The Port of Little Rock is in the heart of the State of Arkansas where the Mississippi Delta meets the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains. To the east are flat lands stretching to the Mississippi River. To the west is beautiful hill country. As the State's capital and largest city, it is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with the feeling of a town and many things to see and do.
The Port of Little Rock has a humid subtropical climate with hot humid summers and mild winters. Temperatures range from an average high of almost 34°C (93°F) to an average low of -0.7°C (31°F) in January. Rainfall is fairly constant throughout the year, and the Port of Little Rock gets about 4 inches of snow from November through March.
Little Rock's Downtown contains many outstanding historic sites that visitors will not want to miss. The Port of Little Rock is home to the Arkansas State Capitol building, modeled after the US Capitol, was finished in 1915. Its grounds contain memorials dedicated to Arkansas' Vietnam veterans, the State's Law Enforcement heroes, and the Little Rock Nine.
Central High School National Historic Site and Museum honors the memory of the 1957 integration crisis with a permanent exhibit about the event. Since it is an operating school, reservations for the tour. Visitors should not enter the building on their own. The Museum on Black Arkansans (EMOBA) is located in the historic First Baptist Church. The museum celebrates the history, heritage, and culture of Arkansas' African America citizens.
Located next door to the Port of Little Rock's Clinton Presidential Center, the Heifer International Center is dedicated to educating people about caring for the earth and ending hunger and poverty. The internationally-recognized Green Headquarters building is an interesting place for children of all ages. Located behind the Center, Heifer Village is an interactive museum designed to educate the public about environment, hunger, and poverty. Also downtown in the Port of Little Rock is the Historic Arkansas Museum consisting of four antebellum homes and a gallery with temporary exhibits. General admission is free, and guided tours are very affordable.
MacArthur Park was built around the old Little Rock Arsenal. It is also the place where General Douglas MacArthur was born in 1880. There are two museums in the park: MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History and the Arkansas Arts Center. The military history museum is housed in MacArthur's birthplace and showcases military-related exhibits from the 19th Century through today. The Arkansas Art Center is a museum school, children's theater, and fabulous art gallery that houses works of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Georgia O'Keefe, and Jackson Pollock, to name a few.
The wonderful downtown Riverfront Park overlooks the Arkansas River. Located at the site of the original "La Petite Roche," the park plays host to the Riverfest celebration every Memorial Day, and it has an outdoor amphitheater for concerts. Riverfest is the city's best celebration of the cultural arts. Exhibitions of art and live entertainment are concluded with a stunning fireworks display that is reflected in the River.
The William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Park is dedicated to the 42nd President of the United States. Largest of the system of presidential libraries, the Clinton Library contains an impressive collection of memorabilia from Clinton's two terms. There is a replica of the Oval Office in the building.
Adjacent to the Port of Little Rock's downtown is Quapaw Quarter, a residential area that contains many 19th Century Victorian homes, including the Governor's Mansion. While most of the homes are privately owned, several are opened for public tours the first weekends in May and December. Tours of the Governor's mansion are free but must be scheduled beforehand.
An independent city across the river from downtown Port of Little Rock, North Little Rock is home to the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum and Burns Park. The Maritime Museum is dedicated to preserving and exhibiting historic naval vessels, particularly those from World War II through today. A highlight of the museum is the World War II submarine, the USS Razorback, that is open for tours. Named for a species of whale in the Southern Pacific (not the University of Arkansas mascot), the Razorback has an outstanding record of service from World War II, and she continued to serve until 1974. Reaching the Port of Little Rock in 2004, she opened to the public in 2005. If you plan to take the tour, keep in mind that it is not recommended for people who are claustrophobic or children under the age of five. Appropriate clothing and footwear are also recommended, as there are many ladders to climb and narrow passages.
Burns Park is one of the biggest city parks in the United States. Running along the Arkansas River, this 1700-acre park in the Port of Little Rock features a pre-Civil War era log cabin, a covered bridge, a 36-hole golf course, an amusement park, disk and miniature golf, and indoor and outdoor tennis courts. Camping, picnicking, and horseback riding are popular in Burns Park, and it has ten kilometers (over six miles) of paved trails and 6.4 kilometers (four miles) of paved/unpaved trails. Half of the popular Arkansas River Trail runs within the park. There are also pavilions available for events.
The Arkansas River Trail stretches for over 22 kilometers (14 miles) from downtown Port of Little Rock, west along the Arkansas River across the Big Dam Bridge and back east to downtown North Little Rock. The 1.3 kilometer (1.4 thousand yard) Big Dam Bridge for pedestrians links the Port of Little Rock's Murray Park with North Little Rock's Cooks Landing Park. There are plans to extend the trail to go to Pinnacle Mountain.
West of the Arkansas River is Pinnacle Mountain State Park, a day-use park created to provide outdoor recreation, environmental education, and natural preservation. This natural two-thousand acre environment was dedicated in 1977 by the State as the first state park adjoining a metropolitan area. The park contains upland peaks, bottomlands, and the Big and Little Maumelle Rivers. Climbing Pinnacle to get breathtaking views of the Arkansas River and countryside is easy to do in an afternoon. There are also several hiking trails in this Port of Little Rock park. In late 2010, two mountain bike trails opened that offer visitors a total of 13 kilometers (over eight miles) of single track trails for mountain bikes. Pinnacle Mountain State Park is the eastern terminus of the 402-kilometer (250-mile) Ouachita National Recreational Trail from eastern Oklahoma.
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