A Tulsa Summer Bucket List from A to Z
Want to do something different this summer? Check off items on our A to Z Summer Bucket List! There’s no prize for working through the whole alphabet, but we CAN guarantee that you’ll make some amazing memories!
Get your hike on at Keystone Ancient Forest in Sand Springs! Keystone Ancient Forest is home to post oak and cedar trees that are hundreds of years old, as well as a variety of wildlife. Hiking is available Thursday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. and Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Visit sandspringsok.org/175/Keystone-Ancient-Forest or facebook.com/KeystoneAncientForest for updates.
Other Ideas: ahha
Swimming pools? Done that! Why not combine your inevitable need to plunge into cool waters with an epic adventure? Wanda’s Blue Hole has been a popular destination for Oklahomans willing to risk getting a little lost for the payoff of getting to swim in a beautiful, natural setting. Get directions and more information at tulsakids.com/swimming-at-blue-hole.
From Summer’s Fifth Night in Utica Square (free concerts on Thursday evenings all summer long!) to Starlight Concerts at Guthrie Green, you can groove along to free music by local artists just about any day of the week, all summer long! Get details at tulsakids.com/family-friendly-summer-concerts-in-tulsa!
Indulge in some old-fashioned fun—while seeing the latest summer flicks—at the Admiral Twin Drive-In! Open weekends through mid-May, then open 7 days a week for the remainder of the season. Find the schedule at admiraltwindrivein.com.
Endangered Ark Foundation, located in Hugo, OK, prides itself on being “the second largest home to Asian elephants in America. EAF hosts public and private tours where visitors can learn about caring for elephants, elephant behavior, the state of elephants in the wild and more. Visitors can get closer to the elephants than they would elsewhere—and yes, have an opportunity to take what EAF has coined an “elphie selfie.” Must book tours in advance. Get the schedule and book online at endangeredarkfoundation.org.
Other Ideas: Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park
First Friday Art Crawl:
The First Friday Art Crawl in the Tulsa Arts District draw thousands of people downtown each month! Enjoy free admission at Arts District galleries and special activities including live music and more; don’t forget to grab a bite at one of the district’s many popular eating establishments.
If you haven’t yet visited the powerful Greenwood Rising museum, make plans to do so this summer. Greenwood Rising tells the story of Tulsa’s Greenwood District, from the success of Black Wall Street, through the Tulsa Race Massacre and up to present day. Admission is free through the museum’s first year of operation. Afterwards, visit some of the local businesses in the Greenwood District.
Hike (and Hydrate!):
Get an early start if hiking in the middle of a Tulsa summer’s day sounds a bit much—but hiking is a healthy activity that can get you out in nature without getting too far out of the city. Our top picks for a good, family friendly hike in the Tulsa area are: Turkey Mountain, Tulsa Botanic Garden, Redbud Valley Nature Preserve, Keystone Ancient Forest, Ray Harral Nature Center and Park and Haikey Creek Park! Learn more at tulsakids.com/best-family-hiking-spots-in-the-tulsa-area.
Ice Cream (Etc.):
Sure, a lot of these places are open year-round, but summer offers the perfect excuse to go on an ice cream tour of Tulsa! Have you had your yearly shaved ice fix at Josh’s Sno Shack? Paid a visit to Rose Rock Microcreamery to taste their latest flavor combinations? Find our roundup of local ice cream purveyors at tulsakids.com/sweet-treats-to-beat-the-heat.
John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park:
The John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park is the perfect place to escape the summer hustle for some time to reflect and talk with your kids about Tulsa’s past and the part they can play in our city’s present and future. The John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, located at 290 N. Elgin Ave., memorializes the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 through powerful sculpture and stone monuments teaching about the history of African Americans in Oklahoma. Docent-led tours are available; learn more at jhfcenter.org/reconciliation-park.
Other Ideas: Jenks Main Street
The Bartlesville Kiddie Park has been a popular summertime destination for decades. At just fifty cents per ride, it’s a low-cost option for parents; and the old-timey feel of the attractions, which include kid-sized boats, jeeps and planes, will delight your youngsters. Get the park schedule at kiddiepark.net.
Library Summer Reading Program:
Buddy the Bookworm wants YOU to join the Tulsa City-County Library’s Summer Reading Program! You and your kids can read books to earn prizes—plus, enjoy a ton of other activities at the library this summer, including free children’s concerts and movies! Sign up at tulsalibrary.org/summer or in-person starting June 1.
Tulsa’s mural scene is on-fire! And there’s always another beautiful work of art to discover. Some favorites include the astronaut mural in the Blue Dome District; the Leon Russell murals outside The Church Studio at 3rd and Trenton, and the butterfly/floral mural adorning The Shops at Mother Road Market. Don’t know where to begin? The Kendall-Whittier District is also a great bet. Do some shopping while you’re there!
Comment below with your favorite mural!
Hey, you don’t have to plan every second of your summer! Make sure to schedule some down time to just chill with the family. Whether your lazy-day activity of choice is watching a movie, playing board games, whipping up a delicious batch of cupcakes, etc., it’s important to take time to relax!
PLUS, kids 12 and under can join the free Hornsby’s Bullpen for free tickets to Family FUNday Sunday games and other fun perks!
Was anyone else terrified of dozing off during a field trip to the Planetarium and being left behind? Nowadays, sitting in a cool, dark theater underneath a replica of the night sky just sounds relaxing! Tulsa is home to two planetariums, both of which will be showing a variety of shows over the summer months: the first located at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, and the other is the Jenks Planetarium. Find the schedules at tulsamuseum.org and jenkscommunityed.com.
Don’t let summer pass you by without cooling off with 64 ounces of your new favorite slushie flavor mash-up at QuikTrip!
Discover what’s new along the Tulsa stretch of the Mother Road—from Mother Road Market at 11th and Lewis to Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios near 11th and Peoria. Or, rediscover older Route 66 gems like Ollie’s Station Restaurant (4070 Southwest Blvd.). Find some of our favorite Route 66 landmarks at tulsakids.com/route-66-road-trip-tips.
You can find splash pads all over Tulsa metro! So if you ever need a quick cool-down, no doubt a splash pad is just minutes away. Find a list of locations at tulsakids.com/tulsa-water-parks-pools-and-playgrounds.
Need a weekend getaway but don’t have a big budget? Become a Tulsa tourist! Pick a new area of town to explore, or get some inspiration at tulsakids.com/plan-a-tulsa-staycation!
Other Ideas: Tallgrass Prairie Preserve
The WWII-era USS Batfish, located in War Memorial Park in Muskogee, is the only submarine in Oklahoma, making this a unique and historical summer activity! Visitors can take guided or self-guided tours inside the Batfish, and there is even an overnight option if you want the experience of sleeping in a genuine submarine. Get more information, including hours of operation, at travelok.com/listings/view.profile/id.8268.
Vintage Sewing Machine Museum:
The Vintage Sewing Machine Museum at 5528 S. Peoria Ave. is a fascinating destination for history buffs, crafters – you name it! Inside, you’ll find hundreds of beautiful vintage sewing machines, each with a story to tell. Don’t forget to visit the basement, where you’ll find a kids room! Learn more at tulsakids.com/visiting-the-vintage-sewing-center-and-museum.
Woolaroc has it all, from a Western fine art collection to a rustic lodge to rolling acres home to bison, elk and other native species. Plus, Woolaroc’s Kidsfest (June 25-26, 2022) is a summer favorite, attracting over 8,000 visitors who get to enjoy a day (or two!) of live music, inflatables, games, arts and crafts and more! Learn more at woolaroc.org.
X Marks the Spot:
App-based scavenger hunts are an increasingly popular way to explore a city! Let’s Go Urban offers both custom and ready-to-go hunts in the Tulsa area. Get more information at letsgoandhunt.com.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park™:
Pack your pic-a-nic basket and head down the road to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park™ at Keystone Lake! Water activities include an aquatic obstacle course, splash pool, water slides and more! Get more info at keystonelakejp.com.
See and hear the dinos ROAR at Tulsa Zoo’s Zoorassic World, where 25+ lifesize, animatronic dinosaurs reside! The dinosaurs will be on-site through September 5, so see them while you can! More info and tickets at tulsazoo.org/zoo-events/roar.
Other Ideas: Zipline tours at POSTOAK Lodge
This article was originally written for TulsaKids’ 2019 Summer Family Fun Guide. It has since been updated.