Monday, October 15, 2018

State Park Challenge: 2018 Update

I started the state park challenge in the summer of 2017 after visiting the state park closest to our house. Over spring break we planned out a trip and decided to visit another state park. While we were there I saw a sign about a passport to the state parks and asked about it. The lady working there gave me a little book which lists all the state parks and has some activities for kids. Each state park has a sticker which you get to put on the state park's page in your book. There are 34 state parks listed. For every 6 state parks you visit you get a special medallion. Now I'm even more excited about visiting the state parks and so are the kids! The parks are all within 4 hours of us except for one way out in the panhandle which is almost 7 hours away! I'd like to make it to all the state parks but I'm not sure we'll make it to that one!
The kids with their first state park medallion.

1. Alabaster Caverns State Park- March 20th, 2018
  • Alabaster Caverns was one of the state parks we were the most excited to visit. When we did our underground learning theme and talked about caves Carter really wanted to visit a cave. I looked up caves in Oklahoma and came across this state park. It was on our list of places we really wanted to visit but at 3.5 hours away was a bit of a drive for a day trip. When we started planning a spring break trip I gave Carter lots of options for cheap things to do in Oklahoma and his first choice was visiting this cave. We went on the cave tour, played on the playground, and ate our snack at the Cedar Canyon Overlook. Carter saw a hiking trail leading from the overlook and wanted to go on a hike. It was a little nerve wracking for me because it was a narrow path with a steep drop off to the side, but we survived!
2. Beavers Bend State Park
3. Black Mesa State Park and Nature Preserve
4. Boiling Springs State Park
5. Cherokee Landing State Park
6. Clayton Lake State Park
7. Fort Cobb State Park
8. Foss State Park
9. Grand Lake State Park
10. Great Plains State Park
11. Greenleaf State Park- June 30th, 2018
  • We had a rare weekend in town with nothing going on so we took advantage of the opportunity to check out another state park. We invited Jeremy and Thomas to go along and Thomas came with us. He and I ran a long run that morning, 12 for him and 15 for me, on a decently hilly course before heading to the park. We enjoyed a nice 2-ish mile hike. Elise was really tired and wanted me to carry her so I wore her in the baby carrier during our hike. It was really hot and she wanted to ride on my front, or as she said, "Ride on your tummy!" Her hair was stuck to my neck in sweat and was making me so hot! When we turned around to head back I switched her to my back and although she was very upset about it, she fell asleep and got a nice little cat nap in. Then we ate lunch and went swimming before heading home. This state park had mini golf and was about 20 minutes away from another state park but the kids were really tired so we decided it was best to just head home.
    Elise hiking was short lived.

12. Gloss Mountain State Park- March 20th, 2018
  • We were driving to Alabaster Caverns and came upon some beautiful red mountains. Carter was certain one of them was a volcano. We were oooohing and ahhhing over it when I looked over and saw a sign for Gloss Mountain State Park right beside the highway. We pulled off to check it out. We ended up climbing up the mountain using the stairs that were installed and hiked to the end of the mountain. It was so beautiful and the highlight of our spring break trip for both me and Carter.
13. Great Salt Plains State Park
14. Hugo Lake State Park
15. Keystone State Park- July 29th, 2017 and April 18th, 2018 and many other times for hiking, fishing, and swimming
  • Keystone is the state park closest to our house. It was a good one to start with and was the first state park we visited. We went on a hike and enjoyed swimming at the beach area along Keystone Lake. My birthday was on a Saturday so I cashed in the birthday card for this fun visit.
    Ready to go for a hike at Keystone State Park.

    Swimming at Keystone Lake.

  • On April 18th we went to Keystone State Park again while I was watching Jake. It was absolutely beautiful weather for hiking and we were a bit tired of the hiking area that's less than a mile away so we sprung for Keystone State Park which is still only about a 25 minute drive. Carter was really excited to get another sticker for his passport book since we went last summer before we knew about the passport books. We went for a hike and then got ice cream in the gift shop. We tried out the playground and then went down to the swim beach to play in the sand. Now that we know how much fun this park is, we will definitely be hitting it up a fair amount this summer. You really can't beat a place to swim for free! 

16. Lake Eufaula State Park
17. Lake Murray State Park
18. Lake Texoma State Park
19. Lake Thunderbird State Park- March 21st, 2018
  • We visited Lake Thunderbird State Park during our stop in Norman over spring break. We planned to check out the nature center but it was closed Sunday through Wednesday and we were there on a Wednesday. Instead we played at the playground and made some friends who went on a hike with us. The kids enjoyed playing in the sand down by the lake during our short hike.
20. Lake Wister State Park
21. Little Sahara State Park
22. McGee Creek State Park
23. Natural Falls State Park- August 20th, 2017 and May 13, 2018
  • I was excited to check out the Natural Falls State Park because it was close enough to go for a day trip and it had a waterfall. I read that most of Where the Red Fern Grows was filmed there so I figured it must be beautiful. It did not disappoint. We enjoyed hiking to the top of the waterfall to look down and then hiking down to the bottom to view it from there as well. We hiked on one of the longer trails too. We also played at the playground and had a picnic at the park. Before we left the kids wanted to go look at the waterfall again and we saw a waterfall at the top which was beautiful!

  • We went again for Mother's Day on May 13, 2018. When I thought about what I really wanted to do, I decided I wanted to go back to Natural Falls State Park. We had visited it before we found out about the passport program so we needed to go so we could get our sticker and it was one of my favorite parks we've visited so far!

24. Osage Hills State Park- April 14th, 2018 and June 17, 2018
  • We planned to head to Woolaroc and Osage Hills State Park one Saturday after Carter's soccer game. It was super cold and windy that morning with a feels like temperature in the 20's. My weather apps showed it would warm up to 50 by the afternoon so we decided to go ahead and go. We started with Woolaroc since it's mostly inside with a petting barn, a museum, and seeing the large animals during the 2 mile drive to the museum. The wind was wicked, just so darn freezing and strong! Ty was hoping to cut the trip short by skipping Osage Hills but I was convinced the wind wouldn't be as bad in the trees so we went. We stopped in the guest office to get Elise a passport book since they only gave us one at Alabaster Caverns. The park ranger there was super nice and gave us a fun activity book to complete as we explored. We went on a hike to the waterfall and did the scavenger hunt page as we walked. Then Carter drew a picture of the waterfall and wrote a little bit about it. It was getting late when we finished our hike to the waterfall so we drove to lookout point rather than hike there. Thankfully the wind was blocked by the trees on our hike so it didn't feel nearly as cold. The kids had a blast and I think Ty even enjoyed himself a little bit down by the water even though he was really cold.
Elise was thrilled with this "waterfall" so I can't wait to take her back to Natural Falls State Park this summer!
Family picture at the overlook.
  • Ty and I ran a trail race at Osage Hills State Park on Father's Day. Mom and dad watched the kids while we were at the race and then they brought the kids out and met us after the race. Read more about my race here. We enjoyed swimming after the race as a family. Ty and I both really enjoyed the race and he has decided he'd like to make it a Father's Day tradition.

    Playing at the playground.
25. Raymond Gary State Park
26. Red Rock Canyon State Park
27. Robbers Cave State Park
28. Roman Nose State Park
29. Sequoyah State Park/Sequoyah Bay State Park- 2018
  • We went to Sequoyah State Park for a free fishing derby. The kids weren't really into fishing that day. We'd gone fishing the weekend before and Carter caught fish after fish. This experience was more of a waiting game so he lost interest quickly. They really just wanted to swim but Carter had recently had his ear tube surgery and hadn't been fitted for ear plugs yet so he couldn't swim in lake water (he only has to wear ear plugs in dirty water like oceans and lakes, not in swimming pools). We gave up on the fishing derby and went to their nature center which was actually pretty cool. After walking around looking at the animals we headed back over to the fishing derby area for free lunch and the prize drawing. Elise lucked out and had her ticket drawn first, winning a fishing pole. Carter won spiderman bobbers. We were really close to Sequoyah Bay State Park so we headed over there and were disappointed to find they were out of stickers and there wasn't a playground so we just headed home.
30. Talimena State Park
31. Tenkiller State Park
32. Arrowhead State Park
33. Okmulgee and Dripping Springs State Park- April 27, 2018
  • We picked Carter up from school on a Friday and then drove to the state park. It was our 6th state park so we were really excited to get our passport book signed in the park office. Then we'd send in our page to get our first medallion. We were a little disappointed to find out that they are still in the book but are no longer actually a state park so they couldn't sign off on the passport page. We'd have to wait until our next state park visit. We still had fun with some rock climbing and a short hike. Then we went to the playground for a while and tried to find the dam so we could see the "waterfall". The map wasn't very good and we couldn't locate the road we needed to take so we didn't get to see the waterfall. I was disappointed because Elise was really excited to see the waterfall but she didn't seem to mind very much. Before we left we went on another short hike and found a trail that went along the lake which was pretty. We checked out a dock and the kids had fun playing in the piles of leaves.

No comments:

Post a Comment