No. 1 New Attraction In America Is Tulsa's Gathering Place
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa's Gathering Place hasn't even been open for a year, and it snagged the number one new attraction in America according to USA Today. Already more than 1.5 million visitors have made their way through the park, and one of the most anticipated attractions are the boats, kayaks and paddleboats on Peggy's Pond.
"Now we're gonna add a little splash to your adventure," says Jimmy Cruz with Gathering Place. His team is overseeing the project.
"Our team has been training ever since this winter on how to size somebody for the right life jacket, how to safely get in and out of the kayaks and canoes, and then the techniques on the water," Cruz says.
Kids ages 5 to 13 will need someone 14 or older with them on the water, and of course, safety is top of mind.
"Just managing all the effects of the weather we've had lately. All those things kinda come into play to make sure we have a very safe operation," says Cruz.
If you think the water attractions at Gathering Place are cool, wait until you go inside the newly opened Vista at the Boathouse restaurant.
"The food has been all high marks, the drinks are different. They're custom - not like anything else you're going to get anywhere else in town and then the view," says Josh Henderson with Gathering Place.
Every seat is a great seat. The burger is a top seller, and the lemonade is made daily.
"We do a fresh-squeezed lemonade in house with house-made simple syrup," says Henderson.
The Vista is a spot that serves well for all occasions.
"You can come here for everything from a date night or a causal day in the park walking in your hat, flip-flops and shorts. Everyone's welcome," Henderson says.
"Everyone's welcome" is the common theme that holds Gathering Place together. Just ask Executive Director Tony Moore.
"It's a park for everyone,” Moore says. “Everyone is welcome regardless of age, race, social economic, zip codes, this is Tulsa's Park, this is Oklahoma's Park and now this is America's Park."
A park made possible thanks to 80 donors including the George Kaiser Family Foundation and a whopping $465 million. A park where you can run along the Arkansas River, take in a free concert on the lawn, let the kids loose on the 5-acre playground, hit the beach for some time in the sun or burn some calories on the basketball courts or BMX park.
It's really a place that has it all for all.
"Continue to bring visiting family and friends, continue to make Tulsa vibrant, continue to use Gathering Place as a halo effect in saying Oklahoma is no longer a flyover state, there's a lot going on," says Moore.