Oklahoma Vacation Pick: Oklahoma City

Oklahoma's breakout destination is Oklahoma City, which expanded its Olympic training site in 2016 to create a massive aquatic adventure mecca for families. With its top-notch zoo and history center, OKC offers families plenty to do and see.

Though this is a thoroughly modern city, its historic roots are very much evident in attractions such as the must-see National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and the Oklahoma History Center. If you happen to visit during mid-June, be sure to check out Red Earth, the largest Native American festival in the world.

Explore hotel options in Oklahoma City

  • 01 of 09

    Pick Up a Paddle

    Riversport Adventures
    OKC Boathouse District

    Olympic rowers, kayakers, and canoeists have long trained in the Oklahoma City Boathouse District, and the state-of-the-art Riversport adventure facility is expanding to invite more families to embrace aquatic adventures. Families can rent kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards on the Oklahoma River, with options for children as young as 5.

  • 02 of 09

    Be Adventurous

    Youth Zone in the Boathouse District, Oklahoma City
    Boathouse District

    At the Youth Zone in the Boathouse District, families can tackle big and small zip lines, high ropes, an 80-foot climbing tower, a playground and more. If your kids love to climb, jump, and play, plan on spending a whole morning or afternoon here.

  • 03 of 09

    Spend a Day at the Zoo

    Apes at the Oklahoma City Zoo
    Oklahoma City Zoo

    Frequently ranked among the top 10 zoos in the US, the Oklahoma City Zoo is also the oldest in the Southwest. This is an expansive zoo, where the animals have room to roam and are often rotated between multiple roaming areas to give the animals more variety. Highlights include the Cat Forest, Great EscAPE, Butterfly Garden, Island Life, Elephant Habitat, and Aquatics. Don't miss the cute carousel and two playgrounds. Little ones under age 3 get free admission to the zoo.

  • 04 of 09

    Have Fun With Science

    Science Museum Oklahoma
    Travel Oklahoma

    Looking for hands-on, interactive ways to teach your kids about science? With exhibits, a planetarium, and a state-of-the-art theater, Science Museum Oklahoma offers a rare opportunity to learn through play. Ride a Segway, play with gadget trees, and much more. Highlights include the amusing Science Live Show, where a host performs science experiments that are both impressive and kid-friendly; the 30-minute planetarium show, which takes place in a state-of-the-art auditorium where seats recline and let you look up; and CurioCity, an enormous space filled with interactive exhibits that both engage and delight.

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  • 05 of 09

    Learn About Dinosaurs

    Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History
    Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History

    Located on the campus of the University of Oklahoma in nearby Norman, just south of OKC, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is one of the world's largest university-based natural history museums and a great find. There are seven galleries with interactive displays and fossils from Oklahoma and around the world. The Discovery Room is a hands-on gallery lets kids interact with exhibits and even unearth fossils in their own dinosaur dig.

  • 06 of 09

    Explore a Garden

    Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City
    Myriad Botanical Gardens

    At Myriad Botanical Gardens, kids can explore the six-acre Children’s Garden, where entry is free and there are plenty of things to climb on, run through and play with. (Be sure bring your child's bathing suit and some dry clothes for the water sprinkler park.) Afterward, explore the flora and fauna of the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory. The gardens also schedule regular events, such as workshops, movies, and concerts for all ages.

  • 07 of 09

    Learn About the History of OK

    Oklahoma History Center
    Travel Oklahoma

    The 40,000-square-foot Oklahoma History Center contains five main exhibit galleries and over 100 audiovisual interactive opportunities for guests to ingest the entire breadth of Oklahoma's diverse history, from Native Americans to the Depression-era Dust Bowl to oil.

  • 08 of 09

    Snag Free Family Fun

    Martin Park Nature Center
    The City of Oklahoma City

    Looking for activities that are easy on the wallet? There's a lot of free fun to be had in OKC, from visiting city parks and nature centers to a cool railway museum and learn-to-fish classes. Integrating even a few of these activities into a getaway can save a family a nice hunk of money.

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  • 09 of 09

    Play All Day

    Brickopolis in Oklahoma City
    Brickopolis

    Need a rainy-day plan? At Brickopolis, there are three levels of fun, with games for toddlers to pre-teens and beyond. Visitors can play mini golf, laser tag and “Lazer Frenzy,” an arcade-style maze attraction.