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Welcome to Little Rock

Little Rock

The capital and most populous city in Arkansas, Little Rock is named after a small rock formation on the bank of the Arkansas River, called Le Petite Rouche(the little rock) which was used as a landmark by early French colonists travelling the river. With evidence that Native Americans inhabited the area before European settlers landed here, Little Rock has a fascinating history, including playing a major role in the American Civil Rights Movement, and as the former home of then-Governor Bill Clinton. With no end of fascinating stories, Little Rock has plenty of great attractions to explore. Located in the centre of where the Ozark Mountains, the Ouachita Mountains, and the Mississipi Alluvial Plain come together, Little Rock is nestled in picturesque natural surroundings of forested rolling hills and cliffs that rise above the Arkansas River, making the city feel more like a holiday town than the metropolis and business centre that it is. Featuring stunning parks which boast golf courses, zoos, playgrounds, walking trails, mountain climbs, baseball diamonds and picnic areas, you don't have to leave the city to enjoy the fresh air. Visit the oldest surviving Capitol building west of the Mississippi, shop for unique antiques and trinkets around town, take a ride on a riverboat down the Arkansas River, take a drive through the picturesque historic Quapaw Quarter and view the Villa Marre, the home featured in the 1990s sitcom, Designing Women, while avid golfers can enjoy teeing off on a championship course. Nature lovers can hook a fish at a world-class trout stream, walk in Ouachita Mountains where the Hot Springs National Park awaits, or enjoy breathtaking views, pristine lakes and rivers and vast underground caverns in the Ozark Mountains and River Valley. With a little something for every kind of traveller, the city of Little Rock is worth a visit for all who visit Arkansas.

Information & Facts


Little Rock experiences a humid subtropical climate with average daily temperatures during the summer months peaking at 90°F (32°C), while the winter months can be relatively cooler with plenty of rainfall. The spring and autumn months of March and April, and September and October, respectively, are the best times of year to visit Little Rock as the colours during the change of season and hues of the foliage are glorious.

English is the most common language but Spanish is often spoken in south-western states.

The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

The official residence of the Governor of Arkansas and his family, the mansion is located within the Governor's Mansion Historic District. Before its construction in 1950, there had never been an official residence of the state's chief executive. Eleven of Arkansas's 45 Governors have lived in the Mansion with their families and pets, and many of the rooms feature heirlooms handed down through the years. Tours of the gardens are a must for visitors, as the sweeping vista of botanical beauty makes an afternoon stroll an experience to remember.

History buffs visiting Little Rock should be sure to visit the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park, the presidential library of former US president Bill Clinton that features the Clinton Presidential Library, the offices of the Clinton Foundation, and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. Visitors can enjoy the viewing artefacts from Clinton's two terms as president at the museum, including full-scale replicas of the Clinton-era Oval Office and Cabinet Room. Other exhibits include Clinton's Cadillac One, a gallery consisting of a 110-foot (34m) timeline of each of Clinton's years as President and 14 alcove displays featuring the Oklahoma City bombing and Northern Ireland and Middle East peace efforts as well as personal letters written to and by the Clinton family and family photographs.

The scene of the 1957 Little Rock Integration Crisis, when nine black students were admitted to a previously racially segregated school during the American Civil Rights Movement, saw Little Rock Central gain international attention. In 1998, 40 years after Earnest Green graduated, the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site was established. The Visitor Center is located across the street from the school and features a film on the Little Rock Integration Crisis, as well as multimedia exhibits on the event as well as desegregation during the 20th century and the American Civil Rights Movement. Head to the Central High Commemorative Garden, located across the street from the Visitor Center, which features nine trees and benches to honour the students and where visitors can relax and reflect on the historic event.

After a ruling by the US Supreme Court that segregated schools were unconstitutional in 1954, a group of African-American students known as the 'Little Rock Nine' were enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957, much to the dismay of their fellow all-white classmates. The move was considered to be one of the most important events in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. On 4 September 1957, several segregationist councils held protests at the school to deny the new black students entry, and angry mobs spat and verbally abused the nine teenagers as they made their way to school. On 25 September, the Little Rock Nine were finally admitted to the school under the protection of the US Army, with 1,000 US paratroopers protecting them from segregationist whites, but they still endured a full year of physical, verbal and emotional abuse from fellow white students. But on 27 May 1958, Earnest Green became the first black student to graduate from the school. Finally, in 1964 the Civil Rights Law prohibited racial discrimination in education, employment or in public places. Little Rock Central High School still functions as part of the Little Rock School District, but is home to a National Historic Site that houses a Civil Rights Museum.

Every morning, at around 11am, dozens of visitors flock to witness the Peabody Hotel's morning ritual. The Peabody Little Rock Ducks leave their Royal Peabody Duck Palace and march their way to the lobby, accompanied by their Duck Master who dons a scarlet and gold trimmed jacket, where a crimson carpet leading to a marble fountain awaits them. It is then that the sound of John Philip Sousa's King Cotton March fills the air and the ducks march one-by-one up the three carpeted stairs and plunge themselves into the fountain, where they remain for the rest of the day, splashing and playing in the water, much to the amusement of hotel guests. At exactly 5pm, the ducks return to their Royal Peabody Duck Palace to feast on a dinner of hand-shredded Romaine lettuce, grated carrots, live worm meals and Peabody Duck Trail Mix. The ritual began in the 1930s when the general manager of the hotel decided to put his live decoy ducks into the fountain after one too many drinks, and has carried on ever since.

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