Day Trip to the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks, OK (Less Than a 3 hour Drive from Wichita)

I don’t know if it was the spring weather or the fact that we haven’t gone anywhere in almost a year, but I was itching for a little getaway. I didn’t want anything too crazy, because let’s be honest, traveling with a toddler is not relaxing. I once heard someone say it perfectly…it’s just parenting in a different, less convenient location!

So once I heard about the Oklahoma Aquarium near Tulsa, I figured it was perfect for my Finding Nemo-loving son. We hit the road, and about three hours later arrived at our destination.

Sea turtle at the Oklahoma AquariumThe Oklahoma Aquarium is a great size for little ones – we made the loop around the facility twice in about two hours. There’s so much to see! My son kept asking for Dory while staring at the tank with dozens of Nemos.

There are also  several interactive exhibits where you can touch stingrays and starfish or watch workers feed the sharks and piranhas.

My son also spent tons of time watching the turtles, jellyfish and a giant eel that looked more like a cross between a dinosaur and monster!

If you have shark-lovers in your family, you’re in luck – the Oklahoma Aquarium is home to the largest collection of bull sharks in the WORLD!

There’s a snack bar, but there’s also a grassy area outside that’s perfect for a picnic. Also not far down the road is part of the Tulsa Riverwalk. We didn’t make it over there, but the Riverwalk has shops, restaurants and walking trails. We’ll definitely check it out next time.

Overall, we all had a great time and it was surprisingly a bit relaxing! My son actually slept past 5:30 a.m., which was a vacation enough in itself! We must have really worn him out.

We’ll be back because there’s much more to see in Tulsa than we made time for, like the zoo, children’s museum or the Big Splash Water park. But for now, it was just the getaway we needed.

Travel tip: If you have memberships to things like the Sedgwick County Zoo or Exploration Place, make sure to ask at out of town attractions about member discounts.  Our memberships didn’t qualify at the aquarium, but it never hurts to ask.  Also try online coupon searches, I found one for discounted admission to the aquarium.

*This article was originally written April 2015

Kim Trinchet
Kim is a Wichita transplant who never planned to stay, but 15 years later she’s convinced Wichita is the perfect place to raise a family. She’s a wife to Jorge and a mama to Nico and Lucia. She moved here from the Chicago suburbs and works in the communications world. The rest of her time is focused on seeking out adventures with her little family. She also loves browsing grocery store aisles, reading cookbooks, iced coffee and wine. Kim’s trying to learn Spanish as well, her kiddos are bilingual and already speak better than she does!


  1. Great tip about the discounts. Your SCZ membership gets you in to the OKC Zoo which is also fun! We hope to use in KC, Omaha and Minneapolis this summer!

    • Thanks Ginny! I’m also hoping to take advantage of the membership perks in Chicago this summer. SCZ has a list of places that work with the membership and I’m sure EP does t

  2. Thanks Ginny! I’m also hoping to take advantage of the membership perks in Chicago this summer. SCZ has a list of places that work with the membership and I’m sure EP does too.

  3. We loved the Tulsa Aquarium! There is so much to do in Tulsa that you never have enough time in a weekend. I have been wanting to try out that hotel so I will definitely do so now!

  4. That hotel looks great!! I’m planning a trip to the OKC Zoo for the family but we may have to stay an extra day and hit the aquarium too! Researching and have a question maybe you can answer…. was the breakfast buffet and water park included in the hotel cost? Thanks!!

    • Hi Melissa,

      I think it’s worth the trip! The water park/pool was included in the cost of the hotel, but the breakfast was not. To be honest, the breakfast buffet was not good at all. I would skip it and get breakfast from one of the nearby restaurants or buy something at the grocery store across the street. That was my only complaint with the place.

      Also keep an eye on Groupon, the hotel often has deals and that’s how we booked. Have fun!

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