Tulsa is the perfect family friendly destination that won’t empty your wallet.
There is so much awesome budget-friendly and free fun that you can have in this Oklahoma gem.
Check out my list of 9 must-see free attractions to visit in Tulsa that both kids AND adults of all ages will love!
You will see that Tulsa is more than just a city; it is a playground for families looking to make memories and experience new things without breaking the bank.
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#1 The Gathering Place
This IS the place to be in Tulsa. The Gathering Place is a 66 acre park on the Arkansas riverfront that has SO much to do for people of all ages and interests, and it is absolutely FREE!
Highlights of the Gathering Place
This playground has numerous thrilling and distinctive themed zones.
Each zone fosters different imaginative and active play.
Adventure Playground is humongous with so much to do and see for all ages!
The kids are going to flip out for this place!
Swing Hill has 17 swings that people of all ages can enjoy.
There is a swing for everyone regardless of age and ability.
This is an area with a few unique slides built into the landscape.
The kids will love sliding down these different slides!
Mist Mountain is a splash pad with lots of fountains and waterfalls for everyone to enjoy.
Make sure to have a swimsuit or change of clothes plus a towel to enjoy this fun attraction!
Skateboarding Park and BMX Pump Track
The skatepark offers areas and ramps for all levels of skateboarding.
Additionally, the BMX track allows riders of all abilities to participate as well!
There are also lights at the skateboarding park for when it gets dark.
The sports courts provide guests the opportunity to play basketball, volleyball, street soccer, and even street hockey.
There is also a court available for limited hours for pickleball.
The sports courts also have lights so the games don’t need to stop when it gets dark!
Peggy’s Pond is perfect for enjoying kayak, canoe, and paddleboat rentals from the Boathouse.
It also has a beach area as well as lounging areas for relaxation.
This is definitely a fantastic place slow down and appreciate your surroundings.
The Boathouse building is quite incredible.
Here you can rent canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats.
There is also food and drinks available at Vista at the Boathouse.
The views here aren’t too bad either!
Williams Lodge is absolutely stunning.
You need to at least take a few minutes of your day to go into the lodge. It is AMAZING!
The architecture is out of this world, and it is a phenomenal place to relax with your family.
The Lodge also has food and drink available.
What is parking like at the Gathering Place?
There is a parking lot right next to Williams Lodge and the Adventure Playground. This lot does fill up quickly on a busy day so the earlier you can get to the Gathering Place the better.
If the main parking lot is full, the Gathering Place does have an overflow lot on the other side of the Discovery Lab Museum.
Additionally, parking is free at both lots!
How much time will I spend at the Gathering Place?
If it is a beautiful day out, you could very easily spend the entire day here!
There is SO much to do and see.
I would hit up the Adventure Playground right away as that is the spot that will likely get the busiest.
The Adventure Playground will easily take you that entire morning.
For outdoor dining for lunch or even dinner, the Patio, located right outside Williams Lodge, offers a wide selection of food and drink.
If you need to eat inside, the Redbud Cafe, inside of Williams Lodge, serves sandwiches, grab and go snacks, and sweet treats.
After lunch, I suggest wandering around the rest of the Gathering Place.
You could hit up Slide Vale or rent a kayak to paddle around Peggy’s Pond.
If your family is ready to cool off for a bit, Mist Mountain will refresh you, or you could spend a little time relaxing in the air conditioning at Williams Lodge.
Whatever you choose to do, your family can definitely spend a few hours up to an entire day at the Gathering Place!
FOR MORE DETAILS ON THE GATHERING PLACE: Ultimate Guide to the Gathering Place
#2 Woodward Park
Woodward Park is a picturesque public park for the whole family to explore either by foot or in the car.
This park offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and is such a gorgeous place to do so!
Woodward Park has a quaint pond with a little bridge over it that is perfect for a picnic, birdwatching, or simply relaxing for a bit.
There is also a playground, tennis courts, and great walking trails.
Families can also visit the Tulsa Rose Garden and Garden Center at Woodward Park.
What is parking like at Woodward Park?
There are free parking lots within the park.
How much time will I spend at Woodward Park?
You will likely spend up to an hour or so at Woodward Park.
#3 Center of the Universe
The Center of the Universe is a concrete circle that you stand in, and you can hear a small echo when you speak.
This concrete circle is located in downtown Tulsa near the Tulsa Union Depot building.
We visited the Center of the Universe on a Sunday morning and simply parked in the parking lot near the Tulsa Union Depot building on Boston Avenue.
Then we walked down a few stairs, and there on the ground was the Center of the Universe!
This is just a fun little stop and free thing to do in Tulsa.
What is parking like at the Center of the Universe?
As mentioned above, on a Sunday morning, it was easy to park in the small parking lot right by the Tulsa Union Depot building.
I am not sure if this lot is available during the week.
Tulsa does have plenty of metered parking downtown as well!
Additionally, there are many parking garages in the area.
How much time will I spend at the Center of the Universe?
You will just need to be here for a few minutes to hear the small echo and snap a few photos.
#4 Mother Road Market
The Mother Road Market is a unique indoor dining and shopping destination.
It is mostly dining but there are a few shops with local gifts as well.
This humongous food hall has a wide variety of AMAZING food and drink options.
Visiting the Mother Road Market is free, but if you want to enjoy some of the delectable food and drink, you will have to purchase it.
This makes it easy to get drinks for everyone instead of having to order them individually especially when you have small children.
The Mother Road Market also has a patio with tons of seating, yard games, live music, mini golf, and other events.
If you have time to check out the menus at Mother Road Market before you go, you can order ahead for dine-in. This will make things extra easy for your family especially if everyone wants different things.
What is parking like at the Mother Road Market?
Parking for the Mother Road Market is a little bit difficult, but it is FREE.
There is a gravel parking lot about a block away from it.
Currently walking from this lot to the Mother Road Market is a bit precarious as the sidewalks aren’t the best, and you have to cross a railroad track.
There was construction going on when we were there so maybe it will be improved in the future.
Also, on a busy day, there are many cars pulling in and out of the parking spots closest to the Mother Road Market.
I suggest bringing a stroller for your younger kids so they don’t have to walk.
How much time will I spend at the Mother Road Market?
You could spend between 1-2 hours here.
If you are sitting around enjoying some live music or playing some yard games, you will definitely spend up to 2 hours here.
#5 Golden Driller Statue
This is a fun free statue to visit in Tulsa. It is gigantic!
This statue is located at the Tulsa Expo Center.
The Golden Driller stands 76 feet tall! My kids LOVED climbing on his humongous feet and standing underneath him to really experience his height.
This statue brought us lots of giggles and special memories!
What is parking like at the Golden Driller Statue?
We visited the Golden Driller Statue early on a Sunday morning.
We were able to park in a parking spot right in front of the statue at the Tulsa Expo Center.
If there is an event going on at the Tulsa Expo Center, parking may be more complicated.
How much time will I spend at the Golden Driller Statue?
You will only need about 5 minutes to get your photo ops here.
#6 Muffler Man Space Cowboy Statue
Another unique and free must-see attraction in Tulsa is the Muffler Man Space Cowboy Statue at the Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios shop on Route 66.
This is another statue that brings about the giggles and amazement as well as offers some funny family photo ops.
Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios is a quirky shop located at what appears to be an old gas station on Route 66 but is now a souvenir shop.
Besides the Muffler Man Space Cowboy statue, there is also a statue of a robot and a silly pig chef to take pictures with.
What is parking like at the Muffler Man Space Cowboy Statue?
Parking is free along the street in a residential area.
How much time will I spend at the Muffler Man Space Cowboy Statue?
If Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios shop is open, you may spend about 15-20 minutes here.
You can get your photo ops and then visit the souvenir shop for a few minutes.
There are some other cute shops on this block of Route 66 you may walk to visit as well!
#7 Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area
This is a great place to enjoy the great outdoors with your family.
Some activities you can do here include hiking, mountain biking, bird-watching, and picnicking.
If you are looking to do some hiking and/or want to be out in nature with your family, this is a fantastic destination to do that!
What is parking like at Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area?
There are two different parking lots.
One lot is gravel and is near 61st and Elwood Streets while the other is a newer paved lot and is located near 71st St.
Both parking lots are free.
How much time will I spend at Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area?
You will likely spend 1-2 hours here.
The time spent here will depend on how much hiking you do or if you plan to have a picnic too!
#8 Woody Guthrie Center
Originally, we had simply planned on taking a photo of the Woody Guthrie mural in Tulsa’s Arts District, but the kids wanted to check out the Woody Guthrie Center as well so we made a stop.
I am SO glad we did!
The Woody Guthrie Center is free on the first Friday every month and is always free for children 17 and under.
I was so impressed by the Woody Guthrie Center.
The staff was absolutely amazing. They were so friendly and helpful.
Each of the workers made the kids feel so special.
Additionally, there were many kid friendly exhibits throughout the center as well!
Our boys’ favorite exhibit was the VR Black Sunday Dust Storm.
The kids also enjoyed listening to Woody Guthrie songs on headphones as well as all of the interactive displays in the center.
We had an AWESOME time in the Woody Guthrie Center, and I highly recommend it!
What is parking like at the Woody Guthrie Center?
There is metered parking right in front of the Woody Guthrie Center and on the streets surrounding it.
According to the Woody Guthrie Center website, during certain times on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, you can park for free at the Bank of Oklahoma.
How much time will I spend at the Woody Guthrie Center?
You will likely spend about an hour here.
There is an introductory video to watch in the theater which is about 10 minutes plus you will want to do the VR Black Sunday Dust Bowl as well as take a look at the other artifacts around the museum.
#9 Blue Whale of Catoosa
This must-see free attraction is not exactly in Tulsa proper but is an easy 20 minute from downtown Tulsa.
If you are looking for some additional photo ops with a unique landmark, I suggest visiting the Blue Whale of Catoosa.
The Blue Whale of Catoosa sits along Route 66 in Catoosa, Oklahoma.
When we visited the weather was less than ideal, but we still enjoyed taking some photos and the boys LOVED climbing up the ladder inside the whale to the secret area with windows looking out.
On a nicer day, this the perfect little place for a picnic.
There is also a small gift shop and restrooms on site. The restrooms are not overly nice but they are there so that is a plus!
What is parking like at the Blue Whale of Catoosa?
Parking is free in the gravel parking lot right next to the gift shop.
How much time will I spend at the Blue Whale of Catoosa?
On a nice day, you may spend 20-30 minutes at the Blue Whale of Catoosa.
Between the fun photos you can take as well as wandering through the whale and climbing its ladder, you will definitely enjoy yourself here.
Plus, you can visit the gift shop and maybe bring a picnic lunch while enjoying some more views of the whale.
The kids will certainly get a kick out of the Blue Whale of Catoosa.
Whether you plan on coming to Tulsa simply to visit the Gathering Place or are visiting for another reason, there are plenty of must-see family friendly free things to do in Tulsa.
You can easily make your visit to Tulsa a weekend getaway that the whole family will love!
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SAVE and PIN this post for later! As always, may you LOVE your adventure. KW