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Fun Fall Events

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October 12, 2017 | 3:10 pm

If you’re looking for some fun fall events and programs, we have you covered. We’ve hit some of the highlights, so check out some of our park interpreters’ suggestions they sent in and make your plans to come visit us. If you’re still hungry for more, browse our event calendar for full listings.

And don’t forget that we offer Thanksgiving buffets at our lodge state parks. Give the park a call directly to find out details and let us do the cooking and cleaning so you can enjoy the day. Something else to be grateful for this Thanksgiving! The day after Thanksgiving is Green Friday, if you want to skip the crowds and spend your time outdoors. Check out our Green Friday events and programs.

Woolly Hollow State Park

Saturday, October 28 “Woolly Holloween”

5 p.m. – 8 p.m.  5th Annual Woolly Holloween: The park will offer games, hot chocolate, hayrides, a haunted trail, and a bonfire on the beach. If camping with us, be sure to decorate your campsite, 1st place gets a prize! Please wear your Halloween costumes  and come prepared for a wicked great time! Meeting place: Swim Beach Admission: Free

6 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. Woolly Costume Contest: Any good Halloween party includes a costume contest to see who brought their “A” game to Woolly Halloween this year. A prize will be awarded for first place, along with bragging rights! Families and friends are welcome; please leave your pets at home. Meeting place: Snack Bar Admission: Free

5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Halloween Bingo: B-I-N-G-O! The first person to cover the squares wins a prize in this Halloween-themed version of this fun game. Bring your family and friends; please leave your pets at home. Meeting place: Swim Beach Admission: Free

Pop Goes the Jack: Take aim and try your hand at popping the Jack-O-Lantern balloon and earn a prize. Family and friends are welcome: please leave your pets at home. Meeting place: Swim Beach Admission: Free

Witchy Ring Toss: Grab a ring and see if you can toss it around the witch’s hat. If you can throw a “ringer,” you will win a prize. Families and friends are welcome: please leave your pets at home. Meeting place: Swim Beach Admission: Free

5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Creepy Color Time: Halloween is full of fun! Color a themed picture with crayons or markers while you watch the goblins and ghouls go by. Children and adult pages will be provided. Meeting place: Visitor Center Admission: Free

Magical Mystical Face Painting: Get your groove on with a cool Halloween design painted on your face. Choose from our scary pallette of designs. Families and friends are welcome; please leave your pets at home. Meeting place: Snack Bar Admission: Free

Pin the Nose on the Jack: Another great party tradition is pinning the tail on the donkey, but at Halloween we twist it to be Pin the Nose on the Jack-O-Lantern. This fun game will have your head spinning. Bring your family and friends; please leave your pets at home. Meeting place: Visitor Center Admission: Free

Pumpkin Baggo: Do you have some amazing Baggo skills? Come show them off at Woolly Halloween. Send the pumpkin bean bag hurtling through the air to its target and win a prize. Family and friends are welcome; please leave your pets at home. Meeting place: Swim Beach Admission: Free

Woolly Halloween Haunted Trail: Hop aboard our shuttle to get to the haunted trail. Disembark and see what scary ghouls, goblins and sights await you, if you dare. Pin your courage to the sticking post. Bring your families and friends, but please leave your pets at home.   Meeting place: Visitor Center
Admission: Free

Lake Fort Smith State Park

Friday, October 13

4 p.m. The Bear Necessities: What does it take to be a bear? Come join Park Interpreter Porscha at the Visitor Center to discover everything that these shy, furry creatures need to survive in our forests. This program will last about 30 minutes and everyone is welcome to join.

6:15 p.m. Twilight Hike: The forest begins to change once the sun goes down. Meet Park Interpreter Porscha in front of the Visitor Center for an evening adventure along the Boston Mountain Trail. Please bring a flashlight if you have one and be sure to wear close-toed shoes. The hike covers a distance of about 1 ¼ mile and lasts about 1 hour.

Saturday, October 14

12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Astronomy Day:  Explore the sky and learn more about what you are seeing as we celebrate Astronomy Day! Join members of the Arkansas Oklahoma Astronomical Society at the Visitor Center as they provide specially filtered telescopes for solar viewing, meteorites for hands-on examination, astronomy related photos and videos, and information on how to become a member.

7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Star Party:  Astronomy Day events continue with a star party! Explore the night sky with members of the Arkansas/Oklahoma Astronomical Society (AOAS). AOAS members provide a number of telescopes for viewing. You are also encouraged to bring your own scopes and binoculars as well as chairs and blankets.  This is a weather dependent event and is subject to cancellation.

Sunday, October 15

2 p.m. – 3 p.m. Fall Magic Lake Tour:  Autumn is a great time of year to explore the waters of Lake Fort Smith—the changing colors, the cooler temperatures, and the sounds of migratory birds signal the change of seasons. Join a Park Interpreter at the Marina for this relaxing cruise. Space is limited; reserve your seat be calling the Marina at 479-369-1018.  Admission:  $10 for adults, $6 kids ages 12-6, kids 5 and under ride for free.

Saturday, October 21

10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Kayak/Canoe Races: Join in on this family-friendly and informal race day at the lake. Within the day there are several sub-events which include a long-distance race, sprint race, beach ball round-up, and rubber ducky round-up; all of which are sure to be quite the spectacle for participants and bystanders alike. Fee covers the participants for the entire event, all sub-events included. Participants need only to pay the entry fee, acquire a vessel (whether they bring their own kayak/canoe or rent one from the marina), and sign up for the events. Winners receive bragging rights and “trophies” from the park. The trophies will be hand-crafted tree-cookie medallions with the event name, the place (1st, 2nd, 3rd), and the park name written on it.  Meeting Place: Marina.  Admission: $5.00 per vessel.

6 p.m. Owl Prowl: Meet Park Interpreter Heather at the Polly Crews Overlook (behind the Visitor Center) to discover the world of owls, the nocturnal birds of prey who live among us.  We even invite a few owls to come in for a visit and perhaps catch a glimpse of one up close.  Please bring a flashlight if you have one and wear closed-toed shoes. This program lasts about 45 minutes.

Sunday, October 22

2 p.m. Making Sense of Nature Hike: Can you identify objects in nature just by touching them? What about by the way that they smell? Let’s use our own senses to make connections with nature. Join Park Interpreter Porscha at the Visitor Center for a hike on the Boston Mountain Trail. This hike covers a distance of about 1 ¼ mile and takes about 1 hour to complete. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water.

Friday, October 27 – Halloween Weekend Activities

2 p.m. Creepy Crawlies:  Not all animals are the cute and cuddly type, but that doesn’t mean that the creepy crawlies are any less important in the environment.  Join a Park Interpreter at the Visitor Center to uncover the world of the creepy critters of Lake Fort Smith.  We may even get to meet some of these fascinating creatures up close.  This program is great for the whole family and lasts about 30 minutes.

3 p.m. The Bear Necessities: What does it take to be a bear? Come join Park Interpreter Porscha at the Visitor Center to discover everything that these shy, furry creatures need to survive in our forests. This program will last about 30 minutes and everyone is welcome to join.

6 p.m. – 7 p.m. Haunted Waters Lake Tour:  The calm waters of Lake Fort Smith take on an ominous feel as we cruise the water at nightfall and tell authentic Ozarks ghost stories and folklore. Costumes are welcome. Not for the faint of heart! This is a weather dependent event and subject to cancellation. Reservations are suggested, and can be made by calling the Marina at (479) 369-1018.  Admission: $10 adults, $6 children ages 6-12, children under 6 free Meeting Place: Marina

Saturday, October 28 – Halloween Weekend Activities

2 p.m. Bug Bingo: Butterfly! Ladybug! Firefly! BINGO! Join Park Interpreter Porscha at the Visitor Center for a fun game of bingo and learn a few interesting facts about the bugs at Lake Fort Smith State Park. This program is great for the entire family and lasts about 30 minutes.

4 p.m. Snakes of Arkansas:  Join Park Interpreter Heather at the Visitor Center to meet the snakes of Lake Fort Smith and uncover their importance in our environment. Be prepared for a snake identification challenge.  This program lasts about 45 minutes and everyone is welcome to join.

6:30 p.m. Skull-king in the Night Hike: Meet Park Interpreters Porscha and Heather at the Polly Crews Overlook (behind the Visitor Center) for an evening adventure on the trails.  You never know what we’ll find creeping along the forest floor as the light grows eerily dim.  Please bring a flashlight and be sure to wear closed-toed shoes. This hike covers a distance of 1 ¼ mile and lasts about 1 ½ hour.

Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area

Sunday, October 15

2 p.m. – 3 p.m. Tombstones that Tell Tales: Tombstones don’t just mark a burial site. According to graveyard researcher, Abby Burnett, “Epitaphs can be funny. Epitaphs can be serious. Epitaphs can be revealing. Epitaphs can tell tales of murder, hangings, and unusual deaths. I’ll show you clues on tombstones of the names of the murderer or hints that something has happened”. Don’t miss this real life, (death) pre-Halloween thriller. Meet at the Visitor Center. The cost is free.

Saturday, October 28

1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Living Forest: Join Mother Nature as she introduces her many woodland friends at Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area’s “Living Forest.” Listen to each animal’s story.  They have a lot to tell us.  These educational messages will be uncomplicated and easy for young children to understand.  Teenagers and adults will learn too!  Living Forest is for families with members of all ages.

Who are these critters who will be delivering the informative messages?  They include:  barred owl, deer, spider, bat, blue jays, skunk, raccoon, eagle, squirrel, and more.  Costumed Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists will be delivering the meaningful messages.

Join in this fun, non-scary, fall treat for the whole family.  Strollers and wagons are welcome as you meander along a wide, paved, barrier-free path.  If you want to be like Mother Nature’s animal friends, come in costume.  Also experience:  crafts and free S’mores – yum, and Mother Nature’s gift bags for the first 100 children. Cost is free.

Davidsonville Historic State Park

Saturday, October 14

5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Ghost of Davidsonville Fall Festival: There’s a chill in the air, color in the trees, pumpkins abound and what’s that? Do you hear the whispering of ghosts down at Davidsonville State Park? Gather up the family and come down for our annual fall festival. Free live music, food for purchase, living history, historic kids games for kids of all ages, candy, and a haunted hayride await you. Call the park at 870-892-4708 for more information.

Saturday, November 11

10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Dutch Oven Workshop, a Veterans Day Celebration: Pioneers relied heavily on Dutch ovens when they were traveling west to settle the frontier. Learn how to use and care for Dutch ovens as we cook up a Thanksgiving meal to thank local veterans. This workshop is suitable for all levels of skill. Space is limited and early registration is required. Call the park to register. Cost is $15 per person. Call 870-892-4708.

Ozark Folk Center State Park

Tuesday, October 31

7 p.m. – 9 p.m. After Dark in the Park: Join us for a good, old-fashioned trick-or-treat experience for families. Children can go trick or treating from shop to shop in the Craft Village at Ozark Folk Center State Park. There’s also face painting in the Doll Shop, storytelling on the outdoor music stage at 7:30 p.m. and a costume contest at 8 p.m. The event is free.

Thursday, November 23

11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Thanksgiving Buffet at the Skillet Restaurant: Turkey, dressing, and all the fixings will be on our nationally recognized Thanksgiving buffet.  Contact the park or check online for a full menu as the holiday draws near.

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Ozark Holidays Craft Show: Join Ozark Folk Center artisans and their guests for a unique holiday shopping experience. Buy hand crafted pottery, jewelry, knives, clothing, wood carvings, soap, weavings, baskets, brooms, stained glass and more, directly from the person who made the item. Artisans will be in their shops in the Village and the Administration Building. Shop while you wait for your table at the Skillet, or walk off your Thanksgiving dinner afterwords with a stroll through the Village. (Note: Ozark Folk Center State Park’s season ends Nov. 11, 2017 but the Craft Village and Skillet will be open Thanksgiving Day. The Skillet will also be open Nov. 24th for limited hours.)

Friday, November 24

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Ozark Holidays Craft Show: Join Ozark Folk Center artisans and their guests for a unique holiday shopping experience. Buy hand crafted pottery, jewelry, knives, clothing, wood carvings, soap, weavings, baskets, brooms, stained glass and more, directly from the person who made the item. Artisans will be in their shops in the Village and the Administration Building.

Historic Washington State Park

Saturday, October 21

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Skillets, Griddles, and Fireside Cooking Series: Dutch ovens are only one of the many options available when it comes to cast iron cooking. Join the staff of Historic Washington State Park at the 1874 Courthouse to explore the world of cast iron and challenge your culinary skills, preparing recipes from the past and present. Space is limited and registration is required. Each class is different so please call the park to see what’s cookin’. Cast iron cookware is available for sale in the gift shop. Call the park at (870) 983-2684 for more information.  Admission is $25.

6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Washington After Dark: Halloween at Historic Washington gives you a chance to indulge your imagination. After enjoying an evening meal at Williams Tavern, light your candle lanterns and accompany an interpretive guide through selected sites in Washington that have some “unexplained” happenings in their history. You can believe or not, but you’ll have a wonderful evening walk in which to ponder the possibilities! Reservations are required. Minimum of 30, maximum of 60 participants. Admission is 425 for adults and $20 for children under 14 years old. Call 870-983-2684 to make your reservation.

Saturday, October 28

6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Washington After Dark: Halloween at Historic Washington gives you a chance to indulge your imagination. After enjoying an evening meal at Williams Tavern, light your candle lanterns and accompany an interpretive guide through selected sites in Washington that have some “unexplained” happenings in their history. You can believe or not, but you’ll have a wonderful evening walk in which to ponder the possibilities! Reservations are required. Minimum of 30, maximum of 60 participants. Admission is 425 for adults and $20 for children under 14 years old. Call 870-983-2684 to make your reservation.

Plantation Agriculture Museum

Saturday, October 21

9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Beginner’s Dutch Oven Workshop: If you have never cooked in a cast iron Dutch oven this workshop is for you. Learn how to care for cast iron cookware, how to control temperatures and spend some hands-on time cooking a simple meal, which you get to enjoy! Reservations are required and space is limited. Cost is $10. Call 501-961-1409 to make your reservation and to find out more about other workshops offered.

Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park

Saturday, October 28

6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Night at the Museum: Legend says that the exhibits in Hindman Hall and the structures along our Ozark Village come to life after dark. Don’t believe us? Chances are you will run into Civil War generals, soldiers, perhaps an old storyteller, some local families from the 1800s, and even an 1860s surgeon! So many stories are part of the Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park heritage; come see these stories come to life…..after dark!”

Festivities include:

  • Crafts
  • Donut Tree carnival game
  • Pioneer Games
  • Cakewalk
  • Re-enactors
  • Ozark ghost stories
  • Apple cider and treats

Devil’s Den State Park

Friday, October 13 – Sunday, October 15

Fall in Love with Fall at Devil’s Den: Join us for a weekend of fun as we celebrate the colorful change of the seasons along with the 84rd anniversary of the park and its builders—the Civilian Conservation Corp. Step back into time and discover the kind of old time games the kids were playing while your park was being built.

Kids bring your animal costumes or you can create one Saturday afternoon for the Saturday evening walk for candy with Mother Nature. Campers you can bring wrapped candy to hand out to the kids Saturday night on their walk around Area E and decorate your site to fit the season! If you wish to participate in handing out candy to the kids and aren’t camping in Area E, you can park your car around the loops and hand out candy as the kids walk by. This is always a great fall activity for the whole family!

Saturday, October 14

1 p.m. -3 p.m. Fall Fun Craft Tables: Join Park Interpreters and volunteers as you create some great fall crafts. Make your own  ‘sit upon’ for sitting around the campfire, or make some great bird feeders, or let your imagination run wild as you create your own Halloween animal costume just like the kids in the 1930s would have done when your park was being built. Your costume can be worn later that evening as you walk with Mother Nature and collect Halloween candy in Area E. Meet at the tables on the side of the Visitor Center or inside the Audio-Visual room in case of rain.

6 p.m. – 7 p.m. Nighttime Walkabout with Mother Nature: Join Mother Nature and come dressed as your favorite animal for an evening walk around Area E. There is bound to be candy and goodies involved as we walk and search for nighttime critters that might be lurking about. Please bring a flashlight and a bag for the candy with you. Campers are welcome to hand out wrapped candy to the kids on the walk. Meet at the first bath house in Area E near Site 78.

Saturday, October 28

10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Dutch Oven Workshop: There’s nothing like cooking with a Dutch oven on your weekend camp out. It always tastes great but there is an art to using one of these time tested ovens! Join Park Interpreter Terry and park volunteer Joyce as they teach you proper techniques on cooking and maintaining a cast iron Dutch oven. We will be cooking a bread, main dish and dessert. So come hunger and be prepared to help with the cooking! Everything is provided so please DO NOT need to bring your own oven. Sign up is required. Deadline is October 25th. Workshop is limited to 20 people. Cost is $20 per adult and includes a helpful tips handout, cookbook as well as food for the workshop. Children over the age of 8 are welcome for an additional charge of $7/ child. Meet at the day use area on Hwy 220. Call 479-761-3325 to register. 

7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Haunted Trail: Relive famous tales of the park as you make your way around the trail and into the horrors of those gruesome tales. Light refreshments will be provided. There is a small fee for this haunted trail walk. Register at the visitor center. Please register and pay at the Visitor Center by 5 p.m. Meet at the amphitheater area. This one is for the older kids and may be a bit scary! Not recommended for children under the age of 10. 

Village Creek State Park

Saturday, October 21

8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saddle Up for St. Jude: Join us in our effort to help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We will have children’s horse and wagon rides, an auction, lunch, a barbecue dinner, live music, and other activities with all of the proceeds going to help St. Jude. There are activities all day long so we encourage people to come out whenever they can! Call the park for a detailed schedule at 870-238-9406.

Saturday, October 28

6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Trick-or-Treat at Village Creek State Park: Join Village Creek State Park and the Cross County Chamber of Commerce for the 5th annual Trick or Treat at Village Creek State Park. We will have nature-themed Halloween programs set up, kids’ story time around the campfire, and nature stations. Local businesses will sponsor each campsite, providing decorations and candy for the kids. Costumes are encouraged but not required. This is a family-friendly event for all ages, so no scary costumes. Meet at Camp Area A. The cost is $5 for parking.

 

Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Saturday, October 14

7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. Star Party: Join amateur astronomers at the visitor center for an evening with the stars and other celestial phenomena. As twilight settles in, the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society will provide telescopes for viewing objects in the night sky. If cloudy skies prevent observation, an indoor program on astronomy will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Meet at the visitor center and it’s a free program.

Saturday, October 21

11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Paws on Pinnacle: Do you love dogs? Do you want to learn more about enjoying the outdoors with your dogs? The day will showcase informative programs about caring for your dog, getting outside and hiking with your dog, agility, and a working dog’s demonstration. The final event of the day will be a dog “Howl-O-Ween” costume contest! Programs begin at 11 a.m. Costume contest at 1 p.m. All well-behaved dogs on a leash are welcome to attend. Contact the park for a detailed program schedule. Meet at the West Summit Picnic Area and the cost is free.

Saturday, October 28 – Tuesday, October 31

5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Halloween Hayride: Experience a different kind of Halloween as we enjoy a fun filled evening hayride complete with a roaring campfire and treats! Perhaps we’ll roast some ghost (marshmallows)! Advance payment and registration required. Cost is $15 adults, $8 children 6-12. Meet at Pinnacle Valley Road, 1/4 mile east of Hwy 300. Call 501-868-5806.

Saturday, November 4

11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Fall Foliage Lake Cruise: Experience the beauty of a tree rainbow along the shores of nearby Lake Maumelle. Join a park interpreter for a guided tour of these amazing colors. Don’t forget your camera—you won’t want to miss the amazing foliage of the Ouachita Mountains. Advance payment and registration required. Cost is $15 adults, $8 children 6-12. Meet at Jolly Rogers Marina. Call 501-868-5806.

1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Fall Foliage Lake Cruise: Experience the beauty of a tree rainbow along the shores of nearby Lake Maumelle. Join a park interpreter for a guided tour of these amazing colors. Don’t forget your camera—you won’t want to miss the amazing foliage of the Ouachita Mountains. Advance payment and registration required. Cost is $15 adults, $8 children 6-12. Meet at Jolly Rogers Marina. Call 501-868-5806.

3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Fall Foliage Lake Cruise: Experience the beauty of a tree rainbow along the shores of nearby Lake Maumelle. Join a park interpreter for a guided tour of these amazing colors. Don’t forget your camera—you won’t want to miss the amazing foliage of the Ouachita Mountains. Advance payment and registration required. Cost is $15 adults, $8 children 6-12. Meet at Jolly Rogers Marina. Call 501-868-5806.

Saturday, November 11 – Sunday, November 12

Survival Skills Weekend: Start or add to your knowledge of surviving in the great outdoors. This weekend will be filled with survivor skills workshops such as map and compass, fire starting, shelter building, and more! Contact the park for a workshop schedule. Advance payment and registration are required for workshops. Call 501-868-5806.

Cane Creek State Park

Saturday, October 28

5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Ghost Roast: Family memories will be made at Cane Creek State Park this night. We will have trick or treating, games, costume contests, and food from vendors. Stroll through the campground to see the elaborate decorations while little ghosts and goblins trick-or-treat. Cost is $2 per car. Meet at the campground. Note: You can come see the decorated campsites all month leading up to the event.

Sunday, November 5

Cane Creek Timberland Bike Race: The course is eight miles of fast-moving trails that run through the first hills of the Gulf Coastal Plain. The park features over 18 miles of trails with 52 bridges that are open to both riders and hikers after the conclusion of the race and throughout the year. You can register online at BikeReg.com until Nov. 3rd.

Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park

Saturday, November 11

10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Native Foods: The savory smell of supper cooking fills us with hunger and brings back warm memories of shared meals. Not only did European and African traditions shape many of the same meals we eat in the South today but the Southeastern American Indians also played a major part. Join a park interpreter in learning about traditional southern foods inspired by the Southeastern American Indians. After learning about food influences through these different cultures, you will be able to try a variety of dishes. Food is always better when shared, so please bring your family and friends. Come early before the food runs out! Fee: $3 per person, under 6 free

toltec mounds archeological state park native foods

 

 

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Monika Rued

Author: Monika Rued

Monika Rued is the public information officer for Arkansas State Parks. She and her son, Pierce, love the outdoors and taking advantage of our incredible state parks. Monika is passionate about sharing everything Arkansas has to offer, making a difference for families in need, her family, enjoying incredible local fare, rock climbing, and as a ginger is always on the quest for the best sunscreens and moisturizers.