20 Things to Look Forward to in Tulsa in 2022

The last two years have certainly driven home Robert Burns’ famous lines, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.” Between supply-chain and labor issues and the ongoing pandemic, it seems almost too optimistic to anticipate a whole year’s worth of activities! That said, assuming all goes as planned, Tulsans have a lot to look forward to in 2022. Some exciting, large-scale construction projects are scheduled to conclude, and some of our favorite in-person events are returning after a long hiatus! What are you looking forward to doing in 2022?

1. Discovery Lab

We are eagerly anticipating the grand opening of Discovery Lab’s new facility at Gathering Place! Thankfully, we shouldn’t have long to wait. Although we don’t have an official opening date, as far as we know, they are still hoping to open in January.

Edit, Jan. 10, 2022: Discovery Lab will officially open to the public on January 24. Members and Gizmo Guild Members will have opportunities to visit before that date. Learn more here

Discovery Lab

2. Aquarium Sleepovers

Sleep with the fishes ! Oklahoma Aquarium is bringing back its popular ZZZs in the Seas Sleepovers in 2022. Dates are March 18, June 24 and July 29. All sleepovers include a movie, self-guided scavenger hunt, flashlight tour and more. Tickets are limited and already on sale, so don’t wait! Purchase your spot today at okaquarium.org/190/ZZZs-in-the-Seas.

3. Tulsa ZooRun

After a virtual run in 2021, Tulsa Zoo is hoping to bring back the annual Zoo Run in March of 2022! Go to tulsazoo.org/zoo-events/zoorun for updates!

4. Killers of the Flower Moon

Oklahoma was abuzz when Leonardo DiCaprio, Brendan Fraser and other big Hollywood names were filming in Pawhuska for Martin Scorcese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. The movie, based on David Grann’s book of the same name, tells the story of “the 1920s Reign of Terror, a scheme by white men in the area to kill members of the Osage Nation to gain their wealth and mineral rights.” Read more in Natalie Mikles’ interview with Margie Burkhart, whose grandparents are central figures of the narrative.

Filming finished in October 2021; although we haven’t seen an official release date, it is anticipated to be released in 2022.

5. Reservation Dogs Season 2

Reservation Dogs, created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, was another big cinematic moment for Oklahoma in 2021. The show, set on a reservation in eastern Oklahoma, does a stellar job of representing complex Native characters (read more in our interview with some of the cast members) and is full of humor and heart. We can’t wait to see what season 2 has in store for Bear, Elora, Cheese, Willie Jack and the rest of their community. If you haven’t watched it yet, catch up on season 1 on Hulu.

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6. Tulsa Botanic Garden

Although Tulsa Botanic Garden doesn’t have anything new per se to share at this time, Tulsans can look forward to a year’s worth of outdoor beauty and fun at Tulsa Botanic Garden! Starting with Tulsa Botanic Blooms in the spring – hundreds and hundreds of tulips!, and no doubt the return of other favorites like Autumn in the Garden and Botanic Garden of Lights next winter. This year, most nights of Botanic Garden of Lights were sold out, so make sure to plan ahead if you don’t want to miss it!

7. New Turkey Mountain Trails

Turkey Mountain is such a great destination for family hikes, mountain bikers – even horseback riders! Toward the end of 2021, they opened a portion of what will eventually be 14-16 miles of new trails, all to be completed in 2022. According to Ryan Howell with River Parks Authority, “Private donors and public funds will be used to complete Phases 1 and 2 of trail renovations at Turkey Mountain by the end of 2022. This will add 14-16 miles of new sustainable, erosion resistant trail perfect for families and kids. The new trail is being built with future generations in mind.” So check out the new trail, and follow @RiverParks for updates!


Photo by Shane Bevel, courtesy of River Parks Authority

8. Gilcrease Museum Community Events

Gilcrease Museum is closed, but they continue to prioritize community engagement. In December 2021, they facilitated a creative activity at Gathering Place’s Winter Wonderland, and they will return to Gathering Place over Spring Break for more hands-on fun. Visit my.gilcrease.org/events?view=list&span=month&k=public%20events to see what else they have planned in 2022!

9. Philbrook’s The Big Show

We are already counting down the days until The Big Show at Philbrook, featuring the work of Oklahoma artists ages 4-18! According to their social media, this will be their biggest exhibition ever! We can’t wait to see what kids in our community have created! The Big Show will be on display from March 11-May 18.

Also on our radar is Philbrook’s Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism exhibition, coming July 6-September 11.

10. In-Person Programming at TCCL + Summer Reading Program

Toward the end of 2021, Tulsa City-County Library started to bring back in-person programming like storytimes, reading groups, etc. We were especially thrilled to see more options for tweens and teens! Whenever you’re wondering what the library has coming up, go to events.tulsalibrary.org/events or visit our community calendar at tulsakids.com/calendar.

Along those lines, the library did a wonderful job of creating a virtual Summer Reading Program the last two summers. You can still watch a lot of that content on their YouTube Channel. But we are anticipating more in-person concerts, balloon shows, etc. in Summer 2022!

11. Tulsa Ballet’s Jack and the Beanstalk

We loved Tulsa Ballet’s kid-friendly production of Peter and the Wolf a couple years ago. So it was great to see that they’re bringing back their Hardesty Foundation Children’s Series with Jack and the Beanstalk! Performances will run in April, at both their Brookside and Broken Arrow campuses. According to tulsaballet.org, this promises to be “an entertaining and educational performance perfect for the young and young at heart!” Tickets are on sale now.

12. Tulsa Mayfest Youth Art Gallery

Each spring, Mayfest invites Tulsa-area K-12 students, including homeschooling students, to submit original artwork – at no charge – to the Mayfest Youth Art Gallery. All submissions are accepted, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for kids to see their work on display! Plus, the children can sell their work as well.

Mayfest Potato

Tara Rittler’s son points to his photograph of a “potato cannon,” as part of ahha Tulsa’s 2021 Mayfest Youth Art Gallery.

Last year, ahha displayed the artwork and offered all participants free admission for the duration of the show. Mayfest returns to downtown Tulsa May 6-8, 2022. Follow @ahhatulsa on social media for future details about Youth Art Gallery submissions.

13. Bob Dylan Center

The opening of the Bob Dylan Center in May 2022 will present an opportunity for the public to view part of the impressive Bob Dylan Archive. The Archive includes handwritten manuscripts, photographs, correspondence, unreleased recordings, etc. – over 100,000 pieces of material in total! According to bobdylancenter.com, “When it opens in the Tulsa Arts District in May 2022, the center will serve to educate, motivate and inspire visitors to engage their own capacity as creators. Through exhibits, public programs, performances, lectures, and publications, the center aims to foster a conversation about the role of creativity in our lives.”

We love that the Bob Dylan Center will open just a couple doors down from the Woody Guthrie Center. One suggestion for families is to read the picture book, “When Bob Met Woody,” which tells the story of Bob Dylan’s journey toward meeting Woody Guthrie.

14. Tulsa Drillers

TulsaKids was proud to partner with Tulsa Drillers as a sponsor for their Hornsby’s Kids Club last season. The Hornsby’s Kids Club includes free children’s tickets to select games and some other fun perks. We’re looking forward to seeing what the 2022 Tulsa Drillers season has in store! Games begin in April and run through September. Check the schedule out here.

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Photo courtesy of Tulsa Drillers

15. Broadway Shows

Broadway is back at the PAC! This season, we are especially looking forward to Mean Girls (January 4-9),Oklahoma! (June 14-19) and Anastasia (July 19-24). Other performances include Tootsie (March 8-13), Pretty Woman the Musical (August 23-28) and Hadestown (September 27-October 2). Read more about each show at celebrityattractions.com.

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Mean Girls: Pictured (L-R): Danielle Wade (Cady Heron), Megan Masako Haley (Gretchen Wieners), Nadina Hassan (Regina George), and Jonalyn Saxer (Karen Smith). Credit: © 2021 Jenny Anderson

16. Redbud Valley Reopening

Redbud Valley Nature Preserve closed in August 2021 because “The growing popularity of the preserve throughout the pandemic has increased foot traffic, as well as instances of vandalism, damaging the environment and the ecosystem.” The preserve is anticipated to reopen in May 2022. Read the full press release about the closure to learn more about behaviors to avoid when visiting the preserve.

17. Imagination Series

Tulsa PAC Trust’s Imagination Series is another tried-and-true way to introduce kids to live theater. 2022 performances include School House Rock Live! on February 4, and Professor Wow’s Fun-Believable Science Show March 11. Performances are just one hour, from 7-8 p.m. Show up early at 6 p.m. for Family Fun Night! Tickets available at tulsapac.com/p/engagement/young-at-artimagination-series.

18. OKPOP Museum

*Update: The opening of the OKPOP Museum has been delayed till 2023* According to their website, the long-anticipated OKPOP Museum is opening in 2022! Celebrating Oklahoma’s influence on pop culture, the museum will be highly interactive, making it a fun and engaging place for families! Learn more at okpop.org.

19. USA BMX Facility

The new USA BMX Facility in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District is anticipated to 100,000 visitors to Tulsa in its first 5 years, according to this statement by Mayor G.T. Bynum. Construction should finish in early 2022. The facility will house the USA BMX National Headquarters, a Hall of Fame museum and both an Olympic-caliber and amateur track. Learn more at usabmx.com/site/postings/1723.

20. A Great Year with TulsaKids!

We’re starting off 2022 with a redesigned magazine! (Read our January issue here.) We’ll be continuing our monthly photo contests throughout the year as well as bringing back our annual Family Favorites competition (March and May) and Cover Kid Contest (August). Subscribe to our email list so you don’t miss out on the fun!

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