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July/August 2016 Issue


Enjoy animal encounters in new farm exhibit at Little Rock Zoo

Visitors are kept at a distance from most of the animals at the Little Rock Zoo, but in the new Arkansas Heritage Farm exhibit, they can enjoy up-close animal encounters and learn about agriculture in a fun way.

Opened this spring, the new exhibit replaces the old Children’s Farm with a host of interactive experiences and play areas. To create the engaging exhibit, the zoo partnered with Heifer International, which provides livestock and sustainable agriculture training to impoverished countries around the world.

Dominated by a big red barn, the area features common animals that would be found on a farm, as well as interesting heritage breed species such as Katahdin sheep, blackbelly sheep, and various breeds of chickens and turkeys. The exhibit also includes geese, miniature donkeys, African Pygmy goats, and dwarf miniature horses. Guests are allowed to pet, feed, and groom most of the animals with zoo staff assistance.

In addition to a chicken coop and a smaller barn, the area also contains a new playground that includes equipment suitable for children with disabilities. A highlight for young visitors is a slide built into the side of a two-story silo.

L Located at 1 Zoo Drive in War Memorial Park, the zoo is open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, with the last admission at 4 p.m. Admission is $12.95 for adults, $10.95 for seniors, and $9.95 for children 12 and under.

Call (501) 666-2406 for details or visit


Guests can pet and feed sheep, goats, miniature horses, and a variety of other animals in the exhibit. Heifer International



Natchez Tricentennial serves up cake, historical hoopla

The city of Natchez, Miss., is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year, culminating in a flurry of events on Aug. 3 featuring birthday cake, fireworks, and special recognition for the colonial fort that was the root of the city.

French fur traders first appeared on the scene in the early 1700s to establish a trading post with the area’s indigenous people – the Nah’-Chee. It was on Aug. 3, 1716, that French colonial troops completed construction of Fort Rosalie on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.

The tricentennial festivities will begin that morning at the Grand Village, a 128-acre site featuring three prehistoric American Indian mounds, a museum, and a reconstructed Natchez Indian house. The Natchez people inhabited the region for centuries, and the Grand Village was their cultural center between 1682 and 1729.

Events at Grand Village, located at 400 Jefferson Davis Blvd., will include lectures and presentations highlighting the original inhabitants of Natchez.

Afternoon activities at the Natchez Visitor Center (640 S. Canal St.) will include talks on French Colonial Natchez and walking tours to the adjacent Fort Rosalie site. Visitors can see its last standing wall and use picnic tables on the grounds.

The fort will be dedicated as part of the Natchez National Historical Park in a ceremony at 4 p.m., making it the third location managed by the National Park Service in Natchez, joining Melrose and the William Johnson House. A birthday celebration will follow on the Natchez Bluff beginning at 6 p.m., featuring 300 cakes, live music, and a fireworks display to conclude the festivities.

Call (800) 647-6724 for more details or click on


Fireworks over the Mississippi River will be part of the evening celebration. Allyson Elliott/Visit Natchez


Cabins float into Louisiana park’s appeal

Bayou Segnette State Park’s cabins were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, so the park is unveiling beautiful new cabins this summer that will be able to ride out any rising tide.

Just a half hour drive from New Orleans, the park in Westwego, La., offers boating, fishing, camping, canoeing, hiking, and swimming in a wave pool. To help visitors stay at the park to enjoy all of those features, the park has opened 16 new floating cabins to replace those ruined by Katrina’s storm surges. While those cabins were built on pilings, the new cabins float. If the tide rises on the bayou, the cabins rise along with it.

The cabins feature a large living area, two bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, and a screened-in porch. The fee had not been set at press time for this issue. For reservations, call (877) 226-7652 or visit

The day use fee of the park, located at 7777 Westbank Expressway, is $2. The wave pool admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children under 48 inches tall.

Call (504) 736-7145 for details or click on



Photo exhibition peeks into the White House

As the Time magazine White House photographer for 20 years, Diana Walker gained extraordinary insight into one of the most powerful houses in the world, and now an exhibition of her images in Baton Rouge, La., offers an intimate look at the people who lived and worked there.

On exhibit now through Aug. 27 at the Old State Capitol, “The Diana Walker Photography Exhibit” features a collection of photos that represent a mix of historical moments and informal interludes at the White House, where Walker trained her lens on presidents, foreign dignitaries, and first families.

After working at various publications, she became a contract photographer for Time in 1979. She started working at the White House during Jimmy Carter’s presidency, mainly covering the travels of first lady Rosalyn Carter. Later, she captured the personalities and character of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and William Clinton.

Located at 100 North Blvd., the museum is open from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. from Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m.–3 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free.

Call (800) 488-2968 or visit for details.


Diana Walker sharing a moment with President Reagan. Photo courtesy of the Diana Walker Photographic Archive, UT Austin’s Briscoe Center



Blues and jazz heat up Hot Springs

Jazz and blues are sometimes referred to as cousins because the genres are closely related, so it will be a family affair in Hot Springs, Ark., when two overlapping festivals celebrate both sensational styles.

Musicians from near and far will converge on this central Arkansas city over Labor Day weekend for the Hot Springs JazzFest from Aug. 31–Sept. 4 and the Hot Springs Blues Festival from Sept. 3–4. Music fans will have plenty to celebrate with indoor and outdoor concerts around town.

In its 25th year, the JazzFest will kick things off on Wednesday night with the high energy Rodney Block Collective playing upbeat jazz dance music at the Hotel Hot Springs’ Ball Room. Then, evening shows on Thursday and Friday will take place at the Ohio Club, which was once a haunt of Al Capone, and the Five Star Dinner Theatre.

On Saturday, JazzFest moves outside under the Regions Bank skybridge on Broadway Street from noon–6 p.m. A mix of local and regional artists will perform, including the stupendous New Orleans Brass-A-Holics.

Also on Saturday, the 20th Hot Springs Blues Festival will get under way in Hill Wheatley Plaza from 4–10 p.m. The line-up for the festival will include a bevy of local acts and talented national performers.

Both festivals conclude on Sunday, with the JazzFest taking over three venues: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church for a jazz mass, the Grand Avenue United Methodist Church for “Jazz After Church,” and the Arlington Hotel for a Big Band jazz tea dance. And the final evening of the Blues Festival will take place in Hill Wheatley Plaza from 4–10 p.m. with more outstanding performances.

For JazzFest details, call (501) 627-2425 or visit For information on the Blues Festival, visit


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