The kiddos and I have made it a priority to seek out all the free and dirt cheap things to do specifically in Texoma. We're equally excited about many of them, so we're not listing them in any specific order.
Just Free or Cheap! Oh, and fun!
You'll find that some of the activities on our list are some you won't find on anyone else's list of things to do simply because some of the best local adventures for kids are sometimes what we pass by everyday without even recognizing that it's a fun activity!
We've done each of these activities ourselves, so we hope to give you some realistic ideas for fun things on a budget. Actually, this list is something we'll constantly be adding to, so check back from time to time to see how much more we discover in the future.
Also, check out the blog post we've created about each location on the list!
Count on texas
We're very proud of our state, and it shows in our neighborhoods. See for yourself by counting the number of houses in your neighborhood that have some type of lone star, Texas flag or other Texas symbol in the yard, on the door, attached to a barn, crafted into a fence....the options for displaying a little piece of Texas are endless.
Odds are, multiple homes in your neighborhood have a Texas display somewhere on their property!
I haven't seen that type of state pride anywhere else. In fact, I just got back from a trip to Tennessee and made a point to look for any types of state flags or other state symbols for every single yard/house I passed during the entire trip.
Guess what I saw? I saw zero depictions of Tennessee, but I saw several distinct LONE STARS! They weren't as plentiful as here in Texas, but there are definitely Texans living in Tennessee and the lone stars proudly displayed on their doors advertise that they want you to know they're from Texas. Amazing!
visit the travel center in denison
View the butterfly garden at hagerman
find the little free library
Hunt for ancient fossils
If you come across a set of shark teeth at the lake, don't worry...there really aren't any sharks living in our man-made fresh water lake that has no direct access to the ocean! Since we used to be under water millions of years ago, Lake Texoma is a great place to find fossils of sea creatures that no longer roam our planet.
In particular, Ammonites are plentiful here. An ammonite was related to squids and octupus, but they had a round shell. They lived on earth between the Cretaceous Perios and the Devonian Period and became extinct around the same time that dinosaurs disappeared. In case you're doing the math, they lived here between 66 million - 419 million years ago.
learn about military history
Be a jr ranger at hagerman
This museum is literally stuffed with exotic animals from all over the world. It looks a lot smaller on the outside than the inside. They've managed to fit lots of buffalo varieties, a giraffe, bears and habitat replicas under one roof, so yes, it's bigger than I was expecting. Very organized and thoughtfully laid out.
It's interesting to see the how the journey of a United States President began. Born in Denison, Texas, Dwight D. Eisenhower is one of two United States Presidents actually born in Texas. He came into the world inside the bottom bedroom of this cute little two story house. Going inside the house is a glimpse of how hard life was back then, even though I do believe they enjoyed most of the creature comforts of the time period.
Tucked away on a busy little road in Denison, Texas is a magical place where nature lovers can slip into their happy place. While browsing through their wide variety of blooming flowers and plants, be careful because you might bump into some chickens. Or a turkey. Or a rabbit. Or even a tortoise.
I feel so accomplished...my husband agreed to wear Christmas pajamas in public over the weekend. My cousins live in Palestine and they told us to make SURE to wear our pajamas for our Polar Express trip to see them. We were instructed to stay in our pajamas in public too.
Apparently, it's a "thing".
So our whole family wore pajamas and slippers for the 3-hour road trip to The Polar Express in Palestine, Texas. Our first pit stop felt a little awkward.
Then people started asking us if we were headed to the Polar Express, so it was reassuring that they understood our situation. Palestine is a town where wearing Christmas pajamas in public is socially acceptable, and customary around the holidays!
My kids didn't believe me when I told them they were each going to get $4,000 in cash, but by the end of the day, they really did come home with a bag full of money and huge smiles on their faces.
Here is how that happened...
I found out about Jellystone when my sister visited with her family. They stayed in the "Yurt", which is basically a high-tech sturdy tent, complete with a 1/2 bathroom and flat screen television. That's pretty cool tent camping! I really need to tell you about my sister's trip because she has a daughter who is autistic, with a service dog, Reece....he's also part of the family!