We are baby boomers, and when we launched this blog, we expected that people our own age would be the only ones to read it. We couldn’t have been more off base. The analytics show that our largest age group of readers are actually in the 25 to 35 age span. We hope this is because we attempt to showcase a good mix of family friendly spots in our articles. We can still remember the days when our kids were still traveling with us. It was always a challenge to identify quality stops to add to our itinerary. While there are plenty of places using advertising to grab attention, sometimes it is difficult to know what you will get for your money. That is one of the reasons we try to add a few family spots to each of the cities we visit. In Tulsa, we took time to drop by the Tulsa Children’s Museum to see what they offer.
Visiting Oklahoma in August can bring on some hot days, and our timing was right in the heart of a heat wave. Being seasoned travelers, we plan accordingly, so outdoor activities are in the morning, and indoor during the afternoons. The day was warming up rapidly, and we were ready to seek shelter inside this unique attraction. We had scheduled to meet with Sarah Sadler, Marketing and Development Coordinator at Tulsa Children’s Museum. We arrived right on time, and Sarah was ready to give us a tour of the facility.
Learn and Burn Energy
After a short period of introductions, we headed off into the Main Hall, which is the largest room in the museum. The room is named Energy, and it showcases exhibits that show where energy comes from, as well as how it is used. The room is as large as a gymnasium, which allows plenty of room for the kids to burn off a little of their own energy. There are interactive displays lining the sides of the room, as well as a few down the middle. Having a variety of stations allows more people to be engaged at the same time.
One of the largest exhibits in the room is the Petroleum Pit. Tulsa is an oil boom town, and it is only fitting for there to be an exhibit dedicated to the principle of oil collection. Black balls are sent through pipes that represent various items that are powered by oil. The balls collect in a sorter that fills up, and finally will shoot the balls out of the oil derrick. This exhibit seemed quite popular with the kids. Nearby we watched a family trying their hand at a quiz display, which focuses questions about energy.
Exploring the Tape Tunnel
Another popular exhibit is the Tap Tunnel. This is actually constructed from packing tape. Staff members assemble the tunnel and slide sections with roll after roll of the clear tape to demonstrate the strength of layers. It is sort of the same principle as trying to break one stick versus a bundle of sticks. We enjoy exhibits that teach scientific principles, and are fun to boot. The Energy room also has a toddler area dedictaed to those visitors up to the age of three years old. After watching everyone interacting for a while, it was time to move on to the other rooms.
Problem Solving Skills
Where the Energy room is a place to run from exhibit to exhibit, in The Workshop and Featured Room there is a slower pace. Here we found a variety of stations that posed challenges needing to be resolved. A wind wall allows visitors to test the effect of various sail designs, and how they impact movement. We saw kids at easels working on designs, as well as practicing their problem solving skills. The level of concentration was high, so we tried not to interrupt the thought processes.
I noticed a couple of kids building models on an exhibit, so i went over to see what was going on. They explained that the table would vibrate, and that they were working on a design that would survive a simulated earthquake. It made me think back to the lack of places like this during my childhood. It is nice to see that this type of interactive museum is becoming much more commonplace these days. It became apparent that the kids had great skills at seeing a problem, and determining an appropriate solution.
The Only Constant is Change
Sarah had led us through the whole building, and it was obvious that the staff are passionate about the lessons being taught. Everyone was engaged in activities, and you could almost see the wheels turning. The Tulsa Children’s Museum understands the necessity of rotating the exhibits to keep things fresh. In 2018 the museum will feature an exhibit named Math and Music in the Main Hall. Visitors will not only listen to music, they will also create and perform it. The Featured Hall is currently hosting a dinosaur exhibit, and this will be followed by Marvels of Science, which will highlight the strange and remarkable world of science. All of these sound like great interactive exhibits that will certainly entertain the kids for hours. The Tulsa Children’s Museum is a must visit for families traveling to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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