When searching for fun and educational outings for the kids, there are few better options than Martin Park Nature Center, particularly as it's absolutely free. Located on 144 acres in northwest Oklahoma City and operated by the city's Parks & Recreations Department, Martin Park Nature Center is a wildlife sanctuary that also offers miles of walking trails, an education center, playground and more.
In addition, with experienced guides and professionals, it makes a popular attraction for school field trips and annual programs.
5000 West Memorial Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73142
Location & Directions:
The Memorial Corridor is a top retail area in Oklahoma City, home to Quail Springs Mall and multiple restaurants and shopping centers. Hidden near that bustling commercial atmosphere, though, is a quiet, natural environment.
Memorial Road has east and westbound traffic split by the Kilpatrick Turnpike for a significant distance. The Martin Park Nature Center entrance is on the eastbound portion of Memorial, between MacArthur and Meridian. From east of Meridian, exit the turnpike westbound at Meridian and follow to the crossover opportunity just west of the park.
Admission & Hours of Operation:
Admission to the park is free.
Guided tours are available for school and other group trips for a $2 per person fee (minimum 5 people).
Martin Park Nature Center is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is closed each year on city holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. See okc.gov for exact holiday closing days.
From animals to recreation, Martin Park Nature Center boasts several key features.
- Wildlife - According to city officials, the park is home to many animal species, including but not limited to birds, butterflies, squirrels, foxes, reptiles, deer, coyotes, owls and armadillos. Though you may see an animal, don't bother nor feed it.
- Hiking Trails - Over two and a half miles of nature trails wind through the park's outdoor grounds.
- Playground - Located near the main entrance
- Education Center - With information on reptile and insect species, including an observation bee hive, the park's Education Center is a library and resource for visitors.
- Picnic Pavilion - For parties or other group outings, reserve the Martin Park pavilion by calling (405) 297-3882. Cost to reserve is $30 per hour for the first two hours, $10 per hour thereafter, and there's a two-hour minimum. The pavilion comfortably seats up to 70 people on 8 tables but does not include outdoor cooking or water hookup.
Programs & Events:
Throughout the year, the park presents nature programs and educational events. For example, kids ages 2-6 can enjoy Nature Story Time each Saturday at 10 a.m., and every month includes specials such as lectures, presentations, workshops, holiday fun and conservation programs. Each April, Martin Park Nature Center hosts Earth Fest in observance of Earth Day.
Earth Fest includes a series of Earth-friendly educational seminars on topics such as bees and rain barrels, as well as family-oriented games, crafts and other nature-based activities.
Current programs are listed at okc.gov, or call (405) 755-0676 for more information.