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Oklahoma Excels in Outdoor Adventure
It’s no surprise that the Sooner State is packed with outdoor and cutting-edge adventure opportunities for groups. Oklahoma bursts at the seams with energy and a confident attitude, making it a perfect choice for planners who want to shake things up, from drag racing and tunnel tours in Tulsa to skydiving in Shawnee, go-kart games in Norman or climbing up a silo in Oklahoma City.
Tulsa has always been a town on the go, from the trails at Turkey Mountain to skeet shooting and ropes courses at Post Oak Lodge, and many of those activities make excellent diversions for groups, according to Vanesa Masucci, vice president for the Tulsa CVB.
“Post Oak Lodge is a very unique property,” she said. “The guest rooms are all located in lodges with access to ropes courses, trails, skeet shooting, fishing, volleyball, even a treetop zipline.”
She added that Turkey Mountain, Tulsa’s urban wilderness area, features a number of excellent outdoor activities, including mountain biking, trail running and hiking along 45 miles of trails.
“There are several organized groups who have events at Turkey Mountain, and mountain bikes can be rented from several bike shops in the Tulsa area,” she added.
If planners want to up the ante, they can choose something exciting and unique.
“We also have working ranches close to Tulsa for the cowboy experience,” Masucci said. “And Tulsa Speedway offers car enthusiasts the opportunity to drag race, though participants use their own cars.”
Tours are another way groups can experience the Tulsa outdoors, both above and below ground. Tulsa Segway Tours offer smaller groups a chance to see downtown, while DECO Tours gives groups a chance to see a different side of the city’s history.
“Tulsa has the third largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the World, just after New York City and Miami, Florida,” Masucci said. “Two entities offer DECO Tours, which are generally walking tours, and while not “extreme” from the sporting perspective, are extremely cool. There are tunnels under Tulsa, built by the oil barons in the early 1900s.”
Whitewater rafting may not be the first thought when it comes to Oklahoma City, but that could soon change, according to Tabbi Burwell, communications manager for Visit Oklahoma City.
“Already designated as an official Olympic and Paralympic training site, Oklahoma City is creating the finest rowing racecourse in the world,” she said. “We're also investing $25 million in a public whitewater kayaking facility that will accommodate all skill levels and provide a myriad of recreation possibilities for families, recreational enthusiasts, Olympic-caliber athletes and everyone in between.”
The city’s Boathouse District welcomed RIVERSPORT Rapids, a $45 million whitewater rafting property and one of just six artificially created whitewater courses in the U.S., in May 2016. The facility can handle around 2,000 people rafting per day and there are levels for all experiences, from beginner to Olympian.
“It’s also unique in that our Entertainment District, Bricktown, is walking distance to the RIVERSPORT Rapids—making it the only urban whitewater rafting facility in the world,” said Burwell.
Another attraction in the Boathouse District is the Sandridge Sky Trail, an adventure course that goes straight up. The trail features six levels of challenges, resulting in several ways to get down from the 80-foot summit, including high-speed slides, a zip line over the Oklahoma River or an adrenaline-fueled free fall.
The sky is also the limit at Climb Up! Oklahoma City, located in an old grain silo. Groups can tackle indoor or outdoor climbing, and experts can scale up the silo to the top, 90 feet in the air, for an amazing view of the city.
Visit OKC has arranged a variety of outdoor events for groups, according to Burwell. These range from Boathouse District events for teambuilding, receptions and on-water demonstrations to Bricktown Entertainment District crawls; a lazy river float combined with movie night at RIVERSPORT Rapids; and even a complete rental of the city’s outdoors Outlet Mall for 2,800 attendees.
To the southeast of Oklahoma City is Shawnee, a town filled with outdoor opportunities. Several parks offer groups a chance to go outside and play, including boating and skiing at Wes Watkins Reservoir or fishing and jet skiing on the Shawnee Twin Lakes. The region also features three golf courses, including FireLake Golf Course, part of the FireLake Casino property.
For extreme adventurers, though, one place stands out in Shawnee: Scissortail Skydiving. Attendees can try the ultimate thrill ride through the skies with a tandem jump, and feel confident about the experience, according to Emily Lutz, director of marketing for Visit Shawnee.
“Scissortail Skydiving has Oklahoma’s only perfect safety record, and they are the only place in the OKC/central Oklahoma area that is a United States Parachute Association (USPA) group member offering tandem skydiving,” she said.
South of Oklahoma City is the town of Norman, which is packed with city and regional parks for any size group. Griffin Park Sports Complex features room for group tournaments with ten baseball fields, thirteen soccer fields and four football fields, while Lake Thunderbird State Park is popular for hiking, biking, fishing and hayrides.
A fun option for groups is ATV Paintball Games, located at the Norman Paintball Field. While paintball on ATVs is for extreme fans of the sport, the facility offers a bevy of play options, from paintball teams on foot to military scenarios involving a tank or grounded helicopter.
For rock climbing enthusiasts, Climb Up! also has a location in Norman perfect for indoor climbing and team-building events. The facility can also arrange outdoor climbing events as well. Another attraction, Get Air Norman, proves that indoor activities can be just as extreme as outdoor events, with trampolines, dodgeball courts, slam ball courts, a foam pit and a ninja course for attendees who wonder if they could be American Ninja Warriors.
At the Oklahoma Motorsports Complex, planners can arrange corporate events for any size group, including go-kart rides and racing. Team-building takes on an entirely new meaning with these professional, no-speed-limit karts.
Not everyone has a need for speed, and the Norman area offers several golf courses for those who like their adventure at a more leisurely pace. Notable courses include the Jimmy Austin Golf Course on the University of Oklahoma campus, and the challenging par-3 Cobblestone Creek executive golf course.