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  Photo: Science Museum Oklahoma 
A two-story treehouse welcomes guests to the Gadget Trees exhibit at Science Museum Oklahoma. Visitors can slide down the nation's tallest spiral slide and learn about simple machines, like a lever, cleverly disguised as a teeter-totter.

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Oklahoma City's museums

Science Dreams and Animal Magic

Picture this – kids in a forest of gadget trees, a fun, hands-on area at the Science Museum of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City that features the world’s tallest spiral slide. They run with joy from one hands-on exhibit to the next while learning, exploring and discovering as they go. The Science Museum of Oklahoma, the state's only physical science museum, has more than 350 exhibits and is also home to the Dome Theater, a 70-foot screen with heart-pounding digital sound featuring an ongoing slate of exciting IMAX films.

From the indoor fun of the Science Museum, travel a short distance to the Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden, located only a short walk away.  One of the nation’s top 10 zoos, the Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden features 2,500 animals on 110 acres. The zoo’s new Asian elephant pavilion, a $13 million dollar palatial habitat spanning 9.5 acres, allows guests to watch daily routines such as baths, foot care and training sessions. The zoo's Oklahoma Trails exhibit offers eight acres of adventure showcasing more than 800 animals native to the state.

Wild Blue Yonder and the Deep Blue

Bring the wild blue yonder just a little closer at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium in Tulsa.  Rare vintage airplanes, interactive wind tunnel flight simulators and interactive controls similar to those used by astronauts will keep kids of all ages occupied for hours.

Located nearby in Jenks, the Oklahoma Aquarium explores the deep blue ocean with the largest indoor ocean in a four-state region. The aquarium features species in more than 100 exhibits and is home  to the largest bull sharks in captivity.  Lemon, nurse and sand tiger sharks swim alongside you and even overhead as you walk through a mesmerizing, underwater tunnel. 

The Oklahoma Aquarium explores the deep blue ocean with the largest indoor ocean in a four-state region.

In the area:

The unique, 78-acre Tulsa Zoo is home to more than 1,500 animals.  The zoo combines animal exhibits with natural history museum exhibits and features a popular state-of-the art African penguin exhibit with 16 penguins and seasonal penguin encounters.

Crystal Persuasion

Discover one of the most distinctive ecosystems in Oklahoma with three family-friendly destinations: Great Salt Plains State Park, the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, and Great Salt Plains Lake with its unique salt flats. Located in northwestern Oklahoma near Jet, Great Salt Plains State Park invites visitors to camp, picnic, swim, hike or explore the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, the largest saline flat in the central lowlands of North America.

The unspoiled 32,000-acre refuge offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities and is home to more than 300 species of birds, complete with open water, wetlands, prairies, woodlands and farm fields. The salt flats adjacent to the lake are the only spot in the world where you can enjoy digging for hourglass selenite crystals, a rare and fragile selenite, which is a form of gypsum. Digging times are available from April 1 through October 15.

In the area:

The Sod House Museum in Aline, a furnished and preserved soddy built in 1894, is the only sod house built in the homestead era that is still standing in Oklahoma. The Vintage Inn Bed & Breakfast, located in Alva, is a three-story Victorian mansion restored to its original, turn-of-the-century grandeur, and boasts luxury bedding for guests in addition to home-cooked breakfasts each morning.