This summer, families don’t need
to break the bank or travel overseas to have a fun, adventurous and educational
vacation. For Oklahomans, everything you need to explore and create memories
is, at the most, only a day’s drive away! Daycations are increasingly popular
due to tight budgets and higher gas prices. In Oklahoma, opportunities exist
for outdoor or adventure types, art lovers and history buffs. Check out our
picks for this summer’s daycations.
FOR THE OUTDOOR LOVERS
Medicine Park/Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Tucked quietly within the
foothills of one of the oldest mountains in North America, Medicine Park in
southwestern Oklahoma has lured visitors and history buffs to its cobblestone
streets and peaceful mountain streams for 100 years.
In addition to its quirky
cobblestoned shops, art galleries and restaurants, the Medicine Park area, near
Lawton, offers a gateway to the area’s less explored attractions. History buffs
love to wander through the historic cobblestone architecture of the town – one
of the only places in America with this type of architecture. Adventure seekers
are a stone’s throw away from the hiking, climbing, camping and wildlife of the
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and Great Plains Country. Medicine Park is a
great place to enjoy nature, but one can always escape back into the
cobblestone-lined streets for all the modern luxury you love,” said Angela
Peterson, owner & innkeeper of The Romantic Mountain Cabin.
Pelican Bay in Edmond is one of
Oklahoma’s premier outdoor water parks with water slides, an aqua climbing
wall, a lap pool, a splash pool for the little ones, an entire water playground
Owned by the City of Edmond,
Pelican Bay also offers sports, swimming classes for the whole family and
events like dive-in movie nights and other family-oriented special features.
When hunger strikes, the park also boasts a concession stand with snacks,
drinks and snow cones.
1034 S. Bryant, Edmond, 405-216-7649 • Open Monday–Wednesday 1–8pm,
Thursday & Friday 1–7pm, Saturday 11am–6pm, Sundays 1–6pm.
FOR THE KIDS
Science Museum Oklahoma
In the heart of Oklahoma City’s
Adventure District, families can explore science and imagination at the Science
Museum Oklahoma. With interactive exhibits, a new planetarium and hands-on
science, a whole day can be spent in amazement at the world and beyond.
“Science Museum Oklahoma is a place of discovery for all ages. That’s the great
part about our evolution and growth,” said Brent Weber, director of
communications. “Our exhibits, our live shows and our planetarium are all about
innovation and imagination. In science, what’s old is constantly becoming new.
There is no age limit on wonder.”
With ever-changing exhibits,
Science Museum Oklahoma gives kids and adults a steady rush of activities.
“Even when it is time to calm down, cool off and refresh, our Dome Theatre,
Science Live and the Planetarium all can rest the body while recharging the
mind for another round of fun out on our museum floor,” said Weber.
The museum is located at 2100 NE 52nd St. in Oklahoma City. Visit sciencemuseumok.org.
Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum
Head out to Seminole for a day
of exploration, education and fun for the kids at the Jasmine Moran Children’s
Museum. This year introduces exhibits that will thrill kids with the mysteries
of technology, energy and even open-heart surgery. “We also have a new Tinker
Studio and a new dinosaur exhibit,” said Marci Donaho, president. “We have an
Acrocanthosaurus, which was found in southeast Oklahoma. You could spend all
day here, but you should at least budget three to four hours.”
In the ScienceWorks exhibit,
children view the world of science through rotating exhibits like WeatherWorks,
3-2-1-Blast, Extreme Machines and Imagination Station. A current museum
exhibit, Eureka! Centennial Hospital, lets youth explore 300 health careers
while “performing” heart bypass surgery, hearing what a patient’s stomach
really sounds like, taking care of a baby in an incubator or climbing into a
The museum is open from 10am–5pm Tuesday through Saturday and from
1–5pm on Sundays. Visit jasminemoran.com.
FOR THE ART LOVERS
Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park
Drama, comedy and tragedy come
alive in downtown Oklahoma City with witches, magic, betrayal, love and battles
through Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park. This award-winning theatre company
showcases Shakespeare plays in the summer and fall at the Myriad Botanical
Gardens, but the company originally started in 1985 in Edmond.
Created by Executive Producer
Jack O’Meara and Artistic Director Kathryn Huey O’Meara McGill, Oklahoma
Shakespeare in the Park has consistently grown in popularity. The outdoor
performances continue to define theater art in Edmond and Oklahoma City. “Shakespeare
is for everyone,” said McGill. “It really connects with people today with
politics, love and family. The language is what draws people in, but the
stories really resound with people now as it did then.”
The 2013 season began June 6 and continues through September. For more
information, visit oklahomashakespeare.com.
Fred Jones Museum of Art
Take a drive south through
Oklahoma City to Norman for one of the state’s most respected and unique art
museums. The Fred Jones Museum of Art is always free, and this summer, art
lovers can explore an in-depth look at the face of women around the globe.
“Stirring the Fire: A Global
Movement to Empower Women and Girls” is a new photography exhibition by Phil
Borges in which the stark, unforgiving photos shed a spotlight on gender issues
globally. The photos convey the stories and lives of women from around the
world who share common themes of gender equality and struggle.
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is located at 555 Elm Avenue in Norman. It
is open from 10am– 5pm Monday through Saturday and from 1– 5pm on Sundays.
For the Adventure Lovers
Rocktown Climbing Gym
Deep in Oklahoma City’s downtown
area, old grain silos reach to the skies, and inside those silos, people are
climbing to new heights. Oklahoma City’s Rocktown Climbing Gym is Oklahoma
City’s indoor and outdoor rock climbing center, owned by Aaron and Lisa Gibson
and the Touchstone Youth Project. “We have a not-for-profit climbing gym, but
this is a great place to try rock climbing,” said Lisa.
But don’t think Rocktown is only
for climbing experts. The center offers a New Climber Package and more
experienced climbers can take part in advanced climbing classes. The center
also has an Oklahoma Climbing Club, the youth arm of the Oklahoma Climbing Team.
Children ages 8–18 who want to learn and develop the fundamentals of climbing
can join without competing in climbing competitions.
Rocktown Climbing Gym is located at 200 SE 4th St. in Oklahoma City.
Love the excitement of roller
coasters and being shot through the air on extreme thrill rides? Then Frontier
City, located on Interstate 35 between Oklahoma City and Edmond, is the place
for you. Frontier City is Oklahoma’s theme park, offering six extreme thrill
rides, 11 family rides, eight kids’ attractions and rides, and three water
Like entertainment? The
amusement park also features a Wild West Gunfighter Show, a magic show, live
singing and dancing and more. The park also presents concerts during the summer
season, including names like Fly Leaf, Huey Lewis & the News and Night
Admission is $34.99 or $26.99 for kids under 48” tall. Children ages
two and under are admitted free. Visit www.frontiercity.com.
FOR THE HISTORY LOVERS
Chickasaw Cultural Center
Located at 867 Cooper Memorial
Dr. in Sulphur, The Chickasaw Cultural Center is a stunning display of the
Chickasaw culture and history. Complete with hands-on classes, historic
displays, interactive media and art focusing on Chickasaw culture, the center
has become the heartbeat of tribal pride.
Children can connect with the
past as they visit with Chickasaw elders of the tribe, who share their stories
and memories. The exhibit center begins with an introductory film in an 18th
century council house replica. The Spirit Forest opens the soul to a forest
path where senses are heightened with light and sound.
Try lunch or dinner at the
Aaimpa’ Café, which serves up traditional Chickasaw and American foods.
For information or to plan your trip, visit
Step back and explore the
history of Oklahoma in Guthrie, situated just north of Edmond on Interstate 35.
With three centuries of history, Guthrie is a national historic landmark and
was originally Oklahoma’s first state capital.
Guthrie is full of Victorian
architecture, a myriad of antique and boutique shops, and saloons where cowboys
and outlaws once drank whiskey. Explore history with trolley tours, the
Oklahoma Territorial Museum, the Frontier Drugstore Museum and more.
“It is a great place to explore
history, but we also have a lot of modern attractions like shopping, dining and
our music scene,” said Lucy Swanson, marketing and membership sales coordinator
for the Guthrie Chamber of Commerce. “The Oklahoma Territorial Museum is a
wonderful representation of early Oklahoma life during the Land Run era and
more information on happenings around Guthrie, visit www.guthrieok.com