Finally, a free weekend! We have been so busy getting set up and driving around looking at other campgrounds that we haven’t gotten out much to just have fun. We took advantage of this sunny Saturday and headed down to the water park that is about 15 minutes away. It was small enough that you didn’t get exhausted just from walking from one slide to the next, but big enough to have some fun slides for everyone.
April, always being the big helper, played with Caleb in the baby pool for a while. She makes having a little one so much easier! After that, she headed to the big slides and would return after trying each one with a full report of her experience, animated with hand gestures and sound effects.
Now Joshua, while he will brave any carnival ride you throw at him, does not like to get his head wet. Therefore, water slides are not his choice of entertainment. I scanned over the options, and spotted what looked to be a gentle river ride with a few dips. Once again, my name would slip a few spots on the Mother of the Year list as I assured him it was not a fast slide, and he would enjoy it. I knew I was in trouble when he came running back in tears. “I flipped over FIVE TIMES! I flipped over backwards! And when I screamed, it was underwater and bubbles came out!”
After a few bites of ice cream and retelling the story, he was able to laugh about it with us and try another slide. This one was more to his taste, being “very gentle and just swishing side to side” as he put it. At the end of the day, we convinced Mark to ride with him on a double tube. Joshua learned a lesson that the heavier the load, the faster you travel down the slide.
Near the end of the ride, Joshua had gotten the point and by the look on his face, he knew it was not going to end well…
Yes, they did flip over at the end, and no, Joshua was not happy about it. We hopped in the regular pool and let him swim around a bit, and all was well again.
There’s something about playing in the water that always leaves you starving! So we headed to a local restaurant that a friend had recommended. Cock of the Walk is the name. Arkansas must be the land of odd names!
If you ever come and visit us, this place will be on the itinerary. To reach it, you get off of a main highway and find yourself on a private driveway that is completely surrounded by cool, green trees. You emerge into an opening with a pond, waterfall, and restaurant that resembles a large country ranch house. The atmosphere is fabulous with large windows overlooking the pond. The kids were thrilled to see approximately 438 turtles poking their heads above the water.
Some restaurants bring you chips to start with, or if you are lucky you may get rolls. Well here, the bring you a crock full of delicious cole slaw with a wooden spoon as big as your head to dish it out, and a cast iron skillet of cornbread. To loosen the cornbread, the server flips it into the air pancake style. To wash it down, you get a mason jar filled with your beverage of choice.
I will say this – if you don’t like catfish, shrimp, or chicken this may not be the restaurant for you. These are their specialties, and just about all they serve. We got the combo catfish and shrimp dish. Keeping with the rest of the rustic country theme, it is served on a tin plate. It was wonderful, and we even had leftovers for later. The service was outstanding.
We had a hard time getting the kids to eat their food – not because they didn’t like it, but because they wanted to save it to feed the turtles/fish in the pond! The server overheard us and brought a huge pile of cornbread for that exact purpose. We let them go out onto the deck ahead of us so we could finish our meal.
By the time we got out there, the kids were bursting with excitement. They began chattering on about a huge turtle that lived in the pond. I smiled, looking out over all the small/medium turtles dotting the surface. Mark was fiddling with the phone, getting the camera ready, when the April and Joshua started yelling and pointing. By the time we looked over the railing, there was nothing to see. The kids assured us that there really WAS a huge turtle (holding their hands out wide) and begging us to wait and see.
I put Caleb down to crawl around, while Mark took a few pictures of the kids feeding the fish cornbread. Once again, they screeched and pointed. We both looked over again, only to see empty water. I began to feel like we were hunting “Nessie”
We finally stood and stared at the spot they were pointing at, and after several minutes we were rewarded with a huge face emerging from the depth. The kids yelled with excitement and began hurling cornbread nuggets at it. He (or she!) never fully came to the surface, just gave us a glance and slowly sank back out of sight. I would have loved to have seen the shell, as it truly was a big head, measuring I’d say at least 5 inches across. I wish the picture came out better, as it doesn’t fully convey the eerie sight of just a face looking directly at you, while the rest is hidden.
We went home exhausted and happy. It was a fun day filled with great memories.