Oklahoma is an amazing state and has a ton to offer outside of the city limits. There are plenty of wonderful sites to visit just an hour or two away. Don’t let drive time keep you from going on any of these wonderful adventures. The memories you make will be well worth the car ride, especially when the kids fall asleep on the way home!
Thinking of places to go, your mind might have automatically jumped to one of the destinations:
Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum in Seminole, Ok
Leonardo’s Children’s Museum in Enid, OK
Vernie Snow Aquatic Center in Kingfisher, OK
Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks, OK
Braum’s Tour in Tuttle, OK
Tiger Safari in Tuttle, OK
Water Zoo in Clinton, OK
Kiddie Park in Bartlesville, OK
These are all fantastic places, but there is so much more to discover.
Here is our Oklahoma adventure list this summer:
Winchester Drive In Movie Theater
You know you’ve always wanted to go to a drive in movie theater ever since you saw the movie Grease. If you haven’t done it yet, now’s the perfect time! Winchester Drive-In is the oldest drive-in in OKC but it shows brand new movies! Located on the South side of OKC, it is within 30 minutes of most of the metro area. If you would rather hit a drive-in while your driving around the state, check out this list of Oklahoma Drive-Ins.
Take a stroll into Stockyards City. Visit an auction, eat some calf fries at Cattlemen’s, listen to country music at the Rodeo Opry, or try on a new pair of cowboy boots at Little Joe’s or Langstons. It’s like a whole other world right next to downtown. Before you leave, make sure and smell the money!
About 1 Hour Away from OKC
Red Rock Canyon
Have you or your kids ever wanted to walk on a wall like a fly? If you answered yes, then repelling at Red Rock Canyon might be the next thing to put on your list. It’s one of the smaller state parks but it has a canyon that’s about a 1.5 miles deep, which is a very unique feature in this state. It’s perfect for picnicking, camping, swimming, hiking, repelling (bring your own stuff) and motorcycling! While hiking, look for ruts from wagons that once crossed the canyon. If you like the movie Rain Man, then take Highway 37 back to OKC, because the movie was actually filmed along that road.
Stafford Air & Space Museum
Do you have a child fascinated with space? Then you may be surprised to find out that Tom Stafford, a native Oklahoman, enjoyed sights from outerspace 4 different times. The Stafford Air & Space Museum, located in Weatherford, OK, not only chronicles his history in space but also houses actual objects that have been in space!
About 1 1/2 Hours Away from OKC
Within Miles of each other in the Arbuckle Mountains lies Bedré Chocolate, Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Turners Falls, Arbukcle Wilderness & hours of fun!
As you exit I-35 to head toward the Chickasaw Cultural Center, you will see the Bedré Chocolates Factory right in front of you. Stop here for a sweet treat and if it’s during the business week, you will also get to watch through a glass wall as they prepare the chocolate goodies!
Chickasaw National Recreation Area
By far this is one of my favorite places. Beautiful, serene, and it has something called the Little Niagara, which is a perfect little waterfall to jump off of into a pool of natural running water. It’s tradition in our family that when we drive through Sulphur to get to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area that we stop and drink the water. I was told as a child that the Indians believed that this water held healing properties. (Spoiler alert: it tastes like rotten eggs, but is totally worth the stories you will hear later from your kids.)
If you and your children love nature and swimming, or boating, fishing, hiking ,etc, then do yourself the biggest favor ever and come enjoy the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.
Chickasaw Cultural Center
This cultural center brings the to life the experience of this tribe. I honestly cannot wait to take my children here so they can physically touch and see to understand a different way of life better. For those who are interested in learning more about their native american ancestry, the Chickasaw Cultural Center allows you to view and research the genealogical records for free.
Hands down this Turner Falls is my favorite place in OK! My kids love it too and would go every day if they could. With a waterfall, small caves, a castle with walls that move (go and you’ll see what makes them move), lots of places to swim with others or by yourself, hike, explore, this is a complete treat to your senses and soul.
Nestled within the Arbuckle mountains is a safari of giraffes, zebras, zebus, tigers, rhinos, hyennas, alpacas, bison, antelope, camels, ostriches, emu, llamas, and more! I loved Arbuckle Wilderness as a kid and I’m hoping my children do as well! Now, if you went in it’s glory days, know that the majority of the fun will be in the driving and feeding the animals instead of including the other things down by the park. But kids getting to feed animals from their car was a ton of fun then and will be for yours now too. You never know which animals you’ll see and which ones will try and stick their heads in the window!
Route 66 Museum
If your children love the movie Cars, then you should take them to this museum, since the movie is based on the history of Route 66. It, like the Water Zoo, is located in Clinton, OK. Watch the movie on the way there and then on the way home drive along Route 66 and find your own fun….you may just end up at the Route 66 Park, Pops or even the Blue Whale in Catoosa!
This quaint town that is not too far from Lawton was once a bustling spa area. Swimming holes still welcome visitors as well as tasty food and artistic boutiques. This is one of our favorite places to go after visiting the Wachita Wildlife Refuge (see below). Bath Lake is currently closed due to flood repairs, so be sure to check the city’s website to confirm if it’s open.
About 2 Hours Away from OKC
If you love sand and off roading then Little Sahara is the best place in the state to go! Over 1600 acres of sand dunes ranging from 25 feet to 75 feet tall! Located in Waynoka, OK it’s about a 2 hour drive NE of OKC. If you don’t have your own ATV, dunebuggy or dirt bike, you can rent them at a local shop. If you’d rather go to play in the sand and watch, the best time to go would be during the Sand Fest in September where you can watch all the races including drag races, duck races, lawn mower races, and sand castle contests.
The Great Salt Plains State Park
Digging for crystals at the Great Salt Plains near Jet, OK is perfect for those looking for treasure. When you’re finished digging, enjoy the rest of the 41 miles of shoreline by swimming, boating, fishing, horseback riding or watching the wildlife at the wildlife refuge next to the park.
Wichita Mountains & Mt. Scott
The beauty to behold from Mt. Scott is breathtaking. My kids loved the winding drive up and being able to stand on top of a mountain. We played a “Where’s Waldo” type game as we looked for bison, long horns, elk, and other wildlife that can be as close as a stones throw away from the vehicle. If you want a little more adventure, then bike or hike on of the many trails. As you are exploring the Wichita Wildlife Refuge, you will find a gem of a sit in the Holy City of Wachita, where they hold a passion play every year during April.
About 2 1/2 Hours Away from OKC
Have you ever wanted to go spelunking? Well, now you can turn those dreams into a reality by visiting the Alabaster Caverns near Freedom, OK. The town is like jumping into an old western movie and the caves are the home to bats! No need to be scared of these creatures, they eat insects not humans.
About 3 Hours Away from OKC
Endangered Ark Foundation
Ladies and gentleman, children of all ages, if the circus is a love of yours then you and Hugo, OK have something in common. Hugo has been home to over 20 different circuses and a variety of circus performers over the decades. Evidence of this is found all over town including their cemetery. It is also home to the Endangered Ark Foundation, which cares for the endangered Asian elephants and allows kids of all ages to love on them and get to know them.