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Free at last!


Let’s face the facts: You are a cheap date.

Christina Nihira October 12th, 2011

You could spend a lot of money in the metro on cool dates. But you don’t have to, with scores of spots in more than 600 square miles of sprawl.

Here are some fresh, free alternatives beyond the everyday without impacting your wallet. Admission to everything below is free.

That’s right: free. Five days a week, Martin Park Nature Center, 5000 W. Memorial, offers city dwellers an escape to a wildlife sanctuary. The secluded, 140-acre park has grasslands, streams and 3 miles of trails, in addition to a hands-on educational facility, bird observation wall and 12-foot watchtower. It’s open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.

The more traditional Will Rogers Park and Horticultural Gardens, 3400 N.W. 36th, presents attractive and typical Oklahoma landscape, open daily from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. — make your way to the Charles E. Sparks Rose Garden. Surrounded by nearly 1,000 rose bushes, this makes the perfect locale for a breakfast, brunch, picnic or afternoon tea.

For fearless adventures, try the Mat Hoffman Action Sports Park, 1700 S. Robinson a concrete haven for skateboarders, BMX riders and Rollerblade enthusiasts. Test your skills dawn to 11 p.m. on its bowl and street courses.

right, Scott Perrizo of World of Wings

Too much adrenaline? The Centennial Land Run Monument, at the south end of the Bricktown Canal, memorializes a frantic time in our state’s history, but you can settle to just stroll around it. When all pieces of the display are completed in 2015, it will be one of the world’s largest bronze monu ments.

Another component of Oklahoma heritage is Native American culture. The Red Earth Museum & Gallery, 6 Santa Fe Plaza, is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with fine art, pottery, basketry, textiles and beadwork, including the Deupree Cradleboard Collection, considered one of the finest of its kind.

“We would be perfect for a daytime date, as we are one of the only places in the state (that) features Native American art made by Oklahoma artists and 39 tribes from around the country,” said Eric Oesch, deputy museum director. “We are constantly rotating our exhibits, and you could see something different every time you come.”

Republicans and Democrats alike have lived in the Governor’s Mansion, 820 N.E. 23rd. Surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens, the home has a swimming pool shaped like the state of Oklahoma and a third-floor ballroom. Tours are given 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Wednesdays through November.

For something unconventional, check out the World of Wings Pigeon Center, 2300 N.E. 63rd. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and by appointment on weekends, it provides a glimpse of the homing pigeon’s storied history.

Even a tight budget, you now have a wealth of ideas at hand.

 
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