30 Best Things to do in Tulsa With Kids
Plus a few extra!
We think Tulsa is a great place to raise a family! And part of that has to do with the abundant variety of things to do in Tulsa with kids. 365 days a year, there’s always a way to have fun and make memories together. Here are some of our top picks.
1. Gathering Place
Gathering Place is a big draw, not just to Tulsa-area families but to people from outside the state as well. Younger kids will love playing on the Chapman Adventure Playground. There’s even special areas for toddlers, and water play areas for warm months. Older kids may enjoy hiking among natural wildlife, hanging out in the Lodge, etc. Seasonally, adults and kids can both look forward to free paddle boat and kayak rentals!
Find Gathering Place’s calendar of events at gatheringplace.org/parkcalendar
2. Tulsa Zoo
The Tulsa Zoo has been a Tulsa institution since 1927. They’re constantly updating exhibits and attractions. More recent additions include the Lost Kingdom and Helmerich Behaving Like Animals Playground. Future plans include a renovated elephant exhibit and African Wilds space.
Families can help support the zoo while having fun at popular annual events like the Tulsa Zoo Run, HallowZOOeen and Breakfast with Santa.
Nursing mothers and families with sensory needs will be glad to know about the Ascension St. John Family Den. The Den is located next to the Rainforest and provides a quiet, private space.
3. Oklahoma Aquarium
Oklahoma Aquarium prides itself on having the world’s largest collection of bull sharks. Walking through the shark tunnel is truly a highlight of the aquarium! But the entire space is full of fascinating aquatic life, housing more than 10,000 animals. In 2022, the Aquarium unveiled a gorgeous aquatic-themed carousel, where kids can ride on penguins, sharks, sea turtles and more. There’s also an outdoor playground if you need to get extra wiggles out.
Monthly events include Sensory Awareness Nights. Popular annual events include the Aquarium Run, 4th of July fireworks and more.
4. Discovery Lab
Discovery Lab opened an incredible new facility in early 2022. The most popular feature no doubt remains the tape tunnels and slides. However, Ball-a-palooza is probably a close second! The large play area is divided into multiple exhibits, each of which explores a different scientific concept. These include three high-facilitation areas: One for early learners, a work shop and a science lab.
If you play too long and the kids start to crash, grab a healthy bite at Bean Sprouts Café.
Monthly events include members-only times, Monday Morning Programming and Sensory Friendly Family Time. Find details at discoverylab.org/events
4. Philbrook Museum
As they like to remind their many social media followers, Philbrook is not just a “stuffy old museum.” Through weekly programming and daily activities designed to engage kids, Philbrook is a fun and fabulous place to take the family. Outside, you can explore the gardens, playing in a mud kitchen and building forts. Inside, there are books to read and light tables to enjoy. Even better? Kids 17 and under always get in free.
We would be remiss not to mention the annual Philbrook Festival, one of our favorite holiday events! Think light shows, LEGO displays, Santa, art and more.
And of course, there is an impressive collection of art, and special exhibitions that draw visitors in from all around. Find a list of upcoming activities at philbrook.org/calendar/
5. Tulsa Botanic Garden
The biggest draw for families at Tulsa Botanic Garden is probably the Children’s Discovery Garden. Here, kids will be enchanted by the Spring Giant, insect mobiles and Tree Fort.
Other attractions include the Lakeside Promenade, for families wanting a peaceful lakeside stroll. Or, consider a slightly more strenuous – but still kid-friendly – hike along the 1.5-mile Cross Timbers Nature Trail. The Tandy Floral Terraces are a gorgeous, art deco-inspired garden. In the spring, this space blooms with thousands of tulips.
Seasonal events include Botanic Garden of Lights and Autumn in the Garden. Monthly events include Dog Days and Full Moon Nature Hikes. Find more information at tulsabotanic.org/botanic-events/calendar/
6. Tulsa City-County Library
From weekly storytimes to programming for all ages, Tulsa City-County Library has a robust calendar of family-friendly events. These include book clubs, craft clubs, anime clubs … you name it!
In the summer, don’t miss signing your kid up for the Summer Reading Program for a chance to win prizes and the collectable SRP medal featuring Buddy Bookworm.
7. Tulsa Air and Space Museum
For budding astronomers, pilots and more, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum is a must-visit. Sit in vintage aircraft, watch a show in the Planetarium and don’t forget to buy astronaut ice cream in the gift shop on your way out!
Taking your kid to a show is always a special treat! Tulsa PAC, BOK Center, Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa Theater are just some of the venues to find live entertainment. Tulsa PAC has a special Imagination Series of shows just for kids. Annual favorites like Tulsa Ballet‘s “The Nutcracker” play here as well.
9. Children’s Theatre
Speaking of theater, Tulsa also has opportunities for kids to act themselves! Spotlight Children’s Theatre is a great place for new performers. Parents can even audition alongside kids, making it a fun activity to participate in together.
Clark Youth Theatre is another excellent program. Clark’s production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” has been a Tulsa tradition for over 40 years! Plus, they produce The Penguin Project, a free, annual chance for artists “ages 8-23 with cognitive, learning, motor, hearing and visual impairments; genetic disorders; and neurological conditions” to participate in a production.
Theatre Tulsa Academy also has opportunities for kids ages 5-18 to learn the “fundamentals of performing arts.”
10. Sports and Games
Love to cheer on your favorite team? Take the kids to a Tulsa Drillers, FC Tulsa or Tulsa Oilers game! And don’t miss the opportunity to watch elite cyclists from all over the world compete at the annual Tulsa Tough.
Local colleges like Oral Roberts University and the University of Tulsa are also great places to catch a game.
Enjoy some time outside by hiking on one of the many trails around town. Favorites for families include Oxley Nature Center, which has wide, flat – if occasionally muddy – trails. Ray Harral Nature Center, Chandler Park and of course Turkey Mountain are other fantastic options. If you want more of a challenge, head to Keystone Ancient Forest in Sand Springs.
Oxley and Ray Harral both have frequent programs for kids, so visit their websites to find out about upcoming dates.
12. BMX and Mountain Biking
Sand Springs BMX has a lot of fans in the community! The first time you try it, it’s free – and it’s always free to watch the weekly races or other events. Tulsa is also home to the USA BMX Headquarters. They host open track nights, camps for kids and more.
Other options include the Skate Park and BMX Pump Track at Gathering Place. And McCollough Park will soon be home to a brand-new pump track as well.
For mountain biking, there’s always Turkey Mountain if you’re up for a challenge. And Tulsa Bike Club has worked hard to build more kid-friendly trails at Lubbell Park and Bales Park.
13. Art Activities
Kids love to get creative! One of our favorite spots is Purple Glaze Studio, where families can paint pottery together. Other options include Pinot’s Palette, AR Workshop, The Teal Brush, Tulsa Glassblowing School, The Copper Kiln, Arts @ 302, Waterworks Art Center and ZegART Studios. Wow, that’s a lot!
Beloved art destination ahha closed abruptly at the end of 2022, but the University of Tulsa announced it was taking over the former ahha space in February 2023. So we are eagerly waiting to see what that transition means for families.
14. Playing Indoors
TulsaKids has a long list of Indoor Places to Play. Check it out at tulsakids.com/indoor-places-to-play-in-tulsa/
Highlights include Wheels and Thrills and Airtopia in Owasso. Cinergy Entertainment and Shuffles: Board Game Cafe in Tulsa are great options as well! And a lot of families love Adventure Avenue for younger kids. You’ll also find bowling alleys, other skating rinks, escape rooms and more.
When a new family film comes out, you may want to take the kids! Larger theaters include AMC Southroads and Regal Warren Broken Arrow.
Of course, we love Tulsa’s historic indie theater Circle Cinema. Among other things, Circle Cinema hosts 2nd Saturday Silents, a low-cost way for families to see a silent movie together, with live organ accompaniment! In December, Circle Cinema’s “White Christmas” Sing-Alongs are a favorite event for all ages.
16. Swim and Splash
Tulsa can get H-O-T in the summer months! We are grateful that so many local parks in the area have either swimming pools or splash pads. Find our list at tulsakids.com/tulsa-area-splash-pads-pools-and-water-playgrounds/
Highlights include Chandler Park’s giant Splash Park as well as the water features at Gathering Place. The 41st Street Plaza off of Riverside has some unique features as well.
Miller Swim School may be known as the go-to place to enroll kids in swim lessons, but they also host year-round Open Swim events on weekends. These take place at all three of their locations – Tulsa, Jenks and Owasso. Find the schedule at millerswimschool.com.
17. Zip Lines
Want a thrill? Try zip-lining! POSTOAK Lodge and Retreat has a fantastic zip-line course with gorgeous views. Our web editor tried it a few years ago and had a blast!
On a related note, the Herman and Kate Kaiser YMCA also has a ropes course.
The Tulsa area is home to wonderful parks, too many to name! Some favorites that we haven’t previously mentioned here include Woodward Park, Case Community Park in Sand Springs, Redbud Festival Park in Owasso and Bentley Park Sports Complex in Bixby.
In early 2023, Tulsa Parks will break ground on an exciting new Inclusive Playground at Whiteside Park.
With the possible exception of the cold winter months, there’s usually a festival coming up in Tulsa! Find our list of family-friendly festivals at tulsakids.com/festivals. Highlights include Tulsa State Fair, ScotFest, the Renaissance Festival at Castle of Muskogee, Mayfest, Tulsa Juneteenth Festival and more.
20. Gilcrease Museum
Although Gilcrease is closed for construction as of 2023, once the new building is completed, this will be a major destination for families! In the meantime, look for Gilcrease in Your Neighborhood and keep an eye out for family events hosted by Gilcrease around town.
If you live in Tulsa – or even if you just visit – at some point, it would be a good idea to take your children to the Greenwood district and talk about the Tulsa Race Massacre and its ongoing impact on our city. Visit Greenwood Rising, Greenwood Cultural Center, the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park and the many Black-owned businesses that can be found in Greenwood today.
Some key events that take place in Greenwood throughout the year are the Tulsa Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Parade and the Tulsa Juneteenth Celebration.
22. Farmers Markets
Taking your kids to your local farmers’ market is a great way to familiarize them with fresh food and where it comes from. Let them pick out some new-to-them veggies, and you may be surprised at their willingness to try them! The Tulsa area has an abundance of farmers’ markets. These include the Tulsa Farmers’ Market in Kendall Whittier, which runs year-round. Broken Arrow, Owasso, Claremore and other surrounding communities have seasonal markets as well. Find our list at tulsakids.com/farmers-markets-in-tulsa/
23. Seasonal Events
The changing of the seasons is made all-the-more exciting by some of our favorite seasonal events. In autumn, you’ll find an abundance of pumpkin patches. In early summer, berry picking is a highlight. And in winter, of course there are ice skating rinks, light displays, parades and more!
24. Will Rogers Memorial Museum and Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch
Kids will love visiting both the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore and the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch in Oologah. Both are full of engaging, hands-on activities for kids. Each month, the Will Rogers Memorial Museum hosts a free movie night. Other popular events throughout the year include the Will Rogers/Wiley Post Fly-In; an Easter Egg Hunt; Halloween at the Memorial and Santa Pictures.
25. Landmarks – Blue Whale, Buck Atom’s, Golden Driller, Praying Hands
Tulsa is home to some iconic landmarks, both new and old. Snap a pic in front of the Blue Whale of Catoosa, Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios on Route 66, the Golden Driller and the Praying Hands in front of Oral Roberts University.
26. Route 66
Route 66 famously “winds from Chicago to LA,” and that path takes it straight through Tulsa! Plan a “Route 66 Day” with your family, stopping at favorites like the Route 66 Village, Ollie’s Station Restaurant, Decopolis, Buck Atom’s and of course, Mother Road Market. You can also visit the Route 66 Rising landmark. The Route 66 Village is home to an impressively huge Frisco 4500 Meteor Steam Engine and other attractions. During the winter, the Steam Engine is decorated in Christmas lights.
27. Tulsa Historical Society and Museum
Get to know more about Tulsa’s history with a visit to the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum. According to their website, exhibits change regularly – and many feature interactive elements. Children under 18 always get in free.
28. Bartlesville Day Trip
Head north up the highway to Bartlesville for a visit to Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Refuge. Here, you’ll find western art and artifacts, an animal barn, a seasonal Mountain Man Camp and much more. Other seasonal events include a Christmas lights drive-through and Kidsfest in the summer.
Bartlesville Kiddie Park has been a favorite destination of Tulsa families for decades. This one is best for younger kids, as the old-fashioned rides are fairly small! The Kiddie Park is typically open during summer months in the evening hours only. But you can’t beat the prices, so the late-evening-with-young-kids is worth it. Low-priced concessions are also available.
29. Muskogee Day Trip
Muskogee makes for another quick getaway. Castle of Muskogee hosts three popular events throughout the year. These include the Halloween Festival, Christmas lights and Rennaissance Festival in the spring.
Muskogee Parks and Recreation also hosts festivals throughout the year like Garden of Lights and the Azalea Festival at Honor Heights Park, and the Oklahoma Festival of Ballooning. Honor Heights Park also has a beautiful butterfly house and gardens that are well worth a visit.
If you love history, pay a visit to the massive USS Batfish submarine in War Memorial Park before you head home.
You may be wondering why a gas station makes the list! Well, Reeder’s is unlike most gas stations! They have an active presence on TikTok and are in-the-know as to the current trends in toys and candy. This is a great place to take the kids for an after-school treat or other mini-celebration.
- Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art
- Outsiders House Museum
- Wanda’s Blue Hole
- Pawhuska Day Trip
- Vintage Sewing Center and Museum
- Tulsa Pop! Kids at Persimmon Hollow
- Woody Guthrie Center
- Bob Dylan Center
- Get Ice Cream!
- Explore downtown areas of surrounding communities: Broken Arrow Rose District, Owasso’s Redbud District, Sand Springs, etc.