Hot Springs, Arkansas | Photos + A Story about Poop that Doesn't Involve Either of My Kids


I uploaded all the pictures from our trip that I took on my big camera, and there are way more of J than of R! I feel a little guilty about it, but it seemed like on this trip for some reason whenever I wanted to take a picture, R was nowhere to be found or she just wouldn't stop running around. If you have multiple kids, do you ever feel like you take more pictures of one than the other sometimes? I definitely didn't mean to! 

Anyway, I've digressed before I've even started. They pretty much both never stopped running, but by the end of the trip we could tell they were tired. They kept asking to be carried everywhere and we had to bust out the strollers. Their little legs aren't used to the kind of hills they had in Arkansas! (It felt like a mountain to us lol, but I'm sure people in the other parts of the country would chuckle at that.)
I know not everyone would choose Arkansas for a vacation spot, but I wanted somewhere within driving distance but longer than just 3 hours. Since we drive to Texas frequently, it has stopped feeling like 3 hours in the car exactly counts as a "trip." I wanted somewhere new, somewhere low key, and even though the kids are definitely not at an age where they can be formerly hiking anywhere, they both are obsessed with being outside, and I loved the idea of introducing them to an actual forest with lots of tall trees and rocks to climb on. Hot Springs did not disappoint! 

We were there 3 nights + 2.5 days and didn't even see everything I had on my list. We'd be happy to go back and definitely recommend it as a vacation spot with kids or without :)
I found us a cute little Air Bnb house about 3 minutes away (driving) from the main touristy street. Side note: I am obsessed with Air Bnb. I've had such success finding great places to stay for good prices and honestly never had a bad experience (knock on wood!). 

Back in the day, Hot Springs was the place to go if you wanted to soak in a bath house, and the main street has a row of beautiful bath houses you can go in and tour. The water that comes up from the ground is literally hot. That was one of the neatest things! They have natural springs and fountains that constantly flow, and when you touch the water it's hot. We could see steam rising from the water! The kids were more interested in climbing the stairs over and over and over (and over) than the water, but Jordan and I thought it was super neat. We kept looking at each other and saying, "It's HOT. So crazy!" ha.

Friday morning we ate breakfast at The Pancake Shop, which was on the main street. We honestly felt like the food was a little overpriced, but it was really good and definitely an "experience" type of place where locals go and also where it's fun for tourists because it's got a unique small-town vibe. So that's not to say we don't recommend it, just that you shouldn't go expecting to eat for a bargin. BUT. Good food is a high priority for us on vacation, so we don't really try too hard to eat cheap, and we have no regrets. That's why we budget in advance for all of our trips.

R can't read yet obviously, but she was looking at the menu like this for a solid minute, and it was cracking me up. This would totally be a good posed photo anyway, but it's totally candid! She kills me.

Probably the weirdest/coolest things we did was visit the local Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo. We went in the morning on Friday and were there for a few hours until it was time for lunch. The petting zoo has been family owned since 1902, and it was top on my list of kid-friendly events. 

When we were paying, they asked if we wanted to pay $5 to feed the alligators. We said sure. Jordan and I both were imaging a giant slab of rabbit or something we toss into an alligator pen, but it was actually just pieces of hot dog on a stick (much less stressful and obviously makes way more sense). I honestly didn't think the kids would want to do it, but they both did! The guy was nice and let them do it twice, so I was able to take video the first time and pictures the second time.

The guy also pulled an alligator out of the pool for us to touch, which was neat! J touched it, but R didn't want to and we didn't force her.
The zoo was pretty small, and alligators took up the main portion (the photo of all the alligator by the tree is about 1/3 of the total amount they had in that pen), but there was also a tamer side where the kids got to feed goats and horses with pieces of bread and pet turtles and bunny rabbits. They loved it!

Okay I have another post with photos from our trip, but I can't not tell you the story of what happened to me on the drive to Arkansas. Jordan will be horrified for the rest of our lives, and I'm pretty sure I'll never live it down. This is also mildly (okay a lot) embarrassing, but I haven't had a funny story to tell here in ages, so you're welcome. I think. You might actually hate me for telling you this, but let's just see what happens.

Having kids that are potty trained is great for the fact that I don't have to spend money on diapers and don't have to wipe bottoms, but it definitely makes car rides, especially long ones, take forever. We could normally make it all the way to Texas without stopping, but R has us pull over to use the bathroom about every hour or so. The drive to Arkansas was no different, and we kept stopping to get out and let her use the bathroom.

So we were finally only about an hour from Hot Springs, and R says she has to use the bathroom. I had to also, and I told Jordan to pull over at the next place he saw. Unfortunately, we were in the middle of the National Forest by this point, and there weren't just McDonald's on the side of the road. We wound through the mountain (hill?), and I saw a rest area, but Jordan was moving too quickly and we passed it. He didn't believe me that there was a bathroom there anyway, even though I swear I saw the little symbol for a toilet on the sign.

He said he was going to turn around and go back, but the road was narrow and there really wasn't a good place to do it. We go around a bend and see a little path leading into the woods with a gravel area large enough to park a car and decide to stop and pee in the forest. I put my Chacos on and grabbed the pack of wet wipes and walked into the trees, where I immediately started panicking that I was going to find a snake. I was mildly freaking out, imagining squatting to pee and getting bitten by one, and I wasn't totally paying attention to where I was walking. I did my business and walked back to the car.

When I opened the car door, I smelled poop and checked J's diaper because I thought he might need a diaper change, but he was dry. So I figured he just farted, and I got R out of her carseat and took her back into the woods to pee. I was really bad at holding her in a squat, and she got pee all over her flip flop, which was completely my fault. Unfortunately that did not end up being our biggest problem.

We walked back to the car, and Jordan headed out down the trail to pee. I was helping R balance on one foot while I wiped her shoe down, when I heard Jordan yell: "Did you poop out here?"

I yelled back: "No, I just peed."
And he goes: "Well someone did, and it looks like someone stepped in it. There's half a footprint ... Um, did you step in it?"
"What? No." Super insulted he would imply such a thing. I am a lady.

Then I remembered the faint smell of poop when I was at the car before and looked down at my shoes.

The entire right heel of my Chaco was covered in poop. I repeat: I STEPPED IN ANOTHER HUMAN'S POOP.

Jordan was, obviously, horrified. To make matters worse, because I'd been bending down to help R go to the bathroom, the poop had smeared on the back of my leg! I wish I were exaggerating, but this did, in fact, happen in my actual real life.

We used almost an entire pack of wet wipes and a whole bottle of hand sanitizer wiping off my leg and my foot. Jordan poured his water bottle full of water on my shoe to get as much of the... matter... off as possible before putting it all in a plastic bag. (I should note that he requested I completely throw my shoes away, to which I put my poop-covered foot down and said he was insane and I was going to wash them like a normal human.) Jordan couldn't stop talking about how ridiculous I was for not paying attention enough to notice a pile of POOP ON THE GROUND.

I informed him I was too preoccupied with getting bitten in the butt by a snake to worry about poop. And also WHO POOPS IN THE MIDDLE OF A TRAIL???? Pee is one thing, but if you're going to take a dump, you should move off into the leaves or something, not leave a pile for unsuspecting victims who are terrified of coming across a reptile in the middle of a national forest.

So we all got back in the car, and Jordan gave me the silent treatment in protest of my condition until we got to the next gas station, where I spent 15 minutes in the bathroom using the soap to clean both of my legs and feet and the bottom of my shoe. Thankfully no one came in or they would have seen me standing barefoot washing the entire bottom half of my body in the sink like I was a homeless person.


When we left Hot Springs, we took the same road and drove past the spot of The Incident. Then we stopped at the original rest stop that I had seen and wanted to stop at, where there was indeed an actual bathroom. We could have saved ourselves a lot of trouble + a half hour of our lives + the cost of a pack of wet wipes + one bottle of purple meadow hand sanitizer. 

Moral of the story: I am always right.
Second moral: I apparently need to pay more attention to where I'm walking.
Third moral: Be less afraid of hypothetical snakes.

There's more to come from Hot Springs! Though thankfully no more stories as ridiculous as this one. Just regular things like, you know, not stepping in a random person's human waste.

Also, you guys blew me away with your survey responses! I'll leave it up for a few more days. Then I shall collect my thoughts and share. So interesting to read everyone's opinions.
Amie said...

Ok yuck but still hilarious!! I didn't even know what Chacos were until my step-daughter ordered some and for that price no way do you throw them out!!! haha Your kiddos are just the cutest!

Sarah said...

this is way too funny! but i am so sorry- gross!! glad you made it through (relatively) unscathed. :)

Rach said...

You should have seen my face when I read this story. Oh my goodness, how terrible! I'm glad you all survived the INCIDENT, haha!

Also, your Hot Springs pictures are getting me excited for our upcoming trip!

Michelle said...

I am loving this poop story!! I honestly thought you had a poop saga in the woods, so the result was much less embarrassing than I imagined. It reminded me of a Strangerville podcast episode I listened to where some lady was in the passenger seat of the car while her husband drove and kids were in the backseat. They were on a highway with no nearby exists, and she had no choice but to have some raging diarrhea in a Walmart bag while sitting in her seat. I was truly scared that happened to you, too 😂

AnneMarie said...

The poop story made me giggle, thanks for sharing that! But ugh-that is so gross. I would be completely disgusted. I realize that I have spent a lot of my life covered in other people's pee and poop (the life of a mom of little kids, you know?) but it's one thing when it's your child's poop, it is another thing when it is a completely random stranger's.

On a less gross note, that alligator place looks so cool! I'll keep it in mind for if/when we make it back to Arkansas (a couple of our librarians have been talking to me about their favorite places in that state, so we may have to head over to those).