The Best Museums in Tulsa
Tulsa, Oklahoma has become a very popular destination for those seeking a great family vacation. With the right weather and perfect outdoor attractions, there is never a dull moment in Tulsa. There are plenty of activities that explore its rich history as well as fun things to do inside as well as outside the city limits.
One of my personal favorite family-friendly activities is visiting a museum! I’m always surprised at how much my two young kids enjoy museums. Tulsa does not fall short when it comes to museums! With so many different ones, there is something for everybody, no matter their age.
So, what are some of the best Tulsa museums? The best Tulsa museums that your whole family will enjoy include:
- Discovery Lab-Children’s Museum
- Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
- Vintage Sewing Center And Museum
- Tulsa Historical Society & Museum
- Hardesty Arts Center (AHHA Tulsa)
- Gilcrease Museum
These 6 museums are my top picks because they offer something for people of all ages. Most museums have great learning activities for kids, and the Tulsa museums are no different. They also vary in terms of what is offered within them, making it easy to find something you’ll both enjoy at every location! If you’d like to know more about these museums including admission costs then keep reading!
1. Discovery Lab – Children’s Museum
This one personally gets number one on my list because I have two small children. They love how fun and interactive this place is while sneaking in some learning!
The Discovery Lab offers short courses for children that are held throughout the week. This is probably my favorite part! The courses are available to children of all ages. They cover topics like science, technology, engineering, and math including 3D design.
The biggest news though is they are in the process of moving and opening up a new location! After serving the Tulsa area since 2003, they are ready to grow!
The new location in Gathering Place Park should be open by the end of 2021 so just check their website before you visit. I can’t wait to see the new location as it will be 3 times bigger and will offer many new and exciting features!
Admission cost is $8/person for the day, with additional charges if you want to participate in some of the activities offered through courses. Children under 2 get free admission. However, keep in mind that these prices may change with the new location.
2. Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
The Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium is for those interested in learning about aerospace! My family is total space nerds so we love this place. They offer many interactive exhibits including the Apollo 13 command module. It’s pretty awesome!
There are also some displays for kids to enjoy like model rockets, space-related toys, and costumes. Kids can also go on a scavenger hunt in the museum or even build their airplane if they choose! This museum was built in 1988 and has been a Tulsa favorite since!
Admission cost varies on what you want to do but for an all-in-one ticket so you don’t miss anything, it would be $15 for adults and $10 for kids. (4 and under are free)
3. Vintage Sewing Center And Museum
Okay, I know what you may be thinking, but you will be surprised at how enjoyable this place is! My kids and I went to this place recently and didn’t regret doing the guided tour.
The Vintage Sewing Center and Museum is filled with great old-school stuff including over 1,000 sewing machines that you can actually use! The kids also really enjoyed seeing the old machinery and even giving a few of them a try.
You can even bring in your projects to work on, depending on availability. This unique museum opened in 2017 and the owner has some pretty amazing life stories to share if you ask.
Admission and hours vary where it’s a small locally owned place. I would call ahead before you visit to be sure.
4. Tulsa Historical Society & Museum
The Tulsa Historical Society and Museum offers a great look into Tulsa’s history. Established in 1963, it has an incredible collection of local history.
They have several different exhibits, but my favorite is the BOK Tower Exhibit. It tells about Tulsa’s amazing architecture and the history of the building itself!
There are also some fantastic photographs on display that show off America in the 1940s-60s. You’ll see photos from huge political events, fashion shows, and even Pres. John F Kennedy.
My kids and I enjoy spending hours here and seem to find something new every time. Admission costs $5/adults and kids are free!
5. Hardesty Arts Center (AHHA Tulsa)
The Hardesty Arts Center is one of the coolest places in the city that kids will love. It’s an arts center that offers workshops, events, and exhibits for children of all ages.
I love how friendly everyone is that works here, it makes a difference. You can expect to find something like a dance party or art class most times of the week! It features the coolest art pieces from local artists. I feel like it sparks imagination and creativity in my kids when we go.
Admission costs are variable based on the event or activity, but for general admission, it is $16.75 for adults, $11.75 for kids, 3 and under are free. However, if you go on the first Friday of the month, admission is discounted!
6. Gilcrease Museum
The Gilcrease Museum is one of the largest in the country. It has a little bit of everything from culture to history to priceless art. The kids will enjoy seeing exhibits from famous artists and even some dinosaur bones! The exhibits are always changing so look ahead of time to see what’s being featured.
All this to say, the museum is currently closed while they prepare to completely rebuild. This has been needed for a long time as the buildings were in poor shape from age.
Although we are sad for this amazing museum to be closed for a few years, I am so excited to see what is to come! The new Gilcrease museum is expected to start construction in early 2022 and may take up to 3 years. Follow their website for updates!
I hope this quick guide to my favorite Tulsa museums was helpful! Please check out their websites for more helpful information and exact operating hours. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you will not regret taking some time at one or all of these special museums.
Now that we have covered my favorite ones, let’s answer some other common questions about museum-going.
Is There a Pass To Access All Museums?
Whether you’re a local or a tourist, you want to get the best value for your money! The good news is that most museums offer discounted days/family passes so always check before you go.
Unfortunately, as far as I’m aware there isn’t a city pass or a multiple museum pass. You can always check sites like Groupon or Retail Me Not for discounts on tickets when bought online.
Why Are Museums a Good Family Activity?
Museums offer some of the best family-friendly activities. Learning as a family is one of my favorite things to do.
Museums help children to learn and be creative, as well as offer hands-on experiences. I also love that museums can always be visited no matter what the weather is like. Museums are always a safe and affordable activity to do.
I also love that many museums are locally owned as it’s important to support small businesses. Likewise, most museums donate admission proceeds to animal or humanitarian causes so it’s great to support!
Is it Possible to Do All the Tulsa Museums in One Day?
I would say no. To truly get the most out of your visit and admission cost, I would recommend taking your time! Each of the museums I shared really requires a minimum of 2 hours to fully experience. It isn’t unusual for my family to spend 3-4 hours at a museum.
Of course, if you’re on vacation and don’t have several days to visit museums then I would just plan to visit 1 or 2 and stay awhile.
When Is The Best Time To Visit A Museum?
Afternoons are typically the best time to visit a museum. You will have an easier time getting around and there won’t be as many crowds so your kids will have more room to explore!
The exception to this rule is if you’re visiting during special events like film festivals or concerts. Of course, if possible you should avoid going on weekends. Again, check the website for hours – many museums will offer a discounted day when they are typically slow.
What Else Should I See In Tulsa With My Family?
If you’re visiting Tulsa, I would prioritize visiting at least one of these museums. You can also check out the Tulsa Zoo and the Aquarium! Tulsa also has some great parks and gardens that you can visit for free.
Check out Utica Square, Cherry Street, and the Tulsa Rose Garden. And of course, check out some locally-owned restaurants near you to grab lunch before you head out for a fun day. I hope you enjoy your visit to Tulsa!