10 Things To Do In Little Rock

10 Things To Do In Little Rock

What to do and see while visiting the Rock!
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My hometown of Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas and is the state's most populous city. Little Rock has had a rich history and provides an array of cultural sites, museums, and historical landmarks. How can all of that be boiled down to things to do and see when in Little Rock? Why, with a list, of course!

1. Visit the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park

Opened in 2004, this presidential library honors Arkansas native Bill Clinton and showcases artifacts from his two presidential terms from 1993 to 2001. The highlights of touring the library include full-scale replicas of the Clinton-era Oval Office and Cabinet Room.

2. Go see a theatrical production at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre

This non-profit professional theatre company has produced more than 280 productions since its founding in 1976. Each season is funded solely by its main operating budget, season subscriptions, and other fundraising activities. Past productions have included Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Les Miserables, Frost/Nixon, and The Who's Tommy. Upcoming shows this season include Monty Python's Spamalot, The Crucible, Sister Act, and Godspell.

3. Attend a symphony orchestra concert at Robinson Center Music Hall

As a part of the National Register of Historical Places, the Robinson Center hosts traveling productions of popular Broadway shows and plays, but is best known as the primary venue of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra performs numerous concerts throughout the year and on one notable occasion, Star Trek actor George Takei performed with the group as part of a Holocaust memorial concert in February 2012.

4. Visit the Arkansas Arts Center

The Arkansas Arts Center contains permanent collections of drawings and works of notable artists such as Rembrandt, Pablo Picasso, and Edgar Degas. The center also has a children's theatre and a museum school offering classes in life drawing, photography, and woodworking.

5. Explore the Museum of Discovery

Located in downtown Little Rock, the Museum of Discovery contains a wide array of exhibits based on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Visitor Experience Director Kevin Delaney has appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon numerous occasions as being the show's science expert demonstrating experiments. The museum is also the Guinness World Record holder for having a musical bi-polar tesla coil with the highest voltage at 200,000 volts of electricity!

6. Roam around the River Market District

The River Market district downtown offers a plethora of shopping and dining options and also serves as the central location for the annual Riverfest activities. Past musical acts at the festival included Steve Miller Band, Chicago, Styx, and the Doobie Brothers. Shops include the Clinton Museum Store and dining includes great restaurants such as Copper Grill, Dizzy's Gypsy Bistro, and Dugan's Pub.

7. Little Rock Central High School

Mostly known for being the focal point of school desegregation during the 1950s, Little Rock Central High School is a nationally registered historical landmark. Past events at the school have honored the Little Rock Nine who forever changed the landscape of civil rights. Personally, I have visited only once for a high school football between my alma mater, Little Rock Catholic High, taking on Central in a rivalry game. Seriously, go visit!

8. Football game at War Memorial Stadium

Whether it be an Arkansas Razorbacks game or high school football, War Memorial Stadium provides quite the atmosphere under the lights! Arkansas-LSU rivalry games have been hosted at this venue as well as Little Rock Catholic High School varsity games each season. Proud of this fact as an alumnus! Fun fact is that past concerts at War Memorial included the Rolling Stones, Elton John, and Billy Joel.

9. Visit the Arkansas State Capitol

The Arkansas State Capitol, located right in the heart of downtown Little Rock, serves as the main house of government for the state of Arkansas. Free daily tours are given at the building and the tour includes monuments and memorials including the Little Rock Nine Civil Rights Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the Arkansas Medal of Honor Memorial.

10. Ride a bike or walk across the Big Dam Bridge

The Big Dam Bridge offers great views of the Arkansas River and the Little Rock skyline. An enjoyable bike ride or walk across the bridge should definitely be on one's list for outdoor activities while visiting Little Rock. The bridge even lights up at night!


Cover Image Credit: www.arkansas.com

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.

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Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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Independence Day 2017 Photo Album: Rainbows, Indian Culture And WWII History

It's not a real trip if you don't have hundreds of photos to look back on years from now.
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Last July, I decided to take a trip with my family to Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina the few days before Independence Day, and naturally, I had to document the experience. I still remember returning home and trying to clear my camera roll of the messy pictures, and I had eventually selected over 500 photos to delete.

It's always fun during a trip, but I like to always have a way to "return" to that trip whenever I want to, meaning photos are the perfect way to remember your memories without needing a photographic memory. So here are my favorite moments I was able to capture from my Independence Day 2017 trip!


Southside District, Tennessee

Ferris Hall, University of Tennessee

We were quickly driving through the campus, but there was too much construction going on to make the trip completely enjoyable. I did take a picture specifically of this building because of how ethereal it looked compared to the chaos around it.

A Double Rainbow

This wasn't the only rainbow we saw, but it was definitely the most memorable one. Although it looks far away in this picture, I genuinely thought that if I opened the car window, I could touch it. It's rare to see a double rainbow casually, so having been right next to one was a dream come true.

Murals on the Drive

Mela - Asheville, North Carolina

I'll admit I had low expectations for this restaurant because I haven't seen that many great Indian restaurants, but Mela genuinely blew me away. Not only was the ambiance calming, the food brought justice to Indian culture.

Mount Soma

Tara Lane

Sri Somesvara Temple was one of our stops while driving around North Carolina, and I was taken aback when the highway disappeared and was replaced by mountains on both sides. The temple itself is small but bustling with activity, and because it's located at such a high elevation, there's no service to let you be distracted on your phone. It's actually one of the most calming places I have ever been to in my life.

A Quick Glance Up

USS Yorktown

We spent a full afternoon here, and while it was such an interesting place to be, I couldn't get it out of my head how hot it was outside. That ruined the experience just a bit, but because it was the day before Independence Day, it was heartwarming to see so many people there interested in the country's history.

Looking for Arthur Ravenel Bridge

This was taken from the top of the USS Yorktown, and I'll never forget how unbelievably humid it was that day. Considering we were in the middle of the water, that wasn't making the situation any better.

SEE ALSO: Orlando, Florida Road Trip Photo Album: Ripley's, Pirate's Cove And Ferris Wheel Ride

The Medal of Honor

The Star-Spangled Banner

The Mystery Couple

I occasionally find this picture while scrolling through my camera roll, and I always look immediately at their complementing outfits. His shirt matches her pants (and vise versa), so I always wonder if they planned it to be that way. I just wish I could find the couple now and give them this picture. I didn't mean to have them in it originally, but I'm now glad that they happened to be there.

The French Quarter, South Carolina

Sunset in The French Quarter

This is one of my favorite pictures, but I just can't explain why.

The Sole Turtle

I'd never seen a turtle that was white, but it didn't look like a typical albino turtle either. I felt especially bad because in comparison to the other fish and creatures in the same tank, this turtle was tiny and was being pushed around by others. I do have to admit that it was too beautiful to not be the subject of a photo, though.

Independence Day

We finally reached home a few hours before the fireworks would go off that evening, but it was pouring outside. We weren't sure if the rain would subside by nighttime, but sure enough, the sky was clear just half an hour before the fireworks began. And thankfully, I could get a final snapshot to end the trip.

Cover Image Credit: Shreya Ravichandran

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