Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Temperatures don't look too forgiving here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this week - highs are charted to be in the mid- to upper-90s until beyond the seven-day forecast - but that doesn't mean that your only choice for entertainment is to camp out next to the nearest air conditioning vent.
There's still tons of ways to get out on the town and have a great time, all without breaking a sweat. Here are a few ideas.
Parks and other Free Stuff
1. The River Parks Plaza. Not only is this one of the only shaded playgrounds in Tulsa, but it's also the one equipped with a new splash pad. And really, it's more than a splash pad. It's a water park without the pools and slides, and it's open every night until 10pm. Plus, there are hot dogs and sno cones on site. Each Thursday brings the Tulsa Library's Reading Roadshow with a story time for the kids at 10am, and on Fridays is Rhythm on the River, a chance to picnic with friends and family, hear some of the best live music around and let the kids take over the playground at the same time. Find it at 41st Street and Riverside Drive.
2. Chandler Park. Get not just one, but two pools at this west Tulsa park that also offers everything from sheltered picnicking to rock climbing to disc golf. One pool is sized for us adult types while the other is designed for the pint-sized. Pool hours are Sunday-Friday, 1-6:30pm; Saturday, noon-6:30pm; closed Wednesdays. Cost is $2.50 for those aged 13 and older, $1.50 for kids 12 and under. A good deal to beat the heat, if you ask me.
3. Hunter Park. This south Tulsa park has a splash pad to rival that at River Parks, and it offers shaded playgrounds - and shaded areas where parents can sit, too. If you like your livin' south, and if you like your livin' free, Hunter Park is the summer destination for you.
4. Owen Park. Not only will there be a brand-spanking-new splash pad at Tulsa's first and oldest park before you know it, but it's also the site of a giant duck pond, complete with lots of shade and a beautiful water feature. When you bring your picnic, pack some stale bread, people, because those ducks don't expect to miss a meal.
5. Any Tulsa City-County Library Location, anytime. I continue to be impressed by the volume and quality of events going on at our community's libraries. Not only can you get a story time or book discussion for any age group any day of the week, but the library also offers activities ranging from family-friendly concerts, magic shows, and scavenger hunts to video gaming parties, family game nights and art classes. Plus, there's always Tulsa Library's Summer Reading Program, complete with lots of reading fun and, cha-ching, prizes. Check this events calendar for what's going on at the library when you're free to chill.
6. The Kids' Free Film Festival at Riverwalk Movies and Circle Cinema. Looking for cost-free, air-conditioned, cinematic solutions to keeping your kids occupied this summer? Look no further than Riverwalk Movies, where twice on each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday shows a kid-appropriate movie, for free. Click here for details and a full schedule. Now that July has rolled around, Circle Cinema offers a free film festival for kids, too.
7. Andy B's Bowling. Did you know that kids bowl for free at Andy B's? It's true - all you have to do is register at kidsbowlfree.com, get to 8711 S. Lewis and bowl your heart out. Family passes are available for purchase.
8. Oklahoma Aquarium, 300 Aquarium Drive in Jenks. Come on in, kids, the water's fine. With nearly 200 exhibits and thousands of fresh and salt water species (don't forget about the mammals), all completely and totally indoors, there's an entire and frosty day's worth of fun at the Aquarium in Jenks. Hours are 10am-6pm. Admission is $13.95 for adults, $9.95 for kids 3-12, free for kids 2 and under.
9. Philbrook Museum, 2727 S. Rockford Ave. From books as art to a brand-new exhibit on ancient Egypt, there's tons to see at this Italiante villa-turned-art museum. And guess what? Kids under 18 get in free. Here's what to see while you're there, and don't forget about Films on the Lawn this Friday night. Hours Thursday are 10am-8pm and on Friday 10am-5pm. Admission is $7.50 for adults.
10. Gilcrease Museum, 1400 North Gilcrease Museum Road. One free-of-charge, icy-cold, world-class museum experience not enough for the kids this week? Head for the (Osage) hills and hit up Gilcrease Museum, a treasure trove of American art and history - in fact, it's the largest, most comprehensive collection of art and artifacts of the American West anywhere. Hours are 10am-5pm. Admission is $8 for adults.
11. Tulsa Air and Space Museum. It takes a lot of air conditioning to cool 19,000 square feet of air and space museum, but that's exactly what the folks at TASM do every day - every day except Monday, anyway. Experience Tulsa's history in aerospace industry with family and friends and stay cool at the same time. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, 1-5pm.
12. Oilers Ice Center, 6413 S. Mingo Road. Talk about cool, this is as icy-fresh as it gets. Public skates are Monday-Friday, 11:30-1:30; Friday night skate from 8pm-11pm; Saturday, 12pm-2pm and Sunday, 1-3pm. With skate rental, it's $8.50.
13. BOK Center. 200 S. Denver. Speaking of air conditioning lots of space, BOK Center offers family-friendly shows all summer long and, of course, they're all as cool and fresh as the girls you wanted to be in high school. This week is the Tulsa Shock game on Tuesday night with tickets starting at $10, and PRB comes to town Friday night.
14. Purple Glaze, 3303 S. Peoria Ave. and 6528 E. 91st Street. What's more fun than making a mess with your kids? Making a mess with your kids that you don't have to clean up, duh. Head to Purple Glaze to pick out your favorite ceramic. Spend the afternoon painting or tiling it, just the way you like. Leave it behind until after the weekend and, voila, a one-of-a-kind commemoration of the time the first week of summer had everyone in Tulsa bringing wine and roses home to their air conditioners. Hours are 11am-9pm Thursday and Friday, with the Brookside location staying open until 10pm Friday night. Studio fee is $6; pottery prices include the ceramic, paints, glaze and firing.
15. Bounce U, 8922 S. Memorial Drive. I'm a former kid these days, but even I can't get enough of a good, old-fashioned Jupiter Jump - especially when it's an air-conditioned Jupiter Jump and it's 96 degrees outside. Help the kids work out their snow day wiggles by setting them loose on a variety of inflatable structures. Just don't forget to bring extra socks. Admission is $6.95 per child. Open bounce is 1:30-3pm.
16. Admiral Twin Drive-In. The shows don't start until 9pm, right at about the time a breeze starts to blow across T-Town. Load up the fam and head to this relic of Americana for a movie, refreshments and an outdoor movie-going experience with some Tulsa history and, of course, fun. Adult tickets are $7.50 (cheaper than at most other movie theaters) each, and kids get in cheaper or free (as our two-year-old does), depending on age. Find AT at 7533 E. Easton, just north of I-244.
What do YOU plan to do to keep cool during the upcoming hot, Oklahoma days?
This post updated from the June 22 feature on the KRMG Morning News with Joe Kelley.