12 Things To Do With Family in Conway, Arkansas

Conway, Arkansas is a vibrant small city with a population of around 65,000 located about 30 miles north of Little Rock. Known as the “City of Colleges”, Conway offers a range of family-friendly attractions, outdoor recreational activities and cultural experiences.

From hands-on museums and parks to unique festivals and dining options, there are plenty of things to see and do with kids of all ages in Conway. This article provides 12 can’t-miss ideas for making memories with your family during a visit to Conway.

Explore Hands-On Exhibits at the Conway Discovery Museum

The Conway Discovery Museum is one of the top places to take kids in Conway. This nonprofit children’s museum focuses on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) education with over 40 interactive exhibits. Budding inventors can explore concepts like electricity and magnetism through building circuits or experimenting with gears models.

Aspiring doctors can learn about health and anatomy by visiting the Operation Room. Other exhibit highlights include a music studio, art area and construction zone. Outside, kids can burn off energy at the Dinosaur Discovery Park which has life-size dinosaur replicas. With affordable admission and annual memberships, the Discovery Museum makes learning fun for Conway families.

Take a Ride on the Conway Express

One of the most iconic things to do in Conway with toddlers and young children is to take a ride on the Conway Express, a small-scale train ride that travels through parts of downtown. The Express makes a 2-mile, 20-minute loop with stops at municipal buildings and parks.

Kids will love sitting in the miniature train cars while parents can point out Conway landmarks. Tickets are just a couple dollars per person. The Conway Express runs on weekends from March to November, with expanded hours during summer and the holidays. Private rentals are also available during off times.

Marvel at Exotic Species at Beaverfork Lake Wildlife Conservation Center

Operated by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Beaverfork Lake Wildlife Conservation Education Center near Conway offers families the rare chance to see native and exotic species up close. This family attraction houses deer, elk, bison and even black bears in natural enclosures that guests can access via walking trails.

Children will delight at catching sight of the wildlife residents while learning about conservation efforts. The Education Center also has science exhibits inside focused on natural habitats as well as an outdoor pond area. Programming like guided bird hikes take place year-round. There is no admission fee to visit Beaverfork Lake WCEC.

Spend an Afternoon at Laurel Park

Centrally located in Conway, the expansive Laurel Park provides plenty of family recreation opportunities. At the heart of Laurel Park is a large playground perfect for kids featuring slides, swings, climbing structures and more. Two youth sports fields host games for local Little League baseball and soccer teams.

Families can play a round of mini-golf on the 18-hole course dotted with flower beds. Inside the community center building, there is a kids splash pad along with an indoor walking track and basketball courts. Laurel Park frequently hosts special events like movie nights and festivals too.

See a Performance at the University of Central Arkansas Reynolds Performance Hall

Though less well-known than venues in Little Rock, the Reynolds Performance Hall at the University of Central Arkansas brings quality music, dance and theater productions to Conway that are suitable for families. The professional caliber performances range from classic plays like Beauty and the Beast to touring musicians and drill team competitions.

Many Sunday afternoon shows are geared specifically towards kids and feature puppetry troupes or magician acts that will delight all ages. With tickets typically under $10 per person even for evening performances, the Reynolds Performance Hall makes cultural experiences affordable and accessible for Conway families.

Shop Local at the Conway Farmers Market

One of the best free things to do in Conway with kids or the whole family is to check out the Conway Farmers Market held every Saturday morning from April to September. The open-air market brings dozens of local farmers and small businesses together in one vibrant location.

Families will love tasting fresh produce like peaches, sampling homemade baked goods and perusing the work of local artisans and crafters. Many vendors offer free activities for kids like berry picking contests or cookie decorating. Special events like watermelon eating competitions and live music performances also take place throughout the summer. Parents can grab a cup of coffee and relax while children play.

Go Camping at Petit Jean State Park

Just a 20 minute drive west of Conway near Morrilton lies Petit Jean State Park, one of Arkansas’ most beloved state parks. Families can enjoy nature by camping overnight or even just spending a day trip hiking the park’s canyon trails and admiring scenic vistas.

Pedal boats, canoes and kayaks are available to rent for exploring the large lake. Other amenities include a swimming pool, multiple playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, an amphitheater with seasonal shows and a museum focused on Petit Jean’s rich history. From relaxing by the water to stargazing on clear nights, Petit Jean State Park offers outdoor adventure perfect for families.

Attend Toad Suck Daze

Toad Suck Daze is Conway’s signature community festival held every May since 1982. Expect three days of free old-fashioned family fun like carnival rides and games, live music, dancing, craft vendors, parades, contests, car shows and ample festival food.

Originating from the folk tale about Conway settlers who improperly “sucked on toads” from the Arkansas River instead of fish, Toad Suck Daze playfully celebrates local culture. The weekend kicks off with the popular Toad Suck Daze 5K run. With most of the action centered around downtown Conway, Toad Suck Daze makes for an affordable, engaging trip for the whole family.

Explore Historic Downtown Conway

Conway’s historic downtown district centered around the Faulkner County Courthouse provides a nice walking area to take in local architecture spanning over a century. The Visitor’s Information Center inside the restored Spence Drake house is a great starting point to pick up a self-guided tour map.

Notable spots include the iconic Independent Living Services building painted with a sunset mural, Hendrix College buildings built from native rock and several historic churches. Downtown Conway also offers shops and eateries to pop into like White Horse Coffee, Scrubby Dutch Cleaning, Crafton’s Sweets and King Cone. The quaint neighborhood streets lined with flowers make for pleasant family strolls.

Cheer on the UCA Bears

College athletics provide another good family entertainment option while visiting Conway. The University of Central Arkansas Bears compete in Division 1 sports from basketball to track and field. UCA football games are lively local events perfect for older kids and teens who will enjoy cheering for touchdowns and the marching band performances.

Families can catch women’s volleyball matches in the intimate Prince Center arena during fall months. Many UCA sporting events are free or low cost for kids which makes them affordable outings. Whether you have a sports fan in the family or just want to soak up school spirit, take in a Bears game during your Conway trip.

Bowl at Dixie Lanes Rock ‘n’ Bowl

For indoor family fun, Dixie Lanes Rock ‘n’ Bowl offers bowling, arcades, laser tag and more all under one roof. The 24-lane bowling alley gives kids of all ages and skill levels the chance to knock down pins and compete for strikes and spares.

Bumpers and ramps are available along with small bowling balls perfect for tiny tikes. Afterward, families can play popular arcade games together to win tickets for prizes. Dixie Lanes hosts cosmic bowling nights on weekends with flashy lights and music when kids can stay up late bowling. The complex also has a cafe serving classic bowling alley fare like pizza and hot wings.

Lake Beaverfork Park

Spanning over 100 acres, Lake Beaverfork Park contains a 12-acre lake as the centerpiece along with walking trails, picnic areas, a playground and more. Rent a paddle boat or bring your own kayak to explore the lake. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in one of the many picnic spots around the lake and in the park.

Kids will love running around the large playground area and parents can relax under the shade of towering pine trees. With the peaceful lake setting and amenities, Lake Beaverfork Park offers the perfect place for families to spend the day outdoors.


With interactive museums, parks, unique local traditions and outdoor adventures, Conway provides the ideal playground for families visiting central Arkansas. Kids will love discovering hands-on exhibits that stimulate their minds, riding a historic train through downtown and catching special events like festivals. Parents can appreciate the affordable entertainment and cultural experiences Conway offers.

Whether taking in a show at the Reynolds Performance Center, camping amid nature at Petit Jean State Park or just strolling the downtown area, there are activities the whole family will enjoy while vacationing in Conway. With this list of 12 top things to do, visitors of all ages are sure make special memories during their time in the “City of Colleges”.

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