Castles, giant animals, glowing fireplaces, winding pathways, boats, bikes and more await
visitors at The Gathering Place in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (https://www.gatheringplace.org/ )
My husband and I were introduced to this wonderful place by friends who live in Tulsa. They had tried to describe the spot to us, but words failed to express how wonderfully welcoming The Gathering Place is.
So what is it? The Gathering Place is a park full of exciting adventures for all ages—most of
which are free. We parked near the main building and went to explore some of the areas. We found the first play areas by following the winding paths to reach the tallest tower. And there we discovered a playground for all ages. The multiple wooden towers were connected by rope bridges of different shapes and sizes. Even adults can climb up and slide down these intriguing structures that can become forts, or castles, or anything the imagination can dream! The beautiful silver cranes held a ladder and slide to enchant all ages. The giant swordfish nearby held hiding places for little ones who were yelling joyfully, “Look at me. I’m in his tummy!”
After climbing up one tower—yes, there is a child in me, and these climbing opportunities are good for both the young and the young at heart—we explored other playgrounds with zip lines and more towers. The water play areas also looked fun, but they were closed for winter. We walked through the FW Murphy Family Foundation Swing Hill—I didn’t know swings came in that many shapes and sizes—and then to the ONEOK Boathouse.
Inside the ONEOK Boathouse is the Cabinet of Wonder by artist Mark Dion—a huge room full of memorabilia from many time periods. Displayed items ranged from Star Wars’ statues, to vintage cameras, to stuffed alligators, to black light figures, to…well, you get the picture. We strolled through, pointing out pieces that we remembered, before stepping outside to the deck where diners could sit and enjoy the view that overlooks the river. Below, visitors can rent kayaks and work off lunch from the restaurant.
We wandered along the riverside trail, through multiple garden areas, past a large open area and a pond, and made our way back to the other structure in The Gathering Place, Williams Lodge. This amazing building has beautiful walls of sculptured wood that made the rooms feel cozy, especially as the large windows brought in gorgeous views of nature. In one area, a family was posing for pictures, another was snuggled up next to the roaring fireplace reading. Couples were talking quietly while others were studying or on their computers–WiFi is provided. What amazed me was the quiet—everyone kept their voices down and even the small children used inside voices.
We returned to our car for the rest of the visit since temperatures were dropping and the wind had picked up. From our car’s windows we saw the Skate Park and BMX Tracks, the pedestrian