks and snacks, would also be parks, low-budget movie theatres, local library events, the murals downtown, the art classes at the Regional Art Museum, and the skate park by the Arkansas River. If you can afford a little more, try bowling, the trampoline park Elevate, and the new Vertical Horizons Climbing Gym.
Up for a daytrip? Northwest Arkansas boasts a plethora of activities for different age levels. For younger children, even the younger of the teens will enjoy parts of it, the Amazeum never fails. This museum is full of activities both inside and outside for kids to enjoy. They can be loud, make messes, play pretend, and learn about science, art, and history all under one roof.
Just down the way, also in Northwest Arkansas, and connected by gorgeous trails, is Crystal Bridges. The grounds of Crystal Bridges offer trails and sculptures for the family to explore and enjoy. Inside the museum, the lower level has an area just for the youth. There’s a puppet theatre for imaginative play and several activity stations. Crystal Bridges also holds special activities for children and the schedules can be found on the website, along with other family events.
If the family wants to burn off some energy, there’s an expansive park for running, soccer, kite flying, playing on the playground, and picnicking, and it’s only just across the street from the Amazeum and Crystal Bridges.
If you want more than just art, science, and activities, head back towards Fayetteville.
Lokomotion, in Fayetteville, offers indoor laser tag, gaming, bumper boats, food, and Go-Karts on the track outside. Modern Mission, also in Fayetteville, is an indoor laser tag battlefield. Sweet.
One more family-oriented, and much-loved, site is Terra Studios. It’s a small drive outside of Fayetteville, but the scenery is fantastic. Terra Studios has arts and crafts, whimsical grounds to play and explore, a labyrinth in the wood, and a cafe where you can stop and eat before heading back out to play chess on a giant chessboard. Many weekends, Terra Studios has a planned activity, so be sure and check out the website.
Don’t let divorce dampen the spring break you get with your family. If the weather is nice, go camping. If you know in advance you'd like to get a cabin on the lake or head to a different area, there are some cute and cozy AirBnb options. Even if only one of these activities is within your budget, spending quality time together and making new memories is part of building your new family and strengthening your relationships. Have fun! Play hard!
Remember: it’s about to get better.
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