Want to Find Some Fun? Tulsa Has Tons of Options for Teens
The winter holidays are fast approaching, with a break from school and routines bringing opportunities for time together with family and friends. While board and card games or movie nights are always reliable family fun, here are a few more options that will satisfy the teens in your house.
Scale new heights at Climb Tulsa. This midtown Tulsa climbing gym features over 20,000 square feet of climbing walls. Try the “Adult Intro Class.” Limited to four participants (ages 13 and up), it includes instruction on how to properly fit a harness, tie in with the right knot, and correctly belay your climbing partner. The $35/person class fee covers training, a climbing pass and gear rental. More information at climbtulsa.com.
The Engine Room Boxing Gym at 316 E. 11th St. offers free trial classes for potential pugilists. All you need is a pair of hand wraps (available for $10 at the gym); loaner gloves are available for first-timers. Parents and kids ages 15 and up can participate together in the adult fitness class. Younger siblings can try the youth boxing classes. Details and registration at engineroomboxing.com.
With indoor and outdoor exhibits and hundreds of animals, the Tulsa Zoo is a fun outing for kids of all ages. Admission is $14/adult and $10/child. More at tulsazoo.org. While you’re in the Mohawk Park neighborhood, check out Oxley Nature Center for a family hike. Admission is free, and the extensive trail system passes through forests, fields and wetlands. Visit oxleynaturecenter.org.
Located in the beautiful Osage Hills, Tulsa Botanic Garden is a lovely spot for a walk, even in the winter. Visit the “Botanic Garden of Lights” in the evenings through early January (tickets required). In addition to the festive lighting and fire pits, s’more kits and beverages (including adult versions) are available. See tulsabotanic.org.
Stroll through the Gathering Place near E. 31st & Riverside. The $400 million park is free to enter, with basketball courts, playgrounds, skate parks and more available for use. Check the park calendar at gatheringplace.org for special events. Walk or bike (check out thismachinetulsa.com for rentals) at River Parks’ expansive trail system. Explore over 300 acres of rugged parkland at Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area, near E. 71st St. Find out more at riverparks.org.
Guthrie Green, a free urban park in the heart of Tulsa’s Arts District, turns on its holiday lights with vendors, live music food and hot drinks on Dec. 3. If you can’t make the opening event, it’s a lovely stop en route to downtown any night of the week. See guthriegreen.com.
Looking for a physical challenge? Climb Big Bertha, a tall hill at the corner of the Gilcrease Expressway and L.L. Tisdale Parkway. Used as an unofficial gym by numerous athletes, a worn pathway straight up to the top marks the way. You’ll be rewarded at the summit with a spectacular view of north Tulsa.
If you want Fido to join in the fun, pack a thermos of hot chocolate and visit one of Tulsa’s dog parks. Try South Tulsa’s Biscuit Acres in Hunter Park or Joe Station on Charles Page Blvd. New for canines and their families is Route 66 Dog Park in the Gunboat Park neighborhood at the southeast edge of downtown.
Get in the Mood
Visit Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa’s historic honky tonk, for a night of music both you and your teens can enjoy with JD McPherson’s Socks: A Rock N’ Roll Christmas Tour. McPherson is a former Tulsan who’s made a national splash. Tickets for the high energy show start at $22. Visit cainsballroom.com.
Tulsa Ballet presents The Nutcracker, a holiday tradition for many families, at the Performing Arts Center Dec. 10-19. The latest iteration of this classic includes all new choreography, sets and costumes. More at tulsaballet.org.
American Theater Company’s performance of “A Christmas Carol,” a musical based on the perennially popular Charles Dickens’ novella, is Dec. 10 – 23 at the PAC’s John H. Williams Theatre. With a run of over four decades, ATC has perfected this family-friendly, and visually immersive holiday experience. Visit americantheatrecompany.org.
During the day, Philbrook’s Festival of the Trees offers a variety of activities, special exhibitions, a community-created Lego Villa, and plenty of seasonal décor. At night, the gardens are filled with lights. Enjoy hot cocoa, art projects and even a visit with Santa. See philbrook.org for more.
Remember how fun it was to bake and decorate cookies with your kids when they were little? It’s still fun even when your offspring are tall enough to reach all the ingredients themselves. If you’re ambitious, make the dough from scratch. However, no one will fault you if you want to cut to the artistic part with purchased slice and bake and pre-made frosting. Crunched for time, but still want that home-baked taste? Purchase a cookie decorating kit from local bakeries barbeecookies.com or okcookiemomster.com.
With two Tulsa locations, Purple Glaze studios offer a turnkey art experience. Choose from countless unfinished ceramic items to paint or wood shapes to mosaic. Create your own holiday gifts or home décor. Join with another family and schedule your own class. More information at purpleglazestudio.com.