Traveling to new locations is always an adventure, but traveling with kids in tow is even more of an adventure (for better or for worse).
Airports can be tricky for families, especially with layovers and changing flights. Most people would rather the option of boarding just one flight and landing in their final destination without having to worry about layovers or catching a connecting plane.
With that in mind, we’ve found five locations that are perfect for family fun and activities that have direct flights out of Oklahoma City. The regional airport is growing and so is the list of airlines that offer direct flights. A trip with your immediate or extended family can make an excellent holiday gift and the memories will be ones you cherish long after the batteries have died on anything you could put under the tree.
Seattle, 4.5 hour flight
Thanks to Alaskan Airlines, families can hop a plane in Oklahoma City and fly direct into Seattle, skipping connecting flights in places like Salt Lake City or Denver. One-way flights typically start at $189, depending on time of booking.
What To Do In Seattle
Seattle’s reputation for rain and gray skies is known, but this city has tons of family-friendly activities. You’ll have a hard time picking from the many activities that are perfect for kids of all ages.
Pike’s Place Market: This place is famous for being one of the oldest continuously operated public markets in the country. The city recently added a new section, Marketfront, which includes connections to the waterfront, but still offers the fresh produce, seafood, treats, crafts and entertainment that has made Pike’s Place a “must-see” for any traveler.
Volunteer Park: Located in the heart of downtown Seattle, this park is also home to the Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Conservatory. It has one of the largest wading pools in the city and a great playground.
The Artists at Play Playground: This music-themed playground has unique equipment, a 35-foot climbing tower and a super-long tube slide. It’s an ideal stop for kids of all ages.
Las Vegas, 2 hour flight
Las Vegas may have a wild reputation of casinos, gambling and parties, but it’s also a fun place for families. There’s plenty to do besides hanging around casinos and both Allegiant and Southwest Airlines offer direct flights that start as low as $125 depending on time of booking.
What To Do In Las Vegas
Shows: Many of the stunning shows at the Las Vegas casinos—like Cirque du Soleil and the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater at Planet Hollywood—are family-friendly.
Resort Attractions: But don’t be limited by shows. Many resorts have great attractions for kids. Mandalay Bay, for instance, has the incredible Shark Reef Aquarium while the Mirage Hotel has white tigers and dolphins at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden, a jungle-like habitat complete with waterfalls. Another top stop for kids into superheroes is the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. at Treasure Island.
Fremont Street: For older kids, a great activity is a stop on this historic downtown street that boasts of a zip line that rushes visitors above the crowds all the way down the length of the street. The street is also home to the Neon Museum, which houses retired neon signs from gone-but-not-forgotten downtown casinos.
Chicago, 1.5 hour flight
American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United all have direct flights from Oklahoma City to Chicago, and the short jaunt lands in the heart of Illinois. Flights can be as low as $125 one-way.
Things To Do In Chicago
Indoor Fun: Chicago is a great destination city for families with world-class attractions that would be hard to narrow down. Shedd Aquarium is wildly popular with kids and a great destination for seeing all kinds of underwater life. Next door is The Field Museum, a natural history haven with interactive exhibits on dinosaurs, mummies and more.
Museums: The Museum of Science and Industry is the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere. There kids can see real-life U-boats and planes, experience spinning tornadoes and explore the mysteries of science. Off the beaten path, enjoy the Negaunee Foundation Children’s Literature Gallery at the American Writers Museum. The gallery aims to “get the kids all fired up about reading and the power of fictional worlds.”
Outdoor Adventure: Find outdoor fun at Chicago’s first and only outdoor climbing park and Chicago’s newest downtown green space, Maggie Daley Park, is certainly worth a visit. The three-acre Play Garden, a first of its kind in Chicago, was designed to look like “Alice in Wonderland” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Another great stop for outdoor fun is the 150-foot Ferris wheel at Navy Pier.
Nashville, 2 hour flight
Southwest Airlines began offering non-stop seasonal Sunday flights to Nashville in October, and it’s a this music city is a delight for the senses. Flights start at around $154.
What To Do In Nashville
Museums: The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Grand Ole Opry are no-brainers because of the city’s rich music heritage. But kids also love the Adventure Science Center. The center includes exhibits geared to engage children ages 3 to 11, but teens and adults will enjoy the nearly 200 hands-on exhibits.
Outdoor Adventures: Nashville is an outdoor playground with The Nashville Zoo, The Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art, the pick-your-own working Gentry’s Farm and The 385-acre Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort’s Nashville Shores Waterpark and Treetop Adventure Park. All would make excellent outdoor adventures.
Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure: This activity turns Nashville into your family’s very own Amazing Race with a three-hour city tour. Using a smartphone, your kids can learn local history by searching for well-known and mysterious city landmarks while completing challenges and solving clues.
Atlanta, 2 hour flight
Atlanta is a popular hub and normally one of the usual stops for a layover if traveling east. The good news is that this direct trip from Oklahoma City can be a fantastic destination for adults and children too. Delta flies non-stop daily to Atlanta, so even a weekend getaway is easy and affordable. Different airlines have different prices, so shop around.
Things To Do In Atlanta
Outdoor Adventures: While home to a bustling international airport, Atlanta is famous for being a “city in a forest.” Plenty of outdoor adventure awaits kids from biking to hiking. Don’t miss a visit to the Chattahoochee Nature Center with its miles of trails and themed gardens or try kayaking and rafting the Chattahoochee River with companies like Shoot The Hooch. The Atlanta Botanical Gardens and the Fernbank Museum of Natural History add a little learning to the fun with giant dinosaur exhibits and hands-on science exhibits as well.
Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta: This is a hot spot for kids for obvious reasons. The park includes two different rides, a LEGO Racers build and test zone, a Duplo village for the younger children and a 4D cinema.
The Center for Puppetry Arts: This center with its on-site Worlds of Puppetry Museum is a great way to introduce children to the wonder and art of puppetry, something unique to find at a museum. Don’t miss the Jim Henson Collection Gallery which houses 500 puppets and costumes and gives an inside peek into favorite childhood characters like Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.