HOT SPRINGS -- Flowers stretch as far as the eye can see at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs.
The botanical garden operated by the University of Arkansas covers not quite five miles along Lake Hamilton and near the mouth of the Ouachita River.
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Ending in April is Garvan’s Daffodil Days & Tulip Extravaganza, and while the daffodils looked to be in more of a daze, the tulips were blooming, vibrant in a range of varieties.
On a recent visit, the colors were extraordinary and seemed to cover every bit of the rainbow.
The Gardens, like much of everything else, made changes in these pandemic times, and precautions are in place like mask wearing while in line and expectations of social distancing. At the entrance, instead of going in through the visitors center, a single file, masked-up ticket line formed in the parking lot.
The customary hand stamp or rubber bracelet indicating you paid was replaced with a receipt that you were supposed to keep. Hours are also a bit limited and start at 10 a.m. and end at 6 p.m.
Admission is $15 for those 13 and up, $5 for those 4 to 13 and free for those 3 and under. They’re also charging a $5 admission per dog, in case you choose to bring your canine companion.
Once you get inside, the general layout of the Gardens remains the same, though some additional walkways will be noticeable to those who have been before. In the koi pond area, the path loops down to Lake Hamilton, and the trail that once cutoff at the waterfall by the pond now extends to the other side.
The Gardens are also running golf carts again. The gravel cart paths are also open to pedestrians, but most of the trails are paved and ADA compliant.
Another big change is the addition of more flowers. More than 150,000 Dutch tulips cover the grounds along with camellias, azaleas and a canopy of trees.
The Gardens bills itself as “the biggest display of color between Dallas and Memphis all season.”
Getting there is easy enough. Just drive to Hot Springs and take the exit that is marked for Garvan Gardens.
Read about Lake Catherine State Park by clicking here.
The address there is 550 Arkridge Road and the phone number, in case you need to call, is 501-262-9300.