Oklahoma City with Tweens: A Perfect Family Day
The first destination on your vacation day in Oklahoma City with tweens is the Oklahoma City Zoo (2000 Remington Place, Oklahoma City, OK 73111; 405-424-3344), located in the heart of Oklahoma City's Adventure District. Mornings are the best time to visit the zoo, as the animals are likely to be more active before the heat of the afternoon sets in (the same goes for the human animals).
While at the zoo, make sure to visit the Cat Forest/Lion Overlook, featuring nine species of cats. There is also a fun exhibit called the Great EscApe, which houses gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees. A new Children's Zoo opened in 2010. Animals in the Children's Zoo include flamingos, spider monkeys and various barnyard animals.
Canopy Restaurant before heading out for the day. The restaurant has a tropical environment and includes kid-friendly foods such as hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza.
The Oklahoma City Zoo is open from 9AM to 5PM every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Kids 11 and under get in for $4 and the adult tickets are $7.
When you visit Oklahoma City with tweens, budget some time for the Science Museum Oklahoma (2100 NE 52nd St., Oklahoma City, OK 73111; 405-602-6664) was formerly known as the Omniplex. The museum is great as a vacation destination while also presenting an exciting and fun exploration of science. The museum stretches over two floors and includes a planetarium, a dome (giant-screen) theater and a number of exhibits that give tweens hands-on learning experiences in science, astronomy and biology.
In the Kirkpatrick Planetarium, the audience, placed in the middle of the earth, moon and stars, learns where everything is and what they can identify when they look into the real night sky. The theater presents shows three to four times a day; four on Saturday. Shows include a behind-the-scenes look at an air force mission and an exploration of Mount Everest.
A spot for kids is the GadgetTrees. Here you'll find the Archimedes Slide, which, they boast, is the nation's tallest spiral slide, and a two-story tree house. Also included are pulleys, levers and more, which enables kids to discover science while having fun. There are also replicas of space shuttles for kids to play in and an exhibit called Whodunit that gives an in-depth look at the science of solving crimes.
The Science Museum Oklahoma is open Monday through Friday, 9AM to 5PM, Saturday 9AM to 6PM and Sunday 11AM to 6PM. Tickets for the exhibits and the Dome Theater are $14.95 for adults and $11.95 for children 4 to 12. The cost for only the exhibits is $10.95/adults and $8.95 for children. The planetarium shows are complimentary and based on seating availability.
The last stop of the vacation day is the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St., Oklahoma City, OK 73111; 405-478-2250). Founded in 1955, the museum presents the best art and memorabilia from the American West. While there is a lot here for the history buffs, there is also a great amount to discover for tweens.
The museum includes galleries celebrating the American Cowboy, rodeos, the frontier west and Native Americans. There is also the Children's Cowboy Corral, an interactive area where tweens can dress up as cowboys, learn how to build a campfire and fix some "grub."
Museum hours are from 10AM to 5PM every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. While kids 12 and under get in for $5.75, the adult tickets are $12.50.
By the end of the day, Oklahoma City's Adventure District will leave your tweens with memories that last a lifetime -- and your family will have traveled no further than the junction of Interstate I-35 and I-44. Discount coupons for many of the attractions are available at the Adventure District's website.
- Overview:Oklahoma City Travel Guide