Tulsa is a hidden gem in Green Country, which is the northeast corner of Oklahoma. It is known for its mild climate and beautiful scenery. Tulsa was named America’s Most Beautiful City by Time magazine in the 1950s and you can see why!
Tulsa is not just beautiful it is also a great spot for an educational trip for children. The world is your classroom!
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Lets take a look at the best educational sites in Tulsa.
Tulsa Garden Center
Spring is the best time to visit when things you normally only see in books actually bloom! Flowers and blooming trees of every color decorate the streets of Tulsa. The Tulsa Garden Center has 4.5 acres of trees and plants and is home to one of the most detailed horticultural libraries, visitors can use the books, take a tour, or a enjoy a class.
The mansion on the grounds of the Tulsa Garden Center is Italian Renaissance in design and was built in 1919. Admire the ceilings
and decor. According to some, the building is haunted! Notice the cooler temperature in the south arboretum which some say is Mary Hull enjoying the beautiful view.
The Linnaeus Teaching garden, named after the Father of Botany himself, is staffed with volunteers who share their knowledge and love of gardening.
The rose garden has been an All-American Rose Selection Test Garden since 1945. Roses are grown here to see if they make the grade for that title! A rose that wins the title of “All American Rose” has all the characteristics consumers desire in a garden plant including disease resistance and fragrance. I’d like to add ‘grow itself and run off all of the surrounding weeds to that list, personally – how about you? Ask the kids to come up with their own list of characteristics. What makes the perfect rose?
Gertrude Stein wrote, “A rose, is a rose, is a rose is a rose.” in her poem Sacred Emily in 1913. The American Rose Society would beg to differ as there are 150 known species and literally thousands of hybrids. Have fun seeing examples of each type of rose: wild, old garden, and modern.
The gorgeous building, originally home to the Phillips family, of Phillips 66 fame, has a little bit of everything! The art is from many different categories but has an especially impressive Native American art section. My favorite is Rodin’s statue, ‘Adam’ just inside the front door. Take a tour, visit the grounds, and have a bite for lunch.
Use the map you get from the front desk for a self guided tour, or wait until 2:00 for a docent to show you around. Go outside and explore the gardens. The landscape was designed with principles from English, French, and Italian cultures and I think they managed to take the best from each.
This 72,000 square foot aquarium is big enough to belong in a much bigger city. Don’t worry about the weather – it is entirely indoors! Feed the turtles or watch the river otters as they play in their large enclosure. They are a lively bunch! Feeling brave? You can pet the stingrays! Walk among the sharks without fear through the tunnel that goes through the shark tank.
Watch the sharks swim all around you and pose for a photo in the shark cage!
Tulsa’s Children’s Museum
This is not your ordinary children’s museum. In addition to areas where you can build and use your imagination to explore, there is a suspension bridge and 30 foot slide made entirely out of packing tape. Yes, packing tape! This marvel uses over 16 miles of tape. This is a fun way to see physics in action! After more moves that I can count in the last 15 years, seeing a FUN use for packing tape makes my heart sing!
Tulsa has the 3rd largest collection of this type of art in the US – following New York and Miami. Three famous architects each have an example here in Tulsa. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Westhope house. Barry Bryne designed Christ the King Church and Bruce Goff designed Boston Avenue Methodist Church.
The Tulsa Foundation for Architecture gives tours the second Saturday of each month. The usual tour begins in the coffee shop of the historic Mayo hotel in downtown Tulsa. If you give them a call you might be able to set up a guide for another day.
Route 66, also called the Mother Road and Main Street of America, went right through Tulsa and you can still see a piece of this famous road. Fire up the movie Cars and sing along to Get Your Kicks on Route 66 to get the kids interested in seeing a piece of this very famous road!
Before the freeways of today, Route 66 was THE highway that ran across the United States from Chicago to California. It is a part of history and carried people displaced from the 1930s dustbowl who were looking for work and and troops heading to military bases in California during WW2.
Eat at the retro Tally’s Cafe at the corner of Yale and 11th to get that Route 66 feeling! Try the cinnamon roll – huge and delicious.
You’ll need gas if you are exploring Tulsa and Reeder’s is THE place to get gas – proudly they sell ‘real gas’. Ethanol is a bad word around this gas station! Located at the corner of 21st and Lewis with a fantastic retro sign, this full service gas station has been family owned for 3 generations. Go ahead! Pull up and let them take care of you.
Buy your trinkets here, too. Cheryl, the owner, loves to stock up on the hottest trends for the kiddos like erasers. She manages to keep up with what the kids love! Try the unique teas, too!
Too much greasy spoon road trip food on this adventure? Visit this cafe for the most delicious and colorful healthy food you can imagine! Yes, delicious and healthy CAN go in the same sentence and you won’t believe how much the kids love this stuff. Run by a sister duo and cardiologist hubby, this is a must visit place to get your veggies in Tulsa!. Cool address, too: 1717 17th street
A week in Tulsa would not be too much!
*Riverside Park – Miles of hiking and biking along the Arkansas River! Take your frisbee to play frisbee golf.
*Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art – the largest collection of Jewish art in the part of the country and home to a Holocaust exhibit.
*Tulsa Zoo – 85 acres of beautifully laid out animal exhibits – Ride a camel!
*Tulsa Air and Space Museum – See and sit in real aircraft! Visit the planetarium, too.
*Turkey Mountain – Hike in the wilderness just 7 miles from downtown!
*Tulsa Driller – Tulsa was once a BIG oil town and this statue is a symbol of that. Stepright up and meet the largest free standing statue in the US-all 76 feet of him! He stands on the Tulsa State Fairground and wears a size 393 EEE shoe.
This post was written for us by Natalie Tanner, The Educational Tourist, she believes believes the world is a classroom and writes travel guides for children that make exploring even MORE fun and educational. Stop by www.theeducationaltourist.com/