Practically every parent of school-aged children has lived through the final few weeks of summer, a time that often drags by with desperate claims of boredom and pleas of stir-craziness that leave everyone cranky and longing for the sight of school busses. Understanding and sympathizing with this plight, we have compiled a fantastic list of thirteen wonderful ways to wrap up summertime with the kiddos, winning you all kinds of smiles while possibly regaining your sanity.
1. Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
Children of all ages delight in the region’s only Butterfly House and nearby Butterfly Garden filled with host and nectar plants to attract native butterflies while providing a waystation for monarch butterflies as they migrate through North America. Eleven additional themed gardens are ready for exploration—and educators at the garden also conduct Little Sprouts, a weekly summer program for all children up to five years old.
4703 N Crossover Road
2. Lokomotion Family Fun Park
In addition to lots of fun arcade games, Lokomotion boasts multiple amusements sure to excite any child. Home to the only go-kart attraction in Northwest Arkansas, Lokomotion has four tracks to accommodate all ages. There’s also Spinzone, an interactive bumper car experience, and Bumper Boats with squirters and a waterfall to ensure a good soaking in the summer heat. Two 18-hole mini-golf courses and a Lazer Tag arena round out everything needed for a fantastic day of fun.
4520 N College Avenue
3. Arkadia Retrocade
If your kids seem to always equate you with “the olden days,” why not embrace it by showing them what it was like to be a child of the 80s by taking them to a totally retro venue packed with old school video games? The décor and snack bar also harken back a few decades, and the price is incredibly right at just $5 per person for hours and hours of unlimited play.
1478 N College Avenue
4. Altitude Trampoline Park
Perhaps THE most fun way to get exercise, Altitude Trampoline is all about providing a unique experience through its custom-designed indoor facility. Visitors will find strong, padded equipment ready for jumping, ultimate dodgeball and trampoline basketball—as well as a giant foam pit complete with a trapeze. Safety is always top priority, and the facility even offers a Kids Zone created just for children aged six and under.
648 E Van Asche Drive
5. NWA Escape Room
If you have a sleuth lurking about your house, NWA Escape Room is a great way to involve them in a challenging team mystery to solve. Children from ages 8 – 12 enjoy playing along with adults; younger kids are welcome but may get a little bored with the mental aerobics. Several different mysteries are available and it is necessary to book a room for your group in advance.
4083 N Shiloh Drive
6. Modern Mission
If the kids have spent the summer honing their video game skills, it may be time to take things to the next level with indoor/outdoor experiences including laser tag, airsoft events and archery games. While many of the missions are set up for reserved groups, there are lots of Open Play sessions available. Minimum age to participate is seven, and Modern Missions strongly recommends reserving tickets in advance to avoid the disappointment of arriving to find sessions already full.
3484 E Joyce Boulevard
7. Fayetteville Parks
Believe it or not, Fayetteville has more than thirty parks and over 110 miles of multi-use trails. The city revels in its green spaces and visitors will find mountain views, water play, walking trails some of the best-rated mountain bike trails in the country, boating, concerts, gorgeous gardens and more. Visit the Parks and Recreation webpage to see where every park is located, as well as find can’t-miss public events to mark down on your family calendar.
8. Gator Golf Course
No kid can resist the call of Fayetteville’s own Gator Golf, with its custom designed course full of waterfalls and African animals at every turn. Two 18-hole courses on two acres in the center of town await your family and friends for an afternoon or evening of good, clean, challenging fun. Gator Golf is open every day and evening during the summer, weather permitting, and children under age five get to play for free.
2692 N College Avenue
9. Arkansas Air and Military Museum
This wonderful display of original artifacts and aviation memorabilia depicts a fascinating history of Arkansas aviation and American military conflicts that will interest anyone who loves airplanes, jets and helicopters—plus, many of the museum’s exhibits still actually fly! The hangar that houses the museum is on the register of historic places and served as the former headquarters for one of the United States aviator training posts during World War II. Open daily and proof that learning cool things isn’t limited to school.
4290 S School Avenue
10. Ozark Bowling Lanes
Providing fun and entertainment for more than fifty years, Ozark Lanes is the second-largest bowling alley in Arkansas with 40 synthetic lanes, all of which are equipped with optional bumpers to help out even the smallest bowlers. Visitors will also find a game room and a café serving up tasty breakfast, lunch and dinner. Open bowling times are available Monday through Saturday, with special rates for groups.
2300 N College Avenue
11. Starlight Skatium
This super cool rink takes you back to a simpler time to relive when disco was king—while providing hours of fun and fantastic exercise for any age of child. Even beginning skaters will have a great experience, thanks to help from a super staff and special skate supports to keep the newbies upright with the fast-moving kids. Check Starlight’s website for public skating hours, and if you want to watch some real excitement, keep an eye out for Northwest Arkansas Roller Derby events.
612 N College Avenue
12. Lake Fayetteville Boat & Bike
There’s nothing quite like a trip to the lake to get kids excited, and Lake Fayetteville offers an array of outdoor options to help get youngsters connected to nature. Visit the marina office to rent a boat or a bike for the beautiful 5.5-mile nature trail, as well as arrange for a day permit to fish by boat or from the bank. Lake Fayetteville allows boating only on the water; no wading, swimming or belly boats are permitted.
1330 E Fayetteville Road