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“Hidden Gem off the beaten track”

Parkin Archeological State Park
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Parkin
Attraction details
San Diego, CA
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem off the beaten track”
Reviewed October 30, 2012

We arrived near opening time (8 AM) on a Saturday. We were the only visitors during our entire stay (about 2 hours). The staff was friendly and helpful. We watched the movie, perused the small museum with great artifact examples and did the short (3/4 mile) loop trail to the site. Everything was well presented and shared the sites history well. Other reviewers have listed all of the details of this park, so I won't repeat those.

The gift shop was fairly small but had some unique and inexpensive items. The park staff was very outgoing and friendly. They offered to let us dress up in the different outfits (including replica chain mail) and then demonstrated the conquistador outfit for us posing for photos. They were preparing for a Saturday school group later in the day, but seemed very pleased to have visitors to their site. They really helped make this location such a pleasure to visit.s

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank CaGirl24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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18 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
South Dakota
Level 6 Contributor
168 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 155 helpful votes
“Learned Something New!”
Reviewed August 1, 2012

This middle-of-nowhere State Park is a gem. One hour from Memphis, a couple hours from Little Rock, it is well worth the drive; as a bonus, it is free. The complex consists of a good visitor center staffed by friendly State Park Interpreters, with a museum, theatre room, gift shop, clean restrooms, and the actual archaeological site.

We know a great deal about the Native Americans at Casqui village (approx. 1250-1600s AD) due to Hernando de Soto's written testimony regarding his exploration of Arkansas and his time spent with the Casqui in 1541. Through explanations, quotes from de Soto's written notes, and several finds uncovered at Parkin (remarkable effigy pots, pottery, wood fragments possibly from a cross, etc.), the small museum succinctly tells the story of Parkin, the Casqui, and de Soto. (Since our previous education had focused on DeSoto's explorations of Florida; it was fun to learn something new!)

The film is short (12 minutes?) and basically repeats the museum's story; it would be beneficial for younger visitors.

The easy, flat, 3/4 mile walk through the outdoor complex is completely paved and accessible. Umbrellas and a little wagon (for little ones) are available. Interpretive panels, along with a self-guided-tour pamphlet, tell the story of what still exists (chief's mound, river, area of the moat, the current dig at the village's corner which will hopefully reveal remains of fortifications) -- and what does not. If you prefer a guided tour, the cost (as of this writing) is three dollars/pp.

A second bonus is that this site contains more recent history -- of a thriving, early-1900s community associated with a nearby sawmill. A cemetery and nicely restored schoolhouse can be seen. Push-buttons on interpretive panels reveal voices which tell the social details of attending this school as (African American) children of sawmill workers.

One of the State Park Interpreters deserves special recognition, but I've unfortunately forgotten her name (she said she has a soft spot for the Louisiana Purchase SP boardwalk and forlorn stone marker). She made us feel welcomed, answered all of our questions, gave advice on other State Parks, and presented Parkin, and Arkansas, in the absolute best possible light. Thank you for making our visit special!

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
7 Thank goseedo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LaPlace, Louisiana
Level 6 Contributor
293 reviews
153 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
“Eductional, peaceful.”
Reviewed April 1, 2012

Parkin is a 17 acre site dedicated to a village occupied by Native Americans from 1000-1550 AD. The staff offers interpretive programs in addition to the museum and grounds. Later it was the site of the Sawdust Hill Community. There is also a one-room schoolhouse used by African Americas in the mid-1900s. Archeological digs will take place this summer in the mound area.
A circular walking trail from the visitor's center takes you through the park. A

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank grip652
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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