I have been going to Burns Park as long as I can remember. As a child, there was the water slide, Fun Land, and the Rocket Park. As a teenager, Burn’s Park was where you went to see and be seen, play softball, ride motorbikes, and get stuck in the sand dunes. As a young family, my kids have been partially raised in the park. If you haven’t discovered Burns Park, isn’t time that you do.
The Burns Park of my teenage past is gone. I remember getting ready to go cruising with my friends. You would pop in a Prince, Morris Day, or Def Leppard cassette and start the route. This happened every Sunday. Teens from all over would be there, and it would take literally over an hour to drive the park. And, since gas wasn’t sky high, we would circle over and over and over again, waving to and flirting with everyone. Good times! (Since then, the police started to clear out the cruisers so more families could use the park. Also, heard that some not so nice things were being done in the park as well.)
In mentioning the sand dunes, I really date myself. Does anyone else remember them? Well, if the last time you were in Burns Park there were sand dunes, you really should go back! Its one of Arkansas’ biggest secrets. This incredible walking/bike riding path has been created where the sand dunes used to be. River Trail map. I am not sure the distance of the River Trail, but I can tell you that you can ride a bike from North Little Rock Argenta district, across the amazing Big Dam Bridge, through to Little Rock’s Murray Park and all the way down to Cantrell. Recently, the trail extended off the Big Dam Bridge, under I-430, then back onto the next bridge that leads you across to a little island on the Arkansas River. The City of Little Rock Parks and Recreation (www.LittleRock.org) describes the River Trail better than I, “Arkansas River Trail, when completed, the Arkansas River Trail will reach from downtown Little Rock to Pinnacle Mountain State Park on the southern shore, and from downtown North Little Rock to Cook’s Landing on the northern shore. A fourteen (14)-mile loop was created by a pedestrian bridge across Murray Lock and Dam and a renovated railroad bridge near the Presidential Library Center and Park. All together this project will offer approximately twenty-four (24) miles of trail in Central Arkansas. This trail will also connect to the 225-mile Ouachita Wilderness Trail in Pinnacle Mountain State Park adding an additional seventeen (17) miles to this nationally recognized trail.” Go, go now! (If you have too much to do and think you can’t make it, call Errands Arkansas at 501-831-2476 and let us take care of some of your life maintenance chores.)
The Soccer Complex is huge with over 15 soccer fields. The best part of playing soccer in Burns Park is the trees! I’ve never been to another soccer complex that provided the shade that Burns Park does. Soccer teams of all ages across Arkansas enjoy these fields, and State, Regional and National tournaments have all been held here.
While I am not a mountain biker by any means, I do know there is an offroad trail called the Emerald Park Mountain Bike. As it goes uphill, I am sure it provides stunning views of the Arkansas River, as well as Little Rock and North Little Rock. The BMX track was thoroughly enjoyed by my children for many years. However, the track is now fenced and locked, a terrible waste of public park recreational space. If horseback riding is your love, guess what? Burns Park has a wonderful forrest filled ride called the Urban Equestrian Trail.
Burns Park is well decribed by the Arkansas River Trail (www.arkansasrivertrail.org) “This 1,700-acre park includes: Food Service/Picnic Areas, fishing pier, playgrounds, camping, 36-hole golf course, 36-hole disc golf course, soccer complex, tennis courts, trails, seasonal amusement park, archery range, BMX bike track, dog park, a pre-Civil War log cabin and a covered bridge.”
If you have children, they will be LOVE the Rocket Playground. You will have to distract them from Fun Land, which is open on Saturday 10 am – 7 pm and Sunday afternoons. If you want to take the kids to Fun Land, make sure you have money because the rides aren’t free. However, try your best to direct your kids to the Rocket Park. Its just a nice playground, with tons of physical activities, including a real tank and a train caboose. Take lunch with you, or at least drinks because this is an all afternoon outing. Make memories!
Burns Park offers so much more than what I covered here. Go discover it!
Visit www.northlittlerock.ar.gov for more information and contact numbers. Here’s a great brochure to check outhttp://www.nlrpr.org/files-trails/TrailsBrochure-201203.pdf.