Cast Your Vote for Gathering Place

If you enjoy playing at Gathering Place, you can share your love by voting for the park in USA Today’s poll for Best New Attraction of 2018. You have until Monday, Jan. 7 at 11 a.m. to cast your vote. And, vote more than once. The poll allows you two votes per day.

If you haven’t been to Gathering Place yet, the spring-like weather might make this weekend a perfect time to visit. My two adult daughters wanted to visit while they were in town over the holidays, so we took some time to walk through – and play a little on the zip line.

But, to be fair, let’s size up Gathering Place against the other nominees.

One of them is Asbury Lanes, a refurbished bowling alley which doubles as a music venue in Asbury Park, New Jersey. As much as I love, love, love Bruce Springsteen (it’s so cool that he was at the grand opening), a bowling alley just doesn’t have the amazingness of Gathering Place.

And then there’s Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve. I love the idea of preserving nighttime darkness – light pollution is an ugly thing, so I feel a certain cosmic pull toward this one. But it’s not in Tulsa.

Next, we have Chicago Architecture Center. Having two children who live close to Chicago gives it a certain emotional appeal for me, but just go and take the architecture tour, but vote for Gathering Place.

The Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is one of my favorite nominees. But Oklahoma has its own agritourism where you can learn where food comes from. And, can’t you see a calf being born at the Tulsa County Fair? And, they serve extra-fresh dairy products at OSU, so this one is a definite no vote for me.

The Gateway Arch Museum and Visitor Center in St. Louis. It’s new, but that arch has been there a long time. Old news.

The Imagine Museum in St. Petersburg is interesting – it has a collection of contemporary American studio glass from artists across five decades. Nice enough, but if you want a Chihuly fix, go to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Really fabulous. Take the kids, too.

Next up is the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. I truly love art museums, especially modern art – and this building is a work of art, but even I would admit that it’s a little narrow in its scope of appeal. Deserving of a visit, but I’m still voting Gathering Place

The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, N.Y. is also a nominee. Well, it says it’s the first of its kind, so that’s a plus. But, I would contend that Gathering Place is the first of its kind

The next nominee is one that I really want to visit – National Memorial for Peace and Justice. I’ve seen it profiled on more than one television program, and it looks like a place that is truly heart-stopping, meaningful, emotional and necessary to understanding  our violent past regarding black Americans. A truly worthy nominee. But, Gathering Place hopes to bring people of all ages, races, abilities, etc. together, so I support that mission in my home city.

Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center opened in May. The story of the Underground Railroad is a fascinating piece of U.S. History that needs to be told. I’d like to visit.

Hey, I’ve always had a soft spot for Scandinavian countries. How about that great parental leave and child care? We could take a few lessons from Sweden, for sure. So, going to a Nordic Museum in Seattle where we can learn about their history would be fun. And, my mom lived on the Oregon coast as a baby when her dad worked in the shipyard (they called him “The Swede” according to my mom).

The Old Forester Distillery in Louisville. Whiskey-making is so interesting. I would definitely visit here, but would probably rather be sipping coffee in Gathering Place’s Lodge.

The Orlando Starflyer. I’m afraid of heights. So, no.

The Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory that connects the public to the night skies in California. Star-gazing through telescopes? Ummm, pull me back; I might be persuaded by aliens to vote for this one.

I love children’s museums, so I was glad to see one on the list of nominees: Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience, Indianapolis. I just think that name is way too long. TLDR. Besides, the picture doesn’t look like those cars are going on kid power. How healthy is that?

The South Carolina Historical Society Museum in Charleston. Sounds too snooty. Sorry. Skip.

Spyscape in New York. Spys!!!? That is an intrinsically fascinating topic. Cracking codes, dodging lasers, learning about famous spies! OOOO. But the picture is too boring. It looks like a typical museum. I’ll take the slides at Gathering Place over this one.

The Tower of Voices in Pennsylvania is such a creative piece that I was very tempted to vote for it. It is dedicated to Flight 93 and memorializes the 40 passengers and crew through sound, as 40 wind chimes within the tower represent lives lost that day. I love the artistic vision and creativity of places like this. It reminds me of the OKC Memorial with the empty chairs. So emotional. I would love to visit this monument.

Finally, the last nominee is the Underwater Museum of Art off the coast of Walton County in the Gulf of Mexico. While this sounds super unique, I’m just a little afraid of diving and being under water in the open sea like that. So, no.

OK, readers. There are your nominees. I hope I’ve convinced you that Tulsa has the best contender, but, like me, keep this list handy for cool places to visit around the country.

Honestly, I would vote for Gathering Place just for the amazing ceiling in the lodge. How did they do that? Park fans can cast their vote here –


Categories: Editor’s Blog