The first part of our Okie Family Road Trip was spent in some state parks (NW Oklahoma), and the second part was spent in Tulsa. Unfortunately for us, it rained almost the entire 2nd half!
Wednesday: At the cabin, we ended up with both girls in the queen bed with us at dawn. So everyone was up early to pack the car, do one more drive by of the lake and the birding trail, and hit the road to Tulsa. Cora window watched the entire trip and told us every time she found some cows – y’all, there are a lot of cows in Oklahoma.
We got a good deal online for a hotel with breakfast and indoor pool – because what do kids love most about staying in a hotel!? We checked in, had lunch in our room, and then headed out to the Oklahoma Aquarium (an indoor activity because of the rain). It was a lot nicer than I had expected, with an awesome tunnel through the shark tank and one of the neatest river otter exhibits we’ve ever seen – and Kris & I love aquariums! CJ worried mostly about pushing her dollies in the stroller but finally got into the exhibits when some divers went in to feed the Caribbean exhibit. I think her favorite exhibit was the jellyfish tanks. They had some neat touch tanks; Cora couldn’t muster the courage to touch a shrimp or a shark, but she did touch a clam and a sea star! We had woken Blair up from a nap, but she stayed awake the entire visit, craning to look at everything!
We left and did an early bird dinner at Prairie Brewpub, which was on Kris’s list to do (because of Prairie Artisan Ales based in Tulsa). It was so good! Beers – yes. Food – mostly great. Kids – doable. Our favorite entre was a bacon wrapped sausage with delicious sides. The meat came from Burn Co BBQ in downtown Tulsa, so add that to your restaurant list. We would also recommend Prairie’s chocolate bread pudding… So Good!! Then it was back to the hotel for bedtime.
Thursday: It was still rainy & the girls’ sleep bank was low by this point in the trip, so we took the morning easy. After hotel breakfast, Cora went swimming and Blair went for a long morning nap. Cora joined in on family nap time after her swim, and we did lunch in the room when the girls woke up.
We got in the car, did a drive by of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Westhope home, and headed to the Philbrook museum. Located in an old mansion with beautiful grounds, we really liked this museum. It has several different floors of exhibits but is small enough to do in half day. Admittedly, we didn’t stroll leisurely through the galleries with 2 babies; but, Cora enjoys pictures and colors and aesthetics as much as any tiny human can, so we saw most of it. One of their exhibits at the time was of fashion by Native American designers.. and it was CJ’s favorite! Her eyes lit up and she loved every part of it – music, dresses, shoes, hats. I could’ve never guessed it, but she is in a tutu and sparkle phase… I think we would’ve spent even longer here if we could have been in the gardens (but rain). Their gift shop is nice and gave us wonderful ideas for Christmas/Birthday lists!!
After Philbrook, we drove to see Tulsa’s Golden Driller statue. Then we drove through the Utica Square (restaurant and shopping) and the Cherry District (strip of bars, restaurants, and local shops) just to see them while we tried to decide where to eat dinner. We ended up at the Blue Rose Cafe because it was on the river. Food- basic bar & grill stuff. Atmosphere- fun. Bar- basic stuff, Kris wished they had some local offerings. Kids- easy. It probably would’ve been a lot better if it was not raining because half of the restaurant is patio seating on the river. Oh well.
Friday: We woke up and did hotel breakfast before packing everything up. It wasn’t raining!! So on our agenda was the ‘Center of the Universe’ downtown, a downtown architecture walking tour, & lunch. It was not to be. After tantrum 3 (out of 5) at Center of the Universe, Kris & I decided to abort and go home early – though we did think this was worth the stop and enjoyed the weird acoustics. We did a drive-by of the large Praying Hands statue at Oral Roberts University so that we felt like the adults were still in control. Then, it was a quick trip home with Los Dos sleeping in the back.
We liked Tulsa and wish the weather (and the girls sleep) would’ve been more cooperative so we could do more. I guess we are all just light sleepers and everyone in the same room was hard to juggle (especially w 1 waking to eat & 1 waking to pee each night). Generally, we vacation with lists – a few must-dos plus a lot of other options to wing it with. We did a lot of our must-dos but were disappointed to not hit Cherry Street, the architecture tour, and a few more restaurants. Here’s what was on our list that we didn’t get to:
Art Deco walking tour of downtown (only on certain days or by apt)
Guthrie Green (free outdoor stuff)
Gilcrease Museum (southwestern art)
El Guapo (rec for tacos, margaritas, rooftop seating)
Brookside by day (breakfast)
Wildfork (rec for the food & patio)
Roosevelt (rec from our waiter at the brewpub)
Golden Phoenix and Shades of Brown (coffee spots)
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (bc Kris likes visiting this chain)