Get Outside

The merry month of May, the English poet Thomas Dekker wrote, is ‘so green, so green, so green!’ The American musical composer Stephen Foster proclaimed, ‘The skies were bright, our hearts were light, in the merry, merry month of May.’ It’s the time of year for shaking off cabin fever, and outdoor venues across the state stand by with adventures ranging from the wild (zip lining) to the mild (shopping).

3. Tulsa Excursions

Gathering Place

Gathering Place: Launched in September on the east bank of the Arkansas River, this is the park other cities only wish they had. Enjoy the five-acre Chapman Adventure Playground with a padded area for toddlers, plus 120 feet of suspension bridges, skate parks and walking/running/biking paths.

Guthrie Green: Carnivals, festivals, live music, green markets, food trucks, fitness classes – all can be found in the one-square-block park in the Tulsa Arts District.

Philbrook Museum of Art

Tulsa Botanic Garden: Floral terraces complete with a cascading water feature, a children’s discovery garden and the 110-acre persimmon grove with native flora and fauna beckon anyone to this urban oasis.

Utica Square: The Summer’s Fifth Night concert series runs each Thursday from May 30 to Aug. 29. Also, enjoy numerous patio-laden restaurants, upscale shopping and beautiful landscaping.

Tulsa Zoo: See some of Asia’s rarest species in the Lost Kingdom, including Malayan tigers, snow leopards, Chinese alligators, binturongs and Komodo dragons.

Hiking: The River Parks trails are mostly flat, hard surfaced and suitable for most fitness levels. The exception is the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area, where trails are intentionally left in a primitive state for hikers and mountain bikers who like their terrain rough and rocky. Foliage adds ample shade for those worried about overheating.

Bikes/scooters: Check out the Lime and Bird rental scooters (via their mobile apps) and the city’s own This Machine bicycle rental.;;

Museum gardens: The 25-acre Philbrook Gardens is billed as “a little piece of Tuscany in Tulsa” and offers pathways and bridges, a sculpture walk and a meandering creek. Twenty-three acres of themed gardens at the Gilcrease Museum reflect gardening styles and techniques from the American West.;

ONEOK Field: Take yourself out to a Tulsa Drillers ballgame. Home games this month run May 1-7, 16-19 and 23-26.

Riverwalk Crossing: Jenks has its own Arkansas River development, with shops, restaurants, lodging and Flying Tee golf.

Admiral Twin Drive-in: Don’t even think about putting that boom box out at your next garage sale. You need it for the audio this summer at the two-screen Admiral theater.

More city parks: You might as well look at something beautiful while you stretch your legs, and Woodward Park’s eye candy includes rock gardens, a rose garden, lily pools and a grotto. If you seek a garden party feel for a special event, try Central Center in Centennial Park. Memorials to the sacrifice of Tulsa County residents are found in Veterans Park. River West Festival Park is home to some of the city’s most popular events and has a great view of the downtown skyline.

2. OKC Jaunts

Myriad Botanical Gardens

Myriad Botanical Gardens: Go for a self-guided nature walk in the 15-acre gardens, where plants and flowers are labeled and water features abound. Sign up for nature-themed classes and attend movie nights and holiday-themed celebrations.

Riversport Adventure Parks: Why, yes, you can go whitewater rafting in the heart of Oklahoma City. With locations in the Boathouse District, Lake Overholser and Lake Hefner, Riversport also entices visitors with a sky trail, a zipline, flatwater kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, tubing, surfing, a climbing wall, an extreme swing and sailing lessons.

Oklahoma City Zoo: Next to the Elephant Pavilion, the ZooZeum is the only one of its kind in the nation and gives the history of iconic animals, such as Carmichael the Polar Bear and Judy the Elephant.

Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark: The Oklahoma City Dodgers play more than 50 home games between May and September. This month’s games run May 1-2, 7-10 and 16-20.

Bricktown Bike Bar and water taxis: If you want to drink booze and burn calories simultaneously, then stock the cooler, round up 16 of your closest friends and begin an instant party that’s “the perfect combo of beer and bicycles,” according to the Bricktown Bike Bar website. For less cardio, the narrated water taxi ride along the Bricktown canal takes about 40 minutes; a taxi leaves about every 15 minutes during the summer.;

Wheeler District

Oklahoma River Cruises: Choose from four boarding locations. Departure times vary throughout the summer, and themed cruises include a Mother’s Day excursion May 12.

Zoo Amphitheatre: Another great summer season is in store at this concert venue, which, for more than 75 years, has drawn music lovers to its hillside arena carved from ancient red sandstone. The season kicks off May 7 with the Killers.

Frontier City: Just the names of some rides at this longtime amusement park pique one’s interest: the Brain Drain, the Diamondback, the Silver Bullet and the Winged Warrior. Outdoor concerts also begin May 18 with Skillet.

Wheeler District: The Wheeler Ferris Wheel, purchased on eBay from the Santa Monica Pier in California, is the centerpiece of this riverside urban neighborhood, which features shops, workspaces and a new elementary school.

The Round Barn

Arcadia: Pops 66 Soda Ranch and the Arcadia Round Barn are must-sees for both Route 66 travelers and local day-trippers. The giant soda bottle in front of Pops lights up at night for ample Instagram-able content.,

More city parks: Migrating monarch butterflies love to stop at Will Rogers Gardens, home of the Charles E. Sparks Color Garden. Serenity is the star attraction at Martin Park Nature Center, which offers guided hikes and a visitor center with a nature learning library. Dolese Youth Park has a fishing pond for kids, a playground, a baseball field and an 18-hole disc golf course.

1. Statewide Expeditions:

The Blue Whale of Catoosa

Blue Whale of Catoosa: That wooden whale is just darned cute, and shady spots with picnic tables encourage lingering. This should be a must-see on any journey down Route 66.

Fort Sill: The military, social and cultural history of Fort Sill and nearby Native tribes, from 1834 through 1920, is chronicled at the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum.

Zip lining: Air Donkey Zipline in Davis offers a two-hour canopy ride through the Arbuckle Mountains. Also near Davis and offering a view of Turner Falls is the 777 Zipline. In far southeastern Oklahoma, Rugaru Adventures’s zip line ends with an amazing view of Broken Bow Lake.;;

Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge: Dig for crystals (for free), shoot photos of migratory birds and walk the nature trails at the largest saline flat in the central lowlands of North America.

Little Sahara State Park: Driving dune buggies and ATVs is the main draw to the 1,600 acres of sand dunes in the northwest Oklahoma town of Waynoka. Rentals are available.

Hogan’s Off-Road Park: Stay where you play at one of Hogan’s recreational vehicle sites or primitive tent camping spots in Disney, with five miles of terrain to explore on foot on on your ATV. Perk alert: The restrooms have hot showers. 

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