Expansion of Scissortail Park Brings More Fun to Downtown OKC - MetroFamily Magazine
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Expansion of Scissortail Park Brings More Fun to Downtown OKC

photo by Steve Johnson

by April Deocariza 

Reading Time: 4 minutes 

Since its opening in 2019, Scissortail Park has become a prime destination for families and visitors in Oklahoma City. This urban oasis, centrally located within walking distance to the Myriad Botanical Gardens, Paycom Center, Omni Hotel and OKC Convention Center, offers a space for both fun and relaxation for all ages.

Scissortail Park North

The park’s original 36 acres includes ornamental gardens and woodlands, a small lake, children’s playground with unique structures, splash pad, seasonal roller rink, dog park, picnic grove, restaurant, performance stage and great lawn, all connected by meandering paths that encourage visitors to enjoy the tranquil setting.

“I love all the different path configurations; even if you think you’ve seen the whole park, there’s always a new way to go, especially when I’m running or with the kids,” says Jeanne King, a local mother of three. “We can always find a quiet corner no matter how crowded the rest of the park is. For such a big, open park, there are so many peaceful little spots.”

Over the past three years, the Scissortail Park Foundation has received extensive positive feedback from families on the plethora of activities the park provides. It’s no wonder the park was named a 2022 MetroFamily Family Favorites winner in several categories, including Free/Low-Cost Attraction, Park, Place to Take Out-of-Town Visitors and Place for a Family Picnic, as well as a finalist for Outdoor Fun/Amusement Venue and Splash Pads!

“Families love the playground, especially the water features during summer,” said Maureen Heffernan, CEO of Scissortail Park Foundation and Myriad Gardens Foundation. “They love our roller rink that we have in the pavilion and being able to rent boats. People have also made the weekly farmer’s market part of their Saturday routine. There is something for everyone.”

Families can meet for a play date, host a birthday party or simply pack a picnic and enjoy views of the downtown skyline from the great lawn. The park has also brought people together from all corners of the city, and beyond, for community events hosted by local groups or the park itself, including the Night Markets promoting local artisans, OKC PrideFest and Festival de Vida y Muerte, or Day of the Dead Celebration. MetroFamily hosted over 2,000 people for its Kids Fest in June at the park.

Park guests have also enjoyed concerts, including LeAnn Rimes in May 2022, art workshops and health and wellness activities, such as walking clubs and Zumba. In addition to the food trucks that frequent the park, other dining options have also recently opened, like SPARK, featuring burgers and shakes, and The Perch lakeside café.

In addition to serving as a hub of fun for local families, Scissortail Park also serves as a respite and introduction to Oklahoma City for visitors.

Julia Redfield, a mom of three from Nebraska, visited Scissortail Park during a spring break road trip to Louisiana.

“We loved the feel of the city around us, the imaginative playgrounds that captured the kids’ attention and the wide open spaces,” said Redfield. “It was great to be somewhere our whole family could enjoy!”

Double the Fun

Now families will get to enjoy even more fun when the new southernmost section of Scissortail Park opens to the public on Sept. 23. The lower half of the park will be connected to the north end via the Skydance Bridge, and this addition will nearly
double the size of Scissortail Park to 70 acres.

Construction on the 30-acre lower park began in November 2020, and the total project budget for Scissortail Park is $132 million. The completion of Scissortail Park with the addition of the lower section was among the projects funded by MAPS 3, a $777 million capital improvement program to enhance the quality of life in Oklahoma City.

The new section of the park features two basketball courts, a soccer field, futsal court and four pickleball courts, as well as a sports pavilion and small performance area. Families will also enjoy the
new nature playground.

“It’s a place where kids can use their imaginations and engage with stumps and logs or boulders as well as other climbing features,” described Heffernan.

provided by MAPS 3 Office

A lit promenade and series of walking trails will extend south to the Oklahoma River Trails, where families can continue walks or bike rides along the Oklahoma River. The area will also feature a wide variety of horticultural plantings representing the prairies of the region with native grasses and wildflowers as well as hundreds of new trees. At the very end of the lower park, a large hill will beckon visitors to soak in 360-degree views of the city.

“Now you have this beautiful connection from the Myriad Botanical Gardens (located just north of Scissortail Park) right down to the river trails that you can walk or bike to,” added Heffernan.

Local teacher and mother of four Sarah Trousset says Scissortail Park is reminiscent of the parks her family visited in Europe, where they lived for four and a half years.

“We love that it’s family-friendly and open, encouraging an active lifestyle,” said Trousset. “There is easy access to parking. I love that it is expanding, offering us more beauty for walking and running.”

Make plans to attend the grand opening

Scissortail Park Foundation, along with the City of Oklahoma City, MAPS and their partners, will host a ticketed first-look gala celebrating the opening of the new lower section on Sept. 15.

A weekend-long celebration, dubbed “Scissortail Park Takes Flight,” will take place Sept. 23 through 25, and weekend events will be free and open to the public. Activities will include guided tours, musical performances, health and wellness activities and a concert, among other special programming. Many of the activities will be offered in both English and Spanish. Families can also try out the new sports courts and a special expo will be hosted by professional athletes.

The full schedule of events is available at scissortailpark.org and on social media @scissortailpark.

“This has been a tremendous investment in downtown OKC,” said Heffernan. “How did we ever live without Scissortail Park?!”

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