If you are stationed anywhere near Tulsa, Oklahoma – you absolutely have to visit Gathering Place!
It is the best free park I have ever visited. We’ve been four times now, and the kids loved it just as much the fourth time as they did the first. We drove about an hour to get here, and it is well worth driving twice that far or more. This is the most fun my kids have had in a LONG time. We’re planning to come back once a month now.
Gathering Place Tulsa has over 100 acres of riverfront property.
The park was first opened to visitors in September of 2018. It includes a large open lawn, multiple gardens, a boat dock, and playgrounds for every age and interest, including the grownups!
The number one thing I love about Gathering Place is that they are all about sustainability. Not only did they preserve as many existing trees on the property as possible, but they planted more. In addition, they’ve planted acres of grassland as well as small garden plots throughout the playgrounds featuring interesting native plants.
They also improved the local wetlands by incorporating infiltration systems throughout the park. The water circulating through the park is filtered through the pond. There are also infiltration systems under the parking lots to collect and integrate storm water into the ecosystem.
The highlight for my kids is the playgrounds.
I seriously have never seen anything so amazing. On our first trip, we spent a good two hours in the water section. There is an extensive system of pumps, wheels, gates, channels, and a huge sand pit for the kids to play in. It was really fun to watch my kids working together with perfect strangers to create a pretty awesome river, sand castle with moat, and more. If you aren’t pumping the water, it doesn’t flow, so it takes quite a bit of teamwork to keep things moving – that is some great exercise!
Another favorite location is the huge metal tower. It is four or five stories tall full of ladders and slides. This one is a favorite of the teens and adults, too. I think I saw more adults come down the tallest slide than kids! All along the side of the tower is another water feature requiring pumping teamwork to get water all the way to the top so that it can fall down a series of slides, wheels, buckets, etc.
The wooden castle and elephant slide are another crowd favorite. With rope bridges connecting multiple towers, it’s a great way to work on balance, large motor skills, and confidence. All of the bridges are also surrounded by nets for safety purposes. This seems to be a popular spot for preschoolers through teens.
The older kids really enjoy what they call the spiderweb. It is a big series of ropes they can climb around on. They’re close enough together that my three year old can manage them with help yet far enough apart that I can climb on them, too. They are also connected to a series of rope tunnels and slides.
Gathering Place also has an expansive toddler area. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of that. My youngest two (ages 3 and 4) just want to be with the big kids, and the big kids think they are way too cool for the toddler area.
There are a few places we haven’t visited yet. This place is seriously HUGE! There’s a large lawn, a boat dock with rentals, and a few different restaurants. So far we’ve only visited in the fall/winter. I’m looking forward to seeing it in the spring!
If you are stationed in Oklahoma, you need to add Gathering Place Tulsa to your list of places to visit.
With something for every person and every age, the entire family will enjoy a day here. Click here for more information on hours and all the amenities!