Oklahoma, gateway to the West, home to oil fields, cowboys, and longhorn steer, naturally has some of the nation’s best outdoor scenery. Alabaster Caverns State Park provides travelers with opportunities for spelunking. Arbuckle Wilderness Park provides 200 acres of open land to cruise through safari style, while taking pictures of animals in their natural habitat. No trip through Oklahoma would be complete without seeing The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, which hosts an annual chuck wagon festival. And the National Wrestling Hall of Fame claims Abraham Lincoln as an inductee. These are 25 fascinating things to do with kids in Oklahoma.
We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.
1.Alabaster Caverns State Park
Located in Freedom, Oklahoma, Alabaster Caverns State Park is home to one of the world’s biggest natural gypsum caves. A rare delight, this is the only gypsum cave open to the public in the nation. The Park offers one-hour guided tours that begin at nine in the morning and end at four in the afternoon. Spelunking or wild caving is also a popular attraction for kids here, there are four spelunking caves that range from 550 feet to1,600 feet in length. Twelve tent sites, eleven RV sites, and a variety of group shelters that include grills, electricity, and water are also featured at the Park. Several hiking trails, picnic areas, and a volleyball court are also provided.
217036 State Highway 50A, Freedom, OK, Phone: 580-621-3381
2.American Banjo Museum
© American Banjo Museum
Housed in a distinguished 21,000-square-foot property, the American Banjo Museum honors the rich and vibrant spirit of the banjo. Located in Oklahoma City, this museum will shock and awe children with its impressive collection of banjos, in fact, it’s the largest in the world. The museum’s collection features over 400 instruments, instructional materials, printed music, recordings, video, film, memorabilia, and ephemera pertaining to the banjo. Displays feature replicas of the first banjo’s made by African slaves and how they’ve been re-developed into the mid-19th century. The primary pieces in the collection are ornately decorated banjos that were made during the1920s and 1930s in America’s Jazz Age.
9 East Sheridan Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK, Phone: 405-604-2793
3.American Pigeon Museum & Library
© American Pigeon Museum & Library
Open Friday and Saturday with free admission, the American Pigeon Museum & Library (APM&L) in Oklahoma City, offers great insights into the life, habitat, and use of pigeons. The museum provides an early history of how pigeons were utilized in war more than 2,000 years ago by the Romans to send messages back and forth to various parts of the battlegrounds. There are live pigeon displays nestled on wooded grounds near Deep Fork Creek and guests can learn the difference between a homing pigeon, courier pigeon, and racing pigeon, while on a guided tour. Kids will love the pigeon races that take place during the Fall season.
2300 Northeast 63rd Street, Oklahoma City, OK, Phone: 405-478-5155
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4.Arbuckle Wilderness Park
Located in Davis, Oklahoma, just an hour outside of Oklahoma City, Arbuckle Wilderness Park features over 200 acres and is home to hundreds of animals from five of the seven continents. Open year-round, this historic park has an array of local and exotic animals including kangaroos, rhinos, water buffalo, alpacas, American bison, axis deer, blackbuck antelopes, and waterbucks. Kids will enjoy a variety of animal encounters including feeding the giraffes as well as activities like the gem mining adventure, car safari, and the reptile exhibit. The Park also includes a walk-thru zoological area and a gift shop that features hats, shirts, and stuffed animals.
6132 Kay Starr Trail, Davis, OK, Phone: 580-369-3383
5.Cherokee Strip Museum
© Cherokee Strip Museum
Cherokee Strip Museum is nestled on five acres of land in Perry, Oklahoma, roughly an hour away from Oklahoma City. The expansive site provides great insight into the culture, daily lives, and events of the great Cherokee Nation and features exhibits of the Otoe-Missouria Indians extraordinary beadwork. Cherokee Strip Museum also showcases what daily life on the farm looks like through its replicas and exhibits including a farmhouse porch and chicken coup equipped with the necessary tools needed for farming. There is also a dressmaker’s shop and one-room schoolhouse with a chalkboard, wooden desk, and old-fashioned wood-burning stove. Kids will even get the chance to see what kinds of toys were used back then.
2617 Fir Street, Perry, OK, Phone: 580-336-2405
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6.Har-Ber Village Pioneer Museum
© Har-Ber Village Pioneer Museum
Located in its namesake town, Har-Ber, Har-Ber Village Pioneer Museum provides visitors with a glimpse into how life was back in the 1800s and 1900s with its exhibits and historical buildings. Kids will enjoy the interactivity of this live-action museum which features 16 log cabins, a jail, and a schoolhouse and actors recreating live scenes in traditional garb. The exhibits and buildings display a variety of collectibles and antiques from the 19th and 20th centuries from Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the grounds and they can also walk the two-mile, Nature Trail which is free to walk.
4404 West 20th Street, Grove, OK, Phone: 918-786-6446
7.Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum
© Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum
Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum is proud to be the place “where children play to learn and adults learn to play” making it the ideal spot for a fun family day. The expansive museum features over 42,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space where kids can explore career-based exhibits including firefighter, pilot, and news anchor among others. This is a hands-on learning environment that allows children to really immerse themselves in various activities. There is also a 13,500-gallon water tank that is home to a multitude of aquatic life inside the museum. Outside there is a large play area equipped with the SuperSonic Express, a riding train, and miniature homes.
1714 Highway 9 West, Seminole, OK, Phone: 405-382-0950
8.Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse
© Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse
Situated in Enid, Oklahoma, Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse is a fun-filled museum where art and science collide providing over one-hundred hands-on activities. Their exhibit highlights include the Critter Clubhouse featuring vibrant fish and an array of reptiles like lizards and snakes. For the more artistic kids, they can play around with activities like the Giant Lite-Brite where they can make some amazing neon-colored masterpieces. The Power Tower – a climbing structure and Tinkering – a builder’s workshop is great for kids who love being active and using their hands. The Warehouse also features an outdoor science playground with a three-story wooden castle equipped with slides, bridges, mazes, swings, a dinosaur dig, and a water table.
200 East Maple Avenue, Enid, OK, Phone: 233-2787
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9.Darryl Starbird’s National Rod and Custom Car Hall of Fame Museum
© Darryl Starbird’s National Rod and Custom Car Hall of Fame Museum
Darryl Starbird's National Rod and Custom Car Hall of Fame in Afton, Oklahoma is great attraction for kids who love hotrods, muscle cars, and especially custom-built cars. Named after the legendary builder of custom cars, this historic museum displays more than 50 exotic full-size vehicles from around the world. Most notable is its collection of classic Starbird hot rods boasting the futuristic design they were famous for in the 1950s and 1960s, a look that continues to draw eyes today. This ultra-modern museum also features photographs and artwork of over 1,000 automobiles and they host an annual rod and custom car show.
55251 East Highway 85, Afton, OK, Phone: 918-257-4234
10.National Wrestling Hall of Fame
© National Wrestling Hall of Fame
Located on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater is the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Every year members who have shown outstanding leadership, sportsmanship, and/or provide major contributors to the sport of wrestling get inducted into this Hall of Fame. One of its most notable inductees is none other than the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. One of the most prestigious awards given is the Order of Merit, it is presented to the person who makes a significant contribution to the sport. The museum is open during home meets so visitors will need to check the wrestling schedule before the visit here.
405 West Hall of Fame Avenue, Stillwater, OK, Phone: 405-377-5243
Thriving to educate children of all ages with an interactive approach to aquatic conservation, Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenkins, teaches kids about the “blue planet”, to help them to better understand aquatic life. Offering a variety of age-appropriate programs, like the Swim Into Science: Behind-The-Scenes Tour, specifically designed for 2nd-6th graders, allows children to venture into the wet lab. This program shows how the tanks and animals are taken care of. Perhaps the most popular tour is the Completely Cartilaginous: All About Sharks. This tour will give a more complete study as to why sharks, do what they do.
300 Aquarium Drive, Jenkins, OK, Phone: 918-296-3474
12.Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden
First opening its gates to the public in 1902, Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden (OCZBG) houses over 1,900 animals on 1,190 sprawling acres. Located in Oklahoma City, OCZBG offers a number of exhibits that educate and inspire children of all ages to want to learn about the animal kingdom. A favorite attraction is the Great Escape – a tropical rainforest that a family of orangutans, gorillas, and rowdy chimpanzees call home. The Zoo and Botanical Garden also has a Children’s Zoo where kids can interact with a few of the friendlier animals including monkeys and flamingos. There is also a play stream in this area.
2000 Remington Place, Oklahoma City, OK, Phone: 405-424-3344
13.Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum
© Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum
Housed in the same location since 1967, the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum is a museum operated by the Oklahoma State Firefighters Association. Funded strictly by member dues, this fun and interactive museum is a real treat for kids who want to learn about firefighters, their careers, and its history. It features a variety of firefighting artifacts, some that even date back to the 1700s as well as a collection of artifacts curated by Ben Franklin which includes a one-of-a-kind mural. It also includes the largest collection of different fire department patches. The museum has a quaint gift shop that sells a variety of items including little red plastic fire helmets.
2716 Northeast 50th Street, Oklahoma City, Phone: 800-308-5336
14.Oklahoma Railway Museum
© Oklahoma Railway Museum
Located in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Railway Museum is an exciting attraction that offers fun for the whole family. Ideal for children of all ages, the museum features a variety of locomotives and train artifacts including passenger cars, freight cars, and an authentic steam engine. It also has a variety of restored structures including the Oakwood Depot – a restored station, the last remaining section of the Union Station Canopy, a 1913 Pullman Palace sleeper car, and the 100-foot Frisco Turntable. The museum is available for group tours and on select days of each month visitors can enjoy a 40-minute train ride on a vintage diesel locomotive pulling passenger coaches.
3400 Northeast Grand Boulevard, Oklahoma City, OK, Phone: 405-424-8222
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15.Oxley Nature Center
© The Bohemian Lens/stock.adobe.com
Encompassing 804-acres in Mohawk Park, Oxley Nature Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma is a wonderful destination for children who enjoy nature. The Nature Center offers a wide variety of special “walks” ideal for all ages and interests. These include the Full Moon Walk which takes place in the evenings and focuses on all other sense besides sight, the Butterfly Walk, and the Bird Walk which is led by an Oxley staffer. Other “walks” include the Audubon Walk which is geared towards older kids and the Botany Walk. The Nature Center also has Second Saturday Sketchers and a Discovery Club for kids from Pre-K to Second Grade.
6700 Mohawk Boulevard, Tulsa, OK, Phone: 918-596-9054
16.Science Museum Oklahoma
© Science Museum Oklahoma
Since its inception in 1958, Science Museum Oklahoma has been enriching the lives of all who visit. Featuring innovative ways to for kids to understand science, the museum offers a smART Space program. Located on the museum’s second-floor art and science merge as kids get hands-on with interactive exhibits. SMO also features a number of camps for ages pre-K through 6th grade. The camps are tailored to age groups and offer different themes like Wizarding Prep School for the Pre-K kids to Species Oddities for 4th-6th grade kids. SMO also features The Garden, an outdoor area dedicated to various types of gardens including herb, native plants, Japanese, and water gardens.
2020 Remington Place, Oklahoma City, OK, Phone: 405-602-6664
17.Shattuck Windmill Museum
© David Arment/stock.adobe.com
In the Northwest corner of Oklahoma, Shattuck Windmill Museum in Shattuck, sits on four acres of land that abuts the highway. The museum pays homage to a time when this desolate land was bare of trees and humans. The museum has windmills donated from all over the state, with plaques describing where they originated from and the type of windmills they are. Historically, the purpose of these windmills was to extract water from the ground. This enabled farmers to water fields, provide water for livestock to drink, and use for household and drinking purposes. This cool museum is free of charge.
1201-1299 Main Street, Shattuck, OK, Phone: 580-938-5291
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18.The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
© The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Named after merchant, Jesse Chisolm, The Chisolm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, tells the story of how and why this trail was so important to the nation’s beef market. The museum pays homage to the men, women, and children who rode through and eventually settled in this once harsh area. Providing a hands-on section, the center allows visitors to ride a bronco, rope a longhorn steer, and create a “brand” for their animal. The Garis Gallery showcases a large collection of Native American and Western art. Children ages four and younger have free admission. Students have discounted fees.
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway, Duncan, OK, Phone: 580-252-6692
19.The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
© The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
How many kids have imagined themselves in a rodeo? At the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, kids realize dreams can come true. The museum, built in 1955, houses 30,000 thousand examples of American Indian and Western artwork. Designed to honor the Cowboy, the venue has over 200,000 square feet, displaying a large collection of photos, guns, and even the different types of barbed wire that were used on ranches. A slew of annual events, like the Annual Chuck Wagon Festival, keeps guests coming back year after year.
1700 Northeast 63rd Street, Oklahoma City, OK, Phone: 405-478-2250
20.Tiger Safari Zoological Park
Featuring fewer animals than the typical zoo, Tiger Safari Zoological Park in Tuttle makes up for it by allowing a more personal approach to interacting with the animals. One unique way to experience the park differently by providing visitors an opportunity to stay the night in an African Safari Hut. The park has two-African bush huts that circle a lagoon, featuring an African-style landscape complete with long grass and thorn trees. Tigers are the main attraction at this venue, and what better way to see them than witnessing a Tiger feeding. See the powerful jaws of these animals being fed close up.
963 Country Street #2930, Tuttle, OK, Phone: 405-381-9453
21.Tulsa Air and Space Museum
© Tulsa Air and Space Museum
Imagine flying a Bell 47-K Helicopter or a USAF Fighter Jet. The Tulsa Air and Space Museum (TASM) has always been about educating youth about the dynamics of aircrafts and flying. The museum teaches kids Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), plus a hands-on, interactive approach to flying. Featuring a guided tour, visitors experience what it’s like to fly in a hot air balloon through a simulator. The F-16 wind tunnel simulates being in the cockpit while flying this magnificent machine. TASM also gives visitors a chance to experience what it’s like to use the Space Shuttle’s Robotic Arm.
3624 North 74th East Avenue, Tulsa, OK, Phone: 918-834-9900
Open every day except Christmas, Tulsa Zoo provides entertainment to families with children 364 days of the year. Tulsa Zoo offers a better experience than just walking around and seeing animals. The zoo offers an array of activities and events for the entire family. Yoga at the Zoo provides classes for kids to learn basic yoga poses. This class includes dancing and story time. The animal exhibits rival any zoo with exhibits from Africa and Asia. The Africa Palins exhibit has antelope, white rhinos, and of course lions. The Asian exhibit features Asian elephants and the endangered snow leopard.
6421 East 36th Street North, Tulsa, OK, Phone: 918-669-6600
23.Woolaroc Ranch Museum and Wildlife Park
© Woolaroc Ranch Museum and Wildlife Park
Frank Phillips had entertaining, educating, and preserving the West’s history in mind when he built the Woolaroc Ranch Museum and Wildlife Park in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Ideal for kids of all ages, the ranch is in Northeastern Oklahoma, Osage Hills, and provides a wildlife preserve on 3,700 acres of rugged land. The ranch is home to exotic and native animals like elk, bison, and longhorn cattle that roam freely in the wide-open meadows. The museum houses Native American art, artifacts, and Western art. The museum also houses a variety of colt rifles and a monoplane. This historic museum is free for kids 11 and younger.
1925 Woolaroc Ranch Road, Bartlesville, OK, Phone: 918-336-0307
25 Fun Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Oklahoma
- Alabaster Caverns State Park, Photo: bjphotographs/stock.adobe.com
- American Banjo Museum, Photo: American Banjo Museum
- American Pigeon Museum & Library, Photo: American Pigeon Museum & Library
- Arbuckle Wilderness Park, Photo: fotoskaz/stock.adobe.com
- Cherokee Strip Museum, Photo: Cherokee Strip Museum
- Har-Ber Village Pioneer Museum, Photo: Har-Ber Village Pioneer Museum
- Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum, Photo: Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum
- Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse, Photo: Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse
- Darryl Starbird’s National Rod and Custom Car Hall of Fame Museum, Photo: Darryl Starbird’s National Rod and Custom Car Hall of Fame Museum
- National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Photo: National Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Oklahoma Aquarium, Photo: Bill/stock.adobe.com
- Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, Photo: Roman/stock.adobe.com
- Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum, Photo: Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum
- Oklahoma Railway Museum, Photo: Oklahoma Railway Museum
- Oxley Nature Center, Photo: The Bohemian Lens/stock.adobe.com
- Science Museum Oklahoma, Photo: Science Museum Oklahoma
- Shattuck Windmill Museum, Photo: David Arment/stock.adobe.com
- The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, Photo: The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
- The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Photo: The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
- Tiger Safari Zoological Park, Photo: sergio51143/stock.adobe.com
- Tulsa Air and Space Museum, Photo: Tulsa Air and Space Museum
- Tulsa Zoo, Photo: Lynette/stock.adobe.com
- Woolaroc Ranch Museum and Wildlife Park, Photo: Woolaroc Ranch Museum and Wildlife Park
- Cover Photo: Iuliia Sokolovska/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Tiger Safari, Oklahoma
Tuttle’s Interactive Exotic Tiger Safari and Zoological Park is located in Tuttle, Oklahoma. The 45-acre zoo allows guests up-close interactive visits with exotic animals, a petting zoo, and a wide variety of games, events and camping options. Over 150 animals at the park include African leopards, lions and tigers, a brown bear and grizzly bear.
Among the more exotic animals are civets, an Australian wallaby and a kangaroo, Asian otter, jumanji, kinkajou, and camel. Foxes and ferrets, a bobcat, linx, serval and savannah cat round out the smaller animals. Reptiles at the park include alligators, bearded dragons, a variety of snakes, iguanas, and a tegu. Birds include an African grey parrot, emu, green wing macaw and harlequin macaw, and a cockatoo. Zoo staff pick three animals daily to display at interactive stations where guests may hold and touch the animals, and take up-close photos.
A replica of an authentic African village is located on the grounds of the zoo. The Shi-Awela Safari village offers two huts on a small lagoon. At the center of the lagoon is Lemur Island. Each hut accommodates 6 people and is outfitted with a fireplace, microwave, refrigerator and coffee maker. Guests who stay overnight receive complimentary admission to the zoo and animal interaction programs. Additional overnight stay options include camping at the Safari Tree House. The campsite offers a 30-foot tall viewing platform for a bird’s eye view of the park and the Oklahoma skyline. Primitive campsites are also available throughout the park.
The Interactive Exotic Tiger Safari and Zoological Park is owned by husband and wife, Bill and Melissa Meadows. The couple began collecting exotic animals in 1993 with the purchase of a pet cougar named Shirkon. With the opening of Tiger Safari in 2003, the couple’s collection has since grown towards 160 animals. The Meadows take particular pride in their acquisition of a rare white snow tiger, as well as a tabby tiger. New animals continue to be acquired through exotic animal dealers. In 2010 the park significantly expanded with the addition of several new buildings including a 2,300-square foot convention center, the Safari Tree House, and a waterfall at the center of the park with pyrotechnic effects.
Now incorporated as a non-profit organization, the mission of the Zoo is to demonstrate best practices in animal husbandry and to model animal care for children and other guests. Whether or not the organization has achieved this mission has recently come under great scrutiny. In 2014 the U.S. Department of Agriculture sanctioned the facility with several animal welfare violations. In 2015 the park fell under the scrutiny of the Humane Society who alleged abuse of baby tigers, and again in 2016 after the death of a lion named Pharaoh. Pharaoh was the third animal to die at the park within the span of just a few months. Other deaths included a 4-year old white tiger cub, who choked on a foreign object, and a 4-year tiger and 2-year old lynx who passed of unknown causes. Veterinarians who work for the park say the lion’s old age made him susceptible to the bacterial infection that killed him.
One of the Zoo’s main programs is the “Zoo to You” animal encounter in which the zoo brings small and baby animals to birthday parties, school and church events, and corporate events and meetings. The 2-3 hour program allows participants to visit with up to ten animals including baby tigers, lemurs, Asian otters and anacondas.
Summer Camp programs at the zoo are geared towards children between 5 and 14 years of age. The animal husbandry programs teach children to care for animals through animal interactions, games, crafts and other activities. The Tiger Safari Zoological Parks Volunteer Program allows those ages 16 and over to volunteer on site, and includes a three month internship program that provides free lodging in exchange for volunteer services.
Five different outdoor pavilions are available for birthday parties, weddings and other events. Rental of the pavilions includes an animal encounter for guests. Sundowner Safari Tours are sunset tours that include VIP animal interactions. Private photo shoots with animals, sleepover parties, and scout troop camping programs are also available. Date Night takes place once quarterly and offers animal encounters, s’mores and hot-chocolate over an open fire, and after-hours access to the zoo.
963 County Street 2930, Tuttle, OK 73089, Phone: 405-318-9453
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