On our mini-cation last month, we explored the Blue Zoo Aquarium, the OKC Zoo, and the Science Museum Oklahoma. While we missed out on other things, like the gardens I mentioned in my last mini-cation post, I am glad we were able to experience these three places. If you’re in or around OKC and are looking for something to do, especially if you have kids, then check out these three places!
Blue Zoo Aquarium
When I first looked up the Blue Zoo Aquarium, I’ll admit that I had my doubts about it. I’m used to aquariums being big like zoos and this one is contained on the lower levels of a mall. I thought that was really weird and wasn’t sure how fun or well done it would be. Turns out, it was more fun than I was expecting.
The highlight of our Blue Zoo trip, for me at least, was definitely watching Ade and Isbe feed the stingrays. You have to watch the rays, though, because they’re so used to being fed that if you don’t have food, they’ll splash you. When you do have food, they’ll swarm.
On the same level as the stingray feeding, you can touch starfish and there’s a little shark tank that you can sit under and watch as the small sharks swim by. There is also a Mermaid Photo area, which is really just a giant clam, but Isbe loved it, and there’s a pirate ship kids can play on. If you look on the wall by the pirate ship, there’s a brief history of a pirate.
On the second level, you can see reptiles, fish, and birds. I’m not sure what all you can feed, but you do have the opportunity to feed a giant tortoise and the birds. Unfortunately, by the time we saw went to see the birds, feeding time was over and they ignored us. They remained in their trees instead of being friendly like all the pictures and videos show, so that was a let down. One birdy did manage to get free from the enclosure and was flying all around the second level as the keepers tried to catch it, so that was pretty entertaining.
There’s also a touch-tank of little turtles. However, the main portion of the second level is for playing. There’s a small wall you can climb, water tables, drums, and other sound exploring tables. There are also shows throughout the day you can enjoy, like a mermaid show, a shark feeding, and even a dive show. We were going to try and catch the mermaid show, but were unable to because of nap time.
There is a gift shop filled with animal plushies, toys, jewelry, and seashells. Ade ended up getting a double-headed snake plushy (ugh) and Isbe got a mermaid doll. We also bought a seashell from there and the hubby bought a magnet for our fridge.
Oklahoma City Zoo
We hit the OKC Zoo on our last full day in OKC and it probably would’ve been more enjoyable if we hadn’t been so tired from the day before. There also seemed to be a lot of construction or “Coming Soon”. There also didn’t seem to be a lot of animals that we saw. Thankfully the kids didn’t care. They enjoy the zoo so much, they’ve been begging to go to another one.
Isbe went absolutely crazy over the bears. One was sleeping right by the wall with its foot resting on the glass. Ade liked the mountain lion that was showing off. I did enjoy getting to look at the owls. If I could, I would totally own an owl. Of course, the tortoises were a big hit with everyone.
Unfortunately there was a lot we didn’t get to see, like the elephants and other big cats. We were just too wiped out from our trip to the SMO the day before. Also, the way the zoo is set up makes it complicated to easily see everything. Part of that was due to closed off areas that were under construction. The other thing is that once we were on a trail, you had to go the entire circuit. We didn’t know that and ended up walking the Oklahoma Trails twice. If there had been an exit from the trail along the way, we would’ve been able to see more of the animals.
One cool thing I did see (but did not experience) was a camel riding area. So if you’ve ever wanted to ride a camel and are in or around OKC, the zoo can hook you up with that experience.
Science Museum Oklahoma
The Science Museum Oklahoma was undoubtedly the highlight of our entire trip. We spent about five hours there. We explored that place from top to bottom. The only thing we did not see was the Sherlock exhibit, and we only skipped it because we weren’t sure the kids would enjoy it or do well in it. I really wanted to do it, but by the time we came upon it, we had been there for most of the day already and I didn’t want to leave the hubby with two crazy kids.
The very first thing we did was experience the Science Live: Forces and Fire show. It was so cool. Ade even asked if we could make a vortex cannon at home. We tried to see a show in the planetarium, but the kids decided it wasn’t for them once we were in it. Oh well, maybe when they’re older. However, we did explore the rest of the space section and Isbe has absolutely fallen in love with space. She’s currently determined to become an astronaut and go into space.
I honestly don’t think I could adequately describe our experience here. The SMO has changed a lot since I was kid and it’s only gotten better. There was a train section, an aviation section, an Olympics section, even a Navy gallery! That’s in addition to all of the hands-on play and learn that the kids (and adults) get to do. I even just realized (as I look at the map) that there is an entire gardening/outdoor section we didn’t see.
Per usual, we hit the gift shop at the end of our day. Ade decided on an astronaut helmet, Isbe bought a play medical kit, the hubby bought a science beaker shot glass (he collects them from our trips), and I bought a shirt with the science equation for caffeine. It’s really soft.
From play to homeschool learning, I think the SMO has had the biggest impact on us at home. Within the next few weeks, I’ll be starting a space unit for the kids. If Isbe isn’t playing doctor, she’s running around with Ade in their space helmets (though possibly playing two different games simultaneously). I’ve also been looking at making a smaller vortex cannon at home for Ade.
If you want to get your kids interested in science, this is the place to visit. If you’re not in Oklahoma, look and see if your state has its own Science Museum. If not, a Children’s Museum should have at least one section that involves science.