Sorry it has been a while since we posted. At the beginning of our trip, we were in a rush to get out of the south. Then once we got to a place for an extended period of time, it was nice to slow down and enjoy!
The last time we left you, we were in Hot Springs Digging for Diamonds in Arkansas. The main reason we chose this as stop on our trip is because we wanted to visit the National Park! Hot Springs National Park is not like your typical National Park. Instead of being beautiful vistas of land and animals, it is an adorable section of the downtown area referred to as Bathhouse Row.
Once known as Hot Springs Reservation, this town was a draw because of the geothermal waters that are found below. Because of this draw, a series of bathhouses were created here. Visiting these bathhouses back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s became a social event! In 1921, the name was changed and it became the 18th National Park. There are no free thermal pools available in the National Park; however, there are two fully functional operating bathhouse: Quapaw Baths and Buckstaff.
The actual visitors center for Hot Springs National Park is in the old Fordyce Bathhouse. It is here that you are able to tour the inside of the bathhouse and imagine what it would have been like to be a visitor back in the Edwardian Era. The bathhouse tour takes you through the varies stages and rooms of the experience: the parlor, massage and treatment rooms, baths, cooling rooms, changing rooms, and gymnasium!
These pictures are from the men’s changing area. Their area was much more ornate than the women’s side!
In 1832, Congress protected the Hot Springs to ensure that it would be utilized by the people. Since then, people have been encouraged to drink and even bottle the spring’s healing waters. You can bring your own jug, or buy one of the souvenir jugs in the gift shop. They even provide a map where there are fountains available to fill your jug or take a drink!
In addition to the tour of the visitor center, there are amazing hiking paths that overlook the city! These are worth the visit as well!
Next stop…Oklahoma City!