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  Photo: Lisha Newman 
ATV enthusiasts flock to Little Sahara State Park near Waynoka where they can fly over dunes that stretch across 1,600 acres and are up to 75 feet tall.

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This is the only place you can dig for hourglass selenite crystals.

It comes every year – that week on the March calendar when you look forward to a break in work or school. But as Spring Break approaches, you find yourself searching for fun ways to shake off the winter doldrums and gear up for warmer weather. Luckily, we’ve done the work for you by finding unique attractions and events that are easy on the budget.

A perfect place to find rip-roaring adventure is in the sand hills of Little Sahara State Park near Waynoka.  This northwest Oklahoma treasure offers dune buggy and ATV riding on 1,600 acres of towering sand dunes.  Bring the family, strap yourselves tightly into dune buggies and soar across the dunes.  When you need a break to shake the sand out of your ears, there are two more nearby state parks where breathtaking adventures await you.  Alabaster Caverns State Park in Freedom offers a guided cave tour through the world's largest gypsum cave that is open to the public.  Explore beneath the Earth's surface, hear stories from the past and watch out for bats.  You can also try your hand at a spelunking adventure in the wild caves in the park with a permit and appropriate equipment.  To complete your unique outdoor adventure, head up to Great Salt Plains State Park near Jet where the whole family can dig for the world's only hourglass-shaped selenite crystals.  The salt plains stretch out as far as the eye can see, looking like a fresh blanket of snow has fallen on them.  Visitors can dig through the thin crust of salt and find soft, wet earth filled with small crystals that can be unearthed, cleaned up and taken home as mementos.

Head to Medicine Park this Spring Break and you won't be disappointed.  This quaint village, once a roaring resort community, will please those seeking outdoor adventure or merely a quiet place to curl up with a good book.  Take the family shopping in the unique curio shops and art galleries that line the streets of Medicine Park or let the kids splash in the river under the falls.  Visitors have a wide selection when it comes to lodging in the area, as Medicine Park offers everything from bed and breakfasts to cozy cabins and lodges with all the amenities.

Located just outside of Medicine Park is the 59,000-acre Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Lawton, home to the oldest mountain range in the United States.  Here you can see wildlife in its natural environment, as well as pristine lakes, streams, canyons, mountains and grasslands.  Be sure and bring your camera in order to capture the photogenic bison herds and adorable prairie dogs that roam freely within the refuge.  This area is perfect for hiking, boulder hopping and fishing, so bring your hiking boots and prepare for a day filled with family-fun outdoor activities.  When blissful exhaustion hits and the sun begins to set, take a leisurely drive up the winding cliffs of Mount Scott to enjoy an awe-inspiring, panoramic view of the entire refuge.

Travel to Enid and find your way to Leonardo's Children's Museum, a one-of-a-kind hands-on science and art museum. Children of all ages will enjoy building in the carpentry shop, creating their own masterpiece in the art studio or observing snakes, chinchillas and ferrets in the animal area.  After exploring a wide variety of activities inside, lead the kids outdoors to  Adventure Quest, one of the largest playgrounds of its kind in the world.    

It comes every year - that week on the March calendar when you look forward to a break in work or school.

Another great place to turn the kids loose is the Jasmine Moran Children's Museum in Seminole, where kids play to learn.  It is here that children can take a trip down the imagination highway as they explore a wide variety of grown-up careers in a fun, engaging way.  Kids can bang the gavel as a judge, try their hand at being a newscaster complete with green screen and monitor or serve as a cashier in a grocery store.  They'll have fun as they try other activities such as encasing themselves in a soap bubble, riding a miniature train or navigating a massive outdoor maze. 

The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in Norman is a can't-miss hit with kids.  Watch their eyes expand with wonder as they look up at the enormous dinosaurs found in the museum's Hall of Ancient Life.  The museum also sports the world's largest mounted Apatosaurus and a gargantuan predator that looks an awful lot like a T-Rex, a traditional favorite with children.  You'll also find the Guiness-record-holding largest dinosaur skull on a fully-mounted Pentaceratops, giant creepy-crawly prehistoric bugs the size of Volkswagons and prehistoric fish that will remind you of the terror experienced while watching the movie Jaws.  Kids will love the variety of wildlife exhibits including a walk-through limestone cave.  There are also plenty of hands-on activities in the children's area.

If a cabin in the woods is more your style this Spring Break, surround yourself with natural beauty and make a reservation at an Oklahoma state park. Great cabins and lodge rooms are available at some of Oklahoma’s favorite getaways like Beavers Bend, Robbers Cave, Greenleaf and Tenkiller. Scenic RV and tent campsites are also available. Special Spring Break activities include games for the children, arts and crafts, hiking, horseback riding, fishing and nature programs. Oklahoma’s state parks are fun and still among the best values for your family.

Got a little one who favors the cowboy ways?  Why not spend Spring Break at a guest ranch where they can ride horses, try their hand at roping and enjoy cowboy cooking?  Oklahoma offers several guest ranches to choose from, but take a look at the Hitchin' Post out in the panhandle, Double J Ranch in Shawnee or Tatanka Ranch in Stroud to get you started. 

If you are looking for variety, then the Oklahoma City Adventure District may be just the place for you.  Located at the crossroads of I-35 and I-44 in the heart of Oklahoma City, this entertainment district includes the Oklahoma City Zoo, Science Museum Oklahoma, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the Oklahoma Firefighters Museum, the National Softball Hall of Fame, Remington Park Racetrack and Casino and more.  While in Oklahoma City, make sure to stop by the Pole Position Raceway for an adrenaline rush you won't soon forget.  Zip around the indoor racetrack of Pole Position's 85,000 sq ft facility and race each other across the finish line in a faster-than-lightning go-kart.  There's no way to get bored with all this entertainment in the neighborhood. 

Whether you have a bored child on your hands or find yourself needing to entertain the whole family, there are plenty of things to see and do all across our state this Spring Break. Make plans now to take a day trip or week-long getaway to one of the many interesting places throughout Oklahoma.