The first weekend of March my husband and I (and our dog Cedar) made a quick weekend trip to Hot Springs National Park (aka Hot Springs, AR). One of my photos was in a regional competition and the announcement of the winners came on that Friday evening. So we made a weekend of it!
Upon arrival we found out that the Sunbelt conference championships were being held at the arena next door to our hotel. At first I was a bit concerned with all the activities going on but it really added to the weekend! That Friday night after attending the “shindig” we roamed the streets a bit. Outside they were holding what I would refer to as a pep rally for all the teams in the competition. All the bands were there to play their tunes.
The mascots were running around the audience and the fans were having a great time. The finale was all of the bands coming together to play the final tunes.The mascots were running around in the audience. Enthusiastic fans were clapping and yelling.
Saturday morning we headed out with Cedar to walk around Bathhouse Row. We walked along Central Ave (which is where Bathhouse Row is located) and even stopped in a store that welcomed Cedar with dog treats. We stopped to test the water in fountain near the park office.
Then we moved on to the Grand Promenade above Bathhouse Row. This is a path that takes you behind Bathhouse Row to where the springs run underground. One of the sites was a cool little alcove where two benches sat around a concrete table with checker boards. A nice sunny day would make for a perfect checker game!
Just above the Grand Promenade stands a huge building that was once the home to the Army Navy hospital. The building is now home to the Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center/Arkansas Career Training Institute. You can read more on the history by clicking here! As we strolled the promenade we came upon big green concrete and steel covers. These are the covers to the 47 hot springs in the park. They have been covered to keep the water clean.
Next we stopped at one of the ends of the promenade on Central Ave. Here we saw a wonderful hot spring pool from a spring – it looked almost like a waterfall! I captured some wonderful shots here – look for them coming up on FR& A! Cedar and Shannon also took time to check out the temp of the pool here to compare it to the fountain we stopped at earlier.
We made our way down bathhouse row on the bathhouse side. We stopped at all the landmarks and signs telling the history of Hot Springs and each of the bathhouses. Only three are operational today – Buckstaff, Quapaw and the Arlington Hotel. One of the bathhouse is now a visitor center. We stopped in to see the bathhouse. It was like stepping back in time! Some of the bathing equipment seemed quite ordinary, such as the large ceramic whirlpool baths. Some of the equipment almost seemed scary – the needle shower was a bit intimidating! And the steam cabinets I don’t think my claustrophobic self cares much for them! (In the photo the cabinet to the right actually had lightbulbs in it and would fill with water – can you say shocking??) Another beauty was found in the visitor center – the stained glass over the main room of the men’s bathing area.
Now for a few facts (click here for more history– It has a document that has tons of info on each of the bathhouses, too.) The park has 47 hot springs which contain 1300 pounds of mineral each day. The water of the open springs sits at a temperature of about 134 degrees Farenheit. It is the oldest national park in the National Park Service. It became a part of the US territories as a part of the Louisiana Purchase.