Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.
Hot Springs’ annual Hot Springs Springfest is this week, and the Summit Arena will play host Thursday, April 13, to recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Lynyrd Skynyrd in the headlining music event of the festival. Showtime is 7:30 p.m., with Pinkeye d’Gecko opening. Tickets are $35 and $30 and are available through Ticketmaster (501-321-1919).
Springfest, centered around Oaklawn Park’s Racing Festival of the South, also includes downtown contests and concerts. See www.hotsprings.com for more information or call 321-2027.
Music from four local bands and more than 75 beers and wines from around the world will be featured at the annual Arthritis Foundation spring benefit, Foam Fest, scheduled for Friday, April 14, at the River Market Pavilion. The party runs from 5:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. and is open to anyone 21 years and up.
Ticket prices are $18 before Saturday and $20 at the door. A non-drinking, designated driver will be admitted for $10. Call 664-7242.
Two major events, including the annual Community Easter Sunrise Service at Riverfront Park, are scheduled for this weekend in conjunction with the religious holiday.
Broadway star and Arkansas native Lawrence Hamilton will be among the performers at the Greater Little Rock Easter Pageant, scheduled for three shows Saturday and Sunday at the North Little Rock High School East Campus Auditorium, 2400 Lakewood Road. Music and drama combine to bring the last days of Jesus Christ and the Easter story to life. The show will include a 27-piece orchestra, a full cast performing the Biblical drama, costumes, live animals and more.
Showtimes are 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are available online at www.itickets.com, charge-by-phone at 800-965-9324, at area Christian bookstores, and through Park Hill Baptist Church. Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 2-12, and $35 for a “Family Pak.” Call 753-3413.
The non-denominational Community Easter Sunrise Service, sponsored by Pulaski Heights Methodist Church, is free and will begin at 7 a.m. Sunday at the Riverfest Amphitheatre. For more information, call 664-3600.
Jammin’ at Wildwood
Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts’ Cabaret Series continues Friday, April 14, with “Jammin’ at Le Boeuf,” featuring music reminiscent of the famed cabaret Le Boeuf sur la Toit in Paris in the 1920s. Classic jazz pianist John Sheridan will lead a group of Wildwood artists in Scott Joplin rags and music that inspired the foxtrot and cakewalk dances. Dot Callanen has choreographed the dancers who will cut a rug to the music. Also, the music will cover the “Golden Age of Jazz,” from 1900 to 1960 with tunes by Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin and Johnny Mercer.
Tickets are $35 and the show begins at 8 p.m. Call 821-7275 or 888-278-7727, or visit www.wildwoodpark.org.
Zoo’s Earth Day
The Little Rock Zoo will celebrate Earth Day early (it’s officially April 20) on Saturday, April 15, with special presentations on nature conservation and animal demonstrations, plus a statewide chili cookoff and a photo contest. The fun starts at 9 a.m. and the event is free of charge with regular zoo admission ($6 adults, $4 children for nonmembers).
For those wanting to compete in the 30th Annual CASI Arkansas State Open Chili Championship Saturday, the entry fee is $25, cooks should arrive to set up before the zoo opens at 9 a.m. and the chili must be submitted to the judges by 1 p.m. Proceeds benefit the zoo. Contact Bruce Smith (501-517-1175), Richard Jones (501-868-8206), or Zetta Friday at the zoo (666-2406) for more information. For information on the photo contest or the other Earth Day events, call 666-2406.
Also, the zoo will stay open late Saturday for “Zoovies,” the park’s new movie series. Saturday’s showing is “Madagascar,” from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is $4.
James Lardner, the co-editor of the book “Inequality Matters,” will join with several Little Rock experts on social welfare in a panel discussion on poverty in the United States on Tuesday, April 18, at the Main Library. The discussion runs from 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., and a reception and book signing with Lardner will follow. The event is free; call 918-3032 for reservations.
The Amazon’s neotropical environment makes its annual appearance at Little Rock’s Museum of Discovery with the exhibit “Rainforest,” opening Wednesday, April 19, and running through April 22. The exhibit examines the precious South American ecosystem with hands-on activities, and is open to the public at 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, April 22. Children can enjoy crafts, experiments, exotic plants and animals, including two recently acquired species: Argentine horned frogs and red-bellied piranhas.
Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for children ages 1-12 and for seniors over 65, and free for children under one. The MOD is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Call 396-7050 or visit www.amod.org.
Two major events to watch for Thursday, April 20:
• Celtic Woman, the collaboration of four Irish singers and a fiddler featured often on AETN, will appear at Little Rock’s Robinson Center Music Hall on April 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets at $75 are available by calling 800-662-2386.
• The Arkansas Literary Festival kicks off its three-day event on April 20 with National Public Radio’s “Book Guys,” Allen Stypeck and Mike Cuthbert, taping two live programs in the Main Library in the River Market district, starting at 6 p.m. A full schedule of the festival is available at www.arkansasliteraryfestival.org.