Summer's last days: two free activities for this weekend plus a quick roadtrip idea - MetroFamily Magazine
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Summer’s last days: two free activities for this weekend plus a quick roadtrip idea

by Callie Collins

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Oklahoma City family fun comes knocking at this time of year, with its pull toward making the most of time and ideal weather for getting outdoors.

The looming new school year is a topic of daily discussion at our house. Many kids have already started back; mine go next Thursday. We’re counting down, with schedule pick-up, meet the teacher and orientation nights on our calendars.

This is really it: our last summer weekend.

Middle school starts next week for Sam. Isaac is going to a new school for first grade. Gabriel still has a month before preschool starts again but that will be here before we know it too. Only Jacob-Peter is too new to go anywhere but his swung hums and his heart beats, its tick-tick-tick marking the seconds before he’s off to Bunnies next year. Preschool, middle school, it’ll be college before we know it.

I always feel nostalgia at this time of year, sad to leave the season behind but excited for the kids to make progress at school.

If you’re looking for family fun ideas for this weekend, find them here. You can also sign up to have the top 10 events for the weekend that our editors handpick delivered to your inbox.

I’ll share a page out of our weekend planner. Here’s what we’re doing this weekend:

  • FireLake Fireflight Balloon Fest: I haven’t been to this festival before but it looks amazing. Admission is free and it’s going on both tonight and tomorrow, which is ideal when your schedule is already busy. Even if you have plans, dashing over to Shawnee for a pocketful of sunshine isn’t such a huge commitment and there are two days to make it work with what you already have planned. Parking is free; a petting zoo and kite shows are also offered without charge. One of my best memories from like 1996 is this one time a hot air balloon landed in our yard, which was next to a barley field I’m guessing the pilot was actually aiming for. I think I just want to relive that experience somehow, with all its excitement and vibrant color. My parents have 90s-era prints of my sister and I helping roll up its parachute-like fabric. We’ll see what happens tonight. Maybe my three sons will remember it years later.
  • Oklahoma Aquarium: I’ve never been to the Oklahoma Aquarium, which is in Jenks and probably why our family hasn’t been; we just don’t visit that area of the state as much as we should. There are stingrays and a shark tunnel. I see it recommended to newcomers, families moving into Oklahoma City just in time for school to start. We’ll play tourist for an afternoon and go see it for ourselves. It’s been a summer for nature-themed experiences, between Martin Park Nature Center and the Potawatomi Nation’s Eagle Aviary visit. I definitely want it to end with something else to do with the animals my sons love to learn about from “Ranger Rick” and “Wild Kratts.”
  • Sunday Twilight Concert Series: We’ve never attended a concert at Myriad Botanical Gardens either. There’s a whole series that’s been going on all summer. Street parking is also free at night on the weekends, so that’s a plus. My children love the lawn area because it feels like an oasis in the middle of the city. 

Sure, there are closets screaming to be organized and shoes to buy but they’ll be there when we get back, the projects that are never-ending in a household. So much of parenting is about pushing forward when all we want to do is hold on, maybe even during a hot air balloon ride.

Community experiences help us remember what we were doing when. Will we have a photo album full of memories? No, probably not a physical album given that I never print photos anymore. We’ll have the memories of doing it all together, though, and some digital evidence of good times to pass along in some yet unimagined format, I suppose.

This is the summer our baby was 1 and his brothers were 3, 6 and 11. It’s ending but we’ve had a good time. I hope your family has too.

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