If you are stationed at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, you may feel like your base is located in the middle of nowhere with few exciting local options. But don’t be fooled! Fort Sill and the surrounding areas provide military families rich opportunities to learn about and experience the culture of the Great Plains. The base is about 1.5 hours from Oklahoma City, so it has a small-town feel that can become charming, especially for families with young children. While most activities are located outdoors, there are a few special indoor gems that families can enjoy too for those rainy, cold, or windy days.
1. Museum of the Great Plains
This museum provides an inside look at the culture and history of the Great Plains. In addition to that, this museum has many things that are hands-on for children to explore. They also have an outdoor area to see farm equipment, a train, and a fort. The Museum of the Great Plains offers a military discount off admission and has several membership packages to choose from if you plan on going there frequently.
2. Elmer Thomas Park
This beautiful park is located adjacent to the Museum of the Great Plains. This park has a walkable trail that totals 1.8 miles and dogs are welcome on a leash. In addition, there is a lake with ducks, plenty of picnic areas overlooking the water, a splash pad, and a large semi-covered playground. This park is equipped with bathrooms near the playground area and is a perfect destination for family time outdoors.
3. Medicine Park Aquarium
This small aquarium has an indoor and an outdoor section to view animals and fish. A great majority of the fish in this aquarium are freshwater fish with the exception of a few tanks. In addition, the outdoor part of this aquarium houses turtles, alligators, a mountain lion, a wolf, snakes, quail, and sea otters. It’s a beautiful place to see in person, and a nice walk outdoors. The Medicine Park Aquarium also offers discounted rates for military families.
4. The Holy City
This 66-acre place in the Wichita Mountains is mind blowing. The Holy City is a must see as it resembles Israel during Biblical times. This lovely place is situated in the Wichita Mountain Refuge, so there is usually a nice breeze coming through. It’s a perfect place for families since there are multiple photo opportunities, Biblical history to learn about, and light walking required to see everything in this stone-made city. Afterwards, you can see prairie dogs, bison, and longhorns roaming freely around the refuge simply by taking a drive around the surrounding area outside of The Holy City. Each year at Easter, they put on a play on the grounds showing the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
5. Medicine Park downtown
This little town started out as a resort town, founded by John William Elmer Thomas in 1908. It is situated along a river and has shops, cobblestone cabins, and restaurants to enjoy along with the scenery. There is also a stage for seasonal concerts during certain times of the year.
The surrounding areas of Fort Sill have some unique places and experiences to offer families. If you love the outdoors, learning about the history and culture of your new duty station, you will enjoy visiting the above mentioned places. Many of them offer discounted rates for military families too, so take advantage of being stationed at Fort Sill. You and your family can enjoy all that Oklahoma has to offer!
Wendi Iacobello is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a Master of Arts in Educational Media and a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Mount Olive. Her professional career in education spans across ten years and counting in the public education sector. In addition to chasing around her energetic toddler daily, she is a blogger, freelance writer, brand ambassador, and instructional design assistant. Wendi became a published author in 2020 and her writing has been seen in multiple military affiliated websites and magazines. She loves encouraging others to develop their inner strength in military life and motherhood through her blog Strength 4 Spouses.