As Toad Suck Daze was this weekend, I decided there couldn’t be a more perfect time to write about Toad Suck Park - located about 7 miles outside Conway on State Route 60, on the west side of the Arkansas River and under the bridge.
Toad Suck Park hosted the first Toad Suck Daze festival in 1982. Holly Prall shared a history of the festival and its colorful name in Friday’s article, Toad Suck Story: What Came Before? Her history didn’t mention the Toad Suck Tavern plaque that’s near a huge Catalpa tree between the basketball court and soccer field, but since it’s stamped 1984 – the last year the festival was hosted at the park – I have a feeling the two are somewhat related.
Like Cadron Settlement Park, there won’t be a lot of folks walking to Toad Suck Park as it’s so far removed from town and the folks cycling there are more likely to be experienced road riders. (Those who do ride there, though, will not find bike racks.)
Entrances to the grounds from SR 60 could definitely be marked better. You can get in by turning into the road that looks like it’s part of the Toad Suck One Stop and then taking your first right, but the entrance with the small Corps of Engineers highway sign pointing the way is about half a mile from the bridge on the south side of SR 60.
Once you get into the park, you may or may not notice one of the aspects I love about parks managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers: the roads are truly shared by all. Campers and day-users walk to different destinations using the same roads used by those arriving and leaving the park. You’ll probably see kids riding their bikes all around the roads and parking lots, too. This all works because everyone is expecting to “share the road” and therefore, consciously or not, looking out for each other.
The park has camping spots for tents and RVs, picnic tables and pavilions, playgrounds, a basketball court, volleyball setup, and a field setup for soccer (but the goal nets are missing). Restrooms have running water and there is water access speckled throughout.
I was so happy to see that I wasn’t the only one who thought Sunday was a great day to enjoy the park. The riverbank was lined with folks fishing. A pavilion and nearby field were being enjoyed by a church group on the grounds for a picnic. The playground equipment was buzzing with children and their families. There were also a number of campsites in use.
Before I left, I stopped in at the gate office and struck gold in the form of a print out of the legend of the Toad Suck Tavern – helpful for those who get there and want to know a little bit more about the unique name.