Camp. My Summer Love.

I’m having a mid-life crisis. 

First of all, how the heck did I get to mid-life already??

No worries people, I’m not going to run off and get a tattoo or go skydiving naked – but I am really missing being a kid in the summertime.

Especially when it comes to camp. 

I am a camp freak – I grew up going to all kinds of camps – and after each one I would come home in tears because each one was the best time of my life and those were the best friends I would ever have and I would cry for days and days and write letters to all my friends and lock myself in my room. 

My parents loved it when I came home from camp.

Now my kids are all at camp.  And I must say it bringsback  pains of nostalgia and I must admit – a pang of jealousy. 

My three oldest spent last week at Camp Loughridge– an amazing Christian camp in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I know you’ve heard me sing their praises before – but guys – this camp is amazing.  I wish I had gone to Camp Loughridge when I was a kid.  You can’t help but just feel the love while you are out there…just stepping foot on their beautiful grounds makes me want to burst out into a rousing round of  Kum Ba Yah.

But I’ll spare you.

Kids Summer Camp

Morning Rally at Camp Loughridge

So – I decided to get some of my camp fix and follow my kids around Camp Loughridge for a day.  Much to their chagrin I might add.

I tried to be incognito – but it was a little hard with a baby in a stroller. 

Kids Summer Camp

Baby J and Baby Justice - Future Campers

Especially when the baby cried.  Really loud.

Kids Summer Camp

Well, maybe not.

So each kiddo was in a different tribe.  Nicholas was a Choctaw.

Kids Summer Camp

Nic and his fellow Choctaws

Tristan was a Seminole.

Kids Summer Camp

Tristan with his awesome counselor John


Jade was an Esther. (she was in the adventure camp for older kids – she even got to spend the night!).

Kids Summer Camp

Jade and "her girls"

The kids all meet together in the morning for rally then break off into their respective tribes.  Each tribe has one to two counselors for each group so no worries about kiddos wondering off.

Kids SUmmer camp

Yes, that is Tristan's sniper hat. Courtesy of his father.

They get to do all sorts of cool things like archery,

Kids Summer Camp

Nicholas was in weapon heaven

swim every day in their amazing pool,

Summer Camp for Kids

Camp Loughridge's Olympic Size Swimming Pool

field games,

Summer Camp

Tristan and crew playing kickball

ropes course,

Ropes Course at Camp Loughridge

Part of the Ropes Course - Rock Climbing Wall

the famous 50 foot rope swing – (for more awesome photos of the ropes course and zip line – click here)

Rope Swing at Camp Loughridge

Jade conquers her fears!

and so much more.

Every day I picked up the kiddos they were WORN OUT and asleep in the car before we even got home. 

Summertime with kids

Even Baby J was exhausted from just watching.

And they couldn’t wait to go back to camp the next day.  (Sidebar:  my kiddos LOVED the food.  Even my picky eater.  This is HUGE, people…). 

Isn’t that every parent’s dream?  (Or is that just mine.)

In fact – I’m thinking about applying for a counselor job there next summer.  I think Baby J and I would do a great job…we may be hitting you all up for references. 

So parents – if you are going nuts trying to figure out what to do with the kids for the rest of the summer – I’ve got good news.  Camp Loughridge has openings in their last few sessions!  Check here for the rest of their schedule…

My kids are already asking when they can go back.  I’m on that like a bee on honey.

Summertime at Camp

Proud Papa with crew at Camp Loughridge Closing Ceremony

More Summertime Fun and More Giveaways…Yes, I Rock.

Ha.  Just kidding about the rock part.  But NOT kidding about the giveaways.  I’ve got TWO for ya this time.  You lucky duck readers will get a chance to win two family four-packs to the Tulsa Zoo.  And all you have to do is leave me a comment..  I love comments.  And I love my readers.

So, now back to the blog. 

Summertime is funtime, but like I mentioned in my last post – it can get REALLY old for the parents.  Like in about two weeks.

SUmmertime Fun

Baby J is already bored.

So, I have this awesome resource for you all in the Tulsa area.  It is called my friend Anna America.  Not only is she on the Executive Director of Up WIth Trees, on the school board AND married to our favorite recycle guy – MIchael Patton…in her spare time she manages to put together this super awesome list of cheap things to do with the kids this summer. 

THis is AMAZING, people.  THis list would take me years to compile – so she has graciously allowed me to plagurize.  Parents – thank Anna for saving your sanity – AND your pocketbooks. 

Summer activities for kids

This is what could happen if you don't have a plan.

 Anna’s 2011 List of Cheap or Free Family Fun in Tulsa


 Tulsa Library summer reading program, “One World. Many Stories.” Go into any library and sign up, and then get prizes and coupons for free things for reading certain number of books over the summer (younger children can be read to). We have done it since age 2, and they have programs up through teens. Kickoff is Saturday, May 21st, with a special party at the Tulsa Zoo. Children and teens that come to the Tulsa Zoo and sign-up for Summer Reading between 9 am and 12pm that day will receive free admission. There are also TONS of other library activities going on this summer – too many to list, but you can find more info about the Summer reading program here

 Storytime in the ParkThursday May 26; June 2, 9, 16, 23, at  10 a.m, at QuikTrip Plaza at River Parks,  41st and Riverside. Join the free Reading Roadshow for stories, songs and activities in the park. Please bring a blanket or lawn chair. The series will kick off May 26 with a guest performance by the Sugar Free Allstars.

Free Reading Reward Program – Barnes & Noble, grades 1-6

Fun and easy way for kids to earn free books. They simply read any eight books — library books, books borrowed from friends or books bought at Barnes & Noble — track them in the downloadable “passport” and bring in the passport to a Barnes & Noble bookstore to get a free book.


 Cinemark Theater Summer Movie Club

Wednesdays at 10 am at Cinemark, 6808 S. Memorial.

*All 10 movies can be purchased in advance for $5.00, or can be purchased separately at the box office for $1.00 per show. For more info

2011 Schedule

June 8             How to Train Your Dragon

June 15           Charlotte’s Web

June 22           Megamind

June 29           The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything

July 6               Descpicable Me

July 13             Tales of Desperaux

July 20             Marmaduke

July 27             Ramona & Beezus

Aug. 3             Yogi Bear

Aug. 10           Leader of the Guardians


Starlight Concerts

Free concerts held Tuesday nights outside at the River Parks Festival Amphitheater, 2100 S. Jackson. All concerts begin at 8 p.m.

June 14           Concert Band “Midsummer Night’s Medley”

June 21           Concert Band “Americana Night”

June 28           Big Band “Going to Kansas City”

July 12             Concert Band “Movie Night”

July 19             Concert Band “Night at the Museum”

July 26             Big Band “Woody, Stan & The Royals”

Additional concerts:

July 1             Pryor, Whitaker Park, time TBA

July 3             Kiefer, Kiefer Municipal Park, 8pm

 Broken Arrow Tuesdays in Central Park Outdoor concerts

All concerts are held starting at 7 p.m. at Central Park, 1500 South Main, in downtown Broken Arrow.  The concerts are free and open to the public.

 June 7             Salt Creek –Gospel

June 14           Midlife Crisis-Rock

June 21           CJ Greco-Country

June 28           Spectrum and Starr fisher-Jazz

 Summer’s 5th Night at Utica Square

Every Thursday through August, 7-9 pm. Utica Square’s summer concert series serves up everything from jazz to rock to country. There’s something different every Thursday and best of all, it’s free! Pack a picnic or dine at one of our great restaurants as you unwind to your favorite local bands. Put on your dancing shoes, catch up with family and friends and win great prizes like Utica Square gift certificates and merchandise from Utica Square merchants.

May 19            Light Opera Oklahoma (Musical Theater)

May 26            Bradio (Beatles Night)

June 2             Mid-Life Crisis (Classic Rock)

June 9             Admiral Twin (Rock)

June 16           Mary Cogan (Rhythm & Blues)

June 23           Spectrum Band (Jazz)

June 30           Jenny Labow (Rock)

July 7               The Red Dirt Rangers (Country)

July 14             Usual Suspects (Rock)

July 21             Pandemic (variety Rock)

July 28             4Going Gravity (Classic Rock)

Aug. 4             Wallstreet Band (Rhythm & Blues)

Aug. 11           Sean Adair & Okie Island  (Rock & Roll)

Aug. 18           Beacon Drive (Rock & Roll)

Aug. 25           Grady Nichols (Pop Rock/Jazz)

 First Friday Concert Series – LaFortune Park

Free. Bring your favorite lawn chair or blanket and sit back and relax while local bands present family friendly music from all genres. Located in the Gardens of LaFortune Park (off 51st Street, just west of Hudson),  7-9 pm.  

June 3             Three Hour Tour (60’s & 70’s Classic Rock)

July 1               Beacon Drive (Rock & Roll)

Aug. 5             Travis Kidd (Country)

Sept. 2             The Wanda Watson Band (Blues/Rock)

 Chandler Park Sunset Concert Series

Free. Bring your favorite lawn chair or blanket and sit back and relax while local bands present family friendly music from all genres. Located at Chandler Park 6500 W. 21st Street.,  7-9 pm.   

May 27            Mid Life Crisis Band (Classic Rock)

June 24           The David Dover Band

July 29            The Wanda Watson Band (Blues/Rock)

RiverWalk Summer  Concert Series

Free, at the RiverWalk Crossing in Jenks.  8-11 pm.

May 14            Admiral Twin

May 15            Scott Ellison

May 21            Stars Go Dim

May 22            Paul Benjamin Band

May 28            Red Dirt Rangers

May 29            Rebecca Ungerman

 Gilcrease Third Tuesday Jazz 

Visit Gilcrease Museum and hear local legends perform America’s Music.  Live Jazz in the Vista Room from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., with museum galleries remaining open until 8:00 p.m. Free with admission. A buffet dinner is available from The Restaurant at Gilcrease for an additional $5 per person.

May 17            The Frank Brown Trio with Olivia Duhon

June  21          Sonny Gray


 Unless otherwise noted, call 596-PARK (7275) for information or to register.


Admission fees and hours vary. The 5 pools scheduled to open this summer are:

Lacy ($1),  2134 N. Madison Pl. Open Tues.-Sun, noon-6pm

McClure ($2), 7440 E. 7th St. Open Tues.-Sun, noon-6pm.

Reed ($1), 4233 S. Yukon  Ave. Open Tues.-Sat,  1pm-7pm.

Berry (Free), 5002 N. Wheeling. Open Mon.-Sat., noon-6 pm.

Whiteside-junior pool for age 14 and younger (Free), 4009 S. Pittsburg Ave. Open Mon.-Sat., noon-6 pm.

 Beach Bash  — official pool opening. June 4, noon-3pm, at McClure Park Pool (7440 E. 7th St.) Kick off the Summer Pool season with music, pool games and more. Admission is free!

 Summer Day Camps 

June 6th-August 12th. Registration has already begun. Ages 6-11. At various Community Centers. Rates vary. Includes traditional day camps and art and other specialty camps.  For more information:–recreation/tulsa-parks/community-centers/day-camps.aspx.

 Other Tulsa Park events include classes in Martial Arts, Soccer, T-Ball, Gymnastics, Volleyball, Aerobics, Yoga, Pilates, Swim Lessons, and Dance. Visit for more info.

 Oxley Nature Center

In Mohawk Park – free.  One of my favorite places in Tulsa! (Note you will have to pay a $2 parking fee for Mohawk on weekends if you aren’t a Zoo Friends member.)

With more than 9 miles of trails covering 804 acres, the Mary K. Oxley Nature Center at Mohawk Park is one of Tulsa’s treasures. The gates open daily (except City holidays) at 8 a.m. and close at 5 p.m., although the trails are open as early as 7 a.m. or as late as 9 p.m. to hikers who park outside the gates.

Visitors may pick up maps and trail information at the Oxley-Yetter Interpretive Building 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat. and 12 noon-4:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Interpretive Building houses inter-active, hands-on exhibits explaining the local natural history. Gift shop, restrooms, drinking water and a classroom are also available. For more information, call 669-6644.

 Redbud Valley Nature Preserve

More wild that Oxley, but wonderful spot for a hike! Free. Natural diversity is protected at Redbud Valley Nature Preserve. Located on North 161st East Avenue about 3.8 miles north of I-44, Redbud Valley Nature Preserve protects 220+ acres of unique plant and animal life. The rugged one-mile trail is open to hikers only when the gates are open: Wed.-Sun., 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Barclay Visitor Center is open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Pets are not permitted. The Preserve is closed every Monday and Tuesday, and most holidays. For more information, call 669-6460.

 Tulsa County Parks also has swimming pools, summer camps  and other programming at LaFortune (51st & Yale);O’Brien, 6149 N. Lewis Ave.,  and Chandler, 6500 West 21st St


Second Saturday at RiverWalk Crossing in Jenks, starting May 14

Free, 1 pm-10 am. Local artisans and live entertainment/music. Second Saturday of the month – May 14, June 11, July 19, Aug. 13

 Art Rocks Riverside, Starting May 15

1-10 pm. Art Rocks Riverside is a free local art festival two Sundays a month from May through October 2011. Hosted by the Blue Rose Cafe & Elwoods at 19th and Riverside. Come and enjoy local art, great music, and good vibes! First event is May 15—check their facebook page for upcoming dates:

  7th Annual Tulsa ArtCar Weekend,  May 26-29

You’ve probably seen the very cool, funky cars driving around town when this festival is in town, but head on down to Brady Arts District to see them all in one place. Sponsored by Living Arts of Tulsa, Tulsa ArtCar weekend is a 4-day event that invites local and national artists to create their own drivable artwork and share it with the Tulsa Community. There is usually a parade, but they don’t have the time listed on their website—check for details.

Gilcrease  Museum-KIDS DIG BOOKS: Wilderness Adventure

FREE. Fridays, noon-1 pm.  June 3, 10, 17 & 21;  July 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29, For ages  3–6, accompanied by caregiver.

Set in the Kids’ Site among the trappings of mountain men, join us as we listen to stories of wilderness adventures, hiking, canoeing, making trails, and building a log cabin. Also, kids will learn about animals that live in the wild. Afterwards, they will create their own work of art based on the stories they have heard. Presented in collaboration with the Tulsa City-County Library Children’s Department.  Advanced registration is required. For info, call 596-2774, or email

Gilcrease-MINI MASTERS: Art Parts II- What Makes Up Art (in May) and Patterns in Art and Artifacts (in June & July)

FREE. 10-11 am.  May 12, 13, 19 & 20;  June 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 24 & 28; July 1, 5, 8 & 12, 15, 19, 22, 26 & 29, For ages  3–6, accompanied by caregiver.

Continue the investigation in the different elements that make up art. Learn about line, shape, color, texture, form, contrast and more. Children will look at a variety of art techniques as they explore the galleries learning what makes art. They will apply what they have learned to make their own work of art. Space is limited. Reservations are required. For reservations and information, call 596-2774, or email

Gilcrease-Art Encounters

Saturdays, June 4 & 18; July 2 & 16, 1 pm

Free. For ages 7-12, who must be accompanied by an adult. Have fun making friends with a work of art. It takes time to get to know someone; the same is true for artwork. Each session will last half an hour in the galleries, concentrating on one piece which will include sketching activities. Families will learn how to get acquainted with a work of art and learn ways to “make friends” with other artwork they see. Afterwards, families will create their own work of art that relates to the new “friend” they just made. The featured art piece will be introduced at the beginning of each class. Art Encounters is a program for children and adults to participate in together. Space is limited and advanced registration is encouraged. To register, call (918) 596-2774, or e-mail

Gilcrease-Open Studio for Adult Artists

This one is for adults – but we need our creative time, too! Local artists are invited to attend a new studio initiative at the museum. Louise Higgs, consulting artist, will be on hand to oversee a directed experience of either plein air painting or studio work, dependent on the weather and group interest of those attending. Participants should bring their own supplies. 4-7 pm on May 17 and 9:30 am-12:30 pm on  June 4 & 25 and July 16 &  30. For additional information, please call (918) 596-2737, or e-mail

Also at Gilcrease, if you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend the Creative Learning Center:  It’s a free art center with all kinds of activities available to the kids. They can make and take projects using painting, clay, weaving, etc.  And of course the grounds are gorgeous and always worth a stroll!

Gilcrease offers free admission to all visitors on the first Tuesday of each month (“TU TUesday”).

Philbrook Museum-Free 2nd Saturday

Every 2nd Saturday of the month is Free Family Day.  Drop in anytime from 10:30 am – 4 pm. Experiment with fun materials to make hands-on art projects, go on a scavenger hunt, take a family-friendly tour of the museum, and so much more on this day specifically for families.

Thanks to Heyman Family Adventures in Art. This program has made my 8-year-old daughter hyper-aware of the calendar – I am amazed that she ALWAYS knows when it is the 2nd Saturday.

Brady Arts District First Friday Art Crawl

On the first Friday evening of each month, head on down to the Brady Arts District just north of downtown.  Starting at around 5:30, galleries open their doors for exhibits, new shows, art demonstrations, and more. The demonstrations are especially interesting to kids – what kid doesn’t see glassblowers at the Tulsa Glassblowing Studio and start imagining what she could do with a blowtorch? 

               FARMERS MARKET

A variety of local Farmers Markets offer fresh local produce, crafts, plants, herbs and more. Most Markets run May through October. Great place to wander around with the kids, and one of the few where you can actually buy them a healthy snack! I listed some popular ones below, but the Tulsa World compiled a list of even more here:

Cherry Street Farmers Market

15th Street between Quaker & Rockford, Saturdays, 7 am-11 am.

Brookside Farmers Market

41st & Peoria, Wednesdays, 8 am-noon.

Pearl District Farmers Market

6th Street and Peoria Avenue, Thursdays, 4-7 pm

 Downtown Tulsa Farmers’ Market

3rd & Boston, Williams Green, Tuesdays, 10:30 am -2 pm

North Tulsa Farmers Market

2620 E. 56th St. North, Saturdays, 8:30am-12:30pm, starts first week of June.

Owasso Farmers Market

Owasso YMCA, 8300 Owasso Expressway, in Owasso just off U.S. 169, Wednesdays, 7 am-11 am & Saturdays, 8 am-noon.

Broken Arrow Farmers Market

418 South Main St., Tuesdays, 4:30-8 pm, Saturdays, 8 am-1 pm.




Bartlesville’s SunFest, June 3-5

“Oklahoma’s Biggest Outdoor Picnic” returns for a long weekend with its trademark combination of: A relaxed, family picnic atmosphere, quality, cost-free entertainment, a diverse range of arts and crafts, creative, supervised activities for children, terrific food in abundant variety, and an eye-popping car show. This free premier arts & entertainment festival – now in its 29th year – is held in Sooner Park located at Madison Boulevard and Tuxedo Avenue in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Parking is available in several lots near the park. For information:

Asian-American Festival, June 4

FREE. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 5, at Martin Regional Library, 2601 S. Garnett Road. Celebrate and learn about the customs and traditions of Asian-Americans . Explore the colorful cultures of China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and other countries in Asia. The festival kicks off at 10:45 a.m. with a vibrant Dragon Dance, and includes a kite demonstration by the Tulsa Wind Riders Kite Club, martial arts demonstrations, traditional dance presentations, bamboo flute music, a Japanese tea ceremony, origami and children’s activities. Local martial arts instructors and their students will demonstrate kung fu, karate, tae kwon do and other traditional Asian disciplines throughout the day under a big tent outside in the back of the library. Students from Ten Tigers Kung Fu, Tulsa Arnis Club and Shikara Ashi Te Ryu are scheduled to perform.

Numerous activities and presentations are scheduled indoors throughout the festival, including interactive educational booths featuring crafts for kids, temporary tattoos, name translation, henna painting and origami instruction. The festival also features authentic arts and crafts booths. Food concession is provided by India Palace.  More info:

Tulsa Tough, June 10-12

A three-day cycling festival designed to promote fitness and healthy lifestyles while showcasing the beautiful city of Tulsa. Tulsa Tough offers events and spectating opportunities for everyone with professional-level races, recreational and tour rides, kids and youth activities, live music and vendors in one action packed weekend. For more information, go to

Glenpool Black Gold Days, June 16-18

This annual festival celebrates the discovery of the Glenn Pool oil field in 1905. Food, crafts, music, games and activities and more.  For more information, call 322-3505 or visit

Bixby Green Corn Festival, June 23-25

Charley Young Park in downtown Bixby (southeast of `15st and Memorial). A kick back to the good old fashioned family oriented picnics. The annual festival (held on the 4th Thursday, Friday and Saturday of June) features great music, arts and crafts, food, bingo, carnival and great games and contests for the young and young at heart. A talent show to highlight area youth is held on Friday at the Community Center and the annual Green Corn Parade entertains the masses on Saturday morning. 

 Blue Bell Broken Arrow Ice Cream Plant- Taste of Summer, June 25

8201 E. Hwy 51, Broken Arrow, 9 am–3 pm. Love ice cream? You gotta go! The annual Community Open House hosted by one of Broken Arrow’s favorite and best-known businesses. ALL the ice cream you can eat. Jupiter Jump for the kids, ice cream eating contest, live entertainment, plant tours and much more. $5 admission; 6 and under are freeCall 258-5100 for information. (Blue Bell also does tours year-round, with free ice cream tasting—it’s a fun way to cool off for a few hours with the kids—call for more info.)

Woolaroc Kidsfest, June 25-26

One of my favorite kid festivals. 10 am-5 pm — Regular Woolaroc admission (adults $8, over 65 $6 and children 11 and under are FREE) at the great family museum/wildlife sanctuary/ranch southwest of Bartlesville.

Kidsfest features events, games, crafts and entertainment presented on the Woolaroc grounds where visitors can enjoy all of the activities in the rustic outdoor environment, along with the natural beauty of the Osage Hills, the historic art and artifacts in the Woolaroc Museum and the animals on the Wildlife Preserve.  Kids can participate in a variety of activities, such as pony rides, wagon rides, treasure dig, face painting, Carpenter’s corner, tattoos, beaded necklaces, Indian head bands, native sand art, rock painting, bean bag games, and lots of nature crafts. Our living history booths will include horseshoeing, saddle & boot makers, bridle, bit and spur makers, woodcarvers, silversmiths, flint knapping, rope making, black-smithing, old west re-enactors and lots more. More info and directions to Woolaroc at:

ONEOK FreedomFest ’11, July 4

Annual July 4th celebration held at the River West Festival Park, 19th & Riverside Drive, and Veterans Park featuring fireworks, entertainment, activities, food & beverages. Fireworks are shot from the 21st Street Bridge at approximately  9:30 p.m. 

Contact River Parks at (918) 596-2001 for more details 

 Porter Peach Festival, July  14-16

Mmmmmm!  It’s a bit of a drive, but c’mon, for fresh Porter peaches and ice cream, it’s worth it! Downtown Porter. Rodeo, music, arts, 5k run, carnival rides, free peaches and cream!

For more information, or 694-9314.

Free Family Fishing Clinics

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation hosts free family fishing clinics at the Zebco casting pond, located adjacent to the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks.  The two-hour clinics begin at 6:30 p.m. and conclude with fishing in the small pond, which is regularly stocked with good-sized channel catfish, which the novice anglers can even take home for the dinner table. Equipment and bait is provided. Clinics are open to all ages, not just children, but kids 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. 

Here’s the schedule for this year:  May 23, 24, 25 & 26; June 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30; July 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28; Aug. 2, 4, 11. Pre-registration is required — to register call the Wildlife Department’s Jenks office at (918) 299-2334 or go to .  


 Tulsa Drillers baseball

The national pasttime and a good way to spend a few summer hours. If you haven’t been to the downtown ONEOK field yet, take yourself out to the ball park! ! It is awesome, and SO much more fun than the old venue. There is a playground for younger kids, as well as activities like a big slide and inflatables for older kids. Tickets are cheap and there are always specials and giveaways. For a list of various promotions, go here:

A couple of promotion highlights: Tuesdays are Two Dollar Tuesdays ($2 lawn tickets and various $2 concessions). On Sundays, the first 500 kids 12 & under get a free meal and can go on the field for a free clinic.

And even if you don’t feel like watching the game, be sure to check the list for one of the Friday night home games that will feature fireworks after the games – they put on really impressive shows (better than many 4th of July shows) and you can join the hundreds of people who congregate in the nearby area to watch. And I will say it again — fireworks are WAY cooler with the downtown skyline in the background!

Blue Hole swimming hole, east of Salina

For a lot of our (let’s admit it, a little bit pampered) kids, this will make them feel like they have stepped into a Mark Twain novel.  Old-fashioned family-operated swimming hole fed by 3 springs of VERY cold, clear water. $5 per car entry. Bring a picnic or get food from the concession stand. Kids can float and swim, catch minnows, or, for the more bold, jump off the “cliff” into the deepest part.  They also have campsites and cabins, but I’ve only gone for the day. No alcohol. Warning – no “real” bathrooms (port-a-Johns only) so if you are squeamish, come prepared with wipes, sanitizer, and easy to change clothes for the drive home. It’s about an hour drive from Tulsa. To get there, take 412 East from Tulsa to Highway 69, go North on 69 to Chouteau and then to Pryor. At the stop light for Highway 20 in Pryor, go right (East) to Salina. In Salina, go to the 4 way stop sign and go straight for 7 miles. Blue Hole is on the right. For information, call  918-434-5507 or visit

Pick Your Own Produce

Since the kids will be feeling like real Okies after spending some time at the Blue Hole, it’s time to take them berry pickin’. (Make sure to get them a straw hat and cut offs for the full effect.)  There are a bunch of pick-your-own berry farms in the Green Country area, where kids can pick (and maybe eat a few along the way) blueberries, blackberries, and other produce. Many of them also have activities like petting zoos or hayrides. Harvest times will vary with the weather each year, so call ahead to any place you are thinking of visiting. Here is a link to a bunch of farms:, plus a good Tulsa World story from last year:

 Bartlesville Kiddie Park

A fun and cheap park for younger kids (probably best up to age 7 or 8). Some of the rides are so mild that even very young toddlers can ride them safely. No admission charge and ride tickets are 25 cents — almost all rides are just one ticket, so you can have a lot of fun for only a few bucks. Last time I went, concessions were good “fair fare” and cheap — $1 cotton candy, 75 cent snowcones, etc. A few things adults could ride, plus there are plenty of benches to sit on and watch the kids. There also were wandering clowns, face painting, etc. Good old-fashioned summer fun!

It’s open through the summer, only in the evening:  Fridays and Saturday evenings through May, then open Tues-Thurs 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm; Fri-Sat 7:00 pm -10:00 pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays & the 4th of July. If you want to make it the quintessential summer date — go early enough to stop at the Bartlesville Sonic on the way — you pass it on your way to the Park, and it’s the only Sonic I’ve seen with a big outdoor playground.

It is located at 215 N. Cherokee Ave. in Johnstone Park. For info or directions, go to .

Oklahoma Aquarium

Get a free admission for a child for going to the dentist…print out the form here and get dentist to sign.

Kaleidoscope Kids Museum

Located on the corner of 62nd and Sheridan, at the back of the parking lot on the lower level. I’ve never gone, so I am basing this on their webpage. They say:  “Kaleidoscope Children’s Museum features a pint-size Kid’s City where your child can be a waitress, a barber, a doctor, a postal worker, or even a rescue hero at the fireman’s pole!  You won’t want to miss a chance to race your children on our 2 GIANT rock walls! Be careful though…you may be thrown in our kid size jail! If you’re a spectacular detective, you may be able to use our magnifying glasses to find some of the many items that are hidden all throughout the museum!  Check out our many features, where kids will find unending excitement in our 13,000-square feet of fun!”  Home page says admission is $6 (and includes pizza?!) although info is different on other pages–so I’d suggest calling ahead. For more info, call  918-340-5252  or go to

 Free Bowling

Kids can bowl free all summer long at several Tulsa –area bowling alleys. Go to the website and register each child, and get coupons emailed for 2 free games every day all summer long!

Andy Bs, 8711 S Lewis Ave.

Broken Arrow Lanes, 4701 S. Elm Place:

For Teens – Youth Services of Tulsa Coffee House

Coffee House is a place to hang out, visit with friends and enjoy being a teen.  Come on by any Saturday, bring your friends and relax at the YST Coffee House. Same time, same place: Every Saturday night, 7-11 pm, 311 S. Madison (1/2 mile West of Peoria on 3rd St). The YST Coffee House has Wi-Fi! So, bring your personal connection devices and etc. 

with you to the Coffee House while you enjoy your free coffee and cappuccino donated by Quik Trip.

Free Kids Workshops – Home Depot.

This is at 9 am on the first Saturday of the month…they can build all kinds of cool projects, with all supplies provided free. They also get a little apron and goggles. For ages 5-12. At all Home Depots.  See upcoming projects here:

Free Kids Workshop at Lowes

Just like Home Depot except at Lowes — Saturdays at 10 am. Both stores do this year-round.

River Parks -Wednesday Night Bike Rides

Each Wednesday during daylight savings time, upwards of 300 cyclists converge at 23rd and S. Jackson on the west side of the Arkansas River. This unsponsored, social ride attracts cyclists of all skill levels. Some ride a 16-mile route that includes the Sand Springs “Katy” Trail. Others ride more than 30 miles. Participants may park at the River West Festival Park (site of Oktoberfest). Public restrooms at the amphitheatre will be open from 4:30 p.m. to approx. 9:30 p.m. Groups form as early as 4:30 p.m. The largest group leaves around 5:30 p.m. See you there! Contact River Parks at 596-2001 for more details

Kids Eat Free

After all this fun, you’ll probably be too tired out to cook. Just about every day there’s SOME place that will feed your kids for free. Several different websites keep up with the changing restaurant deals, including which eatery has deals for kids each day. Here are three different sites, which overlap some, but each seems to have at least a few unique listings: Tulsa Restaurant Deals,; Kids Eat Free in Tulsa,; and My Kids Eat Free, (The latter two you can plug in different locations to find cheap eats when on the road, too.)

               OTHER LINKS

 A great reference if you are looking for a summer camp, the Tulsa Kids Summer Camp and Activities Guide:

And Tasha Does Tulsa offers not only listings of what’s going on each week in Tulsa, but fun commentary.

And a few good sites for summer activities, games, crafts, etc.:


 Stuck at home and kids are bored? (The second part of that equation is pretty much a given after the first few weeks.) Here are a few summertime crafts you can do at home with things you probably have around the house.

Kool-Aid Play Dough

2- 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup salt

2 pkg. unsweetened Kool-Aid

2 cups boiling water

3 tablespoons vegetable oil 

Mix all dry ingredients together. Add water and oil and stir. Knead with hands when mixture is cool. Store in air-tight container. This recipe lasts for several months.

“I Spy” water bottles

Use rice, birdseed or sand to fill the water bottle about 3/4 of the way up and add a bunch of small trickets (buttons, doll shoe, jingle bell, coins, earring, etc.) Super glue the top on to keep it from opening up. Make a label of everything included and attach it to the bottle neck with a ribbon – kids can spend hours looking for all the items. I had little label to tie to the top with everything they neede to find. 

Dyed Pasta

(use for crafts, to make necklaces, glue on paper for designs)

1. Pour 1/8 cup of rubbing alcohol (or ¼  cup vinegar) into a plastic resealable bag

2. Add a few drops of food coloring to the plastic bag

3. Add ½ lb of dry pasta to the plastic bag

4. Seal the bag and shake, making sure that the past gets coated with coloring

5. Set out sheets of wax paper

6. Put on rubber gloves

7. Remove the past from the plastic bags and place on the wax paper to dry

8. Repeat steps 1 through 7 for each color

9. Make sure pasta is completely dry befor storing in containers/plastic bags

Sidewalk paint

1part corn starch 1 part water  , few drops of food coloring (more if you want brighter colors)… I use the platic cups we get at resturaunts to  mix it in.  the paint brushes you get to paint on walls work better (get 1” and 1/2″ ones)  When the paint dries it looks really cool… but when you are tired of it just sweep it away.  If it leaves a slight stain don’t worry the sun will fade it away in a day.   It also comes off clothes easy.  My kids can paint for hrs… let them paint rocks, flower pots, even the house. You can put the paint in shallow pans to let them dip their feet in and make foot prints… really cute

Salt Dough

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon cooking oil (optional)

This is the most basic and time tested dough mixture. First mix all the ingredients together. Next knead the dough for at least 10 minutes. The kneading will make the dough smooth and shiny. Floor your hand to prevent the dough from sticking. This dough can be baked in a low (250 degree) oven and then painted. Spray with a varnish for added shine.

Bubble recipe

11 cups of water

4 cups Ajax Anti-Bacterial dish soap

1 cup corn syrup

Will fill a gallon milk jug and will store indefinitely if kept cool.

Okay!  THis list should keep you all busy without going bankrupt. 

Summer activities for kids

Happy Summer From the Fernandez Family!