Lizard zoos are like Broadway musicals. You're either the type who rushes out to see every one that opens or you've seen one and you figure that life experience has been adequately explored. If you happen to be the former type, the National Park Aquarium on Central Avenue in Hot Springs has about half a hundred aquariums, terrariums and other enclosed habitats awaiting your examination.

That's not a doorstop on the floor. That's an exhibit. Along with the big turtle they've got snakes, lizards, amphibians, fish, insects and aquatic crustaceans along with educational information describing the natural habits, habitats and ranges posted by each exhibit. The P.R. claims that this is the largest such collection in Arkansas and I'm not prepared to dispute that. I haven't been to the Little Rock Zoo in a while, but that would be the only rival for the title. Not affiliated with Hot Springs National Park itself, The National Park Aquarium is so named because it is located in the National Park.

Admission is six bucks. Address is 209 Central Avenue. Phone 501-624-3474, toll free 800-767-5161. Gift shop on premises. Air conditioned. No time limit.

RTJ -- 7/12/08

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