Things to See and Do in Tulsa

If you are visiting northeast Oklahoma and want to take a day or two to visit Tulsa, there will be plenty of things to see and do no matter what kind of activities you enjoy. It is a city that definitely has four distinct seasons and summers are usually quite warm and humid.

One thing to be sure to do is to try to catch a performance at the huge (half a block in size!) Performing Arts Center of Tulsa. This center isn’t even 30 years old yet and it has enjoyed great success in the world of performing arts. There are five theaters, an art collection, and many types of performances throughout the year. Whether your preference is symphony orchestra, opera, film, ballet, or something else, chances are Tulsa’s Performing Arts Center will be able to provide.

Tulsa offers well over a hundred parks, two dozen swimming pools, state parks, hiking trails, sports fields, and many other areas set aside for sports, fitness, and outdoor activities. Since it is the second highest populated city in the state, there will always be an abundance of activities including some excellent clubs and nightlife.

If you are more of an indoor type, try spending some time at one of Tulsa’s many incredible museums. You may want to choose from the Philbrook, the Gilcrease, or the Museum of Jewish Art. The Gilcrease features artifacts and works of art from the southwest and from the Native American culture. There are themed gardens and lovely galleries. The Gilcrease could easily take an entire morning or afternoon if you can manage.

The Tulsa Zoo is one of the more well known and recognized zoos in the United States. The reason for that is because it is among the top five largest zoos in the country, coming in at number three in size. The Tulsa Zoo is almost 80 acres in size and has been delighting visitors for almost 80 years. Be sure to see:

– The Robert J. LaFortune North American Living Museum
– Elephant Encounter (including a museum)
– Wetlands (including boardwalk and gazebo)
– Chimpanzee Connection
– Dave Zucconi Conservation Center (including reptile nursery if baby reptiles interest you)
– African Savanna
– Great Cats
– Bear and Lemur Grottos
– Aldabra Tortoise area
– California Sea Lions area
– Central and South American Rainforest area
– Discovery Center
– Children’s Zoo
– Cheetah Exhibit
– Penguin Habitat area
– Siamang Island

If the zoo didn’t provide enough good old fashioned “feel like a kid again” fun for you, try to stop by Bells Amusement Park. If it is a hot day in Tulsa, be sure to try the water ride called Chili Pepper Plunge. If you like wooden roller coasters, there’s a great one here called the Zingo. It’s huge! Play the arcade and check out what live entertainment is being offered. This park is only open seasonally while the zoo is in operation all throughout the year.

If you are into antiques shopping, the locals will tell you that you should spend some time seeing what you can find on the historic Cherry Street. You will be able to catch a great meal here, too. The shops offer much more than antiques, of course.

For the quiet traveler who enjoys nature: Stop by the Tulsa Garden Center and spend some time in the rose garden. That is just one of the many exhibits of horticultural excellence that you will be able to see.

For the sea and ocean lover: The Oklahoma Aquarium is a short distance from Tulsa in a town called Jenks. There are hundreds of exhibits here covering many kinds of aquatic life. Spend a few hours here and there is a restaurant if you are visiting over lunch time.

For the summer’s heat visitors: Four words. Big Splash Water Park! There are pools including a wave pool and a water roller coaster. This is also found in the town of Jenks, where the Oklahoma Aquarium is situated.

For the sci-fi enthusiast: Plan to spend a couple of hours at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. There is a wind tunnel here and a robotic arm to “play with.” You will be able to feel what it is like for the astronauts when they have to deal with robotic arms while doing some of the work they are required to do in space. There is also a replica of a space shuttle at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum.

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