When we left Texas heading east we took a different route to change things up a little bit. We ended up in Little Rock, Arkansas and decided to spend a couple nights there. We found this great rv park, Passport America park no less, right on the water, over looking downtown Little Rock. The Downtown Riverside RV Park offers full hook-ups, wifi, a great location as well as a great view. We would definitely stay here again.
While it is located right next to a major traffic bridge, the noise is not bad. Inside our coach we didn’t even hear it. On the other side of the park is an old 1600-foot railroad bridge that the city of Little Rock has repurposed into the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge. Their is an access point right from the rv park to the bridge so that you can walk across the Arkansas River to the Clinton Presidential Library, among other things.
While the weather was chilly and very windy when we were there, this bridge would have been a great way to explore the city without having to deal with traffic. Alas, it was way to windy and cold for us to attempt this.
And yes, while it was too windy to fly the quadcopter and get some great views of the city, river and bridges, that didn’t stop us from throwing the copter up for a couple of nighttime pictures.
The nights are spectacular here. The city has a bunch of bridges crossing the river and at night they light them up for all to see. It truly is beautiful. I love when a city really shines and thinks about how it showcases itself.
Little Rock is not what we expected. I guess I really didn’t know what to expect but this city was surprising. Not only is it the Capital of Arkansas, so you can explore all the historical buildings and such, but it also boasts a bunch of award winning restaurants, a large outdoorsy environment and the award winning Arkansas Trail, which includes the Big Dam Bridge. The Arkansas River Trail System is a tribute to outdoor recreation, conservation, wellness that creates an expansive 88-mile loop through the Natural State. According to the Arkansas River Trail Website, The Big Dam Bridge is a famous 4,200 foot structure is the longest pedestrian/cyclist bridge in the world built solely for recreation. It reaches up to 90 feet above the river, and its state-of-the-art linear “wall-wash” LED fixtures illuminate its exterior and can create more than 16 million color schemes.
All I know is there were a lot of bridges here in Little Rock and they truly showcase them well.
We didn’t have time to explore everything there was to see and do in Little Rock. One of the top things to explore is the Clinton Presidential Library. The building itself is striking and earning a Platinum LEED Certification which was important to all who built it. You can read more about the building and it’s design from concept to reality here.
While it does not matter whether you were a fan or not, Democrat or Republican, the library has much to offer and I highly recommend you visit one if not more around this great country of ours.
Like most museums, there is an introductory video that is pretty informative. You then can choose to explore the museum yourself, take a tour with a guide or have an audio tour spoken to you through a headset with Clinton himself narrating. We chose to just explore ourselves.
One could easily spend all day here reading everything and looking over everything. We did not. A couple hours and we were on information overload, so to speak. It’s a lot of information in a two-story structure. And this is only a small portion of all the documents and such that went through the White House.
Some Gifts From Around The World The President Received While In Office
The library was broken up into manageable sections. Between the different years he was in office and what happened to the various gifts he had received from around the globe. This section was very interesting. Some were very ornate while others were very simple. All look like they were cherished.
There was a life-sized replica of the Cabinet Room and a life-sized replica of the Oval Office, the only one in the country, according to there website.
While you cannot enter the Oval Office, you can look in all the windows and doorways. David had a little fun with this one.
Don’t worry, no one was harmed nor arrested in the making of this picture.
The Library was very informative but after spending a couple hours there, we were ready to move on.
Right around the corner, literally from the Clinton Presidential Library was the Heifer International Headquarters. While being so close, we had to go check it out.
Heifer International has been a staple in my family’s gift giving for decades. Dan West, a simple farmer in the American Midwest, started it over 70 years ago. He started by giving cups of milk to the refugees of the Spanish Civil War. As the refugees kept coming back for more cups of milk, he Realized that he really was not making a difference and he started thinking about why. Why give a cup of milk when you could give a cow? It’s the old say, “Teach A Man How To Fish”. That is how Heifer International got it’s name. The idea was so simple. With such a great story behind this organization I encourage you to read all about it here.
Heifer International may have started small, with that one cow; however, they have grown into an international relief foundation. All over the world they not only give away cows but chickens, goats and many more animals.
The thing I like about them is they are not all about a handout but a hand up. They teach the recipients how to care for the animals and when it comes time to breed them, the recipients give back to the community to someone else that may need the off spring. It teaches a cycle of helping each other out of poverty. To give back to your community. To help yourself earn an income to send your child to school and put food on the table. To get the nutrients that one needs just to survive.
So Heifer International does not just throw money at the problem. They have people on the ground within the communities, helping them out and teaching them and yes, screening them as well to make sure all is a good fit. Their goal, to end poverty and hunger around the world.
You can go and visit the headquarters in Little Rock, take a tour of another LEED Certified building and learn all about sustainable living. If you have kids there was a great hands on learning center there.
It did not take long for us to explore the learning center. We did find interesting the display of the grain usage of the United States vs the developing world. We use a lot of corn. I’m thinking that’s not such a good thing.
The tours of the headquarters, another LEED Certified building, however we given every hour on the hour and we were not there at the right time and we didn’t feel like hanging around just for that.
We did have some time to explore the gift shop of course. The gift shop was full of Fair Trade items from all over the world. A great place to pick up some gifts. The real gifts I like to give though are the animals from the gift catalog. A popular gift item for the holidays no matter what your budget, you can give your loved one a chick, honeybees, trees, water buffalo or even a cow. Heifer will distribute said animals to whoever is in need. I find it a great way to give back a little.
After all, do we really need more stuff? I think not.
When we left there we drove over, but you could easily walk, to the River Market area.
While this was listed as a great place to visit, we found it disappointing. The actual River Market was nothing more than expensive little deli’s and restaurants with the seating all indoors. It was nothing more than one big giant food court. I was hoping for more specialty shops and cute boutiques. Alas, there really was very little. We didn’t even eat there, as it was pricey. More for the tourists I’m sure. There is a Farmer’s Market and music during the warmer months. So maybe it was just not a good time of year to explore the River Market area.
We walked up the street and found a great pizza shop. Iriana’s was the place to be. Excellent pizza and the left overs were great the next day cold. Sorry to say I didn’t get a picture. We both were really hungry at that time as it was late afternoon by the time we got there.
All in all, we had a nice time in Little Rock. We can see ourselves coming back and spending more time here. It’s a great city to explore. Great walking/biking trails all over the city and the surrounding area. We didn’t have the time to truly explore all that Little Rock had to offer. For only having one full day though, I feel we did all right.
We have to leave something for next time after all.