2650 S. John Williams Way, Tulsa, OK 74114
Tulsa's world-class park opened September 8, 2018 and the city hasn't been the same since. Spanning 100 acres along the Arkansas River in midtown, Gathering Place is an inclusive space built for learning, discovery and exploration. The 66-acre park is free to enter, and open to the public.
Visitors will find acres of playground space, sport courts, hundreds of distinct plant species, walking trails, art installations, dining options, a coffee shop, ADA-compliant design, a skate park regular programming and much more. Each visit to the park is its own distinct adventure.
Led by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 80 private donors gave $460 million to fund the construction of Gathering Place, making it the largest gift to a community park in the history of the United States. In fact the park was chosen by TIME magazine as one of its 100 Greatest Places the year after it opened and has since transformed daily life here in Tulsa. —Root staff
3900 Tulsa Botanic Dr., Tulsa, OK 74127
A short drive down the L.L. Tisdale parkway from downtown, you will find a little piece of nature tucked away in the Tulsa Botanic Garden. With their mission to create a more sustainable and harmonious world, the garden offers a space for all Tulsans to appreciate the beauty and importance of plants.
Resting on a beautiful lake, the garden showcases a variety of plants native to Oklahoma and areas with similar climates. In the Children’s Discovery Garden, you’ll find playful sculptures, waterfalls and green growing all around.
The A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Floral Terraces overlook the entire garden. The terraces feature blooming perennials, roses and shrubs and the garden cascade, a water runnel that flows through the terrace and into the lake.
Just west of the terraces in Persimmon Grove, you’ll find the cross timbers trail. Visitors can trek through the native flora and fauna of the open prairie. These trails are just the beginning of Tulsa Botanic’s 25-year expansion plan. The master plan includes 110 acres of sprawling gardens and lakeside views that will emphasize Oklahoma’s natural beauty. —Madeline Roper
6850 S. Elwood Ave., Tulsa, OK 74132
Turkey Mountain is one of Tulsans’ favorite hiking, biking and trail-running spots. Situated just off of 71st St. between Lewis Ave. and Highway 75, the urban wilderness area boasts five marked trails ranging from short to long, plus 25 miles of unmarked trails spread across 300 acres of land. Visitors will find Oklahoma tree species like Post Oak, Blackjack Oak, Hickory and Redbud, as well as trail runners and mountain cyclists on any given day.
Trails are open between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m., and keep an eye out for organized events, like facilitated trail runs, 5k races and yoga. —Root staff
2435 S. Peoria Ave., Tulsa, OK 74114
Named for Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish naturalist widely considered the father of botany, the Linnaeus Teaching Garden at Woodward Park offers a free, open space for the public to enjoy horticulture and learn about the benefits and joys of gardening. Teeming with greenery, the garden is home to shrubs, perennials, annuals, herbs and vegetables. The colorful flowers and flowing waterfalls bring a natural beauty to the middle of urban Tulsa.
Horticulture expert Barry Fugatt envisioned a space to teach Tulsans how to grow flourishing gardens in their backyard. In 2006, Fugatt’s dream came true when the Tulsa Garden Center, Woodward Park and over 3,000 individual donors came together to open the Linnaeus Teaching Garden.
Linnaeus Teaching Garden offers a variety of educational opportunities. Children’s activities include tours, story time and little green thumb class, where children ages 6 to 12 years old learn the basics of gardening. The little green thumb class meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of both June and July. The garden also offers free seminar classes for adults. —Madeline Roper
111 E. Reconciliation Way, Tulsa, OK 74103
Guthrie Green is an urban park and entertainment space in the heart of the Tulsa Arts District.
The George Kaiser Family Foundation purchased the Guthrie Green property in 2007 and engaged Creative Community Builders to work with the community to articulate a vision for the neighborhood that would guide the development of the park and to inform the development of commercial, residential and nonprofit projects.
Guthrie Green is a showcase of "green" technology. All lighting on the site is LED, reducing the overall site demand for electricity. Water runoff on the Green is diverted to bio-swales, which help irrigate the landscape and clean the water before it enters the storm sewer. Solar panels contribute to the overall energy demands of the park amenities.
Guthrie Green is home to weekly events for families, from fitness classes to concerts to outdoor movies and more. Food trucks park there at least once a week, and there’s a fountain for splashing during the warmer months. —Root staff
6700 Mohawk Blvd., Tulsa, OK 74115
Located within Mohawk Park, the Oxley Nature Center offers hiking trails that are open seven days a week, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (when the center’s gates are closed, just park outside them and climb over to access the trails). All in all, there are nearly nine miles of trails, which lead wanderers through forests, fields and wetlands. Many of them are flat and wide enough to be wheelchair and stroller accessible, although bicycles are not allowed. A must-see is the Blackbird Marsh, where a 600-foot boardwalk allows for up-close observation of aquatic flora and fauna.
The Nature Center houses hands-on exhibits, a classroom, a small library and wildlife viewing area, restrooms and drinking fountain, a small gift shop, staff offices and other work areas. First-time visitors may want to stop by to pick up a map of the trails and chat with staff. Added bonus to visiting Oxley? The Tulsa Zoo is just down the road. —Root staff
141 Monastery Rd., Sand Springs, OK 74063
Nestled west of the Arkansas River, the Osage Forest of Peace is perhaps Tulsa’s best-kept secret when it comes to spiritual hideaways. As an “interspiritual contemplative” retreat center, the Osage Forest of Peace offers the type of serenity and spiritual grounding that can often only be found through silence, self-reflection and time in nature. Made up of a community of full-time and transitional residents from a variety of spiritual backgrounds, the atmosphere at the OFOP is both fluid and nuanced, offering different types of clarity for different seekers. One central theme emerges throughout all of Osage’s offerings: an appreciation for the sacred (whatever that looks like to you).
Interested individuals can make plans to attend daily meditation or arrange a longer stay on the grounds. Sabbaticals, weekend workshops, retreats, massage therapy and immersion programs are available throughout the year. —Root staff
7101 S. 3rd St., Broken Arrow, OK 74011
This 40-acre park located just outside of Tulsa in Broken Arrow features a three-mile walking trail, flowering gardens, an arboretum, a fishing pond and a suspension bridge, in addition to the nature center, which offers various wildlife for observation and interaction. —Root staff
160 Ancient Forest Dr., Sand Springs, OK 74063
Billed by The Nature Conservancy as “one of the last great places on earth," the Keystone Ancient Forest, owned and operated by the City of Sand Springs, is a 1,360-acre nature preserve with 500-year-old cedars and 300-year-old post oak trees. A new four-mile trail opened in fall 2017, adding to the wildly popular hikes volunteers operate throughout the year.
Hiking is only allowed on select Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., so visit the website to find out when you can explore the ancient cross-timbers. —Bea Baker
16152 Redbud Dr., Catoosa, OK 74015
Just off of 161st E. Ave. lies Redbud Valley, a quiet, scenic nature preserve with rugged hiking and walking trails. The main trail loop is about a mile, and different forks offer the options of woodland, prairie or bluff hiking. The trail is open Wednesday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Bikes, pets and camping are not allowed.
Visitors might note that the trails are rough due to their efforts to preserve wildlife. Best bring a pair of hiking boots! —Root staff
5202 S. Hudson Ave., Tulsa, OK 74135
Established in the 1960s, LaFortune Park is more than 270 acres tucked in midtown Tulsa. It is the only county park within the Tulsa City limits.
The park offers golf, baseball, tennis, a running trail, pool, playgrounds, picnic tables, shelters, fishing and a community center. —Root staff
6500 W. 21st St., Tulsa, OK 74107
Situated atop a hill in west Tulsa, Chandler Park features 192 wooded acres with gorgeous views of downtown Tulsa. For hiking or running, there’s the Lost City Trail, which winds around the bluffs on the north side of the park. There are also 40-foot cliffs for rock climbing, which can accommodate climbers of varying skill and experience.
Additionally, there is a baseball complex, two large playgrounds, restrooms, picnic shelters, an 18-hole disc golf course and a community center. A large green space is available to rent for festivals, concerts and special events. —Root staff
321 N. Detroit Ave., Tulsa, OK 74103
Located in the Tulsa Arts District, not far away from Guthrie Green, Reconciliation Park was built as the result of the 2001 Oklahoma Commission to study the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. The park tells the story of African-Americans’ role in building Oklahoma and thus begins the long-delayed rendering of the full account of Oklahoma’s history.
The park features two primary art elements, created by Ed Dwight, the first African-American astronaut and prominent Denver artist. These are Hope Plaza, the park entry's 16-foot granite structure and The Tower of Reconciliation at the center of the park, which depicts the history of the black struggle from Africa to America. —Root staff
2435 S. Peoria Ave., Tulsa, OK 74114
Established in 1929, Woodward Park is a 45-acre public park, botanical garden and arboretum named for Helen Woodward, the original property owner.
The city of Tulsa purchased the land in 1909 for $100 an acre from Herbert Woodward. This area, then outside the city limits, called "Perryman's pasture," was part of a 160-acre allotment that Helen Woodward, a mixed-blood Creek Indian, had received from the Five Civilized Tribes Indian Commission. Her mother was a full-blood Creek and belonged to the Lochapoka tribe. She was 14 years old, under legal age, when her white father and guardian, Herbert Woodward, sold the land without her consent.
Tulsa had condemned the site with the intent of creating a public park. In 1925, Helen, then known as Helen Slemp, sued Tulsa, trying to recover ownership of the land. The suit lasted for four years before the court decided in favor of the city.
The city designed the park to provide its visitors experience with a variety of horticultural subjects. It contains a number of specialty gardens, including the Tulsa Rose Garden, the Tulsa Garden Center, the Tulsa Arboretum and the Linnaeus Teaching Gardens. The Tulsa Historical Society (the Samuel Travis Mansion) is also included in the park.
The park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014 as Woodward Park and Gardens Historic District. —Root staff
5701 E. 36th St. N., Tulsa, OK 74115
Mohawk Park is a 2,800-acre park that offers playgrounds, picnic shelters, water playgrounds and disc golfing courses.
The park is also home of the Tulsa Zoo, the Oxley Nature Center, Mohawk Golf Course, and Mohawk Sports Complex. —Root staff
560 N. Maybelle Ave., Tulsa, OK 74127
Owen Park is less than five minutes away from downtown, just northwest of the city’s center. Tulsa’s first park still has the pond that formed when a stock of nitroglycerine belonging to the Western Torpedo Company accidentally detonated in 1904. The blast left a huge crater in the ground that was later filled with water and used as a swimming hole (though no one swims in it now except for the ducks and geese that frequent the neighborhood).
The park also has a splash pad, playground and plenty of picnic tables and shade trees. —Root staff
2134 N. Madison Pl., Tulsa, OK 74106
The Lacy Park and Pool will appeal to the most adventurous children. The newly renovated pool includes a mini rock climbing wall, two spiraling water slides, and a diving board. Though the pool is only open during summer hours, the community center is open year-round and offers dance classes, a fitness center, and educational programming.
An array of tennis courts and a covered picnic pavillion welcome all community center visitors. Looking to take the AERO bus rapid transit? The city’s newest public transportation will drop you off within walking distance on North Peoria Avenue at the Virgin Street stop.—Bea Baker
5804 E. 91st St., Tulsa, OK 74137
Inside south Tulsa’s quintessential Hunter Park lies Biscuit Acres. While Hunter Park has trails for humans to run around on for days, Biscuit Acres has space for all of the good boys to get off their leash and socialize with other dogs. The fenced-in area is closed Monday and Tuesdays and sits adjacent to a large pond. There are benches for pet owners to relax under shaded areas. Trees and ample walking space abound.
Those wanting to volunteer can participate in maintenance projects at the park and donate supplies. For a $20 online donation, you can feature your dog on the Biscuit Acres website. There are many ways to engage with Biscuit Acres and you and your pupper just might make a friend or two. —Bea Baker
1028 E. 6th St., Tulsa, OK 74120
Sitting just east of downtown Tulsa and with the city skyline on full display, Centennial Park features walking trails, water features and picnic areas.
Parking is easy and enjoying a quiet lunch under a shade tree is a breeze. —Root staff