Downtown on a Dime - MetroFamily Magazine
MetroFamily Magazine

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Downtown on a Dime

by Miranda Steffen

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

Kids can be expensive and each season brings its own expenses. It can be hard to balance financial priorities and still manage to keep kids active. This calls for a trip downtown, where families can spend a day exploring on a dime.

Bass Pro Shops

Just on the edge of downtown, Bass Pro Shops in Bricktown is the ideal spot to begin your adventure. The store has ample free parking and an incredible 15,000-gallon aquarium near the back of the store that kids love to watch. The store hosts free family activities throughout the year.

OKC Downtown Discovery Bus

Once you’ve explored the store, board the Downtown Discovery, Embark’s bus route that highlights major attractions downtown, including the Metropolitan Library’s downtown location and Myriad Botanical Gardens. The bus is free to ride and also makes a stop at the transit hub on Hudson where passengers can hop on a bus and head in any direction throughout the metro for a very nominal fee. Downtown Discovery picks up passengers every 15 to 30 minutes. Strollers are welcome aboard.

Downtown Library

The downtown branch of the Metropolitan Library System has something for everyone. A café is located on the ground floor and free wifi is available throughout the building. The library hosts a variety of activities for all ages. Card-carrying members of the MLS can check books out while they are downtown and are able to return them to any of the other 18 MLS libraries located around the metro area.

Myriad Botanical Gardens

At the heart of downtown lies the Myriad Botanical Gardens. Paved paths wind around an array of flowers, trees and seasonal plants. Within the park is the Children’s Garden, downtown Oklahoma City’s premiere playground for young nature enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy a packed lunch on the Grand Lawn. Purchasing an annual Family Membership for $85 grants patrons free access to the  Inasmuch Foundation Crystal Bridge Conservatory, an indoor natural haven boasting more than 750 types of plants and a waterfall. Membership also allows free admission to Sky Rink at Scissortail Park and to Pumpkinville, the annual fall festival in the Children’s Garden each October.

Underground Tunnels

Once you’ve experienced the top of the town, it’s time to go to the bottom. Devon Energy Center has a skywalk leading to one of downtown OKC’s best-kept secrets. OKC’s Underground is a series of tunnels that run 20 square blocks underneath the city accessed by buildings scattered through downtown. The tunnels are open to the public Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visitors can admire the themed galleries showcasing Oklahoma’s rich history, marvel at the multicolored lit-up hallways or just enjoy a nice walk during one of the metro’s extreme weather days. Find a map at

Red Earth Art Center

Near the green section of The Underground is the Red Earth Art Center located at 100 N Broadway Ave. Admire a culturally-rich art collection from Native artists. The rotating collections exhibited in the gallery provide pupils with a tangible connection to the evolution of Native American history and cultural heritage. Red Earth is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and admission is free. Learn more at

Bricktown Landing

The Downtown Discovery Bus will also take passengers to Bricktown Landing. It is one of four stops along the Oklahoma River where patrons can board a ferry and enjoy a ride, admiring the downtown view. Children 6 and under ride free, adults are $12 per day and seniors and kids ages 7-17 are $6. Regular ferry tickets are half-off every Wednesday between May and September. Visit for specific date and time information.

OKC Trails in the Boathouse District

The OKC Trails connect 10 trails across OKC providing more than 80 miles perfect for walking, jogging and biking. The Oklahoma River Trail runs alongside the Oklahoma River and passes by The Boathouse District, a favorite hotspot for Okies. Near the end of the trail at the south end of the Bricktown Canal is the Land Run Monument, a larger-than-life series of sculptures depicting the Land Run of 1889.

Skydance Bridge

After a day of exploring Downtown OKC on a dime, parents can load up the kids, drive over to the Skydance Bridge and watch the city light up as the sun sets. The Skydance Bridge also lights up, making the experience a little more magical. Benches are set up on the bridge so that visitors can sit and watch cars zoom beneath them on the highway, quietly contemplate after a long day or simply enjoy the view before heading home.

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