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Kidding Around

Before your children have a chance to say, "I'm bored," you can be ready with this list of great ideas. So, slather on the sunblock, grab your shades and live it up this summer.

Article
Michele Chiappetta and Rob Harmon
Photos
Courtesy
Posted
June 28, 2019

“This summer is going to be the best summer yet!” Remember saying that or feeling it when you were a kid?

Summertime is truly a magical time in the hearts and minds of our young ones, and it can be a daunting task to try and fill the hottest months of the year with outstanding fun they’ll never forget. A trip to Maui? Not likely. A trip to Disneyland? Maybe next year. Good news, though: There are plenty of ways to spend your summer in Green Country.

Want your children to learn while having fun? How about introducing a new skill or increase their STEAM abilities? Or maybe you want them to have the time of their life without having to worry about school for a while.

But keep in mind that summer can get expensive when you have children. The cost of vacations, summer camps, and extra daycare can add up to a big bill that can darken even the brightest of sunny days. We’ve attempted to come up with ideas to tackle the tough balance between the amount of time you have and the amount of money you can spend.

Don’t wait for the adventure to find you this summer. This guide will help you drive, dive, slide, glide, paddle, climb, and fly head-first into all the excitement of this extraordinary season. Not every idea will work at every age or with every child, but the chances are that you can find a few things here that will work for you and your children.

At the Gathering Place, over 60 acres of attractions, including slides, towers, climbing features, water areas, play gardens and sandlots provide more than enough for the kids to explore, exercise, and have a great time.
At the Gathering Place, over 60 acres of attractions, including slides, towers, climbing features, water areas, play gardens and sandlots provide more than enough for the kids to explore, exercise, and have a great time.

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Admiral Twin Drive-In
7355 E. Easton St. | Tulsa
Children in Tulsa are pretty darn lucky these days. In 2019, they still have a drive-in theater to visit. The Admiral Twin, a Route 66 icon, has been around for nearly 70 years, and it isn’t going anywhere any time soon. From the 1950s Disney classic Old Yeller to the original Star Wars or the latest Pokémon flick, generations of children have made memories watching movies on the nine-story screens. If you’re serious about getting a good parking spot, arrive one or two hours before the film is scheduled to begin. You may not need to go quite that early on weekdays, but expect the drive-in to be packed on summer weekends. Popcorn, candy, and staying up late watching movies all add up to an excellent experience, no matter your age.
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ahha
101 E. Archer St. | Tulsa
Passionate about the arts, crafting, and creative processes? One place you need to dial in to is ahha Tulsa, an organization dedicated to bringing the arts and humanities to our community through innovative programming. They offer a variety of events throughout the year geared for children, teens and families — including weekly teen camps throughout the summer for photography, drawing, music, screen printing, sculpture, performance and more. There are also stroller tours on the second Thursday of each month, providing juice, snacks, and a child-friendly tour of the gallery exhibitions. Each month, ahha Tulsa offers regularly scheduled open lab sessions in figure drawing (every first Sunday), printmaking (every second Sunday), darkroom photography (every third Sunday) and metalsmithing (every fourth Sunday). During scheduled sessions, an open lab supervisor will provide insight and assistance for your self-directed projects. All equipment and some materials (such as photo chemicals or etching acid) are included in the $25 registration fee. Last year, ahha’s programs reached over 130,000 school children, youth, and adults in the greater Tulsa area.
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Climb Tulsa
4923 E. 32nd St. | Tulsa
All summer, this world-class facility, tucked behind the Celebrity Restaurant at 31st Street and Yale Avenue, offers kiddos climb camps in two different age groups (6-9 and 10-14 years). Children learn the basics of climbing safety for top-rope and boulder climbing. Slack-lining and leadership training, as well as kid yoga and more, are all a part of the fun during the four-day summer camps. For less than $50 a day, your children can climb some of the 20,000-square-feet of walls, exercise, and more importantly, be worn-out at the end of the day. Snacks are provided, as well as top-notch instruction and care.

For less than $50 a day, your children can climb some of the 20,000-square-feet of walls at Climb Tulsa.
For less than $50 a day, your children can climb some of the 20,000-square-feet of walls at Climb Tulsa.

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Dave & Buster's
6812 S. 105th E. Ave. | Tulsa
This family-friendly gaming venue is excellent for children and adults of all ages to enjoy some downtime. Regular visitors love the superb customer service and staff. Adults can relax with a cocktail, wine, or a choice of over 20 beers, watching sports on large TVs while the children wear themselves out playing. The gaming floor features options for young children, teens, and adults. Enjoy the latest, coolest arcade games, and win prizes. And rest assured, your children will love the menu — burgers, fries, macaroni and cheese, pretzel dogs, and even a kid’s surf and turf (mini-burgers and fried shrimp).
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Gathering Place
2650 S. John Williams Way | Tulsa
Tulsa’s Gathering Place is a one-of-a-kind experience for children and adults alike. This free amusement park-like recreation space is the place for children to run, play, and learn the whole day. Over 60 acres of attractions, including slides, towers, climbing features, water areas, play gardens and sandlots provide more than enough for the kids to explore, exercise, and have a great time. Also, be on the lookout for the three park characters, Blue the Heron, Tulsey the Turtle and Hazelnut the Squirrel. One day is not enough time to spend at this amazing place. Good thing the kids are off all summer.
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Guthrie Green
111 E. M.B. Brady St. | Tulsa
Fun in the sun in downtown Tulsa? Absolutely. That’s what Guthrie Green is all about. And they have plenty of children’s programming throughout the year. The water feature is fun for the children to cool down in during those 100-degree summer days. Visit on a Wednesday for maximum fun. Start with Story Time, which takes place Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m., and allows parents and kids to enjoy a beloved book read aloud by the guest reader. Then linger for Food Truck Wednesdays (11 a.m.-2 p.m.), with live music and plenty of foods to pick from.
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Honor Heights Park
1400 Honor Heights Drive | Muskogee
In one of northeast Oklahoma’s most beautiful parks — and one of the largest, at 132 acres — children can roam for miles. Gorgeous flowers bloom along rolling hills and meadows. It’s the perfect place to take the kids for a picnic and enjoy a fantastic day in the sun. Fish the day away at one of their five lakes or ponds, Go for an adventure hike on one of the trails. Or, enjoy jumping and running throughout the playground and splash pad. Whatever you do, enjoy yourself at one of the most beautiful parks you’ll ever visit.
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Incredible Pizza
8314 E. 71st St. | Tulsa
There’s nothing like an amusement park, and what’s better than enjoying the fun indoors where it’s cool during the summer heat? That’s what Incredible Pizza does best. The buffet is kid-friendly, featuring a selection of pizzas, hot dogs, Frito pie, chicken nuggets, and more. Incredible Pizza features a variety of arcade games, a theater, go-karts, laser tag, bumper cars, and even a large indoor roller coaster. Check out the Preview 918 deal — a 0.99-cent buffet with each $18 game card purchase.
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Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Drive | Jenks
On July 4, enjoy the cool exhibits inside the aquarium, then gather together outside at the aquarium’s riverfront backyard for one of the best views of the fireworks over the Arkansas River. Haul the lawn chairs and picnic blankets from home, and be sure to enjoy food from the Coral Reef Café. On July 10, become a marine biologist for a day and spend time learning all sorts of new things about conserving our oceans and the life that thrives and strives inside it. Outside of the special events, buy a pass and check out the amazing animals and exhibits including the 300-pound loggerhead sea turtles in Sea Turtle Island or walk through the shark tunnel that houses the world’s most extensive collection of bull sharks. The Aquatic Oklahoma exhibit showcases many freshwater Oklahoma natives like an alligator snapping turtle, paddlefish, and alligators.
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Oxley Nature Center
6700 Mohawk Blvd. | Tulsa
Being outside in nature is essential for all children. Fresh air, exercise, and observation of the natural world are synonymous with childhood. The outdoor hiking trails at Oxley Nature Center in Mohawk Park are perfect for experiencing quiet, wooded areas, and listening for and spotting wildlife. Be sure to check in at the Interpretive Building to see the live beehive and explore the kid-friendly displays. Enjoy bird walks, butterfly walks, full moon walks, and other special activities that bring a love of the outdoors to people of all ages.
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Summer fun isn’t complete without a dip into the pool. Where better to splash it all out than at Tulsa’s premier water park, Safari Joe’s H2O.
Summer fun isn’t complete without a dip into the pool. Where better to splash it all out than at Tulsa’s premier water park, Safari Joe’s H2O.

Safari Joe’s H2O
4707 E. 21st St. | Tulsa
Summer fun isn’t complete without a dip into the pool. Where better to splash it all out than at Tulsa’s premier water park, Safari Joe’s H2O. Of course, a water park’s entertainment begins with the rides they offer. The Reptile Rush Slides tower over the park, providing a great view of the city. The Raptor Rapids is Oklahoma’s largest and only water roller coaster. Ride the Flumes, a choice of three twisty-turning slides. Or have a blast in the Shark Beach Wave Pool, which is one of the largest wave pools in the Southwest. For more leisurely, laid-back fun, float on a tube along gentle Rex’s River. Visit the Activity Pool, where you can relax and sunbathe, or enjoy activities such as the high dive, water basketball, a rock wall, volleyball, and two small speed slides. For little ones, visit The Lagoon, which has small, child-appropriate pools and activities ideal for young children. Parents can sit back and relax while their children play. There is also a playground area. And of course, there will be animals on display, mermaids, macaws, and more.
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Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium
3624 N. 74th E. Ave. | Tulsa
Next time you’re up by Mohawk Park, the Tulsa Zoo or the airport, stop here too. The Air and Space Museum features exhibits that focus on both aviation and space exploration; Oklahoma has strong ties to both. Enjoy seeing actual aircrafts like the Grumman F-14A Tomcat and the rare Bell 47-K naval training helicopter. Learn about Sand Springs native, NASA astronaut Bill Pogue. The kids will enjoy interactive hot air balloon and space shuttle exhibits. And you can always check out the educational STEM programming and summer camps around 3D printing, astronomy and more. The planetarium provides an exciting educational experience by pairing stunning high-definition visuals with state-of-the-art technology in a fully-immersive theater atmosphere. In addition to daily screenings of full-dome videos, they also present interactive programs ranging from fundamental astronomy to earth science.
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Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Dr. | Tulsa
Within the Tulsa Botanic Garden, a few miles north of the IDL, the Children’s Discovery Garden sits in wait for the sounds of the pounding of tiny feet and jubilant laughter. Parents and children both love to explore the expansive sprawl of walking paths and waterways. The Spring Giant, a rugged stone sculpture, oversees the adventure, and young and old capture new experiences to last a lifetime. At the highest point of the garden, in the Tree Fort, splendorous views of the entire grounds can be seen.
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Tulsa Central Library
400 Civic Center | Tulsa
The Central Library branch downtown can offer a lot of cool options for children. Enjoy gaming events, children’s story time, a children’s area with play areas and book bins for easy access, and an outdoor space called the Children’s Garden where they play kids’ movies on the big screen. Check out the classes at the Maker Space — screen printing, 3D printing, and more. Encourage your child to participate in the summer reading program. And remember that other library locations around town also feature great children’s programming year-round.
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Tulsa Children’s Museum Discovery Lab
560 N. Maybelle Ave. | Tulsa
Tulsa’s oldest park, Owen Park, is home to the Tulsa Children’s Museum Discovery Lab. Children can experience all things STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) at this outstanding educational resource for inquiring children who have to know. On July 8-12 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., an R&D camp (ages 8–12) will be in session for kids who are ready to put their engineering skills to the test. See how a model car does in a tornado simulation. Build and test skyscraper models against earthquakes and much more. One of the current exhibits (Zoo in You) is running through Sept. 5 in the main hall. Zoo in You is a 2,000-square-foot, bilingual (English and Spanish) exhibit that explores the fascinating and complex world inside each of us. With over 10 interactive stations, visitors engage with their microbiomes — a dynamic, adaptable, and delicately balanced ecosystem, much like any other found in nature. And don’t miss the 30-foot slide made entirely of packing tape. There are six layers of tape in each tunnel adding up to over 16 miles of tape. Kids love navigating the tunnels and bridges and are inspired by them to create extraordinary things out of ordinary materials.
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Live animal exhibits delight children and adults alike at the Tulsa Zoo. Giraffes, lions, reptiles — oh my!
Live animal exhibits delight children and adults alike at the Tulsa Zoo. Giraffes, lions, reptiles — oh my!

Tulsa Zoo
6421 E. 36th St. | Tulsa
Live animal exhibits delight children and adults alike at the Tulsa Zoo. Giraffes, lions, reptiles — oh my! But that’s not all. You and your kiddos can also enjoy kid-friendly yoga sessions. Or sign your animal-loving children up for a variety of grade-specific summer camps in zookeeping, wildlife vlogging, math, animal facts, a sensory safari, and a lot more. Become a member and go on Member Mondays to enjoy the train, carousel, giraffe feedings, story time and more. Exhibits include The Children’s Zoo, home to small mammals including guinea hogs, miniature horses, river otters, wallabies and more; Chimpanzee Connection with indoor and outdoor viewing of these endangered animals; Life in the Cold featuring chinchillas, snowy owls, grizzly bear and arctic foxes; and The Rainforest with its Central and South American habitat, monkeys, anaconda, piranha and golden-headed lion tamarin.
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Woody Guthrie Center
102 E. M.B. Brady St. | Tulsa
Wasn’t it the esteemed Woody Guthrie who said we should “watch the kids; do like they do?” At this unique Tulsa Arts District museum, kids can learn the meanings behind the song, “This Land is Your Land” and so much more. In August, kids with some musical proficiency can be a part of the three-day master class Summer Band Workshop, where they can learn to collaborate on musical performance, stage performance, and even recording. Kids love music, after all. What a cool way to expose them to an Oklahoma icon at the same time.
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Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve
1925 Woolaroc Ranch Road | Bartlesville
With 3,700 acres of wildlife preserve, you and the whole family will enjoy seeing more than 30 varieties of native and exotic animals and birds roaming through Woolaroc. See if you can spot the bison, elk, cattle, deer, llamas, ostriches, pygmy goats and other creatures. Sign up the kids for summer camps for ages 6-8 and 9-11. The museum features a vast range of Western-themed exhibits — planes, cowboy gear, antique firearms, fine art, sculptures, Native American artifacts, and more. There is also an outdoor children’s playground. Founded in 1925 by oilman Frank Phillips, Woolaroc is derived from three words — the woods, lakes, and rocks that make up the beautiful Osage Hills of northeast Oklahoma. Will Rogers once said, “When you are visiting the beauty spots of this country, don’t overlook Frank Phillips’ ranch and game preserve in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. It’s the most unique place in this country. If there is one last under-discovered treasure left in the United States, it surely must be a place called Woolaroc.”
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Xtreme Racing and Entertainment
708 W. Kenosha St. | Broken Arrow
Kids can have the ride of their lives here. Hop in a race kart, buckle up and drive insanely fast on a real Formula-1 style asphalt track. We’re not talking bumper cars fast. These cars fly, but don’t worry, excellent safety staff is there to make sure everyone stays in control and safe. Xtreme’s virtual reality games, in their VR facility the size of a warehouse, are impossible to describe adequately. Play with as many as eight people or choose the only player versus player experience in the world. Featuring industry-leading technology from Zero Latency, Xtreme virtual reality games are so immersive, so hyper-realistic that they will blow your mind. Xtreme also offers interactive shooting, sports, and POV games. Or take a break from racing and play on one of their table games, or show off your accuracy by throwing axes at targets.

Hop in a race kart, buckle up and drive insanely fast on a real Formula-1 style asphalt track at Xtreme Racing and Entertainment.
Hop in a race kart, buckle up and drive insanely fast on a real Formula-1 style asphalt track at Xtreme Racing and Entertainment.

Also Check Out

All Star Sports Complex
10309 E. 61st St. | Tulsa

Andy B's Bowling
8711 S. Lewis Ave. | Tulsa

Bartlesville Kiddie Park
205 S. Cherokee Ave. | Bartlesville

Bentley Park
8505 E. 148th St. | Bixby

Black Gold Park
95 W. 145th St. | Glenpool

Bounce U
8922 S. Memorial Drive | Tulsa

Centennial Park
1028 E. 6th St. | Tulsa

Chandler Park
6500 W. 21st St. | Tulsa

Flying Tee
600 Riverwalk Terrace | Jenks

Funtastic Island
10320 E. 116th St. | Owasso

Haikey Creek Park
11327 S. Garnett Road | Broken Arrow

Hunter Park
5804 E. 91st St. | Tulsa

LaFortune Park
5202 S. Hudson Ave. | Tulsa

Laser Quest
2909 S. Sheridan Road | Tulsa

Main Event
7830 S. Santa Fe Ave. | Tulsa

Mohawk Park
5701 E. 36th St. | Tulsa

Rayola Splash Park
8300 Owasso Expressway | Owasso

Skateland
1150 S. Sheridan Road | Tulsa

Sky Zone Trampoline Park
8306 E. 61st St. | Tulsa

Turkey Mountain Park
6800 S. Elwood Ave. | Tulsa

Wheels and Thrills
10637 N. Garnett Road | Owasso

Whiteside Park and Community Center
4009 S. Pittsburg Ave. | Tulsa

Woodward Park
2435 S. Peoria Ave. | Tulsa

July 2019 Cover