Can you believe we made it through another school year? We don’t know about you, but at our orthodontic practice in Tulsa and Claremore, time is flying by. Before you know it, your kids will be headed off to university!
For now, though, let’s enjoy as much time with our little ones as possible. Spending quality time with your family is what summer break is all about, after all. But with so many fun things to do with kids in Tulsa and Claremore, it can get to be a little hard on the wallet. To make your life easier, The Brace Place has rounded up all the best, free family activities in town so you can spend less time planning (and spending), and more time playing and exploring with your kids.
From parks and playgrounds to museums and more, here’s our ultimate list of free (or cheap) things to do with kids this summer.
ARTS & CULTURE
1. View the Art at the Philbrook Museum of Art
The Philbrook Museum of Art is a stunning museum set inside the historic home of Waite and Genevieve Phillips in the center of their sprawling, beautifully landscaped gardens. The museum now has a second location located downtown Tulsa, making art even more accessible to a wider audience. Kids under 17 years old are always free, but the whole family can enjoy a complimentary visit to the Philbrook on the second Saturday of each month. Viewing the collection at the Philbrook Museum of Art is the perfect free family activity in Tulsa.
2. Stroll Through the First Friday Art Crawl
Want to give your kids a taste of art without having to spend your summer days inside? You’re in luck! On the first Friday of every month, the Tulsa Arts District holds an outdoor art show (this year is its 12th year running!). With exhibits from local galleries, studios and museums, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the First Friday Art Crawl. The event runs from 6-9pm year round. Check the website above for upcoming dates.
3. Enjoy Stories, Music and More at Gathering Place
For free family fun in Tulsa, Gathering Place is where you need to be. Located on Tulsa’s iconic waterfront along the Arkansas River, Gathering Place offers free activities and events for all ages all year long. This relatively new collective welcomed its first visitors in September 2018 and features arts, culture and entertainment from the local community. Always free and always fun, Gathering Place has everything you need for a summer of quality time with your family. Check the schedule for an up-to-date calendar of events. With so many events going on, you might just end up spending your entire summer at Gathering Place!
1. Discover Tulsa’s History at the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum
Learn all about the events and milestones that shaped Tulsa into the city we know and love today. Featuring ongoing exhibits (like a timeline of Tulsa’s history and a peek at the backstory behind The Tulsa Tribune newspaper) and a rotating display of seasonal exhibits, there’s so much to discover at the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum. Admission for adults is $5 a head, but kids always get in for free. It’s a nearly-free activity we’re sure you’ll enjoy as much as your little ones.
2. Learn About Indigenous Cultures at the Gilcrease Museum
Founded by Thomas Gilcrease, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, in 1949, the Gilcrease Museum is home to a comprehensive collection of artifacts from hundreds of Indigenous communities across North and South America. Inside, you’ll find over 350,000 items representing the rich culture and history of the Indigenous tribes. Outside, you can stroll through themed gardens based on the Gilcrease collections. Visit on the first Tuesday or the third Sunday of the month for free admission.
3. Unleash Your Inner Scientist at Discovery Lab
Let your little ones nerd out over all things STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and math. Discovery Lab gives kids (and parents!) a chance to learn, play and explore through hands-on, interactive experiences and exhibits. While not free, Discovery Lab is a cheap activity for kids in Tulsa that enhances their learning in a fun way. It’s a great way to keep their education going throughout the summer while they’re out of the classroom. Who knows, you might even learn a thing or two yourself, too! Admission is just $6 for everyone age 2 and up.
PARKS, PLAYGROUNDS & POOLS
1. Cultivate Your Green Thumb at the Linnaeus Teaching Garden
Located within the beautiful Woodward Park, the Linnaeus Teaching Garden is a program offered by the Tulsa Garden Center. In addition to giving kids the opportunity to learn all about how gardens grow and flourish, there are also free events held throughout the summer. From kids’ storytime every Thursday at 10am to teen events like yoga and cooking classes, the Linnaeus Teaching Garden has fun activities for the whole family. Entry to the garden is free for all but some activities have a small fee for non-members.
2. Visit the Gardens at Woodward Park
While we’re talking about the Tulsa Garden Center, we have to include a recommendation to visit Woodward Park itself. The park, located just three miles from downtown Tulsa, spans over 44 acres in the middle of 1920s and 1930s heritage neighborhoods. Woodward Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the finest public gardens in the area for good reason. Known for its Upper and Lower Rock Gardens, and the terraced Tulsa Rose Garden, Woodward Park is the most beautiful place to spend a summer afternoon with your family.
3. Splash Around at One of Tulsa’s Free Pools or Splash Pads
The City of Tulsa has thought of everything when it comes to summer fun. There are pools, splash pads and water playgrounds all around town. And the best part is that they’re all totally free! When the temperatures rise, let your kids run and play in the water to cool down while you enjoy some downtime in the shade. Have a summer baby? You can even rent out a water playground for $25 an hour for private parties. We can’t think of a better free summer kids’ activity than that!