Oklahoma City family fun is meant to share.
This week is really different at our house. My husband's parents are here to stay and I'm so glad to have them here in Oklahoma City for a month. They miss their home in Costa Rica but ours is much happier with family and food and experiences to go around.
It's always nice to have company but that company is especially welcome when they're hands-on grandparents at the ready to help with little children. Going out as a group gets easier with more hands available to hold those of my three little boys, even as the oldest really doesn't want his hand held anymore at age 9.
Sam is quite possibly the person who most enjoys having his grandparents here, actually, as he saw them the most when he was small.
Time is passing quickly and it's important that they make memories together now, since it's especially limited when we have to count it in days and hours before a flight that will separate everyone again for an unspecified period of time.
I love that my children can spend time with their grandparents, who have been around the world but still find different things to see and do in Oklahoma. They've seen the Louvre and the Museo del Prado, the Great Wall and Egypt's pyramids. Coming here, though, is an experience that's another culture too.
I think that's something we forget, as Oklahomans, that the culture we experience every day is unique to this area, with its history, people and way of thinking about things. Sam and I visited the Gaylord-Pickens Museum with its Oklahoma Hall of Fame and he suggested bringing his grandparents back to see the five characteristics that make up an Oklahoma and the state's origins since cowboys, frontier living and Native American artifacts are all part of this area of the world that isn't really in other regions. He and I write MetroFamily's Kid Reviews together and his opinion usually shows me something about my own that I hadn't fully realized yet.
We sat down and talked it out and a few other venues also made the "must-see-with-my-grandparents" list. There are also some outstanding suggestions from our readers here in our 2017 Family Favorites under the "Best Local Place to Take Out of Town Visitors" category.
Here are four venues we plan to visit like tourists soon:
- The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum: The variety of western artifacts, historical exhibits and Oklahoma art makes the museum a must-see destination for a full day's tour. The fact that it now offers more than ever for kids with a special new exhibit also makes me more certain everyone in our party will have a good time. Click here to read all about what there is to see and do.
- The Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art: I've never been to the Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art but so many people have recommended it that I'm curious. I do see it listed on MetroFamily's calendar with community events all the time but we've just never made the trek. Maybe we'll be able to during this visit.
- The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum: I have only visited the site once and it is, of course, tremendously solemn. I don't know how I feel about visiting the museum when my children are so small and cannot yet understand the circumstances that led up to what they're seeing; it may be better to wait since they're just 2, 5 and 9 but I do feel that a visit shows so much about the response to that tragedy that forms the Oklahoma Standard. That spirit of solidarity really does speak to what is good in this state. Click here to find more info.
- Big Truck Tacos: I know, Big Truck Tacos probably isn't at the top of every list about what's unique to Oklahoma and makes it a terrific tourist destination but the 23rd Street HQ is really awesome local food that you can't find anywhere else. I know it's been featured on television and my father-in-law asked me specifically to take him because he sees what I like on their Facebook posts, splashy photos of quesadillas, grilled peppers and piles of fried eggs over tortillas and black beans. Meatless Monday, here we come.
We've been to the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History, Eischen's in Okarche and the Oklahoma History Center during past visits and each had something else to offer that just can't be found other places. I really do think there's some element of sharing culture that lets families have a great time together, generation to generation, memories that will be remember on other happy occasions, day to day, especially on the not so good ones. We all do need to come home, wherever that is, and sometimes it has to be in your own heart and mind.
If you know of another restaurant, museum or other venue we should visit, we're definitely taking suggestions! Share your own ideas with us. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you just might read about it here.