Humans are creatures of habit. But not all kids enjoy weekly trips to the same museums and parks. Sometimes it's important to get off the beaten path and try something new. So we set out to find some of the Oklahoma destinations that might not come up at the top of the web searches. These hidden gems are no less appealing than the shiny, new attractions (and they probably have shorter lines!).
Close to Home:
1. Enlighten your kids and spark their imagination with a trip to Harn Homestead in Oklahoma City. The original Land Run property is littered with historic structures that help visitors get a glimpse of early Oklahoma life.
2. Dodge City Paintball in Piedmont makes for a thrilling day trip for the whole family. They're one of the few paintball facilities with low impact equipment specifically for kids as young as six.
3. One part art museum and one part natural history museum, SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology reveals the beautiful science below the surface of every living thing. View hundreds of skeletons of creatures from across the globe, from tiny mice to a giant humpback whale.
A Little Farther Out:
4. Settled among a gypsum canyon a little more than an hour northwest of Oklahoma City in Watonga is Roman Nose State Park. Breathtaking hiking trails make for a great day trip, but overnight visitors have the luxury of choosing to pitch their own tent, stay in the park's impressive lodge with modern amenities or rent a teepee for an authentic Oklahoma experience.
5. Kids and kids at heart adore a stop at the Toy & Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley, about an hour and a half south of the metro. Wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling action figures have beckoned more than 50,000 visitors from all 50 states to this small Oklahoma town.
6. It's one of the most unique pieces of land in Oklahoma but many people don't even realize Little Sahara State Park exists. The Waynoka park, located about two and a half hours northwest of the metro, boasts almost 2,000 acres of towering sand dunes that transport visitors to a desert oasis.
7. An hour west of the metro in Weatherford sits the ideal destination for air and space lovers. The Stafford Air & Space Museum is a Smithsonian Institution affiliate museum that houses planes, space suits and other artifacts marking space travel history.
8. For all the museums Oklahoma City has, it's still lacking a true children's museum. But an hour east of the metro in Seminole is the Jasmine Moran Children's Museum, an expertly curated collection of exhibits that encourage imagination and pretend play offering hours of fun.
9. Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most unique destinations in the sate and the only place in the world where hourglass-shaped selenite crystals can be found. Visitors flock to the area every year from April to October when digging for these unique crystals is allowed. Located near Great Salt Plains State Park, the refuge is also home to more than 300 species of protected birds, making it a great spot for wildlife watching.
10. If you tire of Oklahoma City's art scene, the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art sits just a 45-minute drive east of Oklahoma City. In addition to beautiful displays, this museum is known for an impressive lineup of classes and workshops for artists of all ages.