An Oklahoma Honey-and-the-Kids-Moon

8 minutes

As my coworkers and, probably, our podcast listeners are surely sick of hearing, I am about to take the plunge into wedded bliss in the near future. It's the second go round for both of us, so, as romantic as we're trying to be, there's also a fair amount of practicality this time around.

Case in point: The honeymoon is going to have to wait a bit. There's another issue of Oklahoma Today that I need to work on almost immediately after the nuptials and she has even more to do with her job and burgeoning solo business, which means that taking a one-on-one getaway isn't in the cards just yet. And, since I'm bringing two young humans with me into this marriage, the whole one-on-one thing might turn into a honey-and-the-kids-moon.

Lucky for us, then, that we're in Oklahoma, which has more than its fair share of great family friendly destinations. Here are a few spots I'm hoping to take all of us when we get the time:

The Clinton Water-Zoo is a great place for kids and parents. Photo by Lori Duckworth

The Clinton Water-Zoo is a great place for kids and parents. Photo by Lori Duckworth

Water-Zoo Indoor Water Park

It's been a pretty chilly winter, so heading to a water park might sound like a weird idea, but Clinton's Water-Zoo is an indoor water park where it's always a balmy 83 degrees Fahrenheit. Even during those cold snaps and almost-snows that crossed Oklahoma, the Water-Zoo is a great spot for wet and wild fun. My daredevil of a daughter will no doubt be itching to take on all three of the four-story waterslides—including the one with the outside Tornado-Bowl. And my video game-obsessed son will want to try Slideboarding, which tasks players with matching colored lights with buttons on the board for some competition. And while everyone is wearing themselves out, you can find me on the Lazy River, which is perfect for my lazy self.

Slideboarding at the Clinton Water-Zoo

It's close enough to be a day trip, but for a proper vacation, there are also options to stay in hotels near the Water-Zoo or even stay at the campgrounds. And if the water gets to be too much, the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, Acme Brick Park, and the Southwest Playhouse Fine Arts Center are nearby, as well.

History buffs and car lovers will want to stop at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton. Photo by Lori Duckworth

History buffs and car lovers will want to stop at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton. Photo by Lori Duckworth

Get There
Water-Zoo Indoor Water Park, 1900 Blvd of Champions Clinton, OK 73601 or TravelOK.com
John Manning, owner of Riverman Trail Rides, is one of the horseback guides near Hochatown. Photo by Greg Elwell

John Manning, owner of Riverman Trail Rides, is one of the horseback guides near Hochatown. Photo by Greg Elwell

Riverman Trail Rides

One of my favorite stories took me to Hochatown, which is one of Oklahoma's premier resort destinations. Of the many activities I enjoyed, top of the list—and the most fun for the wife and kids—was Riverman Trail Rides. I'm not a complete greenhorn, but my horse-riding bona fides are weak at best. Riverman is a family-run operation that takes great care in giving riders of every experience level a memorable ride. Whether you're galloping your way to a picnic lunch or just taking the horses for a little jaunt, there are more than a half million acres of horseback riding land in the area.

The newly renovated Beavers Bend State Park Lodge in Hochatown is an excellent overnight option. Photo by Lori Duckworth

The newly renovated Beavers Bend State Park Lodge in Hochatown is an excellent overnight option. Photo by Lori Duckworth

Staying in Hochatown is a no-brainer, too. Choose from a staggering selection of luxury cabins or book a room or two in the newly renovated Beavers Bend State Park Lodge. There's no dearth of fun to be found in Hochatown, but visitors owe it to themselves to see the natural beauty of Beavers Bend State Park, Little River National Wildlife Refuge, and the Forest Heritage Center Museum.

By far, the biggest problem with planning a trip to Hochatown is convincing everyone to leave when it's time to go home.

Get There
Riverman Trailrides, 1735 Pine View Rd Broken Bow, OK 74728 or TravelOK.com
In Tulsa, everyone will want to visit the Gathering Place, no matter their ages. Photo by Lori Duckworth

In Tulsa, everyone will want to visit the Gathering Place, no matter their ages. Photo by Lori Duckworth

Gathering Place

I'm not sure if it's technically illegal to make a list like this without mentioning Tulsa's Gathering Place, but I'd rather not risk it. Besides, who can resist what is essentially a free amusement park? My kids are big fans of the Gathering Place, having gone plenty of times with their mother and her family, so I don't think they'd be too upset about a return visit with their old man. With almost seventy acres to explore, there's always something new to do at Gathering Place, with massive playgrounds, art exhibits, Peggy's Pond, and more.

And Tulsa, as the state's second-largest city, has so much more to offer than just one park. Discovery Lab is the city's children's museum and it's just as fun for adults as it is for kids. Let the little ones run loose in Ballapalooza or settle down for some hands-on science in The Workshop and the Imaginarium.

Obviously, in a city this size, lodging isn't hard to find, but a few standouts include Buck Atom's Crashpad—a house rental with a retro-future feel—and the Harwelden Mansion, which is exactly what it sounds like. It's a mansion that guests can rent out, either by the suite, or (for big spenders) the entire mansion! Or, if you're just curious to see inside, they do mansion tours and afternoon tea.

Get There
Gathering Place, 2650 S John Williams Way E Tulsa, OK 74114 or TravelOK.com

Uh-oh. I just realized something: My kids can read. And if they find this on their tablets, I have a feeling they'll want to go on all of these honey-and-the-kids-moons.

Better start counting up my vacation days.

Written By
Greg Elwell

Greg Elwell served as research editor and web editor of Oklahoma Today from 2018-2023. He also has worked for newspapers, medical research organizations, and government institutions.

Greg Elwell
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