Did you know the Oklahoma City Museum of Art now offers FREE admission for kids 17 and under?! I’ve always loved the OKCMOA but I’m even more thankful that the museum now offers kids the opportunity to experience world-class art for free.
You may remember that my oldest child and I enjoyed a mom-daughter visit several years ago. This time, we brought my sons along, too. Truth be told: their museum attention span is not quite as long as their sister’s, but because admission is free, I feel more inclined to keep visits short so we can make our exit while they are still engaged and excited to come back next time.
A trip to OKCMOA is always a highlight for our family — but three things make it a must-see destination this summer:
- See the new Chihuly exhibit! Whether you’ve been to OKCMOA fairly recently or it’s been awhile since your last visit, the newly reopened Chihuly Then and Now: The Collection at Twenty is reason enough to go ASAP! The museum’s flagship blown glass exhibit Chihuly Magic & Light by Dale Chihuly was closed for several months in preparation for this newly redesigned presentation, a nod to the 20 year anniversary. The exhibit features five decades of Chihuly glass and works on paper and tells a comprehensive story of Chihuly’s groundbreaking career. In addition to some favorites from the original exhibit, the redesign also features works never before seen in OKC.My daughter loved finding both the new-to-her pieces and her favorites from the previous rendition. My boys were both experiencing Chihuly for the first time and were interested in the vivid colors and unique presentation. We talked about how the low lighting and reflective surfaces enhance the colors and experience. Naturally, we all discussed our favorite pieces along the way.The pièce de ré·sis·tance, Oklahoma Persian Ceiling, has been redesigned in the new exhibit. Rather than located along a hallway, the new section is located in an alcove with a bench for sitting (or lying down for my kids!) to enjoy the beauty overhead. My daughter loved introducing her brothers to the hunt for the five glass putti (“little boys” or “cherubs” in Italian) among the colorful glass.
- Take a scavenger hunt through The Perfect Shot! The Chihuly exhibit is itself reason enough to visit OKCMOA, but we also loved The Perfect Shot, iconic sports photography by Walter Iooss, Jr. Eighty photographs span 50 years of Iooss’ career, much of which was spent photographing athletes for Sports Illustrated. Alongside photos of sports legends like Michael Jordan, Serena Williams and Muhammad Ali are photos of high school athletes and kids playing baseball in the streets of Cuba.We found that each photo tells a remarkable story of strength, perseverance and humanity. My sports-loving kids enjoyed the photos of other kids just as much as those of the celebrities they recognized. But their favorite part was a scavenger hunt offered at the entrance of the exhibit encouraging visitors to count and keep track of a variety of things, like how many times they saw the number 3, a yellow uniform and a baseball bat throughout the exhibit. The Perfect Shot is on display through early September.
- Check out all the kid-friendly programming! In addition to free admission for kids, the OKCMOA truly goes the extra mile to ensure the youngest visitors are welcome and engaged in ways that appeal to them. Discovery packs are available on each floor and include hands-on learning fun. Designed for ages 2-5 and for ages 6+, the packs include books, a sketchbook and materials with guided drawing prompts, match and discover cards and more.Sensory Booster packs are also available and can be used in conjunction with discovery packs or on their own. These packs include a wiggle seat, fidgets, noise cancelling headphones and social narratives.Families, mark your calendars for SONIC Family Discover Week Aug. 2 through 7. Daily art-making activities, special screenings of New York International Children’s Film Festival Kid Flicks and story time with the Metropolitan Library System will be offered. (Cost-saving tip: visit one of the Metropolitan Library locations between July 18 and Aug. 1 to request a free admission pass for each adult 18 and over, while supplies last, to be used during SONIC Family Discover Week.)
BONUS: If you need to plan an adults-only evening sans kids, check out OKCMOA’s Art After 5 events, happening Thursdays through Oct. 15 from 5 to 9 p.m. Enjoy the views on the Roof Terrace, beer and wine for purchase and a stroll through the galleries. Tickets are $10+tax for adults and are FREE for OKCMOA members and all children (ages 17 and under)(Yes, you can bring your kids to these events if you’d like!)
Erin Page is managing editor of MetroFamily Magazine, an award-winning writer, a lifelong resident of OKC, wife to Jordan and mom to Addie, Hutch and Weston. She enjoys exploring our city, cooking and hiding from her kids to eat chocolate.