A student writer takes us on a tour of a corner of the soon-to-open park.
With everything from playgrounds to bike paths and a boathouse, the Gathering Place is Tulsa’s most exciting new attraction. Encompassing nearly 100 acres along the Arkansas River, this park has something for everyone. Everywhere you turn, there is something to see and explore.
The George Kaiser Family Foundation was the driving force behind this park, and they have created a beautiful park for the Tulsa community to enjoy. Construction officially began four long years ago. This outdoor experience unlike any other in Tulsa was definitely worth the wait. There are so many exciting things to see that one visit is not enough to see everything.
Walking into the park, I was surprised by the magnitude of it. This space is truly like no park I have ever seen. The first thing I noticed was Peggy’s Pond. There were walking paths surrounding the pond with beautiful landscaping. When the park officially opens, there will be canoes and paddle boats for rent on the pond at ONEOK Boathouse. The upper level of the boathouse overlooks the pond. The spacious deck looks like it could be on a beautiful lake. One can sit out on the deck and enjoy the panoramic views the park affords.
Across the pond is Adventure Playground. This playground is an imaginative wonder. Children and adults can spend hours exploring this unique playground equipment. There are tall towers, huge slides, rope bridges and animal shaped playground equipment. I was amazed by all of the whimsical playground equipment.
On the other side of the playground is Williams Lodge. This stunning lodge looks like it belongs in the mountains. Full of cozy furniture, wood, a huge fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows through which one can overlook the park, this lodge is the perfect place to curl up with a good book in any season.
The layout of the Gathering Place, with all of its windy paths to the different attractions, spreads out the crowds. Although there were hundreds of other people at the park, the design made me feel like there were not many people there.
I only made it through a corner of the park, but I was astounded by everything I saw. Some other things I am interested in seeing are the Great Lawn for events or movies, and Swing Hill is supposed to provide many swings with beautiful views of Tulsa. In the middle, there is the Four Seasons Garden and Sky Garden that are supposed to contain regional plants. For those who enjoy sports, there is a bike park, a Skate Bowl and Sports Courts. There truly is something for everyone.
The Gathering Place officially opens September 8 with a performance by the Roots on the Great Lawn that evening. This kicks off 100 days of fun at the park for its grand opening. Since it is only a few miles from TU, TU students should take advantage of the fun and beauty this park has to offer.