15 Places to Visit Before Your Kids Turn 15 - MetroFamily Magazine
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15 Places to Visit Before Your Kids Turn 15

by Mari Farthing

Reading Time: 7 minutes 

Our publisher, Sarah Taylor, literally wrote the book about exploring Oklahoma with your family. She’s passionate about our state and the amazing diversity, history and fun that can be found within our boundaries. What better person to ask for a list of the 15 best places in the state to take your kids to introduce them to the wonders of Oklahoma than someone so passionate about the subject?

Though it was difficult to keep this list to 15 (at times it was closer to 50!), we tried to include many of Oklahoma’s diverse offerings. Here, in random order, are our top 15 places to introduce your children to Oklahoma’s amazing history, heritage, people and landscapes.

1. Will Rogers Museum

Will Rogers is perhaps Oklahoma’s most famous son, known for his humor and wit. The Will Rogers Museum in Claremore houses artifacts and memorabilia on Rogers, plus a research library and children’s museum. Special events held throughout the year celebrate his life.

www.willrogers.com, 800-324-9455
1720 West Will Rogers Boulevard, Claremore
Open daily, 10am–5pm
Admission $5 adults; $4 seniors and military; free for members and children 17 and under

  • ALSO VISIT: Nearby, visit Will Rogers’ birthplace, Dog Iron Ranch in Oolagah. The two-story home is part of a 400-acre living history ranch that is open to the public daily from 10am-5pm, free admission (contributions accepted).
    9501 East 380 Rd, Oologah

2. Five Civilized Tribes Museum

The museum is dedicated to preserving the art, history and culture of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole tribes. The fine, traditional artworks housed within include both changing and permanent displays that represent both historical and modern American Indian artists.

www.fivetribes.org, 918-683-1701
1101 Honor Heights Drive, Muskogee
Open Monday–Friday 10:00am-5:00pm, Saturday 10:00am-2:00pm
Admission $3 Adults; $2 Seniors; $1.50 Students; Children 5 & younger free

    The USS Batfish is on display in a War Memorial Park & Military Museum that celebrates the part the historic submarine played in World War II.
    Muskogee Turnpike Exit 33, Port of Muskogee, War Memorial Park
    918-682-6294, www.ussbatfish.com
    Adults $6, children 7-13 $3, seniors and retired military $4; hours vary, see website


    Honor Heights Park in Muskogee is a 132-acre oasis featuring fishing lakes, picnic areas, nature trails, playground, splash pad, arboretum and more. The park is host to the Azalea Festival in the spring and the Garden of Lights during the holidays.
    W Shawnee St, between N 40th & 48th Streets
    918-684-6302, www.cityofmuskogee.com

3. Beavers Bend State Park

Located at the south end of Broken Bow Lake in the far southeastern forested and mountainous region of Oklahoma, Beavers Bend offers a beautiful, scenic destination with rugged terrain and a variety of outdoor activities for all ages to enjoy, including hiking, canoeing and more.

www.beaversbend.com, 580-494-6509
Broken Bow, Oklahoma
Park admission is free; additional fees may be required for activities

4. Museum of the Great Plains

Learn about the history of the state through indoor and outdoor exhibits that highlight Lawton and the settlement of the Great Plains. A planned renovation will redesign permanent exhibits and create more multimedia and hands-on exhibits for visitors to immerse themselves in the history.

www.museumgreatplains.org, 580-581-3460
601 Northwest Ferris Avenue, Lawton
Open Monday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm, Sunday 1:00-5:00pm
Admission $5 Seniors; $6 Ages 12+; $2.50 Ages 7-11; Ages 6 & younger free

  • ALSO VISIT: The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is the oldest managed wildlife facility in the country, created to protect a wide variety of wildlife in danger of extinction. Today, visitors can visit to hike, hunt, view wildlife, fish and attend special events scheduled throughout the year.
    Located NW of Lawton
    General information 580-429-2197, www.fws.gov/refuge/Wichita_Mountains
    Call for hours and tour information

5. Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum

The Chisholm Trail was used in the late 19th century to drive cattle from Texas to Kansas, and played an integral part in Oklahoma’s history. Visitors can explore what life was like during this era through hands-on exhibits, art galleries and a theater experience.

www.onthechisholmtrail.com, 580-252-6692
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway, Duncan
Open Monday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm, Sunday 1:00-5:00pm
Admission $6 Adults; $5 seniors; $4 ages 5-17; group and family rates available

6. Chickasaw Cultural Center

This indoor and outdoor experience celebrates the culture, history and future of the Chickasaw people through amazing interactive and multimedia exhibits. Highlights include a café serving traditional Chickasaw fare and indoor and outdoor theaters that host dance, storytelling and living history performances.

www.chickasawculturalcenter.com, 580-622-7130
867 Charles Cooper Memorial Road, Sulphur
Open Monday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm, Sunday noon-5:00pm
Admission is free

7. Route 66 Museum

Route 66 cut a path through the state of Oklahoma, bringing travelers from Chicago to Los Angeles before the creation of Interstate highways. Learn about the impact of the Mother Road on Oklahoma (and American) history at this museum that showcases exhibits highlighting transportation, lodging, road construction and more.

www.route66.org, 580-323-7866
2229 West Gary Boulevard Clinton
Open (spring & autumn) Monday–Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 1-5pm; (summer hours) Monday – Saturday, 9am-7pm, Sunday, 1-6pm; (winter hours) Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-5pm.
Admission $5 adults; $4 seniors; $1 ages 6-18; ages 5 & younger free with paid admission

    Nearby Elk City’s Old Town Museum complex highlights the history of the area with the National Route 66 Museum, the Transportation Museum (filled with interactive, hands-on transportation-themed activities for kids) the Pioneer Museum and Beutler Brothers Rodeo Hall, the Farm and Ranch Museum, Livery Stable, Train Depot, Wagon Yard and other areas depicting Old Town Elk City.
    US 66 & Pioneer Road, Elk City
    580-225-6266, www.elkcity.com
    Open Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm, Sunday 2:00-5:00pm, closed some holidays
    Adults $5, Seniors and ages 6-16 $4, under age 6 free


    The Stafford Air & Space Museum features over 40,000 square feet of interactive exhibits on the history of flight, from the Wright brothers to the current space program.
    3000 Logan Road, Weatherford
    580-772-5871, www.staffordmuseum.com
    Open Monday-Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm, Sunday 1:00-5:00pm
    Admission $7, $5 seniors or military with ID, $2 ages 6-18, under 6 free


    The Plains Indian & Pioneer Museum features artifacts from the area surrounding Woodward, depicting the history of Northwestern Oklahoma.
    2009 Williams Ave, Woodward
    580-256-6136, www.pipm1.info
    Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00am-5:00pm

8. Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center

The history of the settlement of northern Oklahoma is highlighted at this venue, starting with the 1893 Land Run. Through permanent and temporary exhibits, this museum tells the story of life in this part of the state from the time of the land run. A highlight is the Humphrey Heritage Village, an outdoor living history exhibit that features the only remaining Land Office from the Land Run.

www.csrhc.org, 580-237-1907
507 South 4th Street, Enid
Open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm
Admission $5 Adults; $3 seniors; free for active duty military, veterans with id and children 4 & younger

  • ALSO VISIT: Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse and Adventure Quest features a hands-on art and science museum indoors and an outdoor science park outdoors with activities and fun for all ages. Camps and events scheduled throughout the year.
    200 E Maple, Enid
    580-233-2787, www.leonardos.org
    Warehouse open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm, Sunday 1:00-5:00pm
    Adventure Quest open Tuesday-Friday noon-5:00pm, Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm, Sunday 1:00-5pm (closed if weather is extreme or temperatures are not between 40-105)
    Admission $7, children under 2 free

9. Alabaster Caverns State Park

This 200-acre park features a ¾-mile cavern formed of alabaster, the largest natural gypsum cave in the world open to the public. Visitors should keep in mind that the guided hike through the cavern is strenuous and involves over 300 stairs, doable for most kids, ages 5+. Other outdoor activities at the park include wild caving, hiking trails and campground areas.

www.travelok.com, 580-621-3381
217036 SH 50A Freedom
Open daily 8:00am-5:00pm
Admission for guided tours (held promptly on the hour from 9:00am-4:00pm) $10 adults; $8 seniors; $7 ages 6-12; free for age 5 & younger

    Little Sahara State Park is filled with sand dunes that range in height from 25-75 feet, perfect for dune buggy and ATV riding. Campsites, bathrooms and picnic areas available.
    580-824-1471, www.travelok.com

    Gloss Mountain State Park in Fairview is an hour west of Enid and features a landscape studded with shiny selenite crystals. Park features include hiking trails (including a handicap-accessible trail), restrooms, grills, picnic areas and public water supply.
    Hwy 412, Fairview
    580-227-2512, www.travelok.com
    Open daily for hiking and picnicking from sunrise to sunset.

10. Marland Mansion

Paying homage to the lavish lifestyle of oil baron E. W. Marland, the Marland Mansion features over 43,000 square feet of living space on four floors. The home was completed in 1928 and is currently furnished in period pieces that reflect the era. The grounds of the estate include several additional buildings currently serving as museums providing background on this influential family and the era.

www.marlandmansion.com, 800-422-8340
901 Monument Road, Ponca City
Open Monday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm, Sunday 1:00-5:00pm
Admission $7 Adults; $5 Seniors & ages 12-17; $4 ages 6-11

  • ALSO VISIT: The Pioneer Woman Museum in Ponca City highlights the history of women in Oklahoma and their impact on the growth of the state.
    701 Monument Road, Ponca City
    580-765-6108, www.pioneerwomanmuseum.com
    Open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm, closed holidays
    Adults $4, seniors $3, ages 6-18 $1, under 6 free

11. Oklahoma History Center

Just down the street from the State Capitol and Governor’s Mansion, the Oklahoma History Center presents a wide variety of permanent and rotating exhibits that celebrate all aspects of Oklahoma culture and history. Outdoor and indoor exhibits include a history of oil derricks and a replica of Oklahoma aviator Wiley Posts’ plane, the Winnie Mae.

www.okhistory.org, 405-522-0765
800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, Oklahoma City
Open Monday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm
Admission $7 Adults; $5 Seniors; $4 Students; free for active duty military, veterans with id and children ages 5 & under; group rates available

12. Gaylord-Pickens Museum

This high-tech, interactive museum housed in a renovated historical building celebrates the people who make Oklahoma amazing. Exhibits tell the story of the state through its people, and each year a new group of Oklahomans are added to the Hall of Fame.

www.oklahomahof.com, 405-235-4458
1400 Classen Drive, Oklahoma City
Open Tuesday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm, Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm
Admission $7 Adults; $5 Seniors & ages 6-17; free for ages 5 & younger

13. Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

Perhaps no other location celebrates the resilience of Oklahomans like this museum. Housed in a building adjacent to the outdoor Memorial (which stands on the site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, that was destroyed in the 1995 bombing), the Memorial Museum serves as a remembrance of those lost and a beacon of hope for the future.

www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org, 405-235-3313
620 North Harvey Avenue, Oklahoma City
Open Monday-Saturday 9:00am–6:00pm, Sunday noon–6:00pm
Admission $12 adults; $10 seniors, military & college students with id, and ages 6-17; free for ages 5 & younger

14. Oklahoma Trails Exhibit at the Oklahoma City Zoo

Where else in the state can you go to visit all of the various eco-regions of Oklahoma? This eight-acre section of the zoo, opened in 2007, features each of the 11 diverse life zones (the most in any single state) complete with the plants and wildlife unique to each area.

www.okczoo.com, 405-424-3344
2000 Remington, Oklahoma City
Open daily 9:00am-5:00pm
Admission $8 adults; $5 ages 3-11 & seniors

15. Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History

Head to the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman for a peek into the pre-history of Oklahoma, going back over 300 million years through fossils and artifacts found throughout the state. A highlight includes the hands-on Discovery Room where children can explore objects and participate in scheduled programs.

www.snomnh.ou.edu, 405-325-4712
2401 Chautauqua Avenue, Norman
Open Monday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm, Sunday 1:00-5:00pm
Admission $8 adults; $6 seniors; $5 ages 4-17; free for ages 3 & younger or OU students

Mari Farthing is the Editor of MetroFamily Magazine.

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