The Gathering Place
This past weekend we finally went to a new park that was opened up in our city. It has been under construction for the past few years or more and there's been a lot of hype. And being the eternal pessimist that I am, I wasn't buying into ANY of that hype. How cool can you actually make a city park, come on? Why is it taking so long? Why on EARTH are The Roots going to come to little ol' Tulsa, OK and play on opening day of this park? The traffic will be terrible, it will be too crowded.... you get the idea.
But I was wrong. Very wrong. It was amazing. Like, I'd pay to go if they charged admission but they don't because IT IS A CITY PARK! Also, this is only the first of 3 phases and we didn't even see it all in the 3+ hours we were there. Now, I haven't visited a lot of parks in other cities or states, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say this exceeds anything else out there.
So, just to try to give you some scale as to how big this park is, check out the map.
When you walk in, you are surrounded by beautiful landscaping, trees, and views.
Once you get into the park, you basically just have to pick a path and see where it leads you. Or this is what we did because we didn't have a map (yet). We found the first play area and O ripped his shoes off to jump in the sand and play! Trying to keep an eye on him was like trying to watch a pinball zing from side to side among 30 other pinballs doing the same thing. I decided he will wear something obnoxiously bright next time we go so I can see him better.
After a little bit of playing, we walked to the food trucks that were there and grabbed some dinner. I was elated to see one of my favorite restaurants had a food truck so I inhaled their street tacos like it was my last meal on earth and then we decided to explore some more. Appa and I wanted an adult beverage so we found a volunteer handing out maps and we made our way to a building called the Lodge. I only took one photo (dumb) of it and it was of the ceiling. (Thankfully, Appa took a couple of O and me). Just imaging like a Frank Lloyd Wright, mid-century modern type of vibe and that was this place. It was SO cool.
Near the lodge there was an area selling some drinks and food. We got our drinks and looked over to see two people walk up with a light up hula hoop and another light up contraption starting a little show on the sidewalk. It had gotten a little dark so they were easy to spot and they quickly gained a little crowd around them. Kids ran up to the front and oohed and aahed at the performance. It was pretty neat. They wrapped up and we picked another path that lead us right to yet another play area.
O ran around this area like it was his paying job. We had to MAKE him take a break and drink some water. This kid likes to GO.
In the map a schedule of every day events were listed and there was a sort of light show that would be starting towards the closing time at the park so we headed over to get a good seat. If you've ever been to Epcot, it is similar to the show at night on Lake Epcot where the globe lights up on the lake and syncs with music and such.
Let me just say, the show did NOT disappoint. Even O, who did not want to stop playing to find this show, said it was really awesome. Once it got started we didn't hear a single peep or any whining about wanting to go somewhere else to play.
After the show was over, it was time to head back to the car because the park was closing. O didn't even make it out of the park before he was dead asleep. Mission accomplished!
So, why I am telling you about this? Why spend an entire post telling you about this place? Because it's worth it. If you find yourself travelling to Tulsa, go check it out. Even if you don't have kids. If you are like me - a local who didn't believe the hype - go check it out. Seeing it in person, experiencing it, seeing my son smile from ear to ear while saying "This is the coolest place ever!" and watching how this place is truly fulfilling its mission: to bring Tulsa together in a time where we can be so torn apart - this all made me a believer. And reminded me of how fortunate my family is to be living in this great city.