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Arkansas Museum of Discovery
The Museum of Discovery: Arkansas Museum of Science & History is found in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas, and is in a historic structure in the River Market District; near the Arkansas River. The Clinton Presidential Center is close by and would be the perfect complement to this museum trip. Profuse writer and alcohol temperate, Bernie Babcock started the museum in 1927, and called it the Arkansas Museum of Natural History and Antiquities; because of an article written by H. L. Mencken saying that people from Arkansas were country bumpkins that had no worthy cultural centers. Ms. Babcock opened the museum in a storefront downtown on Main Street, with numerous notorious displays that included the King Crowley, known to be the biggest archaeological phony in Arkansas history, and the head of a Chicago crime boss. She had taxidermy items from other collections, multicultural dolls and primitive art. Wanting to keep the museum continuing, she gave it to the city in 1929; whereupon it was moved to the city hall. In the year 1942, the tower structure of the Little Rock Arsenal was going to be refurbished by the Aesthetic Club, the WPA, and the assistance of local philanthropist Frederick W. Allsop. Later, the building became the new home of the museum and it stayed here for the following 55 years.
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Old State House Museum
The old state house building in Little Rock, Arkansas is the oldest surviving state's capitol that sits west of the Mississippi River and was the venue of Bill Clinton's celebration the night he became the 42nd President of the United States. Ordered to be constructed by Territorial governor John Pope, it was done between 1833 and 1842, by Gideon Shryock, who had done the Kentucky state capitol building and on this one used the Greek Revival architectural style. The first plans were just too much money for the new state, so Gideon's assistant George Weigart made some changes and headed the construction. Both houses of the state assembly were able to move in before it was completely finished, and in the year 1837, a knife fight broke out in the House of Representatives that was fatal. In the Civil War, the Union had troops stationed there and in Little Rock. In the reconstruction period, the structure was again a focus during the Brooks-Baxter War, as it became a fortified building during that outrageous struggle. It all began when the Republican party became split over the ratification of the Arkansas constitution that stated ex-confederates would not have the right to take part in the new government.
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Best Impressions Restaurant
This fabulous restaurant is located within the Arts Center, and has some fantastic views of the neighboring MacArthur Park, and grounds, while sitting in a marvelous art center with some of the best art in the country. The menu is American fusion set in a fine dining venue using the best culinary techniques in the region. Lunch and brunch is offered with catering and party menus available. The lunch menu includes; first Chicken salad Kaiser Best Impressions Little Rock, Arkansasimpressions; soup du jour; So Cal is field greens, romaine, black bean-corn relish, avocado, peppers, scallions, cherry tomatoes with chipotle-pepper ranch dressing; Asian crunch is romaine lettuce, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, peppers, scallions, almonds with sesame-ginger vinaigrette; B.I's Caesar is romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, croutons, parmesan cheese, lemon wedge and classic Caesar dressing; Mixed field greens with artichokes, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, Greek olives, feta cheese and Mediterranean house dressing. They also have a children's menu and dessert treats.
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Clinton Presidential Library
The William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park contains the presidential library, offices of the Clinton Foundation and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service; all started by Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States. This city park was recently completed with the facilities designed by architect James Polshek and museum designer firm Ralph Appelbaum Associates. The main building is second in size to the Ronald Reagan Library; which is the biggest one, with the Clinton library holding more archives that house over 2 million photos, 21 email messages, 80,000 artifacts from the Clinton presidency and 80 million pages of documents. The museum contains many items from Clinton's term and has full scale copies of the Oval Office and Cabinet Room. The park is a shining example of urban renewal constructed on abandoned railroad tracks of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroads. The Clinton School of Public Service is located in an old passenger train terminal; a railroad bridge spanning the Arkansas River going to North Little Rock is in the slow process of becoming a pedestrian bridge; with many delays since beginning it. The library contains many aspects of an environmentally type of design, and it has been awarded a LEED platinum rating by the US Green Building Council. The overall cost was 165 million dollars, and covers over 150,000 square feet in the 28 acre park; opening November 18, 2004. Other presidents that came to the inauguration were both George Bushes, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Besides the archival displays, the center includes many wonderful exhibits, educational programs and special events.
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This beautiful mansion was built in 1881, by Jennie and Angelo Marre in Little Rock, Arkansas, which, 125 years later became the facade of the very popular CBS television show, Designing Women. It has gone through many terrible storms, urban renewal, architectural renovations and neglect; and is still one of the most outstanding landmarks in the city. After becoming wealthy in the alcohol import and saloon business, Angelo started building his dream house, a stately reminder of his Italian heritage; since he came to this country in 1854, from Borzonaca, Italy, when he was just 12 years old. It is built in the second Empire architectural style with Italianate influences, with a special Mansard roof that has incorporated multi-colored rectangular slates entwined in a fish scale design. It showcases its Italian influences with tall narrow windows and a tower centered on the front. Quoins of concrete stones accentuate the corners of the house, that are alternated and reflective of the Italianate and second Empire styles. The magnificent interior amenities include a walnut staircase, extravagant woodwork, mural and frescoed ceilings. It took over a year to build and cost $5000. Angelo died in 1889, and then his wife in 1904, whereupon the house was sold to various owners which turned it into a nursing home, dance studio, rental property and an AA meeting place. It was condemned in 1964, but before it could be raised, the owner, Mary Morris sold it to James W. Strawn, Jr. for $11,550 on the 29th of January, 1964.
Cossatot River State Park Natural Area
The Cossatot River State Park Natural Area is 5,383 acres of pristine beauty in Howard County, Arkansas, and sits along 12 miles of the Cossatot River which has some of the best whitewater rafting in the entire mid-west, with class III, IV and treacherous class V rapids and it is the most challenging of the float rivers in the center of the United States. It is a favorite of playboaters, canoeists and kayakers, the more skilled ones that is, since this is such a tough river to float down. It edges on the Ouachita National Forest, and is really a tough rocky canyon with old hardwoods and juniper glades. It was made a National Wild and Scenic River by the Congress, with tent sites at the falls area and the sandbar area. Most of the land was acquired by the Weyerhaeuser Corporation and given to the park for recreational endeavors. Most of the time, the water isn't too bad, until a heavy rain brings in more water to raise the river's level and the paddlers start arriving to get the best rides available in central America. It drops 33 feet in just under a third of a mile and offers some fantastic opportunities for high class rapids. They are figured to be just class II or III when water levels are regular and going to the higher classes when the rains come pouring down. The tent sites are only $12 a day, and only half that in the winter months and they have two great hiking trails, the 14 mile River Corridor and the 3.5 mile Harris Creek. There is a 15,000 square foot visitor information/education center that cost $2.7 million to build.