Family getaways: Find ideas for fun from day trips to weekend stays
BY JASON ASHLEY WRIGHT, BRAVETTA HASSELL & NOUR HABIB World Scene Writers
Thursday, March 07, 2013
3/07/13 at 8:52 AM
We've moved our clocks forward an hour, flowers are starting to wake and bud, and more folks are spending time outside as they eagerly wait for winter to wane.
It's almost spring, which is official March 20. But for many kids in the area, spring begins the afternoon of March 15, as a weeklong break awaits them.
Some of you may be wondering what to do, which is why we came up with a dozen options - four day-trips, four overnight stays and four full-weekend excursions.
Already have spring break plans? Save this guide for those long summer months or anytime you need a quick getaway.
Now, it's just up to you to spring forward.
IF YOU'VE GOT A DAY
These excursions are all within a 45-minute to two-hour drive from Tulsa and offer fun that the whole family can enjoy.
Carson Hardy, 3, of Edmond pulls a large bubble around himself at an exhibit at the Jasmine Moran Children's Museum in Seminole. JOHN CLANTON / Tulsa World file
Jasmine Moran Children's Museum
1714 Highway 9 West, Seminole
Kids run the town at the Jasmine Moran Children's Museum. The museum is full of exhibits that allow kids to try all sorts of adult careers.
A hospital area lets them do everything from dressing up as surgeons to hearing what a human's stomach sounds like.
Other hands-on exhibits include a grocery store, TV studio, school, construction site and fire station. Kids can also enjoy the outdoors during a train ride or while making their way through a maze.
For more, call 405-382-0950 or visit tulsaworld.com/jasminemoran
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday
General admission: $8; free for kids younger than 3
What to eat
Need to grab a bite to eat while in Seminole? Make a stop at the kid-friendly Boomarang Diner, 313 N. Main, and enjoy one of its famous burgers. Call 405-382-2404 for more information.
Leonardo's Discovery Warehouse & Adventure Quest
200 E. Maple, Enid
Kids can mingle with rainforest animals, let their inner artists shine and explore a space shuttle simulator at this hands-on art and science museum.
And the "Adventure Quest" portion of the museum, referred to as an "outdoor science playground," features a three-story wooden castle that's home to slides, swings, mazes and a water table.
For more, call 580-233-2787 or visit tulsaworld.com/leonardos
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (Adventure Quest noon-5 p.m.), 1-5 p.m. Sunday
General admission: $7; free for kids younger than 2
What to eat
When lunchtime comes around, consider Costello's Continental Cuisine, just a five-minute drive from the museum at 610 S. Cleveland, Suite 222. A sandwich or burger would be perfect for lunch, or enjoy a steak dinner (or lamb, quail or duck) before the drive home. If you can, make reservations at 580-234-7510.
Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve
1925 Woolaroc Ranch Road, 12 miles southwest of Bartlesville on Oklahoma Highway 123
Introduce your kids to Woolaroc's vast collection of Western and Native American art and artifacts.
As you make your way to the museum building, have your kids try to spot the more than 30 varieties of native and exotic animals - including bison, elk and longhorn cattle - that can be found on the 3,700-acre wildlife preserve.
And just in time for spring break, the animal barn will be open, and kids will have the opportunity to pet baby donkeys, calves, rabbits and miniature horses.
For more, call 918-336-0307 or visit tulsaworld.com/woolaroc
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday
General admission: $10, free for kids younger than 12.
What to eat
Before you head out of Bartlesville, make a stop at Dink's World Famous Pit Bar-B-Q, 2929 E. Frank Phillips Blvd. A kids menu is available. Call 918-335-0606 for more information.
Riders follow a trail at Sequoyah State Park. KELI CLARK / Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation
Sequoyah State Park
17131 Park 10, Hulbert (8 miles east of Wagoner on Highway 51)
For something more outdoorsy, enjoy the shores of Fort Gibson Lake at Sequoyah State Park. Take a boat out onto the water or let the kids swim while you lounge on the beach.
Visitors can also hike along the park's trails, see live animals and education displays at the Three Forks Nature Center or visit the Sequoyah Riding Stables to take a trail ride or hayride.
What to eat
Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy during your nature-y getaway. For those who want to stay longer, call 918-772-2046 or visit tulsaworld.com/sequoyahstatepark for information on booking lodge rooms or using RV or tent campgrounds.
IF YOU'VE GOT OVERNIGHT
A vacation for your family may mean staying the night. Enjoy an attraction, then return home the next day. It might be just enough of an escape before you return to work and the kids are sent back to school.
A pair of American bison graze across the open prairie at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Tulsa World file
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Hike through then Wichita Mountains, enjoy the scenic trip and grab a bite to eat at a historic restaurant.
The views from the Wichita Mountains may be a photographer's dream. Plus, the wildlife refuge covers more than 59,000 acres and is home to free range buffalo, Texas longhorn cattle, prairie dogs, elk and deer. Mountain bike, rock climb, hike and more. To get there from I-44, take Oklahoma 49 (exit 45). Then go west 10 miles to the Refuge gate. For more on Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, call 580-429-2197.
Be sure to stop for a Meersburger before returning home. JOHN CLANTON / Tulsa World file
What to eat
Enjoy a packed lunch and then stop by Meers Store and Restaurant for dinner, 2600 Oklahoma 115, before turning in. The restaurant is located on Oklahoma 115, 1 1/2 miles north of the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge and serves a selection of steaks, barbecue, home-baked bread, and desserts including homemade ice cream. The restaurant, more than a century old, has been recognized by Food Network and has been profiled in this newspaper. For more on Meers, call 580-429-8051 or visit tulsaworld.com/meers
Where to stay
Consider Holiday Inn Express on Fort Sill, tulsaworld.com/holidayinn or 580-355-4475.
See the elephants and more wildlife at the Oklahoma City Zoo. JENNIFER D'AGOSTINO / OKC Zoo
It takes about an hour and a half to get to the state capital, and once you're there, there's plenty to do.
Learn about Oklahoma's role in sports history at the Oklahoma Sports Museum, 315 W. Oklahoma Ave., or see what the newest animal exhibit is at the Oklahoma City Zoo, 2101 NE 50th St., 405-424-3344.
Tour the exhibits at the Science Museum Oklahoma, 2100 NE 52nd St., including "GadgetTrees," which includes the nation's tallest spiral slide and one of the largest trees in North America. Or head over to the aviation exhibit to learn how planes came to be. See if you can catch a science-related documentary in the museum's Dome Theater, and make sure to stop by the planetarium. Call 405-602-6664 for more information on the science museum.
Art lovers may enjoy the Paseo Arts District, 3022 Paseo St. Call 405-525-2688 for more information.
WHERE TO EAT
If you're in the Paseo Arts District, cap off the day with pizza at Picasso Café, 3009 Paseo St., which sells sandwiches and other entrees, as well.
After your trip to the zoo or science museum, hit the funky Iguana Mexican Grill, 9 NW Ninth St., 405-606-7172. Or have homemade ice cream at Kaiser's American Bistro, 1039 N. Walker Ave., 405-232-7632.
Where to Stay
Consider any of the downtown hotels like Hampton Inn and Suites Oklahoma City - Bricktown, 300 E. Sheridan Ave., 405-232-3600.
Just over the Oklahoma border, Arkansas offers a variety of things do that take the family on a memorable trip out of town.
First off, try Lake Fayetteville, 1153 E. Lake Fayetteville Road.
Tell the kids to pack a few activities, a book or two and no electronics, and you'll pack the rest of what you'll need for a day by the lake. Play some softball at the Softball Complex of Lake Fayetteville, 1153 E. Lake Fayetteville Road. Call the Fayetteville Parks and Rec Department at 479-444-3471 for more information.
WHERE TO EAT
For breakfast, stop by The Common Grounds Gourmet Espresso Bar, 412 W. Dickson St., which offers a wide variety of coffee drinks in addition to a breakfast menu featuring Cinnamon-glazed French Toast, Fiesta Wraps and lots of other options at a reasonable price. Go to tulsaworld.com/commongrounds for more information.
WHERE TO STAY
Consider Courtyard Fayetteville, 600 E. Van Asche Drive, 479-571-4900.
Also on a must-see list in Arkansas is the historic Fort Smith.
Find the Fort Smith Trolley Museum, 100 S. Fourth St. The museum's trolley rides don't start until May, but view the museum's rail collection and learn some streetcar history. Call 479-783-0205 for info.
During a visit to the Fort Smith Museum of History, 320 Rogers Ave., your children can travel back in time to learn about the frontier days, Elvis Presley and more.
Not too far away way from the museum is the Fort Smith National Historic Site, where you can find a complete history of the city.
Where to eat
Stroll through historic downtown Fort Smith, and then have dinner at Rolando's Restaurante, 223 Garrison Ave., 479-573-0404
Where to stay
Consider Aspen Hotel Suites, 2900 S. 68th St., 479-452-9000
IF YOU'VE GOT A WEEKEND
Here are four regional destinations in four different states that will provide fun for all ages.
The Sedgwick County Zoo is the No. 1 outdoor tourist attraction in Kansas. Courtesy
Sedgwick County Zoo
5555 Zoo Blvd., Wichita, Kan.
As the No. 1 outdoor family tourist attraction in Kansas, the zoo is also one of the 10 largest in the nation in total acreage - home to nearly 3,000 animals, 400 different species.
Children can see animals from around the world, such as the Asia exhibit's Slawson Family Tiger Trek, where you can see Amur tigers, as well as endangered red pandas and brow-antlered deer.
In the Africa exhibit, you can see eye-to-eye with giraffes, as well as see the Downing Gorilla Forest, built to replicate eight acres of central African forest, complete with jungle paths. Meanwhile, trails through the Pride of the Plains exhibit provide unobstructed views of lions and meerkats.
The North America exhibit showcases the continent's native species and educates visitors about animals that are part of their national heritage.
In the jungle, you can spy 60 species of birds, as well as other mammals, fish and reptiles from tropical areas around the world.
Other highlights are the Cessna Penguin Cove with a 52-foot-long underwater viewing area, domestic livestock at the popular Children's Farms area, the awesome KOCH Orangutan & Chimpanzee Habitat, an exhibit of amphibians and reptiles, and exhibits showcasing wildlife from South America and Australia.
Admission is free for children 2 and younger, $8.95 for ages 3-11, $13.95 ages 12-61 and $11.95 for ages 62 and older.
For more, call 316-660-9453.
Where to stay?
Hotel at WaterWalk, 711 S. Main St.: TripAdvisor.com ranks this as the No. 1 family hotel in town, winning the Travelers' Choice 2013 award for best service. Plus, it's downtown and close to museums, restaurants and other things to do ($95 and up).
Where to eat?
Old Mill Tasty Shop, 604 E. Douglas Ave., is a popular local lunch spot with a great blue plate special and turkey sandwich, plus ice cream desserts, like banana splits and hot fudge sundaes. Or Knolla's Pizza East, 7732 E. Central, offers awesome pizzas and sandwiches for lunch and dinner.
What else to see?
Downtown brims with activities, like the Wichita Art Museum, 1400 W. Museum Blvd., and Museum of World Treasures, 835 E. First St. Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, 515 S. Wichita St., is immediately north of the 85,000-square-foot Gander Mountain outdoor specialty store.
Legoland Discovery Center is geared toward kids ages 3-10. Courtesy
Legoland Discovery Center - Dallas Fort Worth
3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine, Texas
With 20 anchors and about 200 specialty stores, Grapevine Mills is a retail wonder of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
If you're a kid, one of the coolest things about it is Legoland Discovery Center, which is geared toward children ages 3-10. Offering myriad attractions and activities, the center boasts two rides, a 4D Cinema experience and a play area.
Kids can do everything from build their own microphones and perform on a karaoke stage at the Princess Palace to build and test vehicles in Lego Racers.
See how Legos are made in the Lego Factory, as well as see the spectacular Miniland made from more than 1 million Lego bricks, with moving airships and trains.
Due to high demand, Legoland Discovery Center recommends online ticket purchases, $11.25-$16.25 (children 2 and younger are free).
For more, call 469-444-3050 or go to tulsaworld.com/legolandgrapevine
Where to eat?
Main Street Cafe and Bread Baking Co., 316 S. Main St., serves a great breakfast and brunch (try the crepes), while Weinberger's Delicatessen at 601 S. Main St. is a must for lunch, with myriad sandwiches (the Reuben is renowned). For dinner, if you're still at the mall, your kids will love Rainforest Cafe, which has 11 kids' menu options, plus dessert.
Where to stay?
Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine, 100 Great Wolf Drive, is a an eight-story, northwoods-themed resort perfect for families, with a variety of rooms and suits (from queen sofa and whirlpool suites to the Royal Bear and Grizzly Bear suites). For more, 800-693-9653.
What else to see?
Other than Legoland, the Grapevine Mills Mall offers more than 1.6 million square feet of shopping, entertainment and restaurants, with more than 180 stores and a nearby Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, the largest outdoor sports equipment stores in the entire Southwest.
Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium, 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, features an 360-degree underwater ocean tunnel, plus 30 displays, more than 5,000 sea creatures and the popular Shark Walk.
Union Station - Kansas City
30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo.
One of Kansas City's most popular - and most beautiful - landmarks, Union Station draws globe-trotting tourists who gawk at the Grand Hall's 95-foot ceilings and gorgeous 3,500-pound chandeliers.
But what the kids will care most about are exhibits like the super-fun Science City, named one of the country's 25 best science centers by Parents Magazine.
Watch a paleontologist in action at DinoLab, one of the country's largest fossil prep labs available for public viewing.
The Mr. E Hotel is an exhibit devoted to the magic of sensory perception. You can also take a hands-on journey through the history of the American railroad in the KC Rail Experience.
Elsewhere in Union Station, you'll find other events and attractions throughout the day, such as "Big Bird's Adventure" in the Gottlieb Planetarium or the musical "Chicken Little."
And music lovers of all ages will enjoy the "Science of Rock 'n' Roll" event in the Bank of America Gallery, open through May 9.
The Union Station building is open 6 a.m. to midnight daily.
For exact times and prices for specific attractions, visit tulsaworld.com/unionstation
Where to eat?
Blanc Burgers + Bottles, 4710 Jefferson St., is both kid- and gluten-friendly, with a wide variety of sodas available (as well as beer and wine), plus delicious burgers, salads and yummy appetizers like gouda cheese fries.
Where to stay?
Courtyard by Marriott Kansas City Country Club Plaza, 4600 J.C. Nichols Parkway
FamilyVacationCritic.com reports 90 percent of families approving of this hotel, which is located in the famed Country Club Plaza area - adjacent to many dining and entertainment options. 816-285-9755.
What else to see?
Expose your kids to some culture at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St., as well as the nearby Toy & Miniature Museum, 5235 Oak St., a 38-room house that boasts the largest collection of nostalgic toys, fine-scale miniatures and marbles in the Midwest.
Devil's Den State Park offers miles of hiking with a variety of experiences. Courtesy
Devil's Den State Park
1133 W. Arkansas Highway 74, Winslow, Ark.
Less than a three-hour drive into the picturesque Ozark Mountains is this beautiful state park, one of Arkansas' original five built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.
Spanned by a postcard-perfect rock dam, the eight-acre Lake Devil offers fishing, canoeing, kayaking and pedal-boating activities for families.
Fully equipped housekeeping cabins - 17 along the rocky valley - have a fireplace, full kitchen, bath/shower, heat and air, even a satellite TV. Or you can camp at more than 140 sites, many of which have electrical, water and sewer hookups. Hike-in campsites are available, too, as are group areas.
The park offers miles of hiking with a variety of experiences, from a wet-water hike down Lee Creek or the 15-mile Butterfield hiking trail. Or take the scenic, self-guided trail that winds past geologic formations that give the park its name.
Along the way, particularly at dawn or dusk, you might see groundhogs, beavers, vultures, ducks, deer, songbirds, armadillos, foxes and more.
For additional information, call 479-761-3325 or visit tulsaworld.com/devilsden For special cabin reservations and rates, 800-264-2417.
Original Print Headline: Family Getaway
Local things to do
Staying in town but looking for something for your children to do on time off? Several day camps and programs will be available around town.
Got a teen or pre-teen interested in baby-sitting? Consider sending them to the Baby sitter's Training & Pediatric First Aid/CPR at the Eastern Oklahoma Red Cross, 10151 E. 11th St.
The two-day training is set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 18 and 19 for ages 11-15. The training will include infant and child CPR certification, basic first aid certification and baby sitter's certification. Attendees will learn basic child care skills, as well as how to build a resume, apply for baby-sitting jobs and recruit baby-sitting business.
Registration is $140. Enroll at tulsaworld.com/redcrosstulsa Call 918-831-1100 for more information.
Students will need to provide their own lunch.
Tulsa Parks is offering camps at several community and specialty centers.
The camps will consist of sports, arts and crafts, field trips, and games and will be held March 18-22. Hours vary by location.
Camps will be at Chamberlain, Hicks, Lacy, Reed and Whiteside community centers. Specialty camps are also offered at the Henthorne Performing Arts Center and WaterWorks Art Center. The camps cost $25-$100.
The theater camp is for ages 8-14, and the Waterworks camp is for ages 7-11. All other camps are for ages 6-12. Visit tulsaworld.com/tulsaparks for information.
Gilcrease Museum and the Henry Zarrow Center for Art and Education are offering art camps March 18-22.
The camps will feature morning and afternoon art lessons. The Gilcrease camp will conclude with a student art show for family and friends.
Registration is $125-$250.
To register for the Gilcrease camp, call 918-596-2774 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To register for Zarrow Center camp, call 918-631-4402 or email email@example.com.
The Tulsa Air and Space Museum's Aerospace Camp is also set for March 18-22.
Registration for the week is $175 for members or $198 for nonmembers. Daily registration is $40 for members and $45 for nonmembers.
Separate camps are available for students in grades first through third, fourth through sixth and seventh through 12th.
For more information and to register, visit tulsaworld.com/TASMcamps or call 918-834-9900.
The Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks is also offering special presentations and hands-on activities March 18-22.
The two-hour programs - 10 a.m. to noon March 18 and 21, and 1 to 3 p.m. March 19-20 and 22 - will revolve around this year's theme of "Aquarium Babies." General admission to the aquarium is $9.95 for children ages 3-12 and $13.95 for adults. Visit tulsaworld.com/aquarium for more information.
- NOUR HABIB, World Scene Writer
Photo illustrations by CHRISTOPHER SMITH / Tulsa World, HENRY SMITH and JOHN CLANTON / Tulsa World