After months of gray skies, sub freezing temperatures, and a general drabness, it just feels like magic when the world starts to bloom in the spring. In Oklahoma, first we see the daffodils, then the redbuds and dogwoods, and finally the tulips.
Now…it may not be Holland, but Tulsa has a surprisingly good tulip scene. So if you’re looking for the perfect place to snap some family pictures, or just see the blooms in their full glory, stay tuned for the best places to see tulips in Tulsa.
When Do the Tulips Bloom?
In Oklahoma, the tulips usually start to bloom by the end of March and go strong through the beginning of April, but we get wacky weather here and anything can happen, so I follow a few places on Instagram for live updates as it gets to be that time of year.
Tulsa Botanic Gardens
This is the showstopper in Tulsa when it comes to tulips. The Tulsa Botanic Gardens is actually a relatively new attraction in Tulsa. Ground was broken in 2007, but the main attraction (the Tandy Floral Terraces with the annual spring bulb display) didn’t debut until 2016 and it’s all still very much a work in progress.
It’s really coming along and I can’t wait to see what it’s like in another 10 years, but for now I only visit in the spring to see the tulips. And they don’t disappoint. They’re so thick it’s unbelievable. And the terraces make it easy to get good photos if you’re bringing the kids.
Another thing I love about this place is that they do their planting in waves so it’s not just one set of tulips that comes up. You get a more extended tulip season this way plus if you somehow manage to time it in the overlap of the two waves (and there hasn’t been a big storm), it’s BANANAS.
The Tulsa Botanic Gardens aren’t too far from downtown Tulsa, but it feels like a world away. Northwest of downtown in the Osage Hills, you’ll definitely need your GPS to find it out here. Tickets are $8/adult (16+), $4/child (3-15) and 2 and under are free.
Philbrook Museum of Art
If you want to stay closer to town (and check out one of Tulsa’s coolest museums to boot!), keep an eye on the tulips at Philbrook. Yes yes yes, it’s a phenomenal art museum but everybody knows it’s their gardens that steal the show and when the tulips are going off it’s really the place to be.
They’re realllllly proud of their tulips at Philbrook and completely obsess over them on social media which is the ideal situation if you’re trying to visit during peak bloom. Follow along and they will let you know when to show up. Try for a weekday if you can because it gets crowded on the weekends.
Tickets are $12/adult (17 and under are free) and yes you have to buy a ticket to go back to the gardens.
I’ll level with you…the tulips at Woodward Park are nowhere near as good as they used to be (or maybe our standards just weren’t as high before the Tulsa Botanic Gardens opened). They’re a little stingy with the bulbs, BUT it’s free and it’s a beautiful park and a great setting for pictures.
Honestly, Utica Square is top of the list as far as tulips in Tulsa go. They’re thick, lush, and really varied in color. But it’s hard to get good pictures with them. It’s an outdoor shopping center so a lot of the best beds have cars and whatnot in the background. For photos, the best spot is usually the beds in front of Athleta (in between Gap and Madewell).
Driving through Midtown
Okay, you can’t get out of your car and go take pictures in somebody’s yard (pleassssse don’t do that), but if you just want to drive by, you really can’t beat the neighborhoods in midtown around Utica Square.
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