New (or newly renovated) Family-Friendly Fun in OKC
Remodeled Martin Park Nature Center
We all love the tried-and-true family attractions in the OKC metro but we’re also thrilled when we see new destinations pop up. Check out these five brand new or newly renovated spots for kid-friendly fun!
Jim Thorpe Museum & OK Sports Hall of Fame
This museum isn’t technically new, just in a beautiful new location. If there are any college football fans or history buffs in your house, this museum is a must-see. The museum’s new location outlines famous athlete Jim Thorpe’s life, his accomplishments and also the challenges of being a Native American during his time. The rest of the museum is the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. There are more than 150 inductees recognized from a wide variety of sports including basketball, gymnastics, wrestling and rodeo.
The museum is impressive and its Bricktown location is icing on the cake. Take advantage of the plethora of other family-fun attractions when you’re in the area. Better yet, keep the sports theme going by taking in a Dodgers game at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
www.oklahomasportshalloffame.org; free admission; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center
This Shawnee museum explores the rich history of the Potawatomi people and their ability to overcome adversity. There is a mixture of life-sized replicas and digital interactive exhibits that tell this story.
And even if you can’t seem to get your kids interested in history, the whole family is sure to love the nearby Eagle Aviary. It houses eagles that are permanently injured and cannot live in the wild. It is unique in that the design reflects cultural significance of the eagles to the Potawatomi Nation. Tours are available by appointment only. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule.
www.potawatomiheritage.com; free admission; open 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
Martin Park Nature Center
Martin Park Nature Center has long been a family favorite in the OKC area but last year the facility closed its doors for a much-anticipated update. The new indoor displays highlight Oklahoma’s beautiful prairie landscape and the animals that live there. The restrooms have been completely redone (what parent doesn’t love a nice, clean restroom?) and a new boardwalk that overlooks the lake has been added to the trails.
www.okc.gov/departments/parks-recreation/martin-park-nature-center; free admission; open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday
Spring Creek Trails at Arcadia Lake
A brand new trail on this scenic Edmond lake beckons visitors with plenty of shade trees and picturesque water views. The new paved trail features wide biking and walking lanes that are family-friendly. The trailhead is located in Spring Creek Park, at the east end of 15th St. in Edmond. When you get to the payment booth, just tell them you are heading to the trails and you won’t have to pay.
www.edmondok.com/418/Trails; free admission
Breakaway Indoor Playground
“Weather alert! Temperatures to hit record high this week.”
Sound familiar? We seem to be hearing that a lot lately and there are only so many museums you can visit before the kids just need some place to be loud and run free. Breakaway is an indoor playground in Edmond that allows them to do just that. For the little ones, there is an infant/toddler play area and for the bigger kids, there is a three-level, 2,000-square-foot playground for ages 12 and under.
Added bonus for parents: sitting area with TV, free WiFi coffee and the playground was built to accommodate adults. So whether you like joining in the fun or just relaxing, this playground has you covered. They also offer buy-one-get-one-free admission on Thursdays.
www.breakawayok.com; age 1 and under, free; ages 1-12, $10; open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday & Saturday; 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Sunday
Two New Can't-Miss Exhibits in the Metro
Megalodon Exhibit at Sam Noble Museum
What kid isn’t fascinated by a shark with teeth bigger than their hand or a jaw so large it could swallow an adult whole? Sam Noble Museum in Norman gives them a chance to feed that fascination.
Megalodon was the largest shark to ever live and this exhibit gives all the details including a life-size model (yep, it stretches over half the length of the room) and several jaws that have been reconstructed using fossilized teeth.
www.samnoblemuseum.ou.edu/permanent-exhibits/current-exhibits/; kids, $5; adults, $8; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Exhibit open through Jan. 6.
Sancutary Asia Exhibit at the Oklahoma City Zoo
The Zoo’s been working on a brand new way to encounter exciting Asian animals that’s slated to open Aug. 31. This new exhibit will expand the habitat for the Asian elephants but also include red pandas, an Asian rhino and many other exotic animals. Inside this six-acre expansion to the Zoo is the two-story Lotus Pavilion which offers food, beverages and stunning views of the entire zoo.
www.okczoo.org; ages 3-11, $8; adults, $11; open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily