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Oklahoma and Area Family-Friendly Museums Are Exciting Destinations

Local museums provide families with hours of entertainment, education and creative time.




Philbrook Museum of Art's annual Philbrook Festival is a favorite Tulsa holiday tradition.

Updated Spring 2019

A trip to a museum, be it a traditional art museum, science museum or living museum such as a zoo or botanic garden, can expand a child's view of the world around them. Here is a list of some of our favorite museums, both in the Tulsa area and just a short road trip away. Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know about it by emailing tara.rittler@gmail.com

Fine Art

ahha TULSA

101 E. Archer St.
Tulsa, OK
918.584.3333

Located in the Tulsa Arts District, ahha Tulsa not only showcases works by contemporary artists in its first floor gallery, it also houses a large studio where visitors can use ahha’s materials to create their own works of art. Don’t miss The EXPERIENCE, located on ahha’s second floor. The EXPERIENCE is “an artist-driven, large-scale, fully immersive art installation that invites participants to explore a fantastical, multimedia environment through sight, sound, movement, and touch.” Learn more at ahhatulsa.org/the-gallery/the-experience

CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF ART

600 Museum Way
Bentonville, Arkansas
479.418.5700

If you want to get out of town, get into nature AND have a cultural experience, head to Crystal Bridges Museum. Located approximately two hours from Tulsa, Crystal Bridges Museum has 3.5 miles of hiking trails winding through their grounds in the Ozark Forest, in addition to fabulous art exhibits and family friendly programing. Visit their website to see a list of upcoming events.

Summer Exhibition Spotlight: “David Leventhal: Barbie & Baseball” (March 2-August 2019)

Special Promotions: Free admission daily.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 2.5 hours


DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART

1717 N. Harwood
Dallas, TX
214.922.1200

Not only is Dallas Museum of Art one of the 10 largest art museums in the nation, it also does a fantastic job of catering to families with kids of all ages, from their free Art to Go Family Tote Bags, which allows children to interact with exhibits in a creative way, to teen workshops as well as concerts and other programs.

Summer Exhibition Spotlight: “Dior: From Paris to the World”

Special Promotion: Free general admission daily (Closed Mondays; Does not include Special Exhibition admission) 

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: Just over 4 hours


GILCREASE MUSEUM

1400 N. Gilcrease Museum Rd.
Tulsa, OK
918.596.2700

The Gilcrease museum houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of art and artifacts of the American West, including an unparalleled collection of Native American art and material. It is also home to the Kravis Discovery Center, which recently reopened and now features an Interactive Discovery Trail, which uses innovative technology to tell the story of Native peoples through artifacts in the museum’s collection.

Summer Exhibition Spotlight: “Bob Dylan: Face Value and Beyond” (May 10-September 15, 2019)

Special Promotion: Every third Sunday of the month is Funday Sunday; families receive free admission all day and can enjoy art activities from 12-4 p.m.


NASHER SCULPTURE CENTER

2001 Flora Street
Dallas, TX
214.242.5100

The Nasher Sculpture Center houses the world-famous Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, which includes works by master artists such as Rodin, Matisse and Miró. Check the website for current temporary exhibitions.

Special Promotion: Free admission and activities on the First Saturday of the month


OKLAHOMA CITY MUSEUM OF ART

415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK
405.236.3100

Photo Courtesy of Spectrum OKC

In addition to an impressive collection of fine art, OKC MOA offers frequent fun and educational events for the whole family.

Summer Exhibition Spotlight: “Van Gogh, Monet, Degas: The Mellon Collection of French Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts” (June 22-September 22, 2019)

Special Promotion: Go to okcmoa.com/learn/family-day for information about the next upcoming Free Family Day

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 2 hours


PHILBROOK MUSEUM OF ART

2727 S. Rockford Rd.
Tulsa, OK

Take your children to explore the galleries and grounds of the beautiful Philbrook Museum! Need help helping your kids appreciate the art? Philbrook has brightly colored cards that give parents ideas for art-inspired conversation and activities as they explore the galleries.

Summer Exhibition Spotlight: “Art & Islam” (opens June 3, 2019)

Special Promotions: Free admission for kids 17 and under daily. Free admission for all on the second Saturday of each month.


SHERWIN MILLER MUSEUM OF JEWISH ART

2021 E. 71st St.
Tulsa, OK
918.492.1818

The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art is a place where Jewish art, history, culture and identity collide. Boasting the largest collection of Judaica in the southwest, the SMMJA offers a glimpse into the history and traditions of the Jewish people. 


SCIENCE AND EXPLORATION

DISCOVERY LAB

560 N. Maybelle Ave.
Tulsa, OK
918.295.8144

Photo courtesy of Discovery Lab

An electric lime green ceiling, science demos, The WorkShop, a labyrinth of tunnels and a slide made from packing tape, and more. This is Discovery Lab, a place where kids and their families can make, play, and design things using “real” stuff in new and different ways.

Summer Exhibition Spotlight: “Building Buddies”—An interactive construction zone that invites families to play, explore and improve a neighborhood


EXPLORATION PLACE

300 N. McLean Blvd.
Wichita, KS

Exploration Place, “The Sedgwick County Science and Discovery Center,” focuses on STEM activities for kids in pre-K through Elementary School. Exhibits (as of spring 2019) include Top Secret: License to Spy, The Science of Ripley’s, Design Build Fly and many more.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 3 hours


JASMINE MORAN CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

1714 W. Wrangler Blvd.
Seminole, OK
405.382.0950

Photo courtesy of Jasmine Moran Children's Museum

The Jasmine Moran Children's Museum has 42,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space and a large outdoor play area, complete with miniature houses and a riding train, the SuperSONIC Express. The museum offers children an opportunity to explore the world of work through many of their career-based exhibits.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 1.5 hours


LEONARDO’S CHILDREN’S MUSEUM AND ADVENTURE QUEST

200 E. Maple Ave.
Enid, OK
580.233.2787

‚ÄčLeonardo’s Children’s Museum offers the opportunity for open-ended exploration and allows families to grow stronger together through interactive play and educational experiences. When you’re finished exploring the indoor exhibitions, head outside to Adventure Quest, a three-story wooden castle/outdoor science playground featuring bridges, slides, swings, mazes, a water table, a dinosaur dig and more!

Special Promotion: Admission is just $4.50 per person after 3 p.m.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 2 hours


PEROT MUSEUM OF NATURE AND SCIENCE

2201 N. Field St.
Dallas, TX
214.428.5555

The five-floor Perot Museum of Nature and Science houses 11 permanent exhibits, including Gems & Minerals (home to a 5-foot purple geode), the Hall of Birds, which allows young scientists to explore the connection between dinosaurs and modern-day avians, and the Sports Hall, which allows visitors to participate in sports activities that are later analyzed using a high-speed camera. While many of the exhibits might be best suited for older children, kids 5 and younger will enjoy exploring The Children’s Museum, which includes a water play table, farmer’s market station and more!

Special Promotion: Educators get in free with proof of current teaching status.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 4.5 hours


SAM NOBLE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

2401 Chautauqua Ave.
Norman, OK
405.325.4712

The Sam Noble Museum’s Discovery Room is a hands-on exhibit space designed for visitors to explore museum objects in a stimulating and fun environment. Discover objects housed in the collection drawers, complete a series of tabletop activities, excavate dinosaur bones or simply examine the many wonders displayed in the room.

Special Promotion: Free admission for children 17 on under on the first Monday of each month.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 2 hours


SCIENCE MUSEUM OKLAHOMA

2100 NE 52nd
Oklahoma City, OK
4.5.602.6664

Photo courtesy of Science Museum Oklahoma

Science Museum Oklahoma boasts 350,000 square feet of hands-on science experiences, art and history! Attractions include CurioCity, with eight “neighborhoods” exposing kids to science through fun, interactive activities, the Science Floor, which includes Segway Park, a Kid Inventor area where kids can design, test and build unique creations, an Oceanarium and much more!

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: Under 2 Hours


SKELETONS: MUSEUM OF OSTEOLOGY

10301 S. Sunnylane Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK
405.814.0006

Photo courtesy of SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology

From comparative anatomy to classification to adaptation and locomotion, SKELETONS has been designed with learning in mind. Currently displaying over 300 skeletons from all corners of the world, visitors have a unique opportunity to compare and contrast many rare species normally not seen in museum exhibits. In addition, The museum features a variety of North American specimens ranging from tiny mice and shrew skeletons to a 40 foot humpback whale.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 2 hours


THE DISCOVERY CENTER

438 E. St. Louis St.
Springfield, MO
417.862.9910

Discovery Center of Springfield is an interactive, hands-on science museum committed to inspiring people of all ages with a life-long love of learning and an appreciation for the world and our place in it. Exhibit highlights include a Wonderland center for children 5 and under; the Phenomena Gallery, a visitor favorite where guests can explore electricity; and Discovery Town, where young visitors can use their imagination as they explore a newsroom, grocery store, TV studio and more.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 3 hours


TULSA AIR & SPACE MUSEUM AND PLANETARIUM

3624 N. 74th
Tulsa, OK
918.834.9900

Experience the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium, and immerse yourself in Oklahoma's aviation past, present, and future. From the first Tulsa aviation event, a high-flying smoke balloon, to our city's contributions to the International Space Station, every era of Oklahoma aviation is on display. With a variety of hands-on activities, flight simulators, and science-based interactive exhibits, there is something for everyone at TASM.


TULSA GEOSCIENCE CENTER

610 S. Main St., #200
Tulsa, OK
918.392.4556

Tulsa Geoscience Center is a hands-on science center focusing on geoscience themes such as fossils, earthquakes, petroleum production and more. Available by appointment only, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Book your tour online.


WONDERTORIUM CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

308 W. Franklin Lane
Stillwater, OK
405.533.3333

Oklahoma Wondertorium’s exhibits and innovative educational programs emphasize hands-on engagement and learning through experience, employing play as a tool to spark the inherent creativity, curiosity, and imagination of children. Exhibits explore science, math, creativity, history, culture, health & wellness, dramatic play and problem-solving.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 1 hour and 15 minutes

HISTORY AND CULTURE

CHICKASAW CULTURAL CENTER

867 Cooper Memorial Rd.
Sulphur, OK
580.622.7130

The Chickasaw Cultural Center offers a world of opportunity to learn and connect with Native American history. Watch the story of the Chickasaw people unfold before your eyes through powerful performances, reenactments, demonstrations, collections and exhibits at one of the largest and most extensive tribal cultural centers in the United States.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 2.5 hours


MUSEUM OF WORLD TREASURES

835 E. 1st St.
Wichita, KS
316.264.1311

The Museum of World Treasures, located in downtown Wichita, is a three-story treasure trove including Egyptian mummies, dinosaur bones and other historical artifacts.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 3 hours


THE OKLAHOMA CITY NATIONAL MEMORIAL & MUSEUM

620 N. Harvey
Oklahoma City, OK
405.235.3313
888.542.HOPE

The outdoor memorial at The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum is designed to give visitors a space to reflect quietly and to honor “those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever” by the Oklahoma City bombing. The museum offers an interactive, self-guided tour sharing the stories of those affected.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: Under 2 Hours


NATIONAL COWBOY & WESTERN HERITAGE MUSEUM

1700 NE 63rd St.
Oklahoma City, OK
405.478.2250

End of the Trail. Photo courtesy of National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum features a superb collection of classic and contemporary Western art. The exhibition wing houses a turn-of-the-century town and interactive history galleries that focus on the American cowboy, rodeos, Native American culture, Victorian firearms, frontier military, and Western performers. Outside, beautifully landscaped gardens flank the Children’s Cowboy Corral and interactive children’s space.

Summer Exhibition Spotlight: Prix de West: The 47th Annual Prix de West Art Exhibition & Sale (June 7-August 11, 2019) Features 300+ paintings and sculpture by the finest contemporary Western artists in the nation.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: Under 2 hours


OKLAHOMA HALL OF FAME AND GAYLORD-PICKENS MUSEUM

1400 Classen Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK
405.235.4458

Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Hall of Fame and Gaylord-Pickens Museum

Founded in 1927, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame was created to honor Oklahomans who had given outstanding services to the state during their lifetime and to provide educational programming for students of all ages. Through exhibits and experiences at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame stands to preserve Oklahoma’s unique history while promoting pride in our great state.

Special Promotion: Guests can visit for free on the second Saturday of each month.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: Under 2 hours


OKLAHOMA HISTORY CENTER

800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK
405.522.0765

Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Historical Society

Explore Oklahoma’s history at the Oklahoma History Center! Inside the Center, you will find five galleries full of memorabilia AND hands-on activities. On the grounds, enjoy walking through the Red River Journey, which offers “a walking tour of the Red River Valley featuring land forms, vegetation and important historical locations.” Outside, visitors can also view an oilfield exhibit, complete with derricks and other machinery.  The Oklahoma History Center is located across from the Oklahoma State Capitol, which offers tours throughout the week.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: Under 2 hours


THE MUSEUM BROKEN ARROW

400 S. Main St.
Broken Arrow, OK
918.258.2616

Explore the history of Broken Arrow through rotating and permanent exhibits. Notable features include the Old Town Hall Jail Cell and Childers Cabin, as well as a “Made in Oklahoma” gift shop.


TULSA HISTORICAL SOCIETY & MUSEUM

2445 S. Peoria Ave.
Tulsa, OK
918.712.9484

Located in the beautiful Travis Mansion, the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum offers and excellent way to explore Tulsa’s past. Permanent exhibitions include one on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, the history of the Travis Mansion and ChronoTulsa: Timeline of Tulsa History.

Summer Exhibition Spotlight: “Vandevers: The Store with Everything” (open through August 2019)

Special Promotions: Free admission on the first Saturday of each month.


WILL ROGERS MEMORIAL MUSEUM

1720 W. Will Rogers Blvd.
Claremore, OK
918.341.0719

Photo from Will Rogers Memorial Museum Archives

Learn about the life of “America’s most beloved humorist” through the galleries of the Will Rogers Memorial Museum as well as by watching documentaries in the museum theater. Kids will enjoy the interactive children’s exhibit, where they can play dress-up, create a puppet show and more!

Special Promotions: Enjoy free admission on the second Saturday of each month (April-October), 5-8 p.m.


WILL ROGERS BIRTHPLACE RANCH

9501 E. 380 Rd.
Oologah, OK
918.275.4201

What was life like in the late 1800s? Get a glimpse at the beautiful Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch, which is both a working ranch and an authentically preserved historic site. Bring a picnic!


WOOLAROC MUSEUM & WILDLIFE PRESERVE

1925 Woolarod Ranch Rd.
Bartlesville, OK
918.366.0307

Hidden away in the rugged Osage Hills of Northeastern Oklahoma, Woolaroc was established in 1925 as the ranch retreat of oilman Frank Phillips. The ranch is a 3,700 acre wildlife preserve, home to many species of native and exotic wildlife, such as buffalo, elk and longhorn cattle. Woolaroc is also a museum with an outstanding collection of western art and artifacts, Native American material, one of the finest collections of Colt firearms in the world, and so much more. Read more at woolaroc.org/pages/about-us.

Don’t Miss: Kidsfest, June 29-30, 2019

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 1 hour

FLORA

BOTANICA

701 Amidon St.
Wichita, KS
316.264.0448

Botanica, established in 1987, features an impressive variety of gardens, including a Children’s Garden, Sensory Garden, Woodland Bird Garden, Railroad Garden, Koi Pond and more. The Downing Children’s Garden includes a farm area with a working water pump, a tree house, the “Monster Woods,” musical maze, etc.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 3 hours


DALLAS ARBORETUM & BOTANICAL GARDENS

8525 Garland Rd.
Dallas, TX
214.515.6615

The 66-acre Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens prides itself on being one of the top botanical gardens in America. Don’t miss the Rory Meyer’s Children’s Adventure Garden, designed to help children connect with nature. Highlights include an edible garden, interactive science games, water features and more.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: Just over 4 hours


MYRIAD BOTANICAL GARDENS

301 W. Reno
Oklahoma City, OK
405.445.7080

Photo courtesy of Myriad Botanical Gardens

Special features of the Myriad Botanical Gardens include an off-leash Dog Park, the Crystal Bridge Conservatory—a 13,000-square-foot, ADA-accessible building that is home to 750 plant varieties, a waterfall and sky bridge—and a Carousel. Check the website for additional seasonal activities, such as the winter ice rink and light show.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: Just under 2 hours


TULSA BOTANIC GARDEN

3900 Tulsa Botanic Dr.
Tulsa, OK
918.289.0330
www.tulsabotanic.org

Tulsa Botanic Garden, located just a few minutes northwest of downtown Tulsa, features a delightful Children’s Garden (complete with tree fort!), a paved walking trail, and the art deco-inspired Tandy Floral Terrace Gardens. Check out their calendar for a list of upcoming events.

FAUNA

DICKERSON PARK ZOO

1401 W. Norton Rd.
Springfield, MO
417.864.1800

Visit Dickerson Park Zoo and you’re off on an adventure of discovery. You’ll see and learn about animals from around the world; and just by visiting, you’re already playing a part in the zoo’s conservation of animals.

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 3 hours


OKLAHOMA AQUARIUM

300 Aquarium Dr.
Jenks, OK
918.296.3474

Even in land-locked Oklahoma you can get a taste of the ocean (and other aquatic wonderlands) at the Oklahoma Aquarium! Visit Sea Turtle Island, walk through a tunnel of bull sharks, learn more about Oklahoma’s own aquatic ecosystems and more! Check out their website for a list of daily feed shows!


OKC ZOO

2101 NE 50th St.
Oklahoma City, OK
405.423.3344

Go to okczoo.org/rides-and-attractions to learn more about daily activities offered at the Zoo, such as Keeper Connections, Sea Lion Presentations, Giraffe Feedings and more!  

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: Under 2 hours


SEDGWICK COUNTY ZOO

5555 W. Zoo Blvd.
Wichita, KS
316.660.9453

The Sedgwick County Zoo is home to nearly 400 species of animals, which are located on the zoo grounds according to their geographic origins in engaging, interactive habitats. Newer exhibits include the Reed Family Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley and the Downing Gorilla Forest. Don't miss the recently renovated Tropics building, where you can walk through a jungle habitat, surrounded by brightly colored birds flying overhead. 

Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 3 hours


TULSA ZOO AND LIVING MUSEUM

6421 E. 36th St. N.
Tulsa, OK
918.669.6600

If you haven’t had a chance to tour the Tulsa Zoo’s Lost Kingdom exhibit, summer is the perfect time! Watch tigers roam while enjoying a midday snack at the Ann and Jack Graves Komodo Canteen or while eating a slice of pizza from the indoor comfort of Rajan’s. As always, zoo visitors can enjoy train and carousel rides, animal demonstrations and all your favorite exhibits.


WONDERS OF WILDLIFE NATIONAL MUSEUM & AQUARIUM

500 W. Sunshine St.
Springfield, MO
888.222.6060

Established by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, Springfield’s Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium was voted Best Aquarium by USA Today readers following its opening in September 2017. Special features include Great Oceans Hall, which includes a 300,000-gallon tank housing sea turtles, zebra sharks and more, and Out to Sea Shark Dive, where guests can actually meet sharks face-to-face from the safety of a metal diving cage.  


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