Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation Department has planned some FREE summer activities for kids. Here’s some fun you and your children can get in on:
FREE Kids’ Fishing Classes
For ages 5-15, these classes teach casting, knot-tying, fish identification, angler etiquette and fishing regulations. No license or permit required and equipment is provided. Children must be accompanied by parent or guardian.
July 25 – Dolese Youth Park Pond, NW 50 and Meridian
June 20, Aug. 22 – Crystal Lake, 6625 SW 15
July 11, Aug. 8 – Metro Tech Springlake, NW 36 and Springlake Drive
July 18, Aug. 15 – Edwards Park Lake
City Pools are now open and admission is free all summer. They include:
Northeast Pool, 1300 NE 33
Woodson Pool, 3405 S. May
Carson Pool, 8301 S. Villa
Minnis Lakeview Pool, 12518 NE 36.
Swim lessons are offered for kids and adults at all area pools for $20 per session. For more information about lessons, or to get a free parks & pools guide, call 297-2211.
Play in the Park
This annual program offers FREE supervised activities such as arts, crafts, games , reading and field trips for kids age 6 and older. 26 metro-wide locations have the program. Click here for more information.
Father’s Day Downtown
On Sunday, June 21, Dad gets in free (with a paid family member) to:
Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, 301 W. Reno
OKC Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City National Memorial, 620 N. Harvey.
So take Dad out on his special day and enjoy all downtown has to offer.
For more information about OKC Parks & Recreation’s events, go to http://www.okc.gov/Parks/index.html.
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
I stumbled across a pretty valuable resource online today. COUPONS. Now, who couldn’t use a few more of those, right? But these aren’t just any coupons, this is the 2009 Exploring Oklahoma Kids Pass, which has tons of savings for Oklahoma attractions. And they’re good through the end of 2009, so you have plenty of time to start planning road trips or fun weekend outings.
Just go to exploringok.com/exploring-oklahoma-kids-pass to print off savings to these Oklahoma destinations (unless noted otherwise, attractions are in Oklahoma City):
Jump!Zone Party & Play Center
Unpluggits Playstudio, Edmond
Myriad Botanical Gardens
Oklahoma River Cruises
Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, Shawnee
Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve, Bartlesville
Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum, Seminole
Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, Clinton
Andy Alligator’s Fun Park, Norman
Toy & Action Figure Museum, Pauls Valley
Museum of the Great Plains, Lawton
Harn Homestead Museum
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, Duncan
Simmons Center, Duncan
Paint N’ Station
Bouncin Craze, Edmond
Gaylord Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum
National Rt. 66 Museum, Elk City
OKC National Memorial & Museum
HeyDay Entertainment, Norman
Double Dave’s Pizza, Norman
Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman
Oklahoma Aquarium, Jenks
Sooner Legends Hotel & Restaurant, Norman
Oklahoma History Center
Marland Mansion, Ponca City
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Norman
Camp McFadden, Kaw Lake/Ponca City
Orr Family Farm
Oklahoma Children’s Theatre
Stafford Air & Space Museum, Weatherford
Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse & Adventure Quest, Enid
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Oklahoma City RedHawks
Tulsa Air & Space Museum & Planetarium, Tulsa
Oklahoma Railway Museum
McFadden Cove Marina/Kaw Lake Association, Kaw Lake/Ponca City
Science Museum Oklahoma
Sheraton Oklahoma City Hotel
Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz
White Water Bay
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
It was the weekend we have been patiently waiting for … the opening of the exhibit “Dinosaurs Unearthed” at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
Saturday morning, my son had a toddler class at the zoo and even though temps were in the 30s, we still made the trek down to see the dinos after his class. He hesitated to go in at first, hearing the growling of these massive beasts from outside the exhibit tent. But after a little coaxing, he walked in, astonished at what greeted him.
The exhibit has huge, seemingly life-size dinos, skeletons, bones and even a sand pit for the kids to play in, to find dino footprints. All the favorites were featured – the triceratops, stegosaurus and of course, the T-Rex. They were animatronic models (think Jurassic Park) and some could even be controlled by the kids.
If I had to sum up this exhibit in one word, it would be AMAZING. I highly recommend a visit to the zoo to see these dinos. The exhibit is open from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily and runs through June 30. It is free with paid zoo admission. I’m sure we’ll be spending many weekends among the dinosaurs between now and the end of the June.
For more information about the exhibit and other events at the zoo, go to www.okczoo.com.
Here’s just a taste of what you can see at the exhibit:
Last night, I took my son to see “Walking with Dinosaurs-The Arena Spectacular” at the Ford Center. I was hesitant about taking him at first, because I was worried he would get scared, since he’s only 2. But he loves dinosaurs so I gave in and bought tickets.
We were not disappointed. The show was phenomenal. The dinosaurs were very realistic and their movements and sounds were quite believable. A paleontologist guided the show, narrating what was going on during the different periods dinosaurs existed, how they fended for themselves, fought off prey and eventually became extinct.
My son was in complete awe through the entire show. I purposefully chose seats that were high up so that he’d be looking down at the dinosaurs and not up at them, which turned out to be a good idea. The dinosaurs can get close to those sitting in the lower section and they can get very loud when they roar.
The show is appropriate for young children through adults. It is about 2 hours long with a 20-minute intermission. It runs through Sunday at the Ford Center. You can get tickets online at ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000.
My son’s birthday isn’t until April but I already feel behind the 8-ball on planning it. I know, I know … it isn’t like it’s a wedding, needing months of preparation. But I get anxious that my favorite venues will be booked and I’ll be left entertaining 15 toddlers and their parents in a 2-bedroom apartment. So I thought if there were other parents like me, they may find a ‘guide’ useful for everything from picking a place to party favors.
First up – picking a venue. I’ve been doing a bit of research on some neat places in the metro-area that parents can have great birthday parties for young kids. Here are a few:
1. The zoo. The Oklahoma City Zoo has indoor and outdoor facilities that can be reserved for parties and other functions. There are classrooms in the Education Center, an area in the Canopy Restaurant and outdoor picnic tables. If your child has a birthday in a warmer weather month, this is a great place to go. Kids can see the animals as a group and take rides on the train and tram. For more information go to www.okczoo.com and click on “Facility Rental.”
2. Indoor play gyms. We picked Gymboree last year and it was a blast. The staff basically does all the entertaining and toddlers have a great time participating in games and indoor gym equipment. And the best part? No cleanup. The kids get to eat their cake on the floor while sitting on a big parachute. Another place that offers indoor climbing fun is The Little Gym and for inflatable fun, try Pump it Up or Bouncin’ Craze.
3. The classic pizza-and-game spots. Who could forget Chuck E. Cheese? I remember spending a few great birthday parties there. And there are a few in the metro-area offering food, games and more. Although I think these may be more suitable for kids age 5 and older, anyone can have fun here. Another is Incredible Pizza on Northwest Expressway. They have a big buffet and different-themed eating rooms. They also have bowling, miniature golf and go-karts in addition to the many arcade games. Celebration Station and Andy Alligator’s also have indoor/outdoor fun and games, for older toddlers/kids.
4. Trains. Kids love trains. Just ask my son. There are a couple of really neat venues that offer real train rides as part of the party fun. The Oklahoma Railway Museum is open for parties from April to October. They have two packages – one with and one without a train ride (but really, what’s the fun without a ride?) And for the party, they can either seat kids in the waiting room at the depot or in a 1921 caboose. Also, just east of the metro-area, is L.O.C.O. which is a Locomotive Operators of Central Oklahoma. They operate miniature trains that kids can ride on at their park. They also give free rides the first Sunday of every month from 1-4 p.m. if you want to check them out.
5. Parks. There are a number of metro-area parks that have picnic facilities and playground equipment. Some in the summer have splash pads so kids can wear their swimsuits and stay cool. It’s an inexpensive fun alternative to other venues, and it keeps the mess out of your house. For a list of city parks and their amenities, go to http://www.okc.gov/Parks/. You’ll also find out about programs and other opportunities for fun they offer.
These are just a few suggestions to get you started. As I come across more between now and April, I’ll be posting them on this blog. And if you have any birthday party suggestions, please let me know! I’d love to list them so other parents can have it as a resource. Comment below or email me.
Those of us celebrating this fun holiday with a toddler, may be thinking “My child is too young for trick-or-treating, but I can’t let the day go by without some festivities to create that picture perfect moment of my little one in full costume.”
Here are some ideas that might be a bit more toddler-friendly than trick-or-treating.
Have a get together at your house. This works especially if you have other friends with toddlers. They can have food and games just for them.
Go to the zoo. The Oklahoma City Zoo sponsors “Haunt the Zoo” every year, and we go … every year. You won’t see the exhibits, but you’ll meet alot of friendly zoo employees who will be giving out all kinds of goodies. They also provide plenty of picture opportunities. Go to www.okczoo.com for more information.
Festivals. There are plenty around the metro. It seems that every church, YMCA and other community center is hosting a fall festival or carnival. Take advantage of these, as many are free and they’re a fun, safe alternative to trick-or-treating.
Hand out candy. Dress your toddler up in their costume and let them pass out candy to visiting trick-or-treaters. Chances are, they’ll just love the opportunity to show off their costume to neighbors. And you’ll get to watch Halloween specials on TV.
And if you do decide to brave the neighborhood for goodies, just be sure to follow the basic rules of trick-or-treating:
-Wear light-colored clothing and/or reflective tape on costumes. Don’t cross streets between parked cars.
-Go in a group, and while it is still light out. Use flashlights if it’s dark. Don’t go to any house that has the lights turned off.
-Inspect all candy carefully and discard anything that has a torn or missing wrapper or could have been tampered with in any way.
If you have any more good safety tips or suggestions for Halloween, post them here or email email@example.com and I’ll post them for you.
If you’ve read my blogs, you already know I’m a big fan of the Oklahoma City Zoo.
Last night, my son and I attended the ConZOOvation event at the zoo, and it was a blast. For $6 (the price for each adult, kids went free), we had an evening of dinner , crafts and a puppet show. They had the characters from OETA’s show Between the Lions and Chick-fil-A supplied dinner to the kids and adults. Kids also got to make their own lion puppets and had a goody bag complete with animal book to take home with them.
Also, once a month, we attend a class with other 2-year-olds and they do all kinds of fun things. There’s story time, craft-making, and the zoo staff bring in a “friend” … usually something alive that the kids can touch and come face to face with. It runs about an hour on a Saturday morning, once a month and they have a different theme each class. For Zoo Friends, each class is $10.00 and for others it is $12.00 per child. Well worth it!
Visit the zoo’s Web site, okczoo.com, click on education, then events, then toddler programs to see the programs offered for kids 5 and younger and special events. There’s some fun things coming up like Family Fun Night for Zoo Friends members and Cupcakes with Santa in a few months. For a monthly schedule of events, look under “Zoo News” on the homepage or go to http://www.okczoo.com/wimgo/.
Have fun planning your next trip to one of Oklahoma City’s best attractions!