Road Trip to Bartlesville: Kiddie Park, Woolaroc and Bison
Bartlesville is a great mini-vacation!
If you’re looking for a quick and fun trip with kids, Bartlesville is a great destination! It’s only about a 45-minute drive from downtown Tulsa. When my children were young, I made this same trip a few times every summer. I was a single mom at the time, so it was one adult to two kids. An interesting phenomenon that I suspect is related to aging (but I hate to admit it ) is that now it takes two adults to take one child on the same trip! Although there are many things to do in Bartlesville, we only had 24 hours, so this is how two grandparents and an almost-four-year-old boy chose to spend their time.
We chose to spend the night, but a day trip is entirely feasible since it’s so close. This summer, a day trip might be the better choice since they are filming Killers of the Flower Moon in the area, and many of the hotels are booked until September. We got the last room available at the Fairfield Marriott. It was a good choice, as it has an indoor pool and a full breakfast in the morning, two enticing factors for families.
Our grandson loved riding on the luggage cart, going up and down the elevator, and the novelty of sleeping in a hotel room. We made sure to bring his favorite blanket, stuffed animals, and books, but they weren’t necessary. After the busy evening we had, he was out like a light at bedtime and slept way past his usual wake-up time. If you choose to stay overnight, I highly recommend you book a room way in advance.
We always try to eat at locally-owned restaurants when we travel. We went to one of my favorite Bartlesville restaurants, Painted Horse Bar and Grille. It’s located in the historic and cute downtown area, parking is free, and although there were plenty of people there, there was no wait when we arrived a little before 6 PM. Callister chose macaroni and cheese and fruit from the children’s menu and loved his meal! My husband and I split a burger and a brick onion, which in my opinion, is a must at the Painted Horse! Frank and Lola’s is another good choice for a locally owned restaurant. If your kids aren’t adventurous eaters, there is also a Hideaway in downtown Bartlesville.
The brick onion at The Painted Horse is so good! I’d almost make the drive just to eat it!
The Kiddie Park is the main reason we make the trip to Bartlesville at least once every summer. The Kiddie Park was built in the 1950s, and it feels like you step back into that era when you spend an evening there. There is no entrance fee. Tickets for each ride are 50 cents. It’s not a big park, but there was plenty to do for about two hours.
We specifically went on a weeknight to avoid the crowds, and it worked. We stood in line initially to buy tickets but didn’t have to wait more than five minutes to ride rides.
There are a few things to be aware of before going. They only accept cash for the tickets and the concession stand! There are height maximums (48 inches) on some of the rides. Callister is quite tall for a three, almost-four-year-old. He was too tall to ride on the swings and barely made it under the height bar for several other rides. By the end of summer, Callister will probably be too tall for several of the rides. The majority of the rides don’t have a height maximum, so I think he’ll still enjoy going. Please check here for hours and specifics about the Kiddie Park.
Callister flying a plane at the Kiddie Park!
I’ve been going to Woolaroc since I was a child, which was a long time ago! Some things are still the same, and the changes that were made are positive. I usually think I’m lucky if I see a few bison at a distance, but this time we were thrilled to see about thirty up as close as I ever want to be to one! We even got to see quite a few babies! On the winding scenic drive, we also saw water buffalo, ostrich, zebra, and llamas!
As we were driving through looking at the animals and beautiful land leading to the museum, Callister said, “Woolaroc is magical!” I agree! The animal barn is open seasonally, and this is the season! We spent some time in the animal barn, playing on the new playground, and made a quick trip through the museum. We want to go back when we have more time to go through the museum and the lodge.
I’ve never seen so many bison so close!
Kidsfest at Woolaroc is happening on June 26th and 27th. In addition to all the usual fun Woolaroc has to offer, there will be live music, inflatables, train rides, arts and crafts, and games. I haven’t been to this since my kids were young, but it was fun then, and I’m sure it’s fun now!
Things to know about Bartlesville
- Bartlesville Buffalos (Bison) – There are painted buffalo statues all over Bartlesville! It would be fun to take Buffalo selfies all over town!
- Bartlesville area attractions – To check out all the fun attractions in the Bartlesville area, go to this site.
- What’s the difference between a bison and a buffalo? – We tend to use the terms interchangeably, but there is a difference. Bison live in North America. They have large humps on their shoulders, short horns, and a beard.
- What does Woolaroc mean? The name Woolaroc is derived from the three words, woods, lakes, and rocks, the elements that make up the beautiful area.
- Visit Price Tower to see an example of Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture, his only skyscraper.
- Woolaroc was built in 1925 as the ranch of Phillips 66 founder Frank Phillips.
- Check visit details for the Kiddie Park by clicking here.
- Check details for visiting Woolaroc by clicking this link.
We’ll be back for more carousel rides at the Kiddie Park!