Tulsa Outdoor Fitness Options for the Adventurous Family

We give Oklahoma City a lot of love, sure – but as any self-respecting Okie (and any research-loving visitor, for that matter) knows, Tulsa is another part of our state that’s grown its own unique culture and community.

Tulsa is extremely family-friendly, with plenty of new and historic neighborhoods, community-centric clubs, great school districts, and more museums than you could see in a whole weekend.

So what’s a family to do when a surprisingly temperate day graces us with its presence? They get outside. Here’s our guide to outdoor activities in Tulsa – for families of all kinds.

Mountain biking down hill

Mountain biking on Turkey Mountain. Credit: TravelOk.com

Hiking and mountain biking in Tulsa

The Arkansas River is always a great hiking option – but if you’re looking for a trail that’s more secluded, you have plenty of options.

Running clubs in Tulsa

Take a jog along the river in the Tulsa River Parks paved trails, and you’ll see that there are plenty of people doing the exact same thing. But a running club makes the practice much more enjoyable – and puts you with a group of likeminded people.

  • Want your club fees to go to a good cause? The Tulsa Running Club is a non-profit that puts all of its proceeds toward local organizations. Bonus: buy a family plan and get the kids involved.
  • Tulsa Runner’s group runs take place on Tuesday evening (shorter run) and Saturday mornings (longer runs). Ideal for folks who want to run with other people without feeling conspicuous or formal.
  • Fleet Feet Sports hosts its own trainings following up to different events, like the upcoming Pub Run.
  • If the name alone doesn’t win you over, we don’t know what will: Tatur is the Tulsa Area Trail and Ultra Running club. For adventurous/multisport athletes, this club will challenge you anew with each race.
  • Tulsa, OK Moms RUN This Town caters to mothers who are runners (or want to be runners!) and are looking for some women with similar interests and advice.

Watersports on the Arkansas River

The Arkansas River is one of this city’s main attractions – and has spawned a pretty robust watersports culture.

Try kayaking, rowing, or boating while taking in city views.

Ropes courses, zip lines, slacklining

Aside from encouraging teamwork, independence, and trust, adventure courses are just plain fun. As you might expect, Tulsa has plenty to choose from.

  • For a new kind of adventure, give POSTOAK Canopy Tours a whirl. With 6 ziplines and almost 4,000 feet of cable line in their network, you and your kids will be completely exhilarated – and completely worn out when it’s time to go home.
  • The HelmZar Challenge Course has both indoor and outdoor facilities – so your family or team will never really be caught in the rain.
  • The Camp Loughridge Challenge Course is perfect for taking in the view in a quieter area.
  • Try the YMCA ropes course for accessible classes and family-friendly rates.

Outdoor fitness classes

Guthrie Green is a great gathering place for family and friends – and it plays host to different events almost daily. Try Fitness on the Green for a casual but challenging way to shake-up your routine.

Golf courses in Tulsa

Prefer to stick to outdoor activities that come with carts and manicured greens? Sounds like you’re a golfer.

Check GolfLinks for an up-to-date, comprehensive listing of golf courses in your city. Tulsa has plenty to choose from!

Outdoor fitness: accessible, DIY-friendly, and always fun

The truth is, you can make any location a place to get your fit on in the great outdoors (or, you know, perfectly maintained golf course). Ask your local gym or yoga studio about any outdoor classes they offer – bootcamp is a popular option, for starters.

The grass is always greener on the other side – and all you have to do is jog there!

OKC Outdoor Fitness Options and Activities

While there are plenty of great gyms in OKC to choose from for our sweat sessions, there’s nothing quite like an outdoor workout. Here are some of our favorite venues and activities around the OKC Metro.

Man on Mountain Bike

Lake Thunderbird Mountain Biking Trail

Hiking and mountain biking trails

Whether you’re embarking on a day-long expedition or just want to work up an appetite for lunch, there’s plenty of ground for you to cover in the metro.

OKC Running Clubs

Prefer sticking with the pack over being a lone wolf? Oklahoma City has a growing number of running clubs that will let you get outside – without the solitude.

  • The Landrunners club meets Saturday mornings to train for local races throughout the year.
  • If you like local brews as much as you like to run, try out the Red Coyote Running and Fitness club’s Pack Pint Runs. Every Thursday at 6 pm, a group takes off from the store and ends the run with free pints from local brewery COOP Ale Works
  • The OKC Wild Wild West Hash House Harriers takes socializing seriously. Wednesday/Thursday social hours and Saturday runs around the metro keep you fit – and making plenty of friends along the way.
  • Prefer to run in longer events? The Triathlon Club of Oklahoma City will keep you involved in the latest multi-sport events.
  • The Dirt Dog Trail Runners currently meet Mondays at 6:30 pm and include runners with all levels of experience.

Watersports

Because for some of us, being in the water feels as natural as breathing. Fortunately, OKC has a rapidly developing offering of watersports in both rivers and lakes.

  • Oklahoma City’s Boathouse District hosts all kinds of watersports – including rowing (individual and corporate leagues), canoeing, kayaking, dragon boating, and stand up paddle boarding (SUP).
  • Flat Tide also offers stand up paddle boarding in Lake Overholser.
  • Going to the lake? Try sailing or swimming for decidedly tough – but fun – workout options.
  • Ever heard of kiteboarding? We hadn’t either – but you can try it on Lake Hefner through OK Kite’s Kiteboarding School!
Climbing Wall

Climbing Wall at Shiloh Adventure Course

Ropes courses, zip lines, slacklining

These courses will quite literally keep your on your toes.

Looking for a DIY ropes course? Set up a slack line in your back yard or local park for a fun and challenging outdoor exercise.

Yoga

Get in touch with nature while you’re on your mat.

The Myriad Botanical Gardens are currently hosting two different yoga classes: a free vinyasa flow sponsored by our local lululemon $5 all-levels vinyasa class  with a local instructor.

Oklahoma City Adult Rec Leagues

Creatures of habits will love the wide variety of options available via local recreational sports leagues.

Ultimate Frisbee and Disc Golf

Find other rec leagues:

Golf Courses

Before there was disc golf, there was…golf. Here are the greenest greens in OKC.

Public basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts

No schedule, no problem – try a pickup game with friends old and new at a local court.

Want more outdoor fitness options? Don’t forget to ask your local gym about outdoor bootcamp classes – many gyms hold these in the early morning.

Enjoy the weather while it’s nice – we’ll see you outside!

Home Buyer Seminar Now in Spanish

HomBuyerFlerSpanishV2Home Creations, Oklahoma’s largest new home builder, has always encouraged future home buyers to make educated decisions when investing in a new home. In an effort to promote home ownership, we regularly offers free Home Buyer Seminars.

For this reason, our first Home Buyer Seminar in Spanish will take place on Thursday, October 16th from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Plaza Mayor, located at 7000 Crossroads Boulevard. Oklahoma City, OK 73149. Get directions.

“We want homeownership to be accessible to every ethnic group,” said Anita Brown, director of Sales and Marketing at Home Creations.

The seminar, as always, will focus on the benefits of owning a home, requirements necessary to purchase one, and types of loans available. Our goal is to give the Hispanic community the tools they need to become knowledgeable about home ownership and financing.

For more information download the FlyerPara obtener mas informacion sobre el seminaro, envia un texto con la palabra “CASA” al 24587.

7 Ways to Shop Local in OKC

Farmers Market Table

Norman Farmers Market. Credit Cleveland County Fairgrounds

As you already know, Oklahoma City is growing rapidly. And while our city is gaining new restaurants, amazing shopping venues, and talented sports teams, it hasn’t forgotten the value of supporting the local economy first and foremost.

From loyalty cards to unofficial perks, here are some of our favorite ways to buy local in the Oklahoma City metro.

  1. Make regular appearances at your local farmers’ market(s). Sure, making the trek to the farmers market and buying fresh veggies might seem a tad pricier than your once-weekly haul of shipped-in produce from your chain grocery store of choice. But unlike at the grocery store, you can form lasting relationships with your local growers pretty quickly – and the more of a regular you are, the more privy you’ll be to freebies like discounted produce, misshapen baked goods, and new product samples. Plus, you’ll always enjoy good conversation – and that’s valuable.
  1. Look for reward cards. Keep an eye out for rewards cards at the local venues you frequent. OKC coffee drive-thru Leaf+Bean offers a punch card, as do Teapioca Lounge and Roxy’s Ice Cream Social. Tucker’s Onion Burger’s loyalty card works more like frequent flier miles: You rack up points and earn dollar amount rewards. Want to save on groceries from a local chain? A Homeland One Card gives you access to exclusive weekly coupons and sweepstakes entries.

    Tuckers Onion Burgers Loyalty card

    Loyalty Cards are easy ways to save at local hot spots.

  1. Make a donation that comes with perks. Oklahoma City’s Allied Arts helps sponsor local arts organizations – and brings the arts to kids of all ages. And when you buy their OKCityCard ($50, good for a full year), you get access to a ton of discounts from local businesses. We’re willing to bet that you’d get that initial investment back if you used this card only once a month!
  1. Find souvenirs at a store that gives back. Local boutique ShopGood specializes in locally made clothing, home goods, art, and souvenirs. A portion of proceeds from every item sold goes to a local cause – so whether you’re eying an Oklahoma Strong tee or enjoying the Warby Parker showroom, you’ll be contributing to the local economy and investing into your community.
  1. Seek out events hosted by local businesses. For you, events mean freebies. For businesses, events mean exposure and new customers. From #freecoffeemonday at District House Coffee to Red Coyote’s weekly Pack Pint Run that culminates with free drinks from COOP Ale Works, you’ll meet new people and be eligible for all kinds of perks at locally-hosted events.
  1. Keep it Local discount card

    Keep it Local card (2014)

    Pick up a local shopping rewards card. Like the OKCityCard, a KeepItLocal card gets you significant discounts at businesses all around the metro – and at just $10, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

  1. Join a local co-op. Want to eat local (or even just organic) produce without visiting five different stores and markets a week? Try a local food co-op. You’ll save money because the co-op buys in bulk, and all you have to do is pick up your share. Some popular options in the metro include the Oklahoma Food Co-op and Urban Organics.

In addition to getting good deals and saving a few bucks, there are other reasons to shop locally. Your money goes directly back into your local economy. You know where your products are coming from. And buying local makes you part of a community – not part of a customer demographic. We’ll take that over superstores any day!

Back to School: Finding the right school for your child in Oklahoma

83115169Many Oklahomans searching for a new home or people relocating to the OKC metro area are considering the quality of the school district just as much as the floor plan of the home.

Parents of school-age children often pay attention to school performance ratings and are likely to pay more to be near public schools with higher scores. Oklahoma home buyers who have children or are planning for children in their future use this information as a top criteria in their home search. According to the 2012 National Association of REALTORS Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 25 percent of home buyers listed school quality and 19 percent listed proximity to schools as deciding factors in their home purchase.

81178007While there are some Oklahoma school districts that are facing challenges, the metro area is home to some of the best schools in the state.

According to the U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings for high schools , Norman, Edmond and Oklahoma City are dominating the Top 10 high schools in Oklahoma, and the top ranking elementary schools are also found in these communities along with Moore which is home to the #2 ranked elementary school in the state.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education compiles information about schools’ performances based on student achievement and graduation rates among other factors and grades its schools every year. You can look up your child’s school here.

Resources such as schooldigger.com or neighborhoodscout.com can also help you review the school district that you are considering buying a home in. They provide user-friendly, quick data. However, these sites use the same data as the OSDE but can use other factors in their evaluations as they are run by private businesses or organizations.

New homes available in Home Creations communities in Oklahoma this fall are located in the following districts:

Bixby, OK Bixby school system ranked #3 in OK, according to neighborhoodscout.com
Claremore, OK Verdigris Public Schools system is ranked #10 in OK, according to neighborhoodscout.com
Collinsville, OK Collinsville Public Schools district is ranked 53rd in OK 53rd in OK, according to schooldigger.com
Edmond, OK Edmond school system is ranked #2 in OK, according to NeighborhoodScout.com, according to neighborhoodscout.com
Deer Creek, OK Deer Creek is one of the most sought after school districts in the metro area with excellent ratings. The Deer Creek Elementary has received an “A” on its state report card. Click here for an in-depth look at the school district.
Glenpool, OK Glenpool High and Glennpool Elementary are rated high in their GreatSchools rating (What is this referring to?).
Jenks, OK Jenks school system ranked #4 in OK, according to neighborhoodscout.com
Midwest City, OK Mid Del is among the top districts in the state for Oklahoma Academic Scholars with awards like National Merit, State Regents and Academic All State and is home to two Nationally Recognized Blue Ribbon Schools.
Moore, OK Moore has two powerhouse high schools and is home to Wayland Bonds Elementary School which is ranked #2 in OK, according to schooldigger.com
Newcastle, OK Newcastle Public Schools district is ranked 43rd in OK, according to schooldigger.com, and therefore in the top 10 percent of state school districts.
Oklahoma City, OK Our Clearwater neighborhood is served by Western Heights schools, Heritage Heights is served by John Marshall High School and Stonegate Elementary
Piedmont, OK Piedmont school system ranked #9 in OK, according to neighborhoodscout.com
Yukon, OK Yukon Public Schools district is ranked 99th in OK, according to schooldigger.com

Here are a few things you need to know about selecting a home based on a school district:

  • Home prices tend to be higher in top rated school districts
  • Good school district keeps home prices stable and easier to resell
  • School ratings change, and by the time your child is ready for school, the district may have dropped or risen in the rankings.

When evaluating a school district, there are a number of things to take into consideration. Take a look at the quality and age of the facilities. Check out how students perform on standardized tests. Look at the student-to-teacher ratio to see how much personalized attention the students receive. The amount of spending per student at the school will tell you how much of the budget is allocated for each student.

However, don’t limit your search to the school ratings and statistics alone. Even a district that is rated lower may have benefits. Class sizes may be smaller, or the school may be home to the best jazz band in the state or have an excellent sports team. Talk to people who have lived in the OKC community for a while and have children enrolled in the schools. You may even want to schedule an interview with a teacher or administrator at the school. Attending certain Oklahoma City schools can help your children attend community colleges free if they meet the qualifications. There are also many private schools available in the Oklahoma City Metro area.

So, pick a home that’s right for you and your family, and don’t forget about the school!

OKC Farmers’ Markets Make Summer Weekends Better

In the summer season, we’ll take all the free entertainment we can get – and the farmers’ market is a great option.  It’s completely family friendly, and you’ll never be bored – vendors and offerings change every week. Take the family or your spouse out on a beautiful Saturday morning, graze on baked goods and fresh coffee, and pick up some local goodies to test out at home.

Oklahomans are lucky to have lots of high-quality, humanely raised beef and poultry options a few hours from home in most places. And luckily for our friends in the OKC metro, there are lots of markets both new and established nearby – here’s where:

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 3.27.28 PMOSU-OKC Summer/Winter Farmer’s Market

400 N Portland (in the OSU-OKC Horticulture pavilion)

Oklahoma City, OK 73107

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/osuokcfarmersmarket

Summer Sat: 8:00am – 1:00pm. April – October.

Winter Sat: 9:00am-12:00pm. November – March

One of the oldest markets in the city, OSU-OKC brings farmers and vendors from all over the state – and shoppers from all over the greater metro area. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to hear live music from local folk musicians! And don’t worry about finding your favorite farmers in the winter months: this market is open year-round.

Look for: grass-fed beef, fresh tamales, handmade baskets, leather goods, starter plants, soaps and spices

Brooks Farm Market

1205 SW 2nd Street , Oklahoma City , OK 73108

October 1 – April 30: Sat 10-2pm / May 1 – Sept 31: 9-3pm

oklahomafarmfresh.org

This market might be new, but its setting is very old: the Historic Farmers Public Market. Pick up some local heirloom varieties and enjoy the surroundings: you’re just a few steps away from the Urban Agrarian store (local produce, meat, and prepared foods), Piñata Market (fresh produce and homemade salsa), Public Farmers Market (home to antiques, flea markets, and other events), PAM’s nursery (plants, seeds), and Farmers Public Market Antiques.

Look for: fresh produce, heirloom plants, locally made prepared foods

Edmond Farmers’ Market  

2nd & Broadway, Edmond, OK 73003

Sat & Wed 8:00am – 1:00pm. Mid April – October.

Wed 8:00am – 1:00pm June 6th – August 15th

http://www.edmondok.com/index.aspx?NID=365

If you’ve been to a market in a larger city, you might find the Edmond market familiar: it’s an open-air pavilion with vendors who back their trucks up and sell things from both tables and tailgates. For whatever reason, this market might be the most well-stocked with baked goods – from carrot bread to handmade pies to superfood snacks. When you’ve made your way through the market (and we recommend taking a few laps so you don’t miss anything), head over to downtown Edmond for some locally roasted coffee and a quick lunch.

Tip: arrive early if possible, as parking can be an adventure in and of itself at this venue.

Look for: baked goods, hand-crafted clothing and jewelry, seasonal produce

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 4.14.31 PMOklahoma Dept. of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF) Farmers’ Market

2800 N Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(Federal/State government building grounds)

January – December Tuesday 12:00 PM to 5:30 PM

https://www.facebook.com/OklahomaAg

Oklahoma has a pretty happenin’ agriculture scene, and this market is the product of it. And it’s the place to go for pantry staples, local gifts, and plants. Plus, the view can’t be beat – in what other farmers market can you see a state capitol?

Look for: plants and flowers, jam, maple syrup, cheese, fresh and dried herbs

 

 

National Women in Agriculture Association (NWIAA) Farmers’ Market

NWIAA Sustainable Science Academy

1701 N MLK Ave.

Oklahoma City, OK 73111

Every Friday in August 2014, 9 – 1

Agriculture might be a male-dominated field (pardon our pun), but there are plenty of women in agriculture too. The NWIAA recently started up its own market, where you’ll find plenty of produce and locally made prepared foods. If you aren’t able to make it to the market, check in at the Sustainable Science Academy and pick your own vegetables in the open-to-the-public garden!

Look for: tons of fresh produce, poultry, baked goods, prepared foods

MidTown Market at Saints

Northeast corner of 9th and Walker, OKC

East of St. Anthony Hospital’s East Walker Ave. entrance

Friday 1 – 6 pm, May – October

St. Anthony Hospital – usually referred to as Saints – has made great progress in its efforts to revive the historic MidTown neighborhood – and just 4 years ago, it decided to host a new farmers’ market. The market is a collaborative effort on the parts of the Urban Agrarian and Saints.  And it’s a slightly different scene than you might expect. For one thing, one of the main goals of the venue was to give different people access to fresh, local fare. There’s a centralized checkout system so that shoppers can gather their goods then pay at the end of their time with cash, credit/debit cards, and even food stamps.

Look for: pasture-based dairy, Oklahoma whole wheat products from Earth Elements Bakery, and free-range eggs

Norman Farmers’ Market  

Cleveland County Fairgrounds, 615 E Robinson, Norman, OK 73107

Tues: 4pm-8pm & Sat: 8am-12pm April – October

http://www.clevelandcountyfair.org/farmmarket.html

Another more established market, the Norman Farmers’ Market has been open for more than 30 years and was even named one of the top 20 markets in the country for its size. When you visit, you’ll see why: the crowd is lively and the offerings are wide-ranging. Come to the annual Market Celebration at the beginning of the season, where you’ll enjoy live music and be entered to win trips to various visit-worthy destinations. Plus, you don’t have to rush to this venue on your lunch break if your Saturday mornings are booked: you can head over on Tuesday evenings.

Look for: pet treats, handmade soap, produce galore, Angus beef

Moore Farmers’ Market  

Moore Community Center , Moore, OK 73160

Thurs: 4:00pm-7:30pm, Sat: 8:00am-12:00pm. May – August

If you’re new to farmers’ markets, the Moore Farmers’ Market might be a good place to start. It’s fairly small and simple. You can find plenty of locally grown produce and made-in-Oklahoma souvenirs, but you don’t have to deal with the bustle you might find at Edmond or OSU-OKC. And like the Norman market, people with full daytime and weekend schedules can come to the market after work on Thursdays!

Look for: locally made wine, spices, incense, salsa, and jelly

Back to School: Oklahoma City metro kids are heading back to school

No matter if you will walk your kindergartener into the building for the first time, have just relocated to Oklahoma City, or are sending off your oldest to his final year in high school, back-to-school season is an exciting time for everybody. Here’s how to make this year the best back-to-school season yet.

Now is the time to shop back to school deals

78159925The back-to-school deals are in full swing and parents are left to figure out how to navigate back-to-school shopping without going bankrupt. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Back-to-School Survey, families with children in grades K-12 will spend an average of $669.28 on apparel, shoes, supplies, and electronics – up 5% from last year.

To find the best prices in Oklahoma City, use resources such as the Metro Family Magazine or the My OKC Mommy blog that will keep you up to date on the best deals.

Oklahoma tax free weekend from Aug. 1-4 may help shave off a few more dollars. The sales tax holiday exempts the sale of clothing and shoes priced at less than $100 from sales taxes

If you want to support the local economy, challenge yourself to shop local  for school clothes and backpacks this year. Imagine how much money that brings to the Oklahoma economy. Websites such as Keepitlocalok.com can help you find local options.

Get stylin’

One upside to the end of summer is the new clothes and backpacks. Kids of all ages look forward to this ritual. This year’s hot trends include plaid and faux leather.

Immunizations

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If you are new to public school or have just moved to Oklahoma, you should make sure that your child’s immunizations are up to date and cover all of Oklahoma’s requirements. Call your child’s pediatrician or check with your local health department for more information.

Get to know your district

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Many people base home buying decisions on the reputation and rating of a school district and its teachers. Do some research and learn about your district’s strength and weaknesses. Learn about programs that are strong suits. Perhaps it’s a music program; perhaps the football team is unbeatable. These things tell you a lot about your child’s school’s culture. There are a lot of resources available to parents online to learn about your school district. However, the best way to learn about the district is by being involved. At the back-to-school night, find out about the PTA, sign up for volunteer opportunities and make sure your kid’s teacher remembers who you are.

The countdown is on

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Make sure you don’t miss your registration deadlines at the beginning of August, or the back-to-school or open house night which is typically a day or two before school starts. Make sure your child feels comfortable with getting on the bus or walk them to school if they are allowed to walk or bike by themselves. Help them meet a classmate before school starts if they are attending a school for the first time. These little gestures help take away some of the back-to-school anxiety.

Take that one big end-of-summer adventure

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No matter how exciting back-to-school time is with kids anticipating seeing their friends again and wondering who their teachers will be, it’s also the end of summer. So take the family on one last big summer adventure. For ideas, read our Uniquely Oklahoman: Oklahoma City Family Fun Guide.