Take A (Spring) Break

Take A (Spring) Break

Daytrips let families get away from it all


Not everyone can pick up and go to the beach for spring break — but if you can find even one day to get away, you can have an adventure. Check out What’s Up!’s suggestions for three very different spring break day trips.

Eureka Springs

You may think you’ve seen all there is to see of Eureka Springs and its winding streets and lovely Victorian houses. But have you seen what’s underneath that historic downtown? The Underground Eureka Walking Tour (244-5074) introduces you to a system of underground tunnels, built sometime in the 1890s, that once shielded all kinds of illegal behaviors from gambling to the sale of alcohol during Prohibition.

Quigley’s Castle (274 Quigley Castle Road) is billed as the “Ozarks’ strangest dwelling.” Certainly it has the strangest origin story: Elise Quigley had her heart set on her dream house and, when husband Albert went off to his job at the lumber mill one morning, she went about achieving her dream in an oddly aggressive way: She tore down the three-room house Albert had built for her.

Elise said she wanted “a home where I felt I was living in the world instead of in a box. I designed it in my mind, but I couldn’t tell anybody what I wanted, so I sat down with scissors, paste, cardboard and match sticks and made a model.” The result is Quigley’s Castle, where trees grow inside and Elise’s collection of rocks, shells and crystals line the walls.

Thrills and chills abound at Ozark Mountain Ziplines (208 W. Van Buren; 363-6699) — but they’re not too thrilling and chilling, as the activity is open to kids from the age of 3. Ziplines are up to 300 feet in the air, so you’ll see Eureka Springs and the Ozarks from an entirely different point of view.


Ponca is a hotbed of outdoor fun. Take a drive of about an hour and a half, and you’ll find yourself in an outdoor paradise near the Buffalo River that puts the “natural” in the Natural State. March brings canoeing, kayaking, rafting, hiking, waterfall viewing, birding, fishing and horseback riding. Choose one or do them all during spring break week.

The folks at Lost Valley Canoe and Lodging (870-861-5522) have been renting out kayaks and canoes for 31 years, and they know the Buffalo River like the back of their hands. While you’re signing up to float the river, buy some fresh eggs from their historic general store. At the Buffalo Outdoor Center (870-861-5514), you can rent kayaks and canoes for one-day or multi-day trips or sign up for a two-hour zipline canopy tour.

Hiking trails in Ponca can be divided into three sections — the upper, middle and lower district. The National Park Service (nps.gov) has detailed maps and information about each trail that can help you decide which one to choose.

Ponca has a series of trails that are designated horse trails, and Rimrock Cove Ranch (870-553-2556) offers guided horseback rides and horse-drawn hay rides.


Tulsa’s 100-acre Gathering Place (918-779-1000) park will take your breath away; the free attraction is like nothing you’ve ever seen before outside of a expensive amusement park. Located on Tulsa’s riverfront, it was named USA Today’s Best New Attraction in the USA last year — and it delivers. The various playgrounds have their own distinct flavor and personality, and you’ll find one perfect for your child — from toddler to adult, there’s something fun for everyone to do here. If it’s warm enough, you might consider renting a paddle boat, kayak or canoe and seeing the beautiful park from the vantage point of the water.

The Gathering Place is more than enough to keep you busy for a day, but if you’re looking for other options, the Tulsa Zoo (918-669-6600) is a fun, 85-acre park, and Main Event (918-447-1200) is a bowling alley/arcade/mini golf/rock climbing extravaganza.

Categories: Family Friendly