2019 Texas & Arkansas Trip
If you are visiting Magic Springs and Crystal Falls, you are only about a 45-50 minute drive from Arkansas’s state capital, Little Rock. Since we left the park ahead of schedule, we made our way here for a few cultural sites. The first that we went to was Central High School. This was the school that became a focal point in the tension of segregation as the superintendent and governor tried to fight against the ruling of the Supreme Court in preventing desegregation when the group of nine students known as the Little Rock Nine were to begin attending school here.
As part of this being a national historic site, they have a visitor center for people to visit that helps to explain the events that took place at this school through displays, videos and artifacts. This building was created as the actual school is still an operating school, so visiting the actual building is a bit limited to what you can see from the outside unless you arrange a tour with the visitor center.
In our case, we wouldn’t be able to visit inside of the school as it was closed, but we did take a walk over to see it. The exterior of the building is more or less as it was during the integration of the school, and features some incredible detail in the architecture of the exterior. There is something about being able to come and see a place that was a part of one of the major turning points in the history of this country.
From Central High School, we took a drive alongside of the state capital building for Arkansas. Something I have come to learn about visiting state capital buildings is that after you see more of them, they start to really look alike as many of them feature the dome on top. While the detail in the molding and location can make a difference, it does feel like a lot of them start with the same basic building.
Being in Little Rock, it meant that we were in the city where former president Bill Clinton had served as governor before his time as the chief executive. Because of being the home state of President Clinton, the William Clinton Presidential Library is here for visitors to experience as they can tour the museum that focuses on the 42nd president. We didn’t go into the museum this time as we were keeping it a brief visit for the sake of getting on the road before long, but we did scope out the gift shop, and next to it they did have one of the former presidential limousines on display, offering information about the vehicle and its construction as well as some insight to the Secret Service and how the assassination of several presidents lead to the decision of the agency to become the one in charge of protecting the president.
After we stopped for a late lunch, we began the long trek back to Dallas on I-30. Along the way, we came across the town of Hope, and as we approached the exit, there was signage of the childhood home of Bill Clinton being there. Since we found that it was only a few minutes off of the highway, we went ahead and took the short detour to pay it a visit. With this, I have know seen the homes of three presidents, adding Clinton with Dwight Eisenhower’s home in Abilene, Kansas and the home of Rutherford B. Hayes in Ohio.
From there, we finished the rest of our drive to Dallas, and then after a few hours of sleep, we’d head to the airport to begin our journeys home, bringing this weekend visit to an end.
Several fun coasters including the likes of Steel Eel and Iron Rattler were enjoyed, and some great sites experienced including my long-awaited visit to Riverwalk, as well as the bonus exploration of Little Rock. In all, it was a nice short visit that offered a nice blend of coasters and culture.
And while these experiences were enjoyable, it certainly helps when you have enjoyable company along for the ride. A special thank you to both Nicole and Wes for joining me on this visit to Texas and Arkansas. I am glad that you two were able to come down to Texas with me, and look forward to the next time our paths cross again.
Thank you everyone for reading! I hope you’ll be back again for more Coasting with Culture!
-Take Care and Safe Travels