Burns Park is located in North Little Rock, Arkansas and can be accessed via Interstate 40, exit 150. This 1,600 acre site is one of the largest municipal parks in the country and features many sporting and recreational facilities. The Visitor Information Center is open daily from 8.30am to 4.30pm.
The park is named after Dr. William Milton Burns who was elected mayor here in 1919 and 1923. He practiced medicine for 50 years from 1912 onwards and during that time it is estimated that he delivered 8,000 babies. He was an active player in the community and amongst other things served on the school board for many years.
Burns started a campaign in 1948 to buy 879 acres of land called the River Reservation from the United States Government. Money was set aside by the city council and Burns headed up the park committee, organizing volunteers to help clear the site and build pavilions and picnic areas. He also helped to build the lake and covered bridge and in recognition for his work not only did the then mayor name the park after Burns in 1950, but a granite memorial was made in his memory and placed in the park entrance in 1968.
The park is packed with sporting facilities including a state-of-the-art soccer complex of 17 fields. Also featured here are rugby fields, several basketball courts, a BMX track, two bocce courts, batting cages, a five-diamond softball area with lights, a baseball compound as well as an 18-hole disc golf course. As if that wasn't enough there are six indoor, and six outdoor tennis courts as well as indoor handball and racquetball courts and golfers don't miss out either with two 18-hole courses.
There are 38 tent and RV campsites here and picnics are popular at the park with 200 tables, 50 outdoor grills and 16 rental pavilions located at this site. There are trails for hikers to trek along including a paved pedestrian and cycling trail that runs through the park via the Arkansas River shoreline. The Burns Park Equestrian Trail includes a parking area for trailers, water and an area to unload and saddle horses.
Funland, a five-acre area within the park has been around since the '40s and includes Argenta Belle, a miniature train that circles the area. Carnival rides include a tilt-a-whirl, the scrambler, a carousel and a number for smaller children, whilst the concession stand, picnic tables and a private pavilion, make this area a popular place for children's parties. It opens for the public at weekends between April and September and can be booked for private parties on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
The Hospitality House can accommodate up to 200 people and is a popular setting for various parties and other events. Amenities here include an outdoor barbecue pit, a fully-equipped kitchen, a fireplace, a stage and restrooms. Visitors will also see a log cabin which was built prior to the Civil War and used as a store.