Kid-friendly Museums and Attractions
In Oklahoma and Beyond
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 email@example.com!
Below, you’ll find museums organized by the following locations: Tulsa Area; Oklahoma City Area; Other Oklahoma Destinations; Dallas, TX; Bentonville, AR; Wichita, KS; Branson, MO; and Springfield, MO.
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.
Discovery Lab’s new facility at Gathering Place is home to seven exciting exhibit areas – like the HydroLab and Imaginarium, a virtual landscape that reacts to your movement. Plus, enjoy three high-facilitation areas: The WorkShop, Science Lab and the Little Lab for children four and under. If the kiddos get hunger, grab a healthy meal at Bean Sprout Cafe!
GILCREASE MUSEUM (Currently Closed for Construction)
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 features an Interactive Discovery Trail, which uses innovative technology to tell the story of Native peoples through artifacts in the museum’s collection.
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!
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.
Special Promotions: Free admission for kids 17 and under daily. $1 admission per person for up to four people per group with the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, WIC (Women, Infant, Children), and SoonerCare. (Learn more here.)
SHERWIN MILLER MUSEUM OF JEWISH ART
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.
THE MUSEUM BROKEN ARROW
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 AIR & SPACE MUSEUM AND PLANETARIUM
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 BOTANIC GARDEN
3900 Tulsa Botanic Dr., Tulsa
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.
TULSA HISTORICAL SOCIETY & MUSEUM
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.
Special Promotions: Children and students get free admission.
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 enjoying the new chicken menu from the indoor comfort of George Kaiser Family Foundation Rajan’s. Stroll 84 carefully tended acres while enjoying 400 animal species, train and carousel rides, native plant and conservation gardens, keeper chats and more. Plus, don’t miss the incredible Helmerich Behaving Like Animals Playground, where kids can learn about different animal traits while having a blast!
5528 S. Peoria Ave., Tulsa
Learn about the history of sewing machines at this hands-on museum housing hundreds of sewing machines from the 1800s and later. There is even a special room just for kids, where they can sit at a real sewing machine. Read Tara Rittler’s blog post about her visit here.
WILL ROGERS MEMORIAL MUSEUM
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!
WILL ROGERS BIRTHPLACE RANCH
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!
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.
Oklahoma City Area
Oklahoma City is a less-than two-hour drive from Tulsa.
659 First Americans Blvd., Oklahoma City
First Americans Museum invites visitors to “experience the collective histories of 39 distinctive First American Nations in Oklahoma today.” Read Margaritte Arthrell-Knezek’s Guest Blog post to learn more about this important museum.
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.
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.
OKLAHOMA CITY MUSEUM OF ART
In addition to an impressive collection of fine art, OKC MOA offers frequent fun and educational events for the whole family
Special Promotion: Kids 17 and under get in free beginning June 17, 2020.
THE OKLAHOMA CITY NATIONAL MEMORIAL & MUSEUM
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.
Go to okczoo.org/plan_your_visit to learn more about daily activities offered at the Zoo, such as Keeper Connections, Sea Lion Presentations, Giraffe Feedings and more!
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.
OKLAHOMA HISTORY CENTER
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.
SAM NOBLE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
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.
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!
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.
OTHER OKLAHOMA DESTINATIONS
CHICKASAW CULTURAL CENTER
867 Cooper Memorial Rd., Sulphur
Learn about the history of the Chickasaw people through reenactments, exhibits and more.
JASMINE MORAN CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
1714 W. Wrangler Blvd., Seminole
The Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum offers kids an opportunity to explore the world of work through many of their career-based exhibits.
LEONARDO’S CHILDREN’S MUSEUM AND ADVENTURE QUEST
200 E. Maple Ave., Enid
When you’re finished exploring the indoor exhibitions, head outside to Adventure Quest, a three-story wooden castle and outdoor science playground!
Dallas is about a 4-4.5-hour drive from Tulsa.
DALLAS ARBORETUM & BOTANICAL GARDENS
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
DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART
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.
Special Promotion: Free general admission daily (Closed Mondays; Does not include Special Exhibition admission)
NASHER SCULPTURE CENTER
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: Children 12 and under are always free.
PEROT MUSEUM OF NATURE AND SCIENCE
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.
Bentonville, Arkansas, is about a 2-hour drive from Tulsa.
CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF ART
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.
Special Promotions: Free admission daily.
1009 Museum Way, Bentonville
Kids will love pretending to work in the Amazeum’s Walmart Market, whether they can do deli prep, checkout, stock veggies, etc.! Other fun Amazeum features include a water play area and a special space for the youngest visitors.
507 SE E. St., Bentonville
The Momentary, a satellite location of Crystal Bridges, is a “decommissioned cheese factory turned contemporary art space for visual and performing arts, culinary experiences, festivals, artists-in-residence, and more.” Don’t miss their innovative, eye-catching coffee bar!
THE WALMART MUSEUM
105 N. Main St., Bentonville
Want to learn more about the ubiquitous Walmart? This is your chance to unravel its unique history! Try a scoop of ice cream at The Spark Café, and explore other local businesses located around this charming city square.
Wichita, Kansas, is a 2.5-3-hour drive from Tulsa.
BOTANICA, THE WICHITA GARDENS
701 Amidon St., Wichita
Botanica’s impressive variety of gardens includes a Sensory Garden, Woodland Bird Garden and Koi Pond. The Downing Children’s Garden features a farm area with a working water pump, a tree house, the “Monster Woods” and musical maze.
300 N. McLean Blvd., Wichita
Exploration Place provides STEM activities for kids in pre-K through elementary school.
MUSEUM OF WORLD TREASURES
835 E. 1st St., Wichita
This three-story treasure trove is home to Egyptian mummies, dinosaur bones and other historical artifacts.
OLD COWTOWN MUSEUM
1865 W. Museum Blvd., Wichita
Step back in time – all the way to the late-1800s! Explore the world of the Chisolm Trail through immersive, walk-through experiences that include a one-room schoolhouse, private residences and businesses.
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 Tropics building, where you can walk through a jungle habitat, surrounded by brightly colored birds flying overhead.
Estimated Driving Time from Tulsa: 3 hours
Branson, Missouri, is approximately a 3.5-hour drive from Tulsa.
AUTO & FARM MUSEUM
1335 W. Highway 76, Branson
Browse two acres of classic cars and historic farming equipment.
2700 W. 76 County Blvd. Unit A, Branson
It’s all about fish and fun at the new Branson Aquarium! On the fishy side, visit the Jelly Infinity Room, where you’ll be surrounded by bioluminescent moon jellys in a color-changing environment. For fun, climb through a towering Kelp Forest!
HOLLYWOOD WAX MUSEUM
3030 W. 76 County Blvd., Unit A, Branson
A wax museum may not be for everyone, but here’s your chance to “get up close and personal with your favorite stars” – or at least, wax versions of them. Snap photos with celebrities including Sandra Bullock and Jackie Chan – the museum provides props to take your selfie to the next level.
3235 76 County Blvd. & Hwy 165, Branson
Described as “Living Theatre” by founder John Joslyn, Titanic Branson seeks to allow visitors to experience what it would have been like to be aboard the famous ship.
VETERANS MEMORIAL MUSEUM
1250 W. Hwy 76 Country Blvd., Branson
This museum honors the bravery of U.S. veterans, particularly those who served in the past century.
Springfield, Missouri, is about 3 hours from Tulsa.
DICKERSON PARK ZOO
1401 W. Norton Rd., Springfield
Greet the more-than 500 animals living at Dickerson Park Zoo, including exotic animals and those native to Missouri. Visitors can even help feed the giraffes from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day (March through October).
ROUTE 66 CAR MUSEUM
1634 W. College St., Springfield
Your car-loving kiddos will love seeing some of “the most quintessential and beautiful automobiles in history.”
THE DISCOVERY CENTER
438 E. St. Louis St., Springfield
Discovery Center highlights include a Wonderland Center for children 5 and under and Discovery Town, where young visitors can use their imaginations in a newsroom, grocery store, TV studio and more.
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.