Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do with Kids in Tulsa, OK

  • Published 2022/11/04

As Oklahoma’s second-largest city, Tulsa is a dynamic destination for families, especially kids.

It was once called the “Oil Capital of the World.”

The city is also the seat of Tulsa County, with a population of 413,066, per the 2020 census.

Tulsa’s prominent examples of Art Deco architecture have made it a well-liked tourism destination.

The beauty of Tulsa’s tourist hotspots, art deco architecture, heritage, and people draw visitors from all over the world throughout the year.

You can have fun wherever you go with various activities for the little ones and engaging museums for the older ones.

There will be plenty of things to do with your kids here, and there are even a few free options.

Below are the best things to do in Tulsa with kids to simplify your future visit.

Explore the Gathering Place

Boathouse at the Gathering Place

Vineyard Perspective /

Established in 2018, Gathering Place is a 66.5-acre public park along the Arkansas River that offers several family amenities.

Your kids will appreciate the Chapman Adventure Playground, which has various structures and equipment for climbing, sliding, swinging, and spinning.

The Chapman Adventure Playground also includes a large water area perfect for cooling off during hot summer days.

You can also head to Spiral Connector, consisting of seven magnificent towers created to promote active play and foster your kids’ imagination.

Towers and bridge at the Gathering Place

Vineyard Perspective /

Each of the seven towers guarantees a personalized experience with every visit, thanks to its assortment of climbing frames, slides, bridges, mysteries, and devices.

Skywalk Forest, on the playground’s western side, raises the bar for adventure with its endless play options, ranging from exhilarating slides to unusual net climbing structures.

The attraction is 20 feet above the ground, with a footpath in the Skywalk Forest traversing the sidewalk of the Caterpillar Bridge.

Swan-shaped slide at the Gathering Place

Wirestock Creators /

Let Your Kids Learn about Animals in Tulsa Zoo

Bear express at Tulsa Zoo

Doug Wertman from Rogers, AR, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Getting up close and personal with exotic animals while learning about their habits and habitats is what your kids will do at Tulsa Zoo.

Learn about the different habitats and their animals, from the African Plains to Tropical American Rainforest and the Heimlich Discovery Center.

You can head to the Children’s Zoo, where you can enjoy encounters with friendly animals like goats, miniature horses and pigs, and cows.

Gunda the elephant at Tulsa Zoo

Nmwalter, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Moreover, Tulsa Zoo is also home to Aldabra tortoises, which reach up to 550 lbs and live for about 150 years.

The Aldabra Atoll exhibit allows indoor and outdoor viewing and includes fascinating presentations about endangered species.

You can also witness different animal shows and experiences, where your kids can pet and feed animals like binturongs, Baer’s Pochard, lizards, and lemurs.

Macaws at Tulsa Zoo

Doug Wertman from Rogers, AR, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wander the Blue Dome District

Signage of the Blue Dome District

Tom Lohr /

Located on the east side of Downtown Tulsa, the Blue Dome District is known for its vibrant atmosphere and unique buildings.

These buildings include the iconic Blue Dome gas station and Cain’s Ballroom.

Although it was just a gas station a little more than a century ago, this place now has murals and holds festivals.

Educate your kids about the history of Blue Dome District, its well-known building, and the area around it.

Buildings at the Blue Dome District

AnthonyAG44, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Today, the district is a hub for dining, entertainment, and shopping options, perfect for families looking to explore Tulsa’s arts and culture scene.

You can find many locally owned restaurants serving burgers to barbecues within walking distance of each other.

The district also hosts events throughout the year, including music festivals.

Relive the Past at the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area

Located just a few miles from Tulsa’s Historic Downtown, Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness offers a variety of trails perfect for hiking or horseback riding.

The Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness, a rare recreational gem in northeastern Oklahoma, spans more than 300 acres of untamed woodland.

Visitors walk under a dense canopy of trees, including native Post Blackjack Oak and other species.

You’ll truly feel that you have escaped the fast pace of the city.

Turkey Mountain has two large ponds, miles of meandering dirt trails, and other amenities that predate the land’s acquisition for public use.

Children’s climbing boulders are also one of the park’s main features, along with three covered pavilions that are accessible for rental.

If you intend to visit Turkey Mountain, dress appropriately for the season.

Even for short excursions, wear sturdy footwear.

Guests visiting the park should always bring water for their pets, as there is only drinking water at the entrance.

Teach Your Kids the Arts at the Philbrook Museum of Art

Exterior of the beautiful Philbrook Museum of Art

Kit Leong /

Established in 1939, the Philbrook Museum of Art is inside a historic 1920s Italian-style villa.

It offers numerous art exhibitions, educational programs, and community events for all ages.

Waite Phillips and his wife Genevieve lived in an Italian Renaissance villa that now serves as the museum’s original building.

In 1926, Waite hired architect Edward Buehler Delk to build the home.

Interior of the Philbrook Museum of Art

Kit Leong /

The three-story home now known as “Villa Philbrook” required minor remodeling in its conversion to an art museum because it was built with a steel and concrete foundation.

The museum’s gardens are also open to the public and feature multiple sculptures and fountains, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon stroll.

Philbrook’s permanent collection includes works from European masters, Native American art, and traveling exhibitions that feature contemporary artists.

Exhibit in the Philbrook Museum of Art

Kit Leong /

The museum also received American Indian pottery and basketry from Clark Field in 1942 and the Roberta Campbell Lawson collection in 1947.

Since then, the inventory of the Philbrook Museum of Art has expanded.

While visiting the museum, your kids can join hands-on activities and classes, including exploring the gardens, family nature walks, and open studios.

Whether your kids already like art or want a new activity, the Philbrook Museum of Art is worth visiting.

Colorful glass exhibit in the Philbrook Museum of Art

Kit Leong /

Shop Till You Drop at the Utica Square

Statue at Utica Square

lolipopshop /

In 1952, Utica Square became Tulsa’s first shopping center.

It provides an outdoor shopping experience with over 50 stores and restaurants for your family to explore.

Located in midtown Tulsa, the square is known for its upscale fashion boutiques and dining options.

Still, it also offers retailers for home goods, beauty products, jewelry, children’s clothing, and more.

Some notable shops include Anthropologie, Coach, Salt Yoga, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Athlete.

As for dining options, Utica Square offers a variety of cuisines, including Italian, Mexican, Chinese, and American fare.

Families can enjoy a meal at restaurants like Queenie’s or Fleming’s before continuing their shopping adventure.

Utica Square also offers events throughout the year, including live music performances and holiday celebrations, making it a popular spot for locals and visitors.

Add Utica Square to your itinerary if your kids want retail therapy or need a break from exploring Tulsa’s attractions.

See the Plays in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center

Exterior of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center

Jiri Lebl, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Proudly housing four different theaters, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center offers a variety of performances for all ages.

The center’s Seasonal Broadway Series features well-known productions, including Hamilton and Wicked.

Likewise, it hosts different shows throughout the year, like Carmen, Our Town, and The Nutcracker.

The venue’s smaller theaters also offer a range of options for your family, from comedy shows to children’s theater performances.

Built in 1977, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center’s building is in downtown Tulsa.

It features more than 70 works of art you and your kids can peruse before or after a show.

Many consider the center one of Tulsa’s cultural gems, so treat your family to a memorable night at the theater.

Check out their schedule before visiting Tulsa and plan a special evening at the performing arts center.

Spend the Day at Safari Joe’s H2O Water Park

Even if you stay in Tulsa during the hot summer months, you and your family can cool off at Safari Joe’s H2O Water Park.

Featuring various water slides, a lazy river, wading, and a wave pool, there is something for all ages to enjoy.

Take an adventure and try out the Raptor Rapids with your kids, and you’ll get splashed with several jets that shoot out refreshing water.

Enjoy yourself on Mermaid Mountain as you twist and swirl your way down three brightly colored chutes four stories high, then land in the splash pool below.

You can either race with your kids or take your sweet time to take in the spins and whirls of Mermaid Mountain.

Run to ride Reptile Rush to experience fun and the rush of air on your face.

These 400-foot-tall electric-green slides provide a breathtaking view of the skyline of downtown Tulsa and the surrounding areas before plunging you into the crystal-clear water below.

Whether you want to relax and float in the lazy river or take on thrilling slides, Safari Joe’s H2O Water Park offers plenty of options for a fun family day.

Revisit History at Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium

Exterior of Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium

Wirestock Creators /

Let your kids learn about space and aviation history by visiting Tulsa Air and Space Museum, making it one of the top attractions in Tulsa.

Perched in the northwest corner of the Tulsa International Airport, the museum includes exhibits on the start of aviation in the city, a former terminal from the creative mind of Leon B. Center, and a Pearl Harbor exhibit.

Kids can see airplanes up close, try virtual reality simulators, and even participate in interactive activities.

You can head to the Ray Booker Flight Lab and see how a pilot feels or try to build your aircraft simulator and understand the factors that affect airplanes.

Interior of Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium


Whether your kids are already interested in aviation or just looking for a fun activity, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum is worth checking out.

The museum also features the James E. Bertelsmeyer Planetarium, which features digital and traditional shows, such as Live Solar System Tour, Destination Mars, Black Holes, and How Big is the Universe.

The planetarium has a 50-foot-in-diameter roof and high-definition full-dome technology and hosts public activities and events.

Aircraft cockpit in Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium

Wirestock Creators /

Take a Photo by the Historic Golden Driller Statue

Daytime view of the tall Golden Driller statue

Prosper106 /

The Golden Driller, situated at the Tulsa Expo Square, is the world’s sixth tallest statue, an iconic symbol of Tulsa.

Standing 76 feet, the Golden Driller statue was initially built for the International Petroleum Exposition.

They built its original version in 1952.

For the 1959 expo, they erected another statue.

Top half of the Golden Driller statue

Phil Anthony /

They gave the first statue to the Tulsa County Fairgrounds Trust Authority.

Due to its positive publicity, the Authority had the Golden Driller anatomically altered and permanently displayed in front of the Tulsa Expo Center for the 1966 International Petroleum Exposition.

He has become a popular tourist attraction and photo spot, with thousands of visitors visiting him each year.

Learn about Jewish Culture in the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art

Exterior of the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art

Kiddo27, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tulsa may not immediately come to mind when thinking about Jewish culture, but the city has a long history with the religion.

The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art features permanent and rotating exhibits that showcase the art, culture, and history of Judaism, making it a unique and educational stop for families with kids.

The Jewish History and Culture collection shows the 5,000-year origin of the Jewish people, starting with the pre-Canaanite period and ending with establishing Jewish communities in Tulsa.

This display features more than 10,000 prehistoric artifacts, ceremonial and life objects, ethnographic clothing, temple fabrics, archival materials, and artwork.

To better understand the holocaust, you can go with your kids to the Kate Kaiser Holocaust Exhibit, which displays documents and artifacts from the period and the first-hand story of Holocaust survivors.

The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art measures 13,700 square feet and houses a model synagogue that children of a nearby Jewish school use.

Visiting this museum is a great way to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Jewish culture.

Visit the Children’s Museum Discovery Lab

Located on 31st Street, the Children’s Museum Discovery Lab offers a variety of hands-on activities and exhibits for kids to learn and explore various subjects.

They can learn about science and technology, arts and culture, and health and wellness.

Your little ones can have fun at the Central Gallery as they weave through Tape Tunnels and check out all the attractions in the Discovery Lab.

If your kids are curious about how to create songs, head to Math and Music and try to make your own with various tools and equipment.

At the Energy Exhibit, your kids can learn all about alternative energy.

Get your engines running and try to conquer Ballapalooza as you try to move a ball from the exhibit floor to the derrick.

Your kids will have a blast at the Rock It exhibits in the Featured Hall as you learn about geological features like volcanoes, earthquakes, and magnetic polarity.

You will leave the museum’s boundaries when you visit the Imaginarium; guests feel connected to Oklahoma’s natural beauty through the projected atmosphere of its landscapes.

Let your kids enjoy learning about different subjects at the exciting Children’s Museum Discovery Lab.

Explore the Outdoors at Oxley Nature Center

Lake at Oxley Nature Center

The Bohemian Lens /

The Oxley Nature Center is a massive 804-acre tract of woodlands, prairie, and wetlands located in the heart of Tulsa.

It features nine hiking trails that wind through various habitats and allow for plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing.

When you visit the Oxley Nature Center, your kids can try birdwatching as it hosts more than 200 species of birds throughout the year.

There are currently about 50 different types of butterflies, as well as a large number of aquatic insects.

Bird flying over Oxley Nature Center

The Bohemian Lens /

Red-eared pond sliders and other aquatic turtles bask next to the water.

The Oxley Nature Center is also home to hundreds of flowering plants; the first wave of wildflowers starts as early as February or March and peaks in May and June.

Some plants start to show color in August, and the climax of fall color can get delayed until late November.

The best time to see the shades of autumn colors is between October and November.

Use Your Ears and Reach the Center of the Universe

Daytime view of the Center of the Universe

Kit Leong /

Have you ever heard of an acoustic anomaly known as the Center of the Universe?

Located in a small circular brick area within Tulsa’s newly renovated downtown district, this odd phenomenon amplifies sound while simultaneously blocking out all external noise.

The Center of the Universe is a unique attraction that should intrigue and puzzle your kids.

Stand in the center of this circle and shout, clap, or even whisper, and you’ll hear yourself echoing back at a much louder volume.

People discovered this bizarre location in the 1980s when a bridge was burned down and renovated.

Since then, it has become an iconic part of Tulsa’s downtown area.

Take time to visit the Center of the Universe with your kids and experience this strange acoustical phenomenon.

Fall in Love with Baseball at ONEOK Field

Signage of ONEOK Field

Nmajdan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on Elgin Avenue, ONEOK Field is the home of Minor League Baseball’s Tulsa Drillers and offers a unique stadium experience for young and old sports fans.

Take your kids to watch a baseball game at this beautiful ballpark.

Let them enjoy the game and get a chance to meet the players during drills before the game.

Kids who love baseball will have a blast at ONEOK Field.

View of the empty ONEOK Field

Nmajdan, CC BY-SA 3.0 US, via Wikimedia Commons

They can also join fan experiences such as taking batting practice on their field or running bases after a Drillers game.

Your kids will love it when they meet Hornsby, the mascot of the Tulsa Drillers, often seen entertaining the crowd during games.

Take your family to ONEOK Field and enjoy a night filled with America’s favorite pastime.

Final Thoughts

Tulsa may not be at the top of many vacation destination lists, but it offers many activities and sights for families.

From experiencing an acoustic anomaly to exploring hands-on exhibits, there are plenty of unique experiences in Tulsa.

Don’t miss out on creating special memories with your kids at these one-of-a-kind attractions.

Enjoy the best things to do in Tulsa, Oklahoma!

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