Home to three popular colleges, Conway, Arkansas has earned the nickname “The City of Colleges.” Every year students move to Conway to attend the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College or Central Baptist College, but there’s more to this fast-growing city than its stellar educational opportunities. This Little Rock suburb offers a host of fun family-friendly activities, including several free attractions.
Conway is sprinkled with beautiful parks, art galleries, museums, antique stores and cozy cafés. Although a number of popular entertainment activities, including the Hogwild Family Fun Center, the Thunder Road Grand Prix and Art on the Green, recently closed, lots of fun attractions continue to serve Conway. Test your wits at an escape room, get your adrenaline pumping with a round of paintball or get competitive at a bowling alley. Here is our list of the top 13 things to do on your next Conway getaway.
1. Visit Cadron Settlement Park
This 150-acre public park is a nature-lover’s paradise. Overlooking the Arkansas River, the park features hiking trails, picnic areas, a pavilion, restrooms and opportunities for biking. It also includes a replica of an 18th-century blockhouse that’s used for public events. The park is on the National Register of Historic Places and contains significant Native American and Civil War historical sites. Plaques scattered throughout the park detail the historical events that occurred there.
2. Challenge Yourself at Escape Mystery Rooms
Looking for an adventure? Book a room at Escape Mystery Rooms. In these adventure games, participants are challenged to solve puzzles and find clues in order to escape a room within 60 minutes. Each escape game is story-based and has its own unique theme. Investigate a crime scene, rob a bank or solve a Christmas miracle. Ideal for strengthening teamwork, these games are played in groups of two to six and cost $25 per person.
3. Visit Baum Gallery
The Baum Gallery is a visual art museum on the University of Central Arkansas campus. This gallery features international art as well as local art created by UCA students. The gallery also hosts shows and events open to the public. The museum is free and a great way to send an afternoon.
After checking out the gallery, go for a stroll through the UCA campus. Located in the heart of Conway, the campus is also close to a number of other local attractions.
4. Have Outdoor Fun at Beaverfork Lake Park
Conway’s largest city park sits on the west end of Lake Beaverfork. This 960-acre lake attracts visitors all year-round, but the surrounding park also offers fun activities for the whole family. Visitors can enjoy a host of outdoor activities, such as fishing, golfing, boating, windsurfing, bird watching, kayaking and hiking. There is a swimming beach, a baseball field, a volleyball court, a playground, a fishing pier and a boat ramp. Visitors can buy food at a concession stand or bring food from home to enjoy at one of the park’s picnic tables or pavilions.
5. Get a Strike at Conway Family Bowl
This bowling alley has entertained Conway residents and visitors for more than 60 years. In addition to its 24-lane bowling center, the venue is equipped with arcade games and a restaurant. Conway Family Bowl is open seven-days a week. Bowling prices, listed here, vary depending on the duration and time of the visit.
6. Visit the Faulkner County Museum
Located in downtown Conway, the Faulkner Country Museum demonstrates how the Faulkner County residents adapted to local environmental conditions throughout history. The museum is housed in the former Faulkner County Jail, where it exhibits visual art, archival materials, photographs, a collection of historic objects and a variety of other artifacts. The museum is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
7. Take the Kids to Share the Love Kidsclub
Win some brownie points with your kids? Take them to Share the Love Kidsclub. This 3,000+ square foot indoor space is packed with fun games and activities for kids. While parents relax at the on-site coffee shop or catch up on work with the facility’s free Wi-Fi, kids can enjoy the indoor playground and small market set up for pretend play.
Many of the activities are geared towards expanding children’s imaginations and helping the little ones develop their motor skills. Older kids and teens can work out at the facility’s gym and basketball court. The space is open to the public Tuesday through Friday, and is open for events and birthday parties on Saturdays. A daily play pass starts at $15 per day.
8. Visit Action Jacks Paintball, Laser Tag & Arcade
This entertainment center is most famous for its laser tag and low-impact paintball. Formerly named Jack’s Ultra Sports Paintball & LaserTag, the facility changed its title this summer when it added several new attractions, including two unique escape rooms and an arcade with over 80 games. Spend an afternoon, or a whole day, enjoying the games and activities this entertainment venue has to offer. The facility is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Prices, available here, vary depending on the package.
9. Dine at Whole Hog Café
The Whole Hog Cafe first opened as a small concession trailer in Little Rock. It gained success almost immediately, inspiring the owners to open up their first restaurant. There are now more than a dozen Whole Hog Cafe locations, spread across five states.
These restaurants are known for their award-winning barbecue, particularly the baby back ribs, beef brisket and pulled pork. There’s also a kid’s meal featuring pulled pork or chicken, a roll and a choice between chips, fries, potato salad or mac & cheese. The restaurant is open every day.
10. Shop at Jenifer’s Antiques
If you love vintage home decor, antique furniture, unique trinkets and one-of-a-kind paintings, check out Jenifer’s Antiques. This shop has just about anything, from old tools to Aladdin oil lamps to handmade pottery. Step into this vintage world and see what treasures you can find.
11. See a Movie at Cinemark Towne Centre
A trip to the movies is thrilling for both children and adults. Located in Conway Towne Center, this chain movie theater plays all the big hits. Order a big bag of popcorn and settle into a set of comfortable chairs for an evening at the movies.
12. Grab Coffee at Doc’s Coffee + Creamery
This cozy coffee shop is the perfect place to relax. With delicious seasonal favorites and year-round classics, like the “The Clover,” an Irish cream white chocolate latte, this café always offers creative coffee options in addition to tasty pastries, chocolates and homemade fudge.
The coffee shop is located in Pickles Gap Village, a small shopping village nestled along Highway 65 at the Ozark foothills. After your coffee, check out the area’s other offerings, which include a nursery and a handful of small shops.
13. Watch the Conway Symphony Orchestra
Music fans can attend a concert by the talented Conway Symphony Orchestra. This orchestra plays at the Reynold’s Performance Hall on select dates throughout the year. Check here to see the orchestra’s upcoming shows.