If you’re looking to enjoy nature as a family, Oklahoma City offers plenty of unique experiences. Crème de la Crème of Oklahoma City put together this list of exciting nature-filled experiences kids of all ages can enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a place for a leisurely walk to take in the plants and animals or your kids are craving a more intense adventure, you’ll find many opportunities for fun outdoor activities in our city.
Myriad Botanical Gardens
Image via Flickr by riveraa8
You don’t have to leave the city to enjoy nature. The Myriad Botanical Gardens offers a bountiful oasis packed with beautiful surroundings and tons of opportunities for fun. You’ll find this 17-acre park right in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City at 301 W. Reno, between West Reno, West Sheridan, South Hudson, and South Robinson Avenues.
These gardens offer fun for the whole family, including youth and family programs, a children’s garden, and paths for jogging or walking. Grab a bite at the restaurant or bring your dog with you for a day of outdoor fun — the Myriad Botanical Gardens feature an off-leash dog park as well. You can access the grounds for free between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. each day.
Don’t miss the seasonal plaza, which offers splash fountains in the summer and ice skating in the winter. No matter what time of year you plan a trip here, you’ll give the kids the chance to explore nature right in our city.
Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory
Make some time to visit the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory during your day at the Myriad Botanical Gardens. This centerpiece of the botanical gardens is sure to inspire with both its unique structure and abundance of plants, not to mention the 35-foot waterfall displayed inside the building.
The 13,000-square-foot space features 750 kinds of plants inside a building that has earned praise from the architectural community. The building is 70 feet in diameter, 224 feet long, and covered by thousands of sections of translucent acrylic panels. You’ll want to make sure to walk along the sky bridge to take in stunning views of the tropical forest area.
The Conservatory displays two distinct climate zones. At the south end, you’ll find the Tropical Wet Zone, and at the north end, you can visit the Tropical Dry Zone. The Tropical Wet Zone features plants that are watered every day, while the Tropical Dry Zone only receives water from April through September, then experiences drought. The result is a wide variety of breathtaking plants sure to impress kids and adults alike.
The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory is open on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., then from Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also plan a Sunday visit between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and $7 for seniors, active military personnel, and students. Children between the ages of 4 and 12 pay $5 to enter, while admission for any kid 3 or younger is free.
Bert Cooper Trails
If you’re looking for a way to enjoy the great outdoors as a family, you can’t go wrong with the Bert Cooper Trails. Formerly known as the Lake Hefner Trails, this network features 9.8 miles of multi-use asphalt and concrete trails around Lake Hefner. Loop around the lake as you walk, run, rollerblade, or bike. There’s plenty of parking that make a visit to these trails easy, too.
As you move along the trails, you’ll have access to drinking fountains, restrooms, and picnic areas. You can connect to the Hefner-Overholser Trail if you want a longer hike, or make use of the activities around Lake Hefner and its parks. You’ll find fun appropriate for all ages here, including playgrounds, fishing docks, the Lake Hefner Golf Course, ball fields, and a variety of restaurants.
Oklahoma River Kayaking
Kids looking for a big adventure outdoors will find just that in Oklahoma City’s Boathouse District. Check out OKC Riversport Adventures for a day spent kayaking. Experienced and novice paddlers alike will enjoy the fun here, as they offer lessons and gear for traditional kayaking along with dragon boating, long boarding, and paddle boarding.
OKC Riversport Adventures lives up to their name by featuring ample adventure possibilities. In addition to kayaking, you’ll find an adventure course, an 80-foot SkyTrail, and the tallest slide in America. In other words, no matter how your kids define adventure, you’re sure to find the perfect opportunity for it here.
Martin Park Nature Center
Martin Park Nature Center, located at 5000 W. Memorial Road in northwest Oklahoma City, offers a place for visitors of all ages to learn about and explore nature. The 144-acre preserve plays home to a variety of animals. Kids are sure to have fun looking for armadillos, coyotes, deer, foxes, and squirrels, not to mention butterflies and an abundance of birds, all in their natural environment.
If your family is up for a hike, Martin Park Nature Center offers the ideal spot for that as well. You’ll find hiking trails weaving throughout the grassland and wooded areas of this park with trail maps and signage to guide and educate you as you go along. This park also features an ADA-accessible trail.
Stop by the Visitor Center to enjoy a nature learning library and live animals (and make use of the convenient restrooms), or gather with family and friends at the picnic pavilion, which is available to rent. If the kids just want to play, the park offers a nature-themed playground as well. Martin Park Nature Center is open in the winter (October 1 through March 31) from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., and in the summer (April 1 through September 30) from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
There you have it! Crème de la Crème of Oklahoma City’s list of nature-filled experiences right here in Oklahoma City. We hope you liked our suggestions and that it gives you some new local places to enjoy the abundant nature that surrounds our amazing city.