Winter Break Ideas
Oklahoma’s winter playground is filled with enchanting activities ideal for the holiday season, whether entertaining guests or creating new family traditions. From outdoor ice skating to indoor relaxation, Oklahoma is gearing up for a holiday season you and your family won’t soon forget.
|Photo: Lisha Newman|
A perfect season for wooly scarves, day trips with the family and bright holiday light displays, winter brings cheer and laughter to the Sooner State. As Jack Frost ushers in a festive feel, Oklahoma welcomes families looking for stress-free holiday wonderment.
Downtown in December
Witness as Oklahoma City transforms into a radiant polar paradise during the city’s annual Downtown in December celebration. Bursting with a wealth of winter activities and family fun, this Oklahoma City tradition invites festival-goers to bounce from one activity to the next during 40 days of merriment. An excellent destination for the entire family, visitors to Downtown in December will delight in the city’s 10-block winter gala, which begins the day after Thanksgiving and continues through the New Year.
Begin your Downtown in December adventure with a trip to the outdoor ice rink, where revelers dash across the slick ice under the backdrop of the magnificent Myriad Botanical Gardens. Rent a pair of ice skates, grab a family member for balance and embrace your inner Olympic figure skater this holiday season. For a true winter thrill, head over for snow tubing at the Bricktown Ballpark and race down the nation’s largest manmade snow slope. Remember to keep an eye out for Downtown in December’s Segway Santa. Find him wandering through downtown and you’ll be rewarded with treats and holiday goodies!
Continue your trip through Downtown in December by traveling down Oklahoma City’s Automobile Alley, situated on Broadway Avenue, to see over 130,000 sparkling LED lights delicately draped across the alley’s historic buildings. Stop for a hot cup of coffee or delicious meal at one of the fine restaurants and shops that line this avenue, and then head over to the Bricktown Entertainment District to float down the Bricktown Canal onboard a water taxi. View Oklahoma City’s transformed warehouse district adorned with thousands of brilliant holiday lights from the city’s famous canal or make your way to the Oklahoma River for a Oklahoma River Holiday Cruise. These introductory cruises allow visitors to view holiday lights across the downtown skyline from an open-air deck or heated cabin.
Out and About with the Relatives
Entertain visiting guests, escape the winter chill and show off the grandeur of Oklahoma’s heritage at some of the state’s best museums and indoor attractions. When the relatives are in from out of town, there is no need to stress over holiday activity planning with this list of surefire Oklahoma hits. Begin your tour of Oklahoma with a breathtaking visit to Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. This impressive museum, which features numerous galleries detailing such aspects of Western culture as the American rodeo and famous Western film stars, is the nation’s premier destination for Western history, culture and art. Visit the museum’s Prosperity Junction for a trip through a replica frontier town and don’t forget to pose in front of James Earle Fraser’s famous 18-ft. sculpture, The End of the Trail, for an extraordinary photo-op with the family.
Gather the relatives and step foot onto the grounds of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, one of the most-visited attractions in the state, for an unforgettable exploration of the events leading up to the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. A testament to the city’s strength and perseverance, the Memorial guides visitors through powerful audio accounts, oral histories and bomb-damaged artifacts. Honor those killed by visiting the Memorial and learn lessons of hope and recovery this holiday season.
Invite your holiday guests to explore Oklahoma’s rich and vibrant American Indian culture at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur and enjoy the center’s illuminated stomp dance gallery, replica 18th century council house theater and traditional village. Also, take a trip through Oklahoma’s unique artistic history at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa. Visiting relatives will enjoy browsing through over 10,000 splendid works of art including 18 of Charles Remington’s famous bronze sculptures. Venture off on a scenic drive north of the Tulsa metro area to Bartlesville, where the 1925 ranch retreat of oilman Frank Phillips, known as Woolaroc, awaits with over 52,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and one of the world’s finest collections of Colt firearms. As an added bonus, Woolaroc’s Wonderland of Lights has been entertaining families for years with over 600,000 vivid Christmas lights and holiday displays.
Winter Fun with the Kids
Oklahoma has the perfect prescription for cabin fever this holiday season, so round up the kids and help them burn off any pent-up holiday energy with a visit to one of the state’s popular, kid-friendly destinations. Entertain the kids with endless fun and activity at Science Museum Oklahoma, featuring over eight acres of hands-on science displays and the tallest spiral slide in the world. Every family member will find something to tickle their brain’s fancy, whether enjoying a stunning journey through the stars in the museum’s planetarium or watching a movie in the Dome Theater, complete with a 70-ft. screen that surrounds the audience.
Shine up your racing boots, strap on your helmets and head on over to the Pole Position Raceway of Oklahoma City. With 85,000 sq ft of heart-pounding racing action and karts that can reach speeds up to 45 mph, Pole Position Raceway is home to some of the fastest rental karts in the U.S. Let siblings battle it out on the track or challenge your kids to a race and let your family’s competitive spirit soar. If you’re ready to get off the track and enjoy the comfort of the stands, check out a Thunder basketball game in Oklahoma City. Cheer for the home team, enjoy a hot dog and watch as professional basketball players shoot some hoops and score some points. Your family will love the roar of the crowd and the excitement of each shot made.
Travel back four billion years and come face to face with colossal dinosaurs, gigantic bugs and ferocious reptiles at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in Norman. Traverse 50,000 sq. ft. of exciting exhibits and walk-through nature dioramas while discovering Oklahoma’s prehistory. A delight for young and old alike, this museum will transport you and your family to a time before the last Ice Age. Don’t forget to ride the glass “dinovator” to look the world’s largest Apatosaurus in the eye! Make your way to the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks to feed stingrays or let the kids pet small sharks at the aquarium’s popular touch tanks. Watch as their eyes become wide with excitement as large bull sharks swim around them while in the underwater viewing tunnel.
Romantic Holiday Escape
If your holidays include romantic plans for two, Oklahoma is prepared to whisk you and your loved one away on a magical winter vacation perfect for some quiet, one-on-one time. Ditch the stress of the holiday season and embark on a wintry adventure across the state to comfy B&Bs, remote and luxurious cabins, or relaxing spa getaways. Before seeking tranquil solitude outside of Oklahoma’s metro areas, begin your winter escape with a visit to the Oklahoma City Ballet or Tulsa Ballet to witness an amazing spectacle of holiday grandeur as both professional dance houses perform “The Nutcracker” during the month of December. Reward you and your loved one with a visit to one of these much-anticipated productions and enjoy an electrifying celebration of the holidays.
Nothing quite says winter romance like peaceful forests blanketed in snow, cuddling under warm quilts and private hot tubs bathed in candlelight. Whether searching for a rustic escape or a luxurious vacation cabin, grab your sweetie and run away to one of Oklahoma’s serene cabin getaways. If you would prefer to stay closer to town during the holidays, Oklahoma’s wide range of cozy bed and breakfasts have the perfect getaway for you. From Victorian mansions to quaint Craftsman-style homes, Oklahoma’s B&Bs are primed and ready to do all the work for you over the holidays. So sit back and relax, enjoy a homemade breakfast for two and get to know your partner all over again this season.
Withdraw from the surrounding Christmas rat race and escape to the picturesque Arbuckle Mountains, where the Echo Canyon Spa & Resort awaits to rejuvenate holiday-weary couples. Indulge in rooms featuring double Jacuzzis, dine on elegant fare or pamper yourselves with side-by-side massages in the resort’s 5,000 sq. ft. day spa. Book a suite at the Canebrake Restaurant & Resort in Wagoner and enjoy everything this oasis has to offer. The Canebrake offers a wealth of spa services, yoga classes and luxury suites, making this Oklahoma resort an impeccable destination for couples looking for relaxation and romance away from the hustle and bustle of the winter holidays.
Holiday Light Displays and Events
Enjoy fun-filled holidays full of festive events in Oklahoma's cities and charming small towns. From Thanksgiving right through New Year's Day, you'll find celebrations to make your holidays bright. Oklahoma's hometowns celebrate the season by lighting up the night with millions of sparkling lights and plenty of holiday cheer to share. Visit Kingfisher, Woodward, Muskogee or Elk City to drive through dazzling Christmas light displays and light shows synchronized to your favorite holiday music. Experience one of the top 10 holiday light displays in the nation when you visit the Chickasha Festival of Light with millions of lights, horse-drawn carriage rides, hot chocolate and more to awaken your family's holiday spirit. View the full list of Oklahoma holiday light displays, festivals and events to keep the whole family entertained during the winter holiday break.
- National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
- Oklahoma City
- Oklahoma City National Memorial
- Oklahoma Travel Guide and Map Kit
- Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History
- Family Fun
- Monthly TravelOK eNewsletter