Do you want to find a unique experience in the OKC Metro Area? Do you need a place to run away from your current troubles? Well, your prayers have been answered. This nature center is the coolest place to go if you want a brief and casual experience away from city life. Its hours are 5:00 am to 9:00 pm (they change depending on the season), and it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays for maintenance. I can see why it isn’t open late, because of the fabled beasts that roam the land (coyotes, foxes, the like). The park is on the corner of West Memorial Road and N Meridian, and you can look for the Mercy Hospital behind the trees if you need to locate the parking lot. Some other attractions near it include Lake Hefner, Quail Springs Mall, and Quail Creek Golf and Country Club. You can have a nice day out and burn your money at the mall!
When you arrive at the park, you’ll notice that there are three paths. One leads to the Pollinator’s playground, where you can bring your kids to play. The second path leads to a bridge where you can feed the many turtles that call this little creek home. There is actually a ginormous snapping turtle (4 feet long?) if you look carefully. The turtles are sure fun to watch when they swim around begging for food. I just realized the third path existed last time I went. The third path winds next to the pavilion where you can walk on the edge of the park. There is a meadow with a trail surrounding it so if you’re among the lucky, you can spot a deer! My mom stealthily pointed out a bird I almost missed.
Now, you know I’m not a know-it-all when it comes to a park that I don’t regularly come to, but there are 2.5 miles of trails for you to hike. The trails are easy, nothing hard if you can walk on two legs, but include steps and slopes if you are worried about someone’s health. The park’s size is 144 acres of meadows, forests, and creeks. The two waterways that run through it are Bluff and Spring Creek, add a small pond. I love how there are so many things to explore when you pay attention to your surroundings. If the idea of a few hours of peace doesn’t rile you up, I don’t know what will!
After gazing at the turtles, if you walk straight you might see a 20-foot tall lookout tower. This is a great opportunity to take pictures of the wildlife and gaze at treetops. Next time I go, I might want to check it out, but due to the abundance of wasps, I wussed out.
Turtle Bridge is a large iron bridge that connects the park in the middle. If you have cereal, you can feed the many big fish that live under it. Carp and Catfish live throughout the park and will happily battle over one piece of food. I love it when they open their mouth to gulp up the pieces!
The most visited part of this park (In my opinion!) is the creek that has very red rocks. The rocks make it unique, because they have grey circles that are created by the iron deposits in the rock. You can also find little clam shells on the riverbed, I usually take an old one as a souvenir. The part of the creek that you see once you enter is about one foot deep with rocks stretching the length of the creek, so you can easily get to the other side on foot. It is a really cool sight to see with the clear water.
There are the standard amenities, like bathrooms and benches. Benches are common within the park, so it won’t be that hard to find them. I don’t know about the bathrooms though, might go see for yourself? Maybe it’s all yuck.
Near the entrance, there is a visitor center with a bee hive with over 8,000 bees. There are also a few other exhibits you can play around with, which I’m mot going to name, so you can see for yourself! The visitor center also houses the park office, so if there is any problem with anything you can let them know.
There also is a pavilion and a story center that you can rent out and use for gatherings and parties. The story center is good for children that want to listen to a enthralling native tale. If you want to rent out those places for your groups, you can call 405-297-1429.
There are a variety of animals that are all native to Oklahoma. There are no introduced animals that aren’t native. Some land animals are predatory, such as coyotes, bobcats, raccoon, badgers, and foxes. I’ve never seen one of those here, but someday…*gazes off into the distance*… Sorry! I really want to see one in person outside of the zoo someday, but moving on!
Some other herbivores include deer and squirrels. One time I was really lucky and there were a whole family of deer, a buck, a doe, and some fawn! To bad I didn’t have my camera at the time.
The park offers a variety of birds such as cardinals, blue birds, phoebes, and finches. Hummingbirds can be a sight to see if you come at the right time. Kingfishers, herons, egrets, and hawks also exist here to prey on smaller animals. I really want to take a picture of a kingfisher, since their huge bills just look too cool.
There are a lot of different trees in this park, such as sugar maple, poplars, and cedar. If you come in the spring, prepare for the onslaught of allergies! Some of the trees are at least 75 feet tall. Lots of creatures can be found if you look towards the treetops in the sky. I found a woodpecker when we were about to leave when I heard the unmistakable sound of the creature punching bullet holes in the bark.
Native flowers are also a great aspect of this park. There are many cool flowers, such as Fire wheels, coneflowers, and bluebonnet. The bees from the visitor center’s bee colony are always seen pollinating the plants and sucking up nectar. If look around, some parts of the park are inhabited by cactus plants, so watch your step and don’t step off the trail!
- There is no fishing, no pets, no hunting, no picking flowers, no fires, no, nothing that hurts the environment. (because if you’re reading this blog, you obviously love nature, right?)
- No swimming in the big creek, but people wade in the water anyways, so, I guess walking in the shallow area is fine?
- Almost all the plants and animals are native to Oklahoma.
- You can call if you need to reserve any part of the park. 405-297-1429
- I found some info about programs in the park here.
Thank you for taking the time to read this long post and hope it gives you a great insight on what to expect if you’re visiting St. Martin’s park. If you’ve never been here, or been here all your life, I hope you’ve enjoyed my guide.
Have a wonderful day!