Looking for some fun things to do in Tulsa with kids? We recently took a 3 day weekend trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma to visit family. Even though we stayed a short time (and had 2 rainy days), we had a great time! Tulsa is really growing and I was happily surprised to find so many family friendly attractions there.
Here’s our 3 day itinerary. Family visit time was our first priority, so you could easily add in more Tulsa attractions than this, depending on your interests and the weather.
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The first day surprised us with nice weather, so we went to the Gathering Place– Tulsa’s new, massive 100 acre riverfront park. There is so much to do there and it is just gorgeous! In good weather, you could literally spend days in this park.
There are several play areas for different ages (great for toddlers on up!), a sensory garden, skate park, sport courts, several splash/water play areas, boathouse to check out a paddle boat, kayak or canoe, indoor eating/relaxing spaces, several educational, picnic and performance areas, a beach, and more!
This is only Phase I, with two more phases to go from what I understand, so there is even more to come.
For dinner, we enjoyed some amazing bar-b-q from Albert G’s BBQ Restaurant. EVERYTHING we had there was top notch- we really enjoyed were the chopped brisket, Tulsa style ribs, sweet potato waffle fries, and Little J proclaimed the mac n’ cheese to be one of his favorites (he has a top 5 list, lol).
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The second day was too rainy to do the outdoor things we had planned for that morning. We met family for breakfast at the amazing Dilly Diner restaurant. We had to wait a bit for seating, but the food was really delicious and the kids all loved it too!
Afterwards, we went to the Oklahoma Aquarium. They have a huge variety of sea and underwater life, along with some wildlife who live along the banks.
Our kids found all of it so interesting! The extreme fish, otters, sea turtle island, and the shark tunnel exhibits were there favorites. Little J actually took the close-up of the sea turtle below, what a friendly guy!
A beautiful accessible playground was recently added outside with separate play spaces for kids 2-5 and 5-12, and the new octopus exhibit is expected in Spring 2020! Plan to be there about 2 hours to see it all, or more on busy days.
For dinner, we tried a local favorite- Hideaway Pizza. We splurged and along with our pizza, got two appetizers since they all sounded delicious!
The fried mushrooms and garlic knots were definitely a winner! Too bad we were too full to finish off the pizza. Unfortunately we didn’t get any pictures of the food, only our leftovers box and cute cup my drink came in. Give them a try if you get a chance.
Our last day was also a rainy one, but thankfully we could visit the Discovery Lab for hours of indoor fun. They pack a lot into a small-ish space!
An animation exhibit greeted us first, teaching the kids the process of making a story animated. They went through the basics of making a storyboard, how to add sound effects, and even make stop motion movies on a board or with themselves in a large photo booth.
Here’s one of the animations Little J made.
Other areas in the hall include a place for younger kids and toddlers to play, a musical instrument made from PVC pipes, and a circle of fans where large pieces of fabric are sent flying upwards.
But, the biggest attraction is an indoor obstacle course with sections of tunnels and slides made from…packing tape!!
Another hall had an exhibit about insects, including live insects, models of insects with interactive aspects to them, and a fun play area.
A small workshop at the back has rotating hands-on projects with a staff member there to assist. A few were geared toward older kids. That day they had several stations inside that dealt with light.
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A playground with a splash pad is also out front, which is great when the weather is nice. The exhibits change regularly, so check their website for current exhibit information and the field trip outlook for the week- then you’ll know what day(s) won’t be as busy.
Afterwards we stopped at Magic City Books downtown and bought a couple of books. It does have a magical feeling to it inside even though it’s on the smaller side. (Little J really wanted Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel. A silly, but hilarious book!)
Magic City Books offers many neat events including story time and author visits. Check their calendar for details.
We ended our day at our favorite place to get ice cream- Braum’s. Their burgers are pretty good too, but their ice cream is amazing! Little J loves the soft frozen yogurt, which to him tastes just as good as the ice cream. Since we don’t have a Braum’s where we live, we had to stop by for our “fix.”
Kid-Friendly Places to Visit in Tulsa
Here’s a handy list of what we visited over our 3 day weekend trip. It doesn’t look like much, but we were plenty tired and really enjoyed ourselves!
- Gathering Place (Twice! We worked in a short stop before we left.)
- Oklahoma Aquarium
- Discovery Lab
- Magic City Books
Next time we hope to check out a few of these other Tulsa attractions:
- Golden Driller Statue (free)
- Center of the Universe (free)
- Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
- Tulsa Zoo
- Tulsa Geoscience Center (by appointment only)
- Tulsa Garden Center at Woodward Park-especially the Linnaeus Teaching Garden & Butterfly Garden.
- Shuffles Board Game Cafe– Looks so neat! This may be best suited for kids who are a little older, but it says it’s for all ages.
- A movie theater with an indoor play place for little ones? Yes please! Check out screenPlay!
Event Centers in Tulsa
Check these event centers in Tulsa before you go, you might find something you’d like to attend:
- BOK Center
- Guthrie Green
- ONEOK Field– Catch a ballgame along with some fun activities for kids!
- Cain’s Ballroom– While there may not be a show there that’s family- friendly, there’s a lot of musical history in Tulsa that’s touched on here.
- Other great resources of events are TulsaKids Magazine and the Tulsa Convention & Visitors Bureau. There might be some events going on that you’d like to plan a trip around, or other events that you’d rather avoid, so it’s smart to check!
Recommended Tulsa Restaurants
Here’s a list of the restaurants in Tulsa that we visited (the first 4), and others that are highly recommended by our family in Tulsa:
- Albert G’s BBQ Restaurant
- Dilly Diner
- Hideaway Pizza
- Braum’s (You may have one near you- I wish we did!)
- Hurts Donut (You may have one near you.)
- Burn Co. BBQ
- Brownies Hamburgers
- Bread and Butter Kitchen and Bakery
- Charelston’s (You may have one near you.)
- Mother Road Market Food Hall
Check all restaurant hours before you go, a place we planned to go was closed, so we learned our lesson. There are so many wonderful ones there that I’m sure you won’t be hungry!
Are there other places in Tulsa or Oklahoma that you’d recommend visiting with children?