Sunday, June 17, 2012

Geocaching in Little Rock, Arkansas

The Test Square!
My oldest daughter and her fiance love to go geocaching. I had never tried it before this trip and it was fun to have her show me how it works. I thought it would be a wonderful tool for helping people discover the historic places and natural beauty around them, but my daughter told me it isn't allowed on National Park properties or other significant sites.

Instead, what you end up discovering is some of the quirkiest places. We pursued one cache that started to make me giggle even before we got there and the laughs just kept continuing while we enjoyed the absurbity of it all during the hunt. Here's what the geocacher wrote:
Once upon a time, someone had the idea to create a celebrity walk of fame, similar to the one found outside Mann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, in downtown Little Rock. Apparently the idea really grabbed hold in the 1980's, as anyone with a drop of celebrity that passed through Little Rock was asked to scrawl a name into cement. Now, the project remains forgotten on the sidewalk outside an unexciting parking garage.
I happened to be looking down while walking to lunch several years ago and found this little piece of history. I spent about 30 minutes giggling and being amazed that day, and I've purposely walked by dozens of times over the years to remember (and mostly giggle) some more. Some of the highlights (and lowlights) you'll see:
  1. President Bill Clinton (although one of the most illegible squares)
  2. The infamous Orval Faubus (governor during the 1957 Central High School crisis)
  3. Just a few squares down: Daisy Bates, civil rights leader
  4. Yogi Bear (including fake footprint)
  5. Ronald McDonald
  6. Bert and Ernie
  7. Half a dozen ballet artists(?)
  8. The Concorde (yes, the airplane)
  9. The 150th anniversary Little Rock commemorative coin (no coin included)
  10. And my personal favorite: Jeckle the Schlitz Malt Liquor bull (complete with hoof print)
You are looking for a baby soda bottle containing only a log, so bring your own pen.
This cost nothing as an activity and we giggled non-stop! The squares were fun to look at and enjoy and it was the kind of quirk that only a local would know about and notice, not a visitor. While I don't intend to take up geocaching, I appreciate the fun of hiding something and the fun of hunting something down.
All in all, Little Rock was as bright and shiny as a penny with a beautiful, safe downtown full of new buildings and revitalized historic ones. The Presidential Library had obviously had a huge impact on the city. My family and I could easily have spent three of four more days there because there was so much to see and do. I know my youngest daughter is excited to go back and run the Little Rock marathon. Why? Because the medals are as big as dinner plates!


Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a delightful post about the city where I was born. I am amazed at Orval Faubus signing his name. His administration was a very sad, sad part of Arkansas history.

I would love to see the Presidential Library. I did not live in Arkansas during Bill Clinton's presidency, but I had friends who lived in the same building as the Rodhams and said they were the best neighbors they had ever had.

Karen said...

Sam, spending any time in Arkansas makes one see how unfair it is for the whole state to be painted by that one episode of history. What a terrific place it is with lots to see and do. I can see why it is becoming a favorite retirement destination too.

One place we didn't get to explore but would have loved to see is Hot Springs National Park, which I know has a famous old hotel and loads of interesting history.

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