POSTED ON APRIL 25, 2012:
Adventure and Fun for Kids of All Ages
Sometimes the best way to relax is to just get out of town and enjoy a change of scenery. A quick day or weekend trip down I-44 to Oklahoma City will open a number of fun excursions for both children and adults. As summer vacation plans are being made, Oklahoma City is a destination to explore just for having fun and in some cases, for fun learning.
Still missing Bell's Amusement Park? The next best thing close to home is just off the turnpike in OKC. Amusement park attics will want to check out the fun-filled attractions at Frontier City Theme Park. More than 50 rides, live shows and attractions will excite kids of all ages. Who can resist taking a ride on the state's only suspended family coaster, the Steel Lasso? Others might want the thrill of being shot 240 feet in the air on the Eruption ride.
Cool off on the new Wild West Water Works at Frontier City. Deemed Oklahoma's largest water activity structure, this new water feature claims to be more than five stories tall with more than 198 ways to get wet. Eight slides, a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket, spacious lounging deck, changing facilities, showers and more await the amusement park buffs.
If this watering hole isn't enough, another fun destination to get splashed is White Water Bay, which boasts of more than 30 wild rides, sparkling pools and fun-filled activities. As the state's largest water park, revelers can spend the day renting a private cabana and enjoy the water features at their leisure. Imagine you're in Hawaii riding the Big Kahuna, a tube slide where the surf's always up. The Kid's Kove will keep the young ones cool and riding the waves in the 500,000-gallon Wave Pool will bring back memories of "Beach Party." Also, every Friday night in July, Dive-In Movies are a great way to end the day.
In the heart of Oklahoma City's Adventure District, the Oklahoma City Zoo is worth a visit for both children and adults. Visitors can spend a day (or more) viewing more than 2,000 animals, including 50 endangered species. Special attractions at this zoo include new state-of-the-art Elephant Habitat, Great EscApe, Cat Forest/Lion Overlook and Oklahoma Trails. Especially to excite and entertain the kids, the Children's Zoo allows the young ones to view and learn about animals in this 2.5-acre area which features flamingos, goats, monkeys, play stream and lorikeets. Guests to the zoo can also help the handlers by feeding the giraffes from the zoo's new feeding platform. And maybe the best part of a day's visit to the zoo is riding the Safari Tram for a guided tour of the zoo grounds.
Seeking some science? Even when school's out this summer, kids will still enjoy the learning experience at the Science Museum of Oklahoma -- just don't tell them they may learn something. A short walk across the parking lot from the zoo, the many hands-on science exhibits and activities including space, aviation and cultural artifacts will excite the kids. In the Planetarium Theater, guests can take a trip beyond the Milky Way and feel the heat from live explosions in Science Live. And the IMAX dome theater will allow you to travel to new worlds.
Don't be a lazy bones. Keep moving from the zoo area of the city to the southeast section of Oklahoma City for a visit to the Museum of Osteology: this is a destination not usually put on a tourist list. Be ready for a somewhat bizarre experiential glimpse into the form and function of the skeletal system. This 7,000-square-foot museum displays hundreds of skulls and skeletons from all corners of the world and is the only museum of its kind in the country.
Heading back to Tulsa, avoid the rush on I-44 and take historic Route 66. Get your kicks by starting at Route 66 Park in west Oklahoma City featuring an observation tower, a plaza amphitheater, fishing wetlands, a skate court, playground and picnic area and its own walkable version of the historic highway. After that, follow the Mother Road east to lunch at POPS, home of the 66-foot-tall pop bottle. Have your pick from more than 500 kinds of sodas at this one-of-a-kind ultramodern landmark. From here, resist the temptation to hop back on the turnpike; rather, continue down the "highway that is best" all the way back to T-town.
For more information on all there is to see and do in Oklahoma City, go to visitokc.com or call 800.225.5652.
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