||What's For the Kids to Do?
by Jane Domagalski
Jane and Bob Domagalski own
Rocking Chair Resort,
which they have operated since 1990. They have 6 children ages 5 to 18 who help run the
Arkansas? Why would you want to go there? I cant tell
you how many times I've heard that! But after a week here, most children do not want to
leave. They discover something few major theme parks have to offer.
You have worked hard to take a vacation and there are many considerations. For parents I
am sure your most important question is what will the kids be able to do? I
have answered this question thousands of times.
My husband and I moved here many years ago from a large city. We are raising 6 children
ages 18 to 5 at the resort. Our children have made many friends over the years and it all
began with not the latest and greatest gizmos, but just pure old fashioned fun.
A little later I will mention designated activities available in our
area but first I would like to share with you why we hardly have to take our kids anywhere
My number one advice is go back to the basics!!
You would be amazed at how many children have never heard of the age
old side walk games we were all born and raised on. You do not have to be an
athlete to know how to play Spud, Dodge Ball, Ghost & the grave yard, Jump the Creek.
These are just a few games that instantly bring kids together.
Do a little homework before you come.. What did you do to have fun
when you were a child? Amazingly it has never changed! Do you remember Mother may I?
How about red light, yellow light green light?
As soon as you arrive look around your resort. You will see many children similar in age
to your own. Get to know their name , introduce them to your child, have them share a toy
together. The rest will be history. In most cases you won't even have to go through the
effort. Kids attract kids! I've watched it so many times over the years.
Kids are especially drawn to our unusual colored bugs, beetles , lizards & rocks &
turtles!! (dont worry these critters are perfectly harmless!). You would be amazed
at how useful a magnifying glass and butterfly net could be for a child taking a walk
around a resort in Arkansas. An ordinary stick becomes a great
marshmallow holder or a walking stick.
A rock can look like a fish! (Or maybe even a diamond!) Remember children are in a new
world here. Their imaginations are amazed over the littlest things. They are introduced to
things they have never seen.
Now your thinking that might be fun for the younger ones but what about my teen? My source
for this is my 16 and 18 year old son who have been living on a resort all of their life.
Each week they await eagerly for kids of their own age to arrive. Mine are very shy
natured. I know its not easy to get teens to have a good time.
What surprises me is how teens attract teens . They have easy conversations and interest
because they are all from different places. Most teens that are shy will find friends
easily here because there is no peer pressure. They are all on vacation in a strange place
but they all somehow share some common
interest from music or sports. Each one has something special about them
because their lives are so different.
Every teen likes to Cliff jump. I even felt the urge to do this
after giving birth to my 5th child at the time. I couldnt remember the last time I
did something so reckless!! It felt good. Needless to say
Once was enough! You will
find plenty of that on Lake Norfork. Follow the boats, there are cliffs for beginners and
When its time to have a road trip most of our attractions are less than 30 minutes
away. We enjoy taking our kids to the Norfork National Fish Hatchery located at the base
of Norfork Dam. Here children of all ages enjoy seeing trout growing from eggs all the way
up to 13 inch fish. One tank holds several very large trout where they can easily be seen.
Right across the street from the Hatchery is Quarry park which is a perfect place for a
picnic and a good chance at catching trout just below the dam. What a site to see!. As you
enter Quarry park head towards the boat launch for fishing and a picnic, make note of the
playground on your right for a quick stop on
the way back.
As you exit Quarry Park turn right and take a moment to see the
breath taking view of the Norfork Dam. (good spot for a family photo!) Stop at the Marina
and feed the carp!
Kids love the beach. There are many State Parks located a few miles from any resort . Each
one has a beach and a playground. They also have marked hiking trails (this is a good time
to bring that magnifying glass and plastic cups). Our beaches are loaded with shells and
If you are traveling by boat we have Sand Island located by Jordan Marina down near the
dam. It is one of our favorite places to beach the boat,go for a swim, and build a sand
Keller's Cove Restaurant is located just across from Sand Island at Hand Cove. You can
dock at their boat dock, call up and get a free ride up to the restaurant for some of the
best food in the Ozarks, then get a free ride back down to your boat when done.
Horseback riding is available locally from a couple of different providers, and they are
very accommodating for kids of all ages. Not only do your children get to ride a horse,
but they get to see a wide variety of Ozark countryside in the process.
The Zone is a fast-paced go cart track, miniature golf, and video game center. It is
located on Highway 62 West just 3 miles from the Shed-Hopper Bypass, which in local speak
means it is centrally located.
My finial suggestion is by far not the least. It will take you an hour to get to, but the
trip is well worth it - Blanchard Springs Caverns. You will never see a natural cave
like this one anywhere. It is huge. At the end of this is a waterfall (another great place
Just up the road a few more miles is the village of Mountain View.
This town has a wonderful collection of fine crafts and art shops. It is also the
center for Ozark Folk music. Just outside of Mountain View is the Ozark Folk Center, which
is world famous for all things historial Ozark.
Heres a few more suggestions based on experience. When traveling to lakes with young
children who have not been in the water recently talk with your pediatrician about
preventing ear infections. Knowing prevention and having the necessary medicines handy can
save you a trip to our emergency room.
If you have a neighbor or family member (without their parents) on
vacation with you, you must have a medical emergency note from that parent if the child is
under the age of 18. We once had a 17 year old who could not be seen for an ear infection
because they did not have written parental permission. Please use plenty of sunscreen your
first few days. We all know why.
The most important thing you can remember about vacationing in Arkansas is that its
OK to RELAX! There are no schedules to meet here, take a good look at the stars, open up a
good book and for a change.. . DO NOTHING!
Rocking Chair Resort