This is part of a 100 Days of Summer Fun series where Oklahoma City metro moms share their ideal days with their kids. We hope it inspires you to try something new with your kids this summer! Find more Ideal Days on our list of 100 Days of Summer Fun.
Erin Page is a freelance writer for MetroFamily and is raising her 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son in Edmond. Read about her ideal summer day below.
While I appreciate lazy, unscheduled summer days, my kids are goers, seers, doers, as evidenced by my 18-month-old son, Hutch, asking nearly every morning after breakfast, “Bye bye?” I try to sprinkle in a few of those leisurely days here and there, but for the most part, our little adventurous family like to explore old and new places alike.
Before we start off for the day, my 3-year-old daughter Addie likes to help me check our vegetable garden for ripe tomatoes or herbs. On Wednesday or Saturday mornings, she also loves to visit to the OSU-OKC Farmer’s Market (400 N. Portland Ave. in the Horticulture Pavilion) to help pick out locally grown fruits and vegetables, locally made cheeses and pretty summer flower bouquets.
Our first adventure is the Gaylord-Pickens Museum, home of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. This high-tech, interactive museum is a great place to teach kids of all ages about their Oklahoma roots. Interactive touch screens in the Oklahoma Through Its People Gallery let children make the experience their own, choosing short, educational videos to watch about famous and inspirational Oklahomans from past and present. What kid doesn’t love videos and pushing buttons? My kids’ favorites are high-flying BMX biker Mat Hoffman and heralded Olympic gold medalist Shannon Miller.
In the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Gallery, kids can browse through the more than 650 inductees since 1928, searching based on name, hometown or profession. From civil rights activist Clara Luper and basketball great Wayman Tisdale, to astronaut Shannon Lucid and country music superstar Blake Shelton, every child can find a great role model here. A headless bust lets kids pretend they too are in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and ruminate on what they might one day accomplish to deserve induction.
On special occasions, kids can even dress up like their favorite Oklahoma heroes! (Addie was a fan of the doctor and Miss America outfits, and Hutch was “encouraged” to be an astronaut!) Through Aug. 29, the museum is hosting the temporary exhibit America’s Road: The Journey of Route 66, and my kids especially loved the station at which they could listen to music from the highway’s heyday (dancing encouraged). Next best was climbing in the drive-in movie station, complete with a car seat, movie screen and sound box.
The Gaylord-Pickens Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday and located at 13th Street and Shartel in MidTown. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for students (ages 6 to 17) and FREE for kids 5 and under. Every Saturday in June, July and August, the museum offers $1 admission. Every third Thursday at 10 a.m. the museum hosts an interactive story time, which includes admission and a fun craft for just $3. Be sure to stop by the Museum Store if your little one needs his or her very own OklaHomie T-shirt!
After all that playtime and learning, it’s time for lunch! We’ve found The Bleu Garten to be an ideal place to lunch with kids. The concept brings a variety of rotating local food trucks to a clean, comfortable, outdoor venue complete with covered seating, nice restrooms (win for the mamas!), and even fun games like Jenga and Cornhole. It’s like the perfect picnic, where loud, rambunctious kids are perfectly acceptable, and all you have to do is show up! Bleu Garten is located at 301 N.W. 10th St. and the food truck schedule can be found at www.bleugarten.com.
Our favorite food truck that we follow when they are at Bleu Garten and elsewhere around Oklahoma City is Crepe Brewers. Offering sweet and savory handmade crepes out of a sassy, vintage Airstream trailer, Crepe Brewers’ unique combination of flavors and fresh, local ingredients are sure to please kids and adults alike. You’ll find me enjoying a Caprese, with fresh mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, balsamic and proscuitto, while my kids have likely already moved on to PB Bliss, with peanut butter, Nutella and bananas. Yum. Follow Crepe Brewers on Facebook or Twitter for their schedule and summer menu.
After that, we all need a nap! Once the heat of the day has passed, we like to spend some time outside, and Martin Park Nature Center gives us the perfect opportunity to explore the outdoors and local wildlife. The Pollinators’ Playground is my kids’ favorite hangout. The unique equipment is all designed to blend into nature, and the area is partially shaded, which makes mama happy. On the trail up to the education center, we like to stop on the bridge to watch the turtles catching some rays and get a glimpse of some giant catfish.
The education center showcases a variety of snakes, turtles, fish, salamanders, frogs and insects. If we’re feeling brave, and not too hot, we take a stroll on the more than 2 miles of hiking trails (gentle enough for strollers), complete with educational information along the way, looking for birds, squirrels and frogs. The park is located at 500 W. Memorial Road, open daily during the summer months (the education center is closed on Mondays) and free. Every Saturday morning at 10 a.m., the park hosts a free story and craft time in the center for ages 2-6. No registration is required. A plethora of other free and low-cost, kid-friendly programs can be found on their website.
We cool off with a stop by our favorite snow cone stand at 122nd and MacArthur, where the Oscar or Tiger’s Blood are our flavors of choice. Each cone comes complete with a gummy bear on top. If we’re lucky, Addie will find her favorite preschool teacher inside and get a big hug.
A quick stop by the Northwest Library gives us a chance to get out of the sun, return books and check out new ones. Addie and Hutch love the children’s area with interactive toys, games and puzzles. You’re sure to find us at this library every Tuesday morning in the summertime, when librarians offer story time, music and games. Baby, toddler and preschooler programming is offered on Tuesdays from 10 to 10:45 a.m., and elementary programming on Wednesdays from 2 to 3 p.m. Other ongoing programs include Neighborhood Arts, featuring local actors and musicians, book clubs for teens and Children Reading to Dogs for new readers. All programs are free, and you can register on their website.
Our summer days aren’t complete without a swim, and our favorite watering hole can be found in Grammie and Pawpaw’s back yard. Some silly splashing and a hot dog picnic poolside round out our perfect day of summer fun.
Time to rest up for tomorrow’s adventures!