Sometimes when you live in a small town staycationing means taking day trips to locations within a couple of hours of you. The town we live in doesn’t have any big attractions or sites that draw tourists but we’ve found several fun (and affordable) activities that we can take day trips to in the North Central Oklahoma and Southern Kansas area.
When you have little kids, the zoo is a must on the summer staycation list. We made a couple of trips to Oklahoma City Zoo last year and used their list of free/discount days to get in free and almost free. Every Wednesday in July and August you can get in for $1 each. Or if you give blood with OBI during certain months this summer you’ll receive two free adult admission tickets. Even if you don’t live in Oklahoma, be sure to check out your nearest zoo’s website to see what sort-of discount days they offer.
Another perk of the Oklahoma City Zoo is the little river in the children’s zoo area made for kids to wade in. Come prepared for your kids to get wet and to not want to leave. You might even want to pack swimsuits or a change of clothes.
Salt Plains – Jet, Oklahoma
If you live in Northern Oklahoma or within a couple hours of Jet, this is something you need to do at least once! Plan your trip for a cooler day or arrive as early as possible because there is no shade. Beware that the salt plains are in the middle of nowhere so pack plenty of food and water for drinking. You’ll also want to bring gallons of water for rinsing off your hands and arms before you get back in the car to head home.
You will spend the day digging on a salt plain trying to find selenite crystals. Bring tools for digging. Both big shovels to start the holes and small shovels or objects to scrape the walls with. However, to find the most crystals be sure to dig around on the sides of the hole with your hands after you’ve attacked the ground with a shovel. Our first hole was a dud, but in the next one we found dozens of crystals.
Kiddie Park – Bartlesville, OK
Most evenings during the summer this little park is open and you can go on one of 18 rides and attractions for 1 ticket each (tickets are just 50 cents)! Granted, this isn’t going to be anything super fancy or have big rides but it could be a fun and affordable evening especially if you have younger kids. If you are looking for something else to do during the day before you head to the Kiddie Park, check out the next staycation idea.
Woolaroc – Bartlesville, OK
Adult tickets are $10 but children under 11 are free. Woolaroc is a wildlife refuge and as you head onto their property to the lodge and museum you might see one of the many wild animals that make that land their home. We went here several times growing up and enjoyed walking through the museum, but for us kids our favorite was a picnic outside on the grounds and the petting zoo.
Botanica, The Wichita Gardens – Wichita, KS
We went here for our first time last month and we all enjoyed it more than I thought we would. There are beautiful flowers for the adults and the 3 and 6 year old we had with us enjoyed it as well. They had a blast in the children’s garden playing on the structures, watering flower beds, banging on large instruments and didn’t mind wandering around the rest of the garden either. 2 and under are free, kids cost $5, and adults $7. If you live close enough that you think you might be able to visit to more than once, be sure to check out the family membership for 2 adults and all the kids under 18 in your house.
Exploration Place – Wichita, KS
This is a science and discover center we spent hours and hours at and the kids could have stayed even longer. There were sections our just turned 3 year old loved and other sections that were great for older kids. Our daughter loved playing in the castle, sitting in the airplanes, and splashing at the water table.
This is another location that if you think you might go to it more than once during the year you will want to buy the family membership. You can pack a lunch and eat at the picnic tables inside of the museum. Another great thing is that there is a park out behind the museum if your kids have even more energy to burn at the end of the day.
What are your favorite things to do for a staycation? Have you traveled in northern Oklahoma before?
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