Summer is coming fast, and if you’re looking for something fun to do in 2024, why not check out our Arkansas amusement parks? While we don’t have a huge collection of parks, we do have some really good ones! From Parrot Island Waterpark to the swirling coasters of Magic Springs and several smaller city splash pads, Arkansas has plenty of options to keep you busy and to escape the heat this summer. Let’s dive in!

Exploring Arkansas Amusement Parks

In recent years, many of our amusement parks in Arkansas have been abandoned or damaged. Ahh…remember Dogpatch USA? I’m probably showing my age there, but that place was awesome. It was located in Newton County, near Harrison, and was based on the old-timey Li’l Abner comic strip. The abandoned amusement park was purchased by the owner of Bass Pro Shops and supposedly is set to reopen as Marble Falls Nature Park. Funland Amusement Park in Little Rock’s Burns Park was hit by a tornado in 2023. It will also supposedly reopen. Wild River Country finally faltered after years of failed tax payments and is gone for good. While we wish we had these back, these setbacks have opened opportunities for new parks and splash pads to rise to the occasion.

Since Arkansas suffers from devilishly hot summers, most of our theme parks are water parks or have a water element. So, we’ll include those too. Unfortunately for the east of the state, most of the amusement parks in Arkansas are in the central or western region. Thankfully, it’s a small state, so even if you’re located in the southeast corner, the best theme parks are still within day trip range! After we hash out all the best parks, we’ll give you some general tips for visiting theme parks and how to score the best deals too!

The Best Amusement Parks in Arkansas

1. Rogers Aquatic Center

Located in NW Arkansas, the Rogers Aquatic Center is a three-acre water park with adventures for the whole family. The park features a family picnic area with locker rentals, pavilions, changing rooms, and concessions. Older kids will love the leisure pool featuring basketball goals and a volleyball setup. There’s a six-lane Olympic pool where the park offers a summer swimming league and swim lessons. Mom can chill in the 500-foot lazy river and enjoy the therapy jets. There’s also a rock climbing wall with a plunge pool at its base and a splash pad for the littles.

Park Information:

Address: 1707 South 26th Street Rogers, Arkansas 72758

Phone: 479-936-5482

2024 Opening DAY: May 25th

Hours of Operation:

  • Monday-Thursday 11 AM- 6 PM
  • Friday & Saturday 11 AM-7 PM
  • Sunday 12 PM – 6 PM

Cost: varies by height and residency status. Children under 36″ are FREE!

2. Lokomotion Family Fun Park

Located in Fayetteville, Lokomotion Family Fun Park features go-karts, bumper boats, spinning bumper cars, laser tag, a huge mini-golf course, and a fantastic arcade. They also serve up the traditional amusement park cuisine of pizza and wings. The park offers a large array of party options and passes. They also offer coupons on their website and frequent discounts for special occasions like spring break, so keep an eye on their website or social media posts for deals!

Park Information:

Address: 4520 North College Ave. Fayetteville, AR 72703

Phone: 479-582-5656

Hours of Operation:

  • Sunday-Thursday 12 PM-9 PM
  • Friday 12 PM- 10 PM
  • Saturday 10 AM-10 PM

Cost: varies by the number of attractions you choose.

3. Alma Aquatic Park

The Alma Aquatic Park is pretty small, but that means your kiddos are never out of sight. It offers six slides, a climbing wall, a large swimming pool, and a smaller wading pool, as well as a beach pool and a snack shack. It boasts slightly lower prices than Fort Smith’s Parrot Island (but is much smaller) and features picnic areas, playgrounds, and walking trails. The park offers a special swim time for toddlers on select mornings and a Sunday Funday with reduced prices. They also offer frequent early bird specials on their season passes, which are usually released in March. Follow their Facebook page as they often offer deals and give important updates there.

Park Information:

Address: 731 City Park Rd, Alma, AR

Phone: 479-632-4119

2024 Dates: Open 7 days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day annually and sporadically in early May.

Hours of Operation:

  • Sunday 1 PM- 5:30 PM
  • Monday 11 AM-8 PM
  • Tuesday-Saturday 11 AM-6:30 PM

Cost: Day ticket: Free to $13 based on height.

Season Passes:

  • $100 over 48″
  • $75 under 48″
  • Family of 4-$275

4. Parrot Island Waterpark

Parrot Island Waterpark is Fort Smith’s premier water park. It features a huge wave pool, the only two-lane FlowRider surf simulator in the area, four large waterslides, a lazy river, and a large aquatic play area. It’s a vast space with pavilions and cabana rentals, a grassy area to relax, a gift shop, a snack shack, and complementary loungers and intertubes. They do special events, birthday parties, and group trips as well. They offer a large selection of season passes and give a substantial discount for senior citizens over the age of 65. The park also includes Friend Frenzies and early entry for season pass holders on select dates, night swims, special events on summer holidays, and much more!

Park Information:

Address: 7300 S Zero St, Fort Smith, AR 72903 (in Ben Geren Park)

Phone: 479-788-6550

2024 Dates: May 18-Sept 9

Hours of Operation:

  • Monday-Thursday 11 AM- 6 PM
  • Saturday and Sunday 10 AM-7 PM

Cost: Day ticket:

$24.99 Over 48” Tall
$19.99 Under 48” Tall
Children 3 and under are free, and there is a discount for Sebastian County residents.

Season Passes: They offer a large array of different season passes to choose from.

5. Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park

There are three Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Parks in Arkansas: Benton, West Little Rock, and Conway. The parks are the ultimate indoor adventure facilities for children of all ages. Some of the awesome attractions include flip-and-spin bumper cars, drop ones, spinning tower rides, dodgeball, a slam dunk course, ropes courses, and virtual reality platforms. If you want to take your play to another level, try out the MyFly bracelet! It tracks your progress on each attraction allowing you to compete against other guests for the head spot on the leaderboard! Please check the websites above for operational hours and prices as they vary slightly between the three locations.

6. Magic Springs

Magic Springs is one of the oldest and the only true amusement park in the state, in that it has the only Arkansas roller coaster. It’s no Walt Disney World, but it’s not too shabby! The theme park is located in Hot Springs and boasts several large thrill rides including the Brain Drain drop tower, The Gauntlet roller coaster, the X Coaster, and the Arkansas Twister roller coaster. They also have a whole slew of less terrifying rides that the whole family can enjoy.

Aside from traditional amusement park experiences and carnival food, the complex also includes a huge water park with large slide towers, a water raceway, several activity pools, and a wave pool! There are also extensive dining options and several cute boutiques for shopping.

You might want to make this one a weekend getaway since there’s so much to see and do! Magic Springs offers a ticket+hotel package that allows you to choose from 18 different local hotels. Plus, Hot Springs National Park is one of the must-visit stops in Arkansas. Check out more Magic Springs details and our top tips for exploring the city in our “Ultimate Guide to Downtown Hot Springs.”

Bonus: The Hot Springs Family Fun Park and Funtrackers Family Fun Park are nearby. The former features a brand-new ropes course with a zipline, a giant climbing beanstalk, bumper cars, go-karts, and an augmented reality ride. The latter boasts a large go-kart track, bumper cars, an arcade, laser tag, and mini-golf!

Park Information:

Address: 1701 E Grand Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901, United States

Phone: 501-624-0100

2024 Opening: Open weekends from May to October. Fully open May 25-August 11.

Hours of Operation: Daily 11 AM-6 PM

Cost: Day ticket: $45-60 depending on height.

Season Passes: They offer a few different season passes to choose from.

7. Big Dam Waterpark

Formerly known as Holiday Springs Water Park, Big Dam has gotten a facelift! They are working on a new website too, so getting the deets on all the 2024 renovations is a bit tricky. What we do know is that they plan to be open from May 25th to September 2nd and that season passes are on sale now on the old website. The old park featured a lazy river, a wave pool, a multi-slide tower, and a special spa area for parents. If the new one is improved, then it’s gonna be awesome! We don’t have specifics, but the park promises a bigger, better infrastructure and new adventures. Get your tickets now and be the first to try it out!

What to Expect From Your Arkansas Amusement Parks

While every park has a slightly different vibe and rules, there are some generalities. Here are a few things to consider when planning your amusement park trip.

The Rules

Most parks do not allow outside food or drinks and definitely no ice chests. So, you’ll need to eat beforehand or budget for snack shack meals. Some parks are more strict than others. Generally, plastic water bottles are allowed, but not personal Stanleys or Yetis.

Most water parks do not allow outside pool noodles or intertubes. Appropriate swim attire is generally expected. That means no jean shorts or swimwear with rivets, buttons, or zippers. Check your intended park for its specific rules before your trip!

Generally, amusement parks have strict rules against alcohol and tobacco products. This includes vaping apparatuses.

What to Bring

It may still be wise to pack an ice chest. Just keep it in the car so you’ll have cold drinks and a snack after your hours of play. Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and reapply often. Flip flops or water shoes are a must for hot concrete parking lots. They may or may not be allowed inside the water park (check the rules). If you’re not planning on partaking in the rides, you’ll want to pack a sunshade hat. We recommend carrying some cash in small bills. Many of the parks have not upgraded the little things like locker rentals to accept credit/debit. For both waterparks and amusement parks, we suggest packing a spare set of clothes for each family member to change after your day. You’ll either be wet or really sweaty, so either way, clean clothes are a plus.

Getting a Deal

To score the best prices for pretty much all the parks, you’ll need to start looking now. Follow the official social account on Facebook or Instagram and set your notifications. During March and April, many of the parks are offering early bird specials on their annual passes! They also frequently have discounted days, special events, and closings. These are typically announced on social media. You may also consider signing up for a monthly newsletter if offered.

Speaking of newsletters, did you know we send out awesome educational opportunities each month in our Arkansas Frontier Newsletter? Sign up to stay in the loop!

Final Thoughts on Arkansas Amusement Parks

Alright…so we don’t have a world-class Disney World Resort to escape to, but Arkansas does have several amazing fun parks worthy of a day trip! Whether you prefer a splash in the water or a high-impact day on the coasters, the amusement parks in Arkansas have something on offer for everyone. Get online today and order your season passes. Let’s take advantage of the long sunny days and spend this summer in the parks!

For more amazing Arkansas adventures, check out these 60+ Arkansas Attractions. Need an escape from the summer heat? Check out “The Best Arkansas Museums for a Cultural Family Fun Day.'”

Til’ next time…Get out there and explore Arkansas ya’ll!

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