Entertaining Places · Kid-friendly Places · Outdoor Places

Safari Joe’s H20 = Recipe for Summer Fun in Tulsa

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Photo courtesy Safari Joe’s H2O

It’s summer. It’s hot out there in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The only thing worthy of doing outside in this heat is getting in a pool! Or … multiple pools. When my friend Kelsey was recently visiting from L.A., we decided that we, two adult ladies without children, would escape the heat by going to Safari Joe’s H20… the destination formerly known as Big Splash.

Let me give you a little history here. I grew up in Tulsa. Many a summer in the 1980s and 1990s were spent at Big Splash, burning my skin on their tubes, which were formerly black (bad idea!) and getting the worst wedgies ever as I zipped down the Silver Bullet. Alas, my final trip to Big Splash was circa 1999 when I went with some fellow teenage friends and decided that I was officially “too cool” for Big Splash.

Now that I’m in my 30’s, pregnant, and hot all the time this summer, I’m not “too IMG_4580cool” for anything. Plus, I was curious to see how Safari Joe’s is different/better than Big Splash, so with Kelsey in tow, we made our way to Safari Joe’s on a Saturday after 4 p.m. to take advantage of the Short Swim for $10/person.

When we walked into the water park, we were immediately greeted by all sorts of wildlife — a huge snake (in a cage, thank God!), a tiny alligator (also in a cage), a huge tortoise, and all kinds of birds. There was even a parrot just hanging out in one of the trees. These are some fun additions Safari Joe’s has made that make it a little different than your typical water park.

We immediately made our way to the Tube Lagoon to rent a tube and a locker. Be forewarned: this is where you’ll probably end up spending a lot of money. It’s $6.50 for a single tube and $9.50 for a double tube, and you get a $1 refund upon return. Lockers range from $11-$16, with a $5 refund upon key return. The thing is, you can’t really skimp out on not renting a locker, unless you have someone in your group who is willing to sit and watch cell phones and other valuables while everyone else is in the pool. And a couple of the rides are just more fun if you have a tube! So we had to get both.

Our favorite spot at Safari Joe’s ended up being the Master Blaster. It’s a tube roller coaster, and it is truly a blast. We actually broke the rules by riding it because we noticed a sign that said “2 adults not allowed in double tube; weight limit 250 lbs.” I’m pretty sure this is the first time in either of our lives that we’ve been over the weight limit for something, but with this baby growing in me, I am definitely not model thin right now. Nonetheless, we made it on the ride twice without getting kicked out and had an amazing time going over twists and turns in our tube and finally landing in the Lazy River.

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Photo courtesy Safari Joe’s H20

I do have one complaint about the Lazy River. When you utter the words, “Lazy River”, to me, that should equal complete and utter relaxation. Not the case with this Lazy River. There’s a spot in the river with a huge waterfall-type feature where you will be soaked. If you’re in a tube, you can’t move super fast, so you’ll be soaked for a good 10 seconds. Consider yourself forewarned!

Other big attractions at Safari Joe’s are the Flumes, three slides that are four stories high, the Tiny Turtle playLagoons, pools that have only 8 inches of water in them for the little ones, and the Activity Pool, a great spot to sunbathe, zip down a small slide, or climb a rock wall.

Safari Joe’s H20 has added on quite a few “play” areas that I don’t remember there being at Big Splash, like a pirate ship playground. There are also basketball and volleyball courts.

One of my favorite areas of all time has always been the wave pool. There, you can imagine you’re surfing the high seas on your tube (or if you’re really brave, just hop your body on top of the waves). It’s really only wise for experienced swimmers to go in the deep end of this pool … there’s a reason why they have 5-6 lifeguards on duty just in this one pool usually!

There are also plenty of concession options at Safari Joe’s. One of my favorite Tulsa summer spots just opened a location within Safari Joe’s: Josh’s Sno Shack! A snow cone while sitting by the pool is an amazing combo. Other food options include Peg Leg Pizza and Ocean View

Photo courtesy Safari Joe's H2O
Photo courtesy Safari Joe’s H2O

Cafe. There’s also The Shark Beach Bar for the adults. Speaking of adults, Safari Joe’s hosts an Adult Night (21+) every Thursday from 7-11 p.m. There’s live music, dancing, and of course, lots of bar time and swimming.

Safari Joe’s is open until through Labor Day, so make the most of this summer and go check it out!

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Weekend Getaways

Must See Matisse: Road Trip to OKC

PhotoGrid_1449152809141By Bonita James

Matisse in His Time: Masterworks of Modernism from the Centre Pompidou, Paris, was the catalyst in planning our road trip to Oklahoma City. Anytime we go to Oklahoma City, a trip to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is usually on the agenda. The traveling exhibitions and permanent collection at OKCMOA are not only beautiful and inspiring, but the experiences the Museum provides are a work of art. Now through September 18, you have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see 50 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by Henri Matisse. Yes, Matisse is in the heartland and OKCMOA is the exclusive stop in North America. This collection also includes fifty plus masterworks by Matisse’s contemporaries – Pablo Picasso, Amadeo Modigliani, Juan Gris, Georges Braque, André Derain, and Fernand Léger.

When I think of Matisse, I think of bold blues and solid yellows. I consider Matisse the original in color blocking with paper cutouts of sea-form shapes. I envision ladies lounging in colorful rooms, laying back to invite the viewer to let their gaze linger. I saw all of these wonderful styles in the exhibition and I found so much more.

The impact of Matisse

Walking in, I was hit with Matisse’s inspiration of the generations after him. Claude Viallat’s work Homage to Matisse, 1992, is exactly that. A massive canvas of iconic Matisse color combinations owns the space. The first room gives a glimpse of what the exhibition has to offer with works on paper and a timeline covering the leader of Fauvism’s life and work.

The layout and aesthetic of the exhibition is exquisite. The flow encourages visitors to spend time up-close and personal with each work.The paintings tell the story of the times and show what it was like for the artists in studio – painting models with fellow artists in the background and from different perspectives. Visitors see a vantage point from Matisse and his roommate, Albert Marquet. From their apartment window overlooking the Pont Saint-Michel and the Notre Dame Cathedral, there are two works from each artist, side-by-side. The subject matter is identical but the style of each is as unique as the creator.

Matisse and Marquet

The beginning of Fauvism

Fauvism took hold in the early twentieth century with Matisse and Derain. Bold and colorful brush work departed from creating realistic works. I identify the Fauvist movement as works which the emotion of stories are told in colors and shapes rather than in reality.

Fauvism and Cubism meet in the middle in the exhibition, just as they did at the time of their creation. Head-to-head, Fauvism and Cubism battled for superiority through the works of Matisse and Picasso. Personally, cubist work feels like conflict to me. The exhibition shares work from both of these movements and gives insight to the relationship and conflict between the two men – a competitive creative dialogue which continued for fifty years.

Faves found in post-Fauvism

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“Lorette with a Cup of Coffee,” Henri Matisse, 1917

Post Fauvist years, Matisse, Derain, and even Picasso, took a step toward more figurative and natural painting. In this part of the exhibition, recognizable Matisse works delight visitors. I found two works I particularly enjoyed in this part of the show. Lorette with a Cup of Coffee, 1917, shows the model who Matisse obsessed over, reclined with a relaxed gaze, possibly teasing Matisse with a peak of her garter and bare thigh. There is something there in this work and the story behind their relationship puts the work in a familiar and very human context.

The other work which struck my fancy was not created by Matisse but by Marquet. The Blonde Woman, 1919, is a captivating painting of a blonde nude model. There is realism within the shadows and subtleties of the human form. Aside from the beauty of the model’s body, it’s the bold colors adorning the space under and behind her that, perhaps, made this painting speak to me more than others.

Another notable and distinct work is Amedeo Modigliani’s Portrait of Dédie, 1918. Anytime I see the familiar features of one of Modigliani’s models, my heart sings. This is the second work of Modigliani’s I’ve seen at OKCMOA.

Full circle, in color

Matisse Jazz
“Jazz,” Henri Matisse, 1947

Visitors come full circle in the exhibition space which takes the entire second floor of the Museum. Those bright, bold colors and shapes are on view with the entire collection of Matisse’s Jazz, 1947. Toward the end of his life’s work, Matisse was incredibly productive but not in the style of painting. While working on the decor of the Chapelle du Rosair in Vence, France, Matisse created gouache cutouts for the project. Those became works in themselves in the animated-like autobiography, Jazz. These are the works I would first think of when I heard the name Matisse.

After visiting Matisse: In His Time, I have much more of an understanding and appreciation for the artist’s life and work. The evolution of time and influence greatly impacted the work of Matisse, his comrades, and even his rivals. The entire story is being told, right now, in Oklahoma City. It’s worth the trip down the turnpike to see and experience these masterworks before they leave the U.S. on September 18. During your visit, be sure to take advantage of the audio guide Chihuly Toweroffered by the Museum in both the Matisse show and in, Our City, Our Collection: Building the Museum’s Lasting Legacy, on view through August 28. And, you cannot go to OKCMOA without a selfie in front of the Chihuly Tower, an icon in downtown Oklahoma City. The Museum has one of the largest collections of Dale Chihuly glass which spans his career and creations over time.

Tickets for this high-demand exhibition allow visitors a 15-minute window for arrival time with slots available throughout regular Museum hours. The last ticket sold for the day will be at 4 p.m. (Note: Art After 5 tickets on Thursday nights will be sold in person only and will be first-come, first-served the night of the event). The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Yummy Places

Historic Charm Meets Delicious Food at Miss Scarlett’s Tea Room

burnett1I really love tea rooms. Anything that makes me feel like I’m part of the cast of “Downtown Abbey” is my cup of tea… pun intended! I’m always on the hunt tearooms in the Tulsa area. When I heard there was a tea room inside a historic mansion in Sapulpa, I knew I had to get there post haste.

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My friend Kelsey was in town from the L.A. area IMG_4561last weekend, so a little drive out to Sapulpa to check out Miss Scarlett’s Tea Room was a perfect adventure for us.

When we arrived, we were impressed by the outward beauty of the Burnett Mansion, which houses Miss Scarlett’s. Bates Burnett and his IMG_4569wife, Dannie Ross Burnett, built the Burnett Mansion in 1911. This Southern plantation-style home boasts Tiffany-stained glass windows and fixtures, cut glass windows and doors, woodwork from Spain and the Philippines, and hand-painted walls and ceilings. While the house is three stories, only the first story is part of the tea room and open to tea room guests.

Upon entering the mansion, we were surprised to see that the tea room was completely full. Fortunately, we had made reservations, and an entire swarm of Red Hat Ladies was on their way out. We were seated in a lovely, green colored room with a fireplace. The waitress informed us of the specials, and I selected the Quiche Special. It came with a Ham and Gruyere Cheese Quiche with a fruit cup and muffin. Kelsey chose the Chicken Salad Sandwich, which came with a salad packed with fruit and blackberry vinaigrette dressing, as well as chips.

In the meantime, we enjoyed sipping on our tea. I chose Iced Sweet Tea with Peach. It was truly some of the best peach tea I’ve ever had! Kelsey selected the Tea Service. Our waitress IMG_4558brought her a hot pot of water, a dainty tea cup, and a wooden box filled with about 30 different flavors of tea bags. She was instructed to select two, and she chose a summery Mango Coconut and a Chocolate Hazelnut.

When our food arrived, we were delighted at both the portions and the taste of everything. My quiche was tasty, but the item on my plate that surprisingly stole the show was the fruit cup. It was topped with a deliciously light yogurt topping with what tasted like homemade granola. Now that’s the way to eat fruit!IMG_4559

Kelsey also really enjoyed her meal. We soon learned that the family that owns Burnett Mansion also owns a blackberry farm, so naturally, the menu incorporates a lot of blackberries, like the blackberry vinaigrette on her salad. When it came to selecting a dessert for us to share, we opted for the Blackberry Cobbler. It was served warm with a scoop of ice cream on top. Delectable!

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Overall, our time spent at Miss Scarlett’s was relaxing, fun, and delicious! It’s definitely worth the 30-minute drive out to Sapulpa!

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Artsy Places · Entertaining Places · Weekend Getaways · Yummy Places

Mozart and Bartlesville

PhotoGrid_1449152809141By Bonita James
Mozart and Bartlesville.
I wasn’t sure what those two had in common until I was assigned to cover the 32nd annual OK Mozart International Music Festival for Preview Magazine. After the interview, I wanted to go! The fest was June 11-18, so we decided to make a day trip on the last day of the fest. The plan was to catch a couple acts, check out this small Oklahoma City, and wrap up with the grand finale performed by the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.

OKM-Logo-Jan16Interviewing Lizabeth Rolfson OK Mozart Marketing and Public Relations Director, I quickly learned there is a “Big Apple” history between Mozart, classical music, and the quaint city of Bartlesville.

For the first 30 years of the festival, Bartlesville music halls were filled with music from New York City artists. Since 2014, OK Mozart started a shift to showcase the caliber of Oklahoma artists of classical, blues, and jazz while keeping tight with their NYC roots.

Bartlesville is roughly a 53 minute drive from Tulsa. Per tradition, we called in an order to Blue Moon in Brookside and took our breakfast on the road.

First on the agenda was a guided tour of the Price Tower Arts Center, designed by the eccentric 1920’s architect Frank Lloyd Wright. I have an appreciation for FLW. I always thought his houses were cool. My favorite FLW house was the ‘59 Fallingwater home in Pennsylvania. I have an interesting family tie with FLW architecture. My sister and her husband in were married at the campus FLW designed, Florida Southern College. My brother-in-law later designed the McKay Archives Center, which had to compliment the adjacent FLW building. Neither of these ties prepared me for what I was about it experience in Bartlesville, OK.

PRICE TOWER: THINK OF A PINE TREE?

File_000FLW sought to bring nature into his structures, and the Price Tower, designed in the 20’s and completed in the late 50’s, is constructed with internal columns being the framework and the rooms “branching out.” As pine trees tend to do, the top was smaller than the base.

In my opinion, it did the opposite of inviting nature in. Balcony views are blocked by triangular barriers rising above eye-level. Nature is more forgiving by way of curvature and providing room to move. Not a curve or 90 degree angle is in sight. But, I will say the tour is worth it. I won’t give it all away here, but there is genius in his design to designate the purpose of rooms and how natural light is brought into the space.

As one of ten buildings designed by FLW on the National Register of Historic Places, this building is rich with Oklahoma history and characters, namely Wright, Price, and Goff.

Our guide put heart into the tour, and we rode the tiniest elevator which exists on this Earth with him. Claustrophobes beware! Price Tower tours are set at designated times, Tuesday-Saturday. We were thrilled to see a Charles M. Schulz exhibition, Peanuts: Naturally, running now through October 9. The exhibition is included in tour admission.

CHOCOLATE, BEER, & MIGHTY FINE FOLKS

Warned of being packed at Frank & Lola’s, we opted to check out The Painted Horse before our next OK Mozart performance. Before going there, though, we were swayed by the small-town chocolate shop next door. We hopped into Omega Chocolate for a break from the heat. Chocolate covered cherries are a weakness. We each picked out two chocolates and paired them with beer at the Painted Horse bar. Now, let me just say when you visit Painted Horse, it is a must that you get an order of the File_000(2)Firecracker Shrimp. Spicy, crunchy, and giant shrimp is all you need to know. So good.

As many towns in Oklahoma, not everything is open on Saturday. We took in the architecture of downtown and learned some history at Johnstone Park. Apparently cannons were used to shoot holes into oil storage tanks when they caught fire. The first commercial oil well in the state was drilled there on site. There is a Kiddie Park with miniature ferris wheel and roller coaster, a skate park, and tennis courts.

Back at the fest, we took in some cool creations featured in the Moz-ART gallery and the Tulsa Girls Art School gallery. TGAS students displayed and sold their artwork throughout the week. Every painting sold goes directly to the artist’s account, and it doesn’t stop there. “Not only do the young artists at TGAS display amazing talent; the program is a model for other areas in the state and it will benefit the region to discover the art as well as the business model that TGAS represents,” Rolfson said.

We bebopped to some barbershop music, which turns out has an incredibly long and connected history with Bartlesville. The Founders Chorus and Lady Barbershop were not only great to listen to but were fun to watch. Next up was Trio Antique, who performed wonderful classical compositions.

The Tulsa Symphony didn’t start until later in the evening, so it was time for another beer break. The people at The Painted Horse were so awesome and nice, we decided to go back for dinner, but not without stopping at Omega to say hi to our new friends and pick up one more chocolate covered cherry.

THE GRAND FINALE

File_000(4)The OK Mozart grand finale was a captivating performance called A Return Voyage from Europe to the Americas featuring Tulsa Symphony Orchestra and Anne-Marie McDermott. There is something about bringing all instruments, individual in their own right, blending together to become one incredible work of art.

Bartlesville is rich with music throughout the year with venues like the newly-constructed Ambler Hall, designed to host intimate experience with chamber music. The Bartlesville Community Center main music hall and performance center captures art from Broadway to ballet. Interesting note: the building was designed to compliment while contrasting the Price Tower.

Although our trip to Bartlesville was short, we learned this town has a big heart. It would be fun to plan a short stay-cation to check out the sites, stay at the hotel in the Price Tower, and take in some unique history.

Artsy Places · Entertaining Places · Free Places · Kid-friendly Places

8 Indoor Adventures to Have in Tulsa This Summer

It’s time to get out of the heat and into the A/C!

Here’s the deal, folks. It’s only June, and it’s insanely hot in Tulsa already. The “feels like” temperature has climbed up to 110 or hotter several times already. And when you’re nearly 7 months pregnant, your “feels like” temperature is automatically 10 degrees hotter than what the “feels like” temperature for everyone else is. Therefore, my summer resolution is to experience the Great Indoors!

Won’t you join me while I seek out adventures I can have in the Tulsa area this summer while enjoying the glorious invention that is A/C?
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8 Indoor Adventures to Have in Tulsa This Summer:

OKjazzexterior1. Check out the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.

Occupying Tulsa’s old Union Depot Building (the train station) is a hub jiving with the sounds of jubilant trumpets, sassy saxophones, and melodious guitars. Capturing both the rich history of Tulsa’s jazz past and welcoming an entourage of new musical talent, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is an entertainment mecca full of musical adventures.

The Jazz Depot hosts a weekly event that is perfect for downtown workers who need some time away from the office: Lunch and Jazz. Admission is free, so bring a brownbag lunch and prepare to hear some music for the soul, every Friday from noon to 1 p.m.

If you can’t hit up the free jazz on Fridays at lunch time, never fear; the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame also offers “Depot Jams” every Tuesday from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m., a free jazz jam session open to the public.

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2. Go to a cheap movie.

Who can afford to pay $10 every time per person to go see a movie? I just can’t justify it, seeing as how I know that in a few months, I’ll be able to see that movie for a $1.50, or better yet, free, thanks to Redbox or Netflix. But I’m all for going to cheap movies!

Have you been to Village 8 Movies? This is the old “dollar theater” at 68th and Memorial, but it’s under new ownership since late 2015 and looks and smells a lot better! Movies there are just $2 for kids 12 and older and seniors 60+, and $2.50 for everyone else.

If you’ve got kiddos in tow this summer, Starworld 20 has $3 kids’ movies on Tuesday and Thursdays at 10 a.m. and 12:30. This handy link has all the details.

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3. Explore one of Tulsa’s many museums.

There certainly isn’t a shortage of museums in Tulsa, and great news: They’re all air-conditioned!

I recently learned that Philbrook offers free admission to people under the age of 18 every day! (and also to college students with a valid student ID from a local university). Pretty sweet deal if you’ve got kiddos/teens. Another budget-friendly, family-friendly event at Philbrook is the free Second Saturday. Visit on the second Saturday of each month for free family-friendly art activities, tours and scavenger hunts for kids of all ages.

Gilcrease is also worth checking out and offers one of the best collections of Native American art in the country. Gilcrease also has free admission to anyone under the age of 18.

While Philbrook and Gilcrease are the two mainstay museums in Tulsa, there are tons of other museums to scope out. The Brady Arts District downtown offers a number of different museums and galleries, including the Woody Guthrie Museum, Philbrook Downtown, and the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa. You could easily spend most of a day wandering to each of these creative venues.

This summer, I intend to check out the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. I’ve heard that the Planetarium, which provides an exciting educational experience by pairing stunning high-definition visuals with state of the art technology in a theater, is truly amazing.

Other local museums worth visiting include the Tulsa Children’s Museum, Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, and Woolaroc in Bartlesville.

eastgate4. Get Your inner granny on and go mall walking.

OK, don’t mock me. I am an avid runner, and not being able to run at this point in my pregnancy is a real drag. So I’ve been getting my mall walking on. I’m sure you all know about Woodland Hills Mall and Promenade Mall, but have you been around Tulsa long enough to know the secret of Eastland Mall (now known as Eastgate Metroplex?). When I was a kid, there was actually a mall at 21st near 145th E. Ave.

Nowadays, that mall has been transformed into a bit of a business complex. However, the mall is still more than half unoccupied, so it’s the perfect place to mall walk in the A/C without having to trample over teenyboppers! While you’re there, you can also grab a drink or a bite to eat at Kaffe Bona or Subway.

nam hai5. Have a cultural experience.

Nam-Hai at 11528 E 21st St. opened a new location a year or so ago that is definitely worth checking out! They have all things Asian! Anytime I’ve needed to cook with a special Asian spice or vegetable, or that one time in high school when I was desperate to find ube, a special yam-based ice cream from the Philippines, Nam-Hai came through for me! It’s also just really fun to walk around and experience a different culture (or your own culture, if you are Asian!).

Another culture worth exploring is the Hispanic culture! Tulsa has a number of Hispanic shops and restaurants scattered around town. Many are in the vicinity of 21st and Garnett. Also in that area you will find the Martin Regional Library, which has the largest collection of Spanish materials in Tulsa. If you have kids, the Martin Regional Library is a great place to take them to help encourage a bilingual future! Another Hispanic hub in town is on Lewis around Highway 2-44. There, you can find my favorite Hispanic bakery, Pancho Anaya.

Andy-B-Web-2013-126. Go bowling.

So apparently, kids can bowl free over the summer at Andy B’s at 87th and Lewis. Sounds like a great activity to keep the kiddos occupied! Here’s the link with all the details.
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main event7. Get all kinds of fun on at Main Event.

Have you been to Main Event in Tulsa Hills yet? There is so much to do there, and it’s all indoors! YAY! You can climb the ropes’ course, bowl, play laser tag, play arcade games, or eat! I’ve been wanting to go there on a Monday night, when they have Monday Night Madness. You can choose from three specials: all you can play activities for $9.95, unlimited video game play for $9.95, or a $20 FUNcard good for food and fun.

Shark-Tank-During-Feed-1024x6828. Visit the Oklahoma Aquarium.

The Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks is a real gem, and it’s awesome that it’s located right in Tulsa’s back yard! During your visit there, you can see local aquatic life like catfish, but also aquatic creatures from all over the world, like sea anemones, jellyfish, and best of all… sharks! I absolutely love the Shark Tunnel at the Aquarium! The sharks will literally swim right over your head! It’s a hoot.

The Aquarium also has a little restaurant if you need to grab lunch there. Speaking of grabbing a bite to eat, it’s fun to watch the critters getting fed! Check out the feeding schedule so you can schedule your visit properly. I would think that with the release of Disney’s “Finding Dory” this summer, the Oklahoma Aquarium will be a very popular destination for families!

Did I leave anything out? What are your favorite things to do INDOORS in the Tulsa area?

 

Entertaining Places · Kid-friendly Places · Outdoor Places · Yummy Places

Flying Tee Has Something for Everyone (Even Non-Golfers)

IMG_4482I had a great time last week checking out FlyingTee, Tulsa/Jenks’ new driving range, entertainment, and dining venue during its Grand Opening. Even though I’m not a golfer AT ALL, I actually left thinking, “I’ll be back here.”

Let me explain. Yes, FlyingTee has the typical driving range that you’ll find plenty of other places. However, their driving range is equipped with all the latest technology bells and whistles, James Vollbrecht, co-founder and chief technology officer, explained to me. This means that even if you’re awful at golf, like me, you could play against Tiger Woods and end up winning. The computers in the bay area allow you to enter your skill level, so I can still play against the pros at my beginner level, and the technology will evaluate us individually according to our skill levels.

The technology in the bays also has plenty for the pros, offering the industry’s most advanced golf ball tracking technology to get real-time data on every single swing. You can even play pro courses like Pebble Beach through the technology. FlyingTee also has five instructors on staff who will help you constantly improve your game.

FullSizeRender (2)While many of the players in the bays are simply practicing their range, other players come out for the entertainment aspect the technology offers. James showed me how you can play a number of different games, such as Blackjack, 21, Horse/Pig, and Darts. If you bring kids, they can still play even if all they can do is putt! These games are perfect for golfers of all levels, and fun, too!

IMG_4475Aside from the games, Flying Tee is also a place to head for food. The venue offers three different restaurants! The Sports Bar on the first level is a great place to catch a game thanks to 16-foot wall of TVs. They also have a huge sports ticker running across the ceiling. Some of the food highlights in The Sports Bar are shrimp tacos, seared tuna salad, a variety of pizzas, and chicken wings. Folks playing in the bays can also order off The Sports Bar menu and have it delivered out to their bay.

IMG_4478The second floor restaurant is Ironwood, featuring a massive rotisserie grill. This is THE place to get meat and veggies skewered rotisserie-style. We’re talking rack of pork, yukon gold mashed potatoes, and grilled asparagus, for example. YUM! Other highlights in Ironwood include a Prime Rib Sandwich and Salmon Salad. Ironwood also offers a nice outdoor patio that overlooks the Arkansas River.

The third floor restaurant is Flite, and it is exclusively opened on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. It offers small “flights” of food, like the Crab Flight: Crab salad, naan bread, tzatziki sauce, romaine, carrot and daikon salad and Duck Two Ways: cast iron seared duck breast served with hoisin, green onion, maple shallot bacon, wonton and spring roll chips. Sounds exquisite!

IMG_4480James also pointed out that all of the menus at FlyingTee offer gluten free options, such as GF chicken wings, GF fried okra, and GF French fries.

FlyingTee is not part of a chain. It is locally owned and operated. James said they do hope to expand to more locations over time.

Personally, I think FlyingTee is a great addition to the Jenks Riverwalk. That area has been struggling over the last few years, and it’s likely that FlyingTee will breathe new life into it. Welcome to Tulsa, FlyingTee!

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Entertaining Places · Kid-friendly Places

Get Rolling at Skates!

Bonita James

By Bonita James

“I wanna be a skate dancer!”

This was my epiphany while skating for the first time at Skates Roller Skating Center in Sand Springs. I want to be one of the cool kids, but first, I need to nail down this roller skating thing.

Yes, I am 35 years young and am just learning how to roller skate. I “skate” once a year at my nephew’s birthday party and really try to give it all I got. It wasn’t until this past party in May I felt like I actually “got it,” thanks to my yoga practice getting me in tune with my core.

The morning after the birthday party, I bought my first pair of roller skates! My leopard-print Moxi skates arrived a few days later and just in time for Adult Skate Night!

As the universe would have it, my new Facebook friend Penelope had posted that she bought Moxi skates too. We were immediate Moxi Girls! We can both thank this super hip Moxi video for bringing us and our purchases together. No Moxi Skate team in Tulsa yet, but don’t put it past us or other awesome Tulsa girls to start one!

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Penelope has been in the skating and derby scene for a while. My long-time friend from the OKC derby scene, Stormy, busted out her derby skates too. Before we knew it, we were all lacing up. Skates’ Adult Skate Night (18+) is from 8-10 p.m. every Thursday. Skates address is 401 E. Broadway St. in Sand Springs, but don’t count on your GPS to take you directly there. This gem is tucked away behind a couple of parking lots. Following the GPS will get you to the general area, but you have to turn left into a parking lot of what looks like duplexes and wind your way to the back. Skates Sign

There you’ll see the momentous SKATES sign. Pay your $5, put on your own skates or rent
Brownies for $2 or Speed Skates for $3.50 more. It’s the best entertainment/ exercise session $5 can buy!  

Newbies & Pros Welcome

Me being a newbie, the sheer speed of the real skaters zooming by me almost made me want to get off the rink, at first. Good thing I am determined! In my squeaky new skates, I was barely rolling on what felt like match sticks with sticky wheels. Stormy’s tools and advice lead me to loosening up my trucks and wheels. I finally loosened up my nerves and started making progress.

I have to say, this is the coolest skating rink I’ve been to. Although I was terrified of skating until this recent “facing my fears” phase in life, I’ve been to a lot of skating rinks. As an early roller derby fan, I’ve seen and heard about the good and the bad in rink floors at derby bouts.

Skates’ 165’x75’ rink is crafted from maple wood and is lacquered to a smooth finish. There is only one wall partitioning the rink from snack and party area. This forced me to be brave my first time around.

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Skaters of all kinds flow around the rink. Some skate at high rates of speed, and others are more in tune with the beat. It was immediately apparent there is an unspoken comradery and etiquette among the skaters. The first person I saw fell was quickly met by two skaters who blocked him from others, while a third swooped in and helped him up. Seeing this made me feel good and safe. If I go down, instead of whizzing past me, these guys will help me. My “newbieism” is oh so apparent, but I have only been met with smiles and quick words of encouragement as people blaze by me.

Even back in my day of covering derby bouts and cheering on my favorite girls, I knew derby would never be “my thing.” But, when I saw this group of guys with matching shirts skating together, I knew I found my groove. I could feel the epiphany swarm me. 

“I wanna be a skate dancer!”

I’m sure these guys would probably cringe if they heard me say that. They are a team of Jam Skaters, and they are bad-to-the-bone! They have rhythm, grace and killer moves. They know what they are doing, and Skates is where they practice their craft. On Thursday nights, the Jam Skaters just have fun, but the rink is designated for them the first Sunday of the month, 9-11:30 p.m.

My ignorance is bliss, so I will still strive to be a skate dancer! But for now, just getting around the rink is progress.

The next time I went, I noticed there were a lot of new faces from the week before. I saw some who I’m sure go every Thursday, but I was happy to see I wasn’t the only wobbly-kneed newbs on the rink. I watched a cute couple hug the wall together before one of them was brave enough to go at it alone. She kept meeting up with her man and finally encouraged him to take her hand.  They both, as did I, got better as the night went on.

IMG_0365Adult Skate Night is just one session Skates offers. There is truly a time for everyone to skate. Family Night, 7-10 p.m. on Saturdays, blares “Mom-approved music” and is $8, including Brownie rental. Cheap Skates, 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, keeps with the “Mom approved” theme and is only $3 for admission. Note: Adult Skate Night is NOT “Mom approved.” I didn’t even have to make my request before I was skating to one of my favorite jams, “Shoop” by Salt ‘n’ Pepa!

Check out all Skates has to offer on their events page. They’ve got it all spelled out for you, so planning your skating session is no biggy.

Birthdays, fundraisers, group skate, parties–Skates does it all! You can even sign up for skate lessons! Coached by two time Jr. World Artistic Skating Champion, Court Collier, anyone at any level can have private skate lessons. I may just have to do this.

Skates logoIf going super fast is your thing, you can join the The Tulsa Speed League through Skates. Practice and join the team to participate and compete in Inline and Quad speed skating.

Skates is the place for the The Tulsa Derby League. It’s not just a league for the ladies either. They offer roller derby for men, women and junior girls and boys (ages 9-17). Welcoming skaters of all abilities and sizes, the professional coaches of the Tulsa Derby League will push skaters to the confidence and agility needed to play roller derby. 

My mission in 2016 is to move every day. Every Thursday night, and maybe some Cheap Skate nights, skating will be my platform to accomplish this goal. It’s good to mix it up. I’m so happy the stars aligned to bring my new-found courage, Moxi skates, Penelope and Stormy together at Skates in Sand Springs. Whether it’s for nostalgia, a party, or a date, Skates is a great place to lace up and roll onto the rink.

I’m creating memories as an adult at Skates. Writing this, I can’t help but wonder, what are some of your best roller skating memories? Please share with me in the comments!

Yummy Places

White River Fish Market: The Gem of North Tulsa Dining

guestpostheadshotBy Tyler Hall, JustTulsa.com

When the town of Dawson was annexed in 1949, Tulsa absorbed over 3,500 new residents and 2.5 square miles of land. Dawson’s reputation as a tough, industrial community hasn’t changed much since then, but people still come from all over the metro to eat at one special place that is located in the area where Dawson once was: White River Fish Market.

White River operated successfully for many years in Downtown Tulsa, but was eventually relocated just north of Pine and Sheridan — right next to the airport.

Craving a little seafood on a recent Saturday, I stopped in for lunch, sampled a few dinner platters, and took a few pictures. Enjoy!

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An old neon sign beckons hungry diners to White River Fish Market for an unparalleled Tulsa seafood experience .

One thing that White River Fish Market is known for is the freshness of the food that they sell. With fish and seafood, that is extremely important. I don’t think I need to explain why anything less than fresh isn’t acceptable in the seafood business, but you don’t have to worry about it here. Fresh-caught fish of all types are flown in from all over the map, then make the short trek from the airport to the display cooler in the store.

If you show up before noon, you can expect a line as short as this.
If you show up before noon, you can reasonably expect a line as short as this.

You can expect to have a bit of a line if you show up in the middle of a lunch or dinner rush. The line does move quickly, but I’m the type that prefers to show up a little before or after the rush.

The menu itself is impressive, with everything from catfish to rainbow trout to orange roughy available fried, broiled, or grilled. The options don’t stop at those more common offerings, though; you can also have halibut, mahi mahi, swordfish, and sea bass — just to name a few. All of their dinners come with hush puppies and two sides.

I love how you can actually see what you'll be ordering from the counter.
I love how you can actually see what you’ll be ordering from the counter.

Sometimes you just want to try more than one thing, so as a friend and I often do, we ordered two dinners that we were both interested in trying and shared both of them. On this particular visit, I ordered a broiled red snapper dinner with a side of red beans and rice and he ordered the seafood platter with red beans and rice, too. Although it always strikes me as a little funny when a restaurant is known for their sides, late owner Garry Cozby made sure that the sides he offered would be just as memorable as the seafood that they were popular for. This does not go unnoticed at White River.

Beans, rice, and sausage cooked in a meaty sauce. Unbelievably tasty.
Beans, rice, and sausage cooked in a meaty sauce. Unbelievably tasty.

Although I totally believe that I would enjoy any of the other sides here, I always get the red beans and rice. This stuff is what cajun dreams are made of. Though not listed as a side on their menu, you can order the red beans and rice as a substitution for the two sides you get with any dinner. If you want to just order a stand-alone red beans and rice, it’s just $3, which I would gladly pay any day.

Stuffed crab, scallops, and catfish -- oh my.
Stuffed crab, scallops, and catfish — oh my.

While catfish is something you can eat just about anywhere in this part of the country, I can’t think of any place I’ve ever enjoyed it as much as I have when we ordered the seafood platter here. The flavor was brought out even more by their cocktail sauce and house-made tartar sauce, but it would be just as tasty without either. The breading that they fry their fish in is seasoned perfectly, which is crucial since overdoing it would simply mask the quality of the fish.

Stuffed crab is something that is usually a reflection of the restaurant selling it, since it’s a cooked mix of ingredients selected by the chef. There were no surprises when I had my first bite of their stuffed crab: perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned, no complaints at all.

This meal included fried scallops, too, which I’d never had before. They obviously have the whole seafood taste, but they were much more of a buttery, creamy experience than the other items in the dish. The two hush puppies that are included with every meal were awesome. I love how their cornmeal breading has just enough pepper in it to make you say, “Wow! That has a little bit of a bite to it.”

Broiled Red Snapper! Mmmm.
Broiled Red Snapper! Mmmm.

I love fried fish just as much as the next person, but for some reason broiled fish sounded better on this trip.

I went for the broiled red snapper fillets this time, and I was not disappointed one bit. As a matter of fact, if you’re the kind of person who hears seafood being talked up but you still can’t really get into it, this is the dinner to try. A little melted butter drizzled over a fillet, followed by some fresh lemon juice squeezed onto it will make you a believer. Red Snapper is a leaner, firmer fish, but it was still quite moist, well-seasoned, and skin-on style is great. On top of all of this, it seems like the portion size for this dinner was ridiculously large.

I’ve been to White River dozens of times in the last thirty or so years, but I’m a little crushed that I’d never had their broiled fish until my most recent trip. Okay — that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but that broiled red snapper was mindblowing. I can’t wait to eat that again.

We didn’t go for a slice of one of their store-made pies on this trip, but we were in agreement that we’d definitely have to try a slice of that chocolate pie on the next trip. I mean, seriously: look at those chocolate ribbons.

Holy cow -- this pie looked good.
Holy cow — this pie looked good.

Residents of Broken Arrow will be happy to hear that White River Fish Market just announced the planned installation of a second store at 71st and Lynn Lane. That store will no doubt become a destination restaurant for Tulsans, too. This business has an incredibly loyal following of diners — many who have eaten at White River for their entire lives.

Having a new location in the eastern part of the metro should only build that following, as White River Fish Market has proven that they’re doing what every restaurant needs to do to succeed: sell a product with unmatched quality and deliver it quickly, consistently, and without gimmicks.

White River Fish Market

1708 N. Sheridan Road
918-835-1910
http://www.whiteriverfishmarket.com/
Open 11am-8pm Monday thru Saturday

When Tyler Hall isn’t writing about fun things to do in Tulsa, you can find him out in the middle of the woods building a cabin, canoeing on Ranch Creek, or exploring Oklahoma state parks with his wife and daughter. His creative inspiration comes from a supportive family and a desire to show other Oklahomans things that they can enjoy, but may not know about yet.

Yummy Places

Bramble: Where Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day

IMG_4413I love breakfast food. Being nearly six months pregnant, I crave breakfast food all the time now. Biscuits and gravy. Pancakes. French toast. Bacon. Bacon. Bacon. Bacon. (Can you tell there’s a little man growing inside of me, with all these bacon cravings?!)

I’ve been to The Bramble Breakfast and Bar twice now, and it has quickly become my favorite breakfast spot. The Bramble Breakfast & Bar is a short order, farm to table concept. Some of the local farms and businesses that Bramble gets its items from include Living Kitchen Farm & Dairy, Middle Mountain Dairy, Fair Fellow Coffee, JB Pratt, and Golden Rules Meats. You can taste the freshness in the food, folks. It’s remarkable.

Bramble, whose sister restaurant is Tallgrass Prairie Table, is located downtown at 311 East 2nd Street in the Blue Dome District. One of the great things about Bramble is that you can order breakfast both at breakfast time and lunch time. They do have lunch items on the menu like a IMG_4411Smash Burger and Openfaced Ham Melt, but I’ve only tried the breakfast items there. So that’s what I’ll be sharing about!

On my first visit to Bramble, I tried the French Toast, which is honestly the best French Toast I’ve ever had in my life. They must include sour cream in the dipping mix, because it’s extra smooth and creamy. It’s served with eggs and bacon. Bacon. Folks, this is some thick-cut, dadgum good bacon. You will be impressed.

On my most recent visit to Bramble, I had the Biscuits and Gravy — housemade sausage gravy IMG_4412served on griddle biscuits, and of course, I also had to order a side of that bacon. Folks, this meal did not disappoint. We Oklahomans know how to do Biscuits and Gravy, and Bramble is truly Oklahoman. The gravy was super smooth and had just the right amount of pepper and flavor. The biscuits were oh-so-perfect and I could have sworn I detected a hint of cheddar. And again, the bacon. It satisfied yet again.

My friend tried the Double Cheddar Omelette (below). With any of the egg dishes, you get a choice of toast, duck fat home fries, or hash brown latke. She opted for the hash brown latke, which is sort of like a potato pancake and served with a scoop of apple sauce. I tried her latke, and it was delicious. She raved about how fresh-tasting the omelette was.

IMG_4410Bramble also has a full Drink Menu, which I’ll have to investigate after the baby comes. The Sunny Side sounds especially delicious — bacon bourbon, egg, maple, and bauchant. Talk about a breakfast cocktail!

Everything I’ve tried at Bramble has been remarkable, and the atmosphere is equally applaudable. It’s relaxing yet trendy at the same time. The service is good, but the food does take a little time to prepare, since everything is made from scratch.

I highly recommend Bramble for your next breakfast experience!

Free Places

Tulsans Give Back By Giving A Little….Blood That Is

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Posted by: Bonita James

“I was given blood during my transplant surgery. I’m pretty sure I would be dead without it! #donatelife #giveblood” – Natalie Griffin

Natalie2That comment from my incredible friend and OKC artist Natalie Griffin is why donating blood is one of the most important, selfless acts one can do. My Grandmother, a nurse for 30+ years, instilled in us kids that we will always give a little of ourselves to save so many.  

When you donate to the Oklahoma Blood Institute, your blood goes to save Oklahoman lives. The donations save the lives of people such as Natalie, Justin, and maybe even your own.

Since moving to Tulsa, I had yet to start donating. I was inspired to not only donate myself but to also encourage others to donate with me. Where else would I ask others to sign up other than on Facebook? My new friends Kara and Haley heard my call and answered with a scheduled appointment!

Kara and I made a morning of it and met up for breakfast. Just down the street from the OBI Tulsa donation center which is located at 4601 E. 81st, we indulged in decadent breakfast sandwiches at Ludger’s Bavarian Cakery on 91st and Yale. Sure, they are known for bringing the best in cakes to Tulsa, but man, do they know how to do a breakfast sandwich! We needed a good, healthy meal before our donation, and Ludger’s delivered with a Gouda croissant stuffed with the meat of our choice, pesto, roasted veggies and a fried egg!

Kara beat me to the donation site and before I was called back for my iron and vital testing, she was on her way to her donation chair. Unfortunately, my hematocrit (iron) level was two points too low. You need a 38, and I was at 36. 😦 I’ll be consuming leafy greens and lentils over the next few days to get that number up and get my donation done!

Kara1Kara first donated on the first day she was old enough. For her 17th birthday, Kara’s mom let her skip school that morning so she could fulfill her blood donation duty. Kara had served as a volunteer with the local Red Cross for a year before turning 17. She saw first-hand the incredible need for blood and the shortage Oklahoma faces. OBI manages the life-saving donations from more than 140,000 individuals each year. Let’s make that 140,000 +++ individuals each year!

haleyRecent Oklahoma transplant, Haley, was scheduled to give at the OBI Mobile at the Broken Arrow Masonic Lodge. This was her first time to donate, and she was proud of her 1st Time Donor sticker! She loved that the mobile unit was in her town and close to home. Haley proved to be a speed donor and was done in seven minutes! She was happy about how quick, easy, and painless her donation was. Her advice for first time donors is, “Don’t look at the needle!”

OBI Mobile units travel all over the state of Oklahoma. You can find a mobile unit or a donation site close to you at OBI.org.

Signing up and scheduling your donation is easy.

  • Simply visit OBI.org
  • Register or login
  • Follow the site’s prompts to find a location nearest you
  • Schedule your appointment.

You can also call 1-877-340-8777 to schedule or just walk-in to a mobile unit or donation site.

If you are unable to or if giving blood isn’t your thing, OBI has a great volunteer program and the green kind of donation doesn’t hurt either.

Big thanks to Kara and Haley for stepping up and donating with me! I’ll get mine in soon.  I’m calling for all of my fellow Tulsans to help out your fellow Oklahomans!