Kid Approved, Oklahoma, Travel

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The Wichita Mountains is a pretty spectacular sight to see.  You are driving along the prairies of Oklahoma, we came from Oklahoma City on the turnpike, then suddenly there are mountains in view.  Huge stacks of boulders seem to be piled on top of one one another to form mountains.  It’s a beautiful sight, with flat prairies between the mountains.  I have visited, hiked and camped at the Wichita Mountains many times before I moved to NW Oklahoma.  There are so many places to hike, explore and rock climb.  You could go 50 times and discover something new each time.  They have camping sites, a visitors center, hiking, rock climbing, prairie dog town, lakes, lake recreation, animal sitings and more.  This visit was the first time I took my girls, and it was not long enough.

About the Wichita Mountains Wildflife Refuge

A little about the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.  The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge was established to protect wildlife species that were in grave danger of extinction, and to restore species that had been eliminated from the area. Bison were reintroduced, along with elk and wild turkey. More recent reintroductions include the prairie dog, the river otter, and burrowing owls.  The refuge provides habitat for large native grazing animals such as American bison, Rocky Mountain elk, and white-tailed deer. Texas longhorn cattle also share the refuge rangelands as a cultural and historical legacy species. More than 50 mammals, 240 bird, 64 reptile and amphibian, 36 fish, and 806 plant species thrive on this important refuge.  You can learn more at their website.

Hiking and Exploring

After breakfast in Medicine Park, we headed to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.  We stopped by The Holy City first, it is pretty close to the entrance.  The hiking there is relatively easy, not a lot of hills or rock climbing.  There are several structures including a small chapel.  Pasion Plays are performed there annually.  You can see video and photos of past Pasion Plays.  I just find it to be a fun and easy hike, with lots of structures and small hills for the girls to explore.  They have a little gift shop, and there were hummingbird feeders hanging outside.  We witnessed quite a few of the tiny birds fluttering around and my girls really enjoyed seeing them, as did I.

Visitors Center

We drove to the Visitor’s Center next and walked around in their nice cool air conditioned building.  The Center is pretty informative and is interactive also.  It is a neat place to visit, and a great way to cool down, refill water bottles, learn, and purchase some souvenirs.  Our next stop was Prairied Dog Town.   We got a kick watching these sweet little dogs run, play and communicate with each other.  It was fascinating!

I would have loved to hike a lot more and stay longer, but our next stop was The Tiger Safari in Tuttle.  I know we will visit again in the near future.  There is just too much to see not to visit this place many times.

 

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