One of my cousins visited us over the long weekend. He's been to Norman before, so he's already seen the two local museums we inflict on visitors; last time, I took him to an OU game the last time and he wasn't that much into it. So, this time we decided to show him the other Oklahoma we love.
We went to several state parks.
First off ... red rock canyon and a short hike. There are not that many canyons in Oklahoma, and the red bluffs are usually rather not too tall. So, this park is quite unique and impressive.
Next, to Roman Nose which used to be tribal lands of an Indian chief. There's a natural spring in the park, and the water flows out of an underground cavern and drops about six feet with enough force that you can have a nice, refreshing shower. The spring-cavern-waterfall combo is little known: we were the only ones there on one of the busiest weekends of the year!
After an hour of playing in the water, we camped overnight at Roman Nose. This was S2 (our four-year-old)'s first camping trip but she knew what to expect because we camped out in the backyard a few months ago.
The next morning, we headed over to Boiling Springs. Ever since S1 saw our pictures of geysers and boiling springs at Yellowstone, he's been hankering to go. We've told the kids that we'll take them when S2 is seven or eight, and able to deal with walking 3-4 miles a day (her range is now 2 miles). The park, however, was a letdown. "Is that all?," he wondered. He'd been expecting a geyser and brilliant colors.
We did hike down to the North Canadian river, however. And S1 was impressed when he realized that this was the same river that flows a mile west of our house.
The final park on our trip was Alabaster Caverns. The geology is quite interesting, but this too was a let down. There are no stalagmites in the cave. The thing is that the wife and I have been to both Boiling Springs and Alabaster Caverns before -- the best we can recall is that it must have been about eight years ago and so we could have set expectations properly. But all the springs and caverns run together -- we didn't realize that this cavern is pretty tame.