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One of several hot springs in the town, this one is near the park museum.
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Hot Springs National Park

369 Central Avenue Hot Springs, AR 71901
Park open year round, museum usually = 9-5, closed some holidays.
501-620-6715 Half day
February 2011 All year
$0-9 Hot Springs Arkansas
Website Nature National Parks
First review
Hot Springs National Park is 5,550 acres and preserves natural springs and historic bathhouses. The park is popular for its history and as a place to enjoy a traditional bath experience.

The natural spring water starts as rain and takes about 4,000 years to penetrate through layers of heated rock. The water eventually reaches 143°F before being forced back to the surface. Indians had visited the springs for thousands of years before they became popular in the US in the 1800s. Over time more extensive and elaborate tourist facilities were developed. The federal government set aside some land in 1832 to protect the springs and the area became a national park in 1921. The Golden Age of Hot Springs took place from the 1890s to the 1940s when the springs were sought after for their reputed health benefits. After World War II, visitation gradually declined, and many bathhouses closed.

Hot Springs is an interesting historical place to visit even if you are not inclined to take a bath or go to a spa. If you do want to try out a traditional bath, you can do so at the Buckstaff Bathhouse. The bath usually involves soaking in a tub, getting a rubdown and then having some time in a steam or dry room to relax. The visitor center and museum is located in a former bathhouse which has been restored to its 1915 appearance. Taking a couple of hours to walk around the museum and to watch the films provides an excellent perspective on the resort lifestyle that flourished here. Also interesting is the main promenade that passes behind Bathhouse Row and includes a number of natural springs as well as signs and a cell phone tour. Hot Springs also has natural areas. For a short, steep hike and to get some views of the town, you can walk from Bathhouse Row to Mountain Tower.
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