It’s the middle of another hot Oklahoma summer. What better time to get into the water? In OKC’s Boathouse District, we’ve got Olympic training-quality water sports, alongside amazing ways to get in the water or climb to the sky for the whole family at RIVERSPORT Adventures OKC. Plus, read on to learn about how to celebrate the 4th of July in style right there in the heart of OKC!
White Water Rafting / Kayaking
For me, white water rafting was definitely the highlight of my day at RIVERSPORT. Just FYI, our Oklahoma River does not have rapids. But this man-made whitewater course (one of only 3 in the country, as of 2016) has been designed for training Olympic athletes and includes Class II-IV levels. In fact, at the opening, it was used for the Olympic Trials for whitewater kayaking/canoeing and continues to be an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site. But it’s also great for beginners!
I have to admit that I was a bit worried about the safety of the course. The pre-safety training given at the center probably made me even a bit more anxious. But really we had a fantastic experience. Our guide was great at coaching us and started us on the slower routes. We enjoyed it so much that we ramped up to the faster levels on our next go-around!
When you get your pass, you’ll sign up for a specific time for your rafting. You can also go whitewater kayaking or just float down on a tube, which doesn’t require a specific time reservation. There is also SurfZone, if you’d like to try that, as well!
(If you want to whitewater kayak, you’ll need to bring your own kayak and pass a skills test.)
Sandridge Sky Trail
I’m not afraid of heights, which is a good thing, because the Sandridge Sky Trail adventure ropes course is 80 feet high! It helps that you’re harnessed in the whole time, of course. You climb and walk across six levels of rope bridges, balance beams, and more.
At the top, you have several options for descending, depending on just how adventurous you are! Personally I enjoyed the slides, which are the some of the highest land slides in America! For example, you can take the Sky Luge which can get you going up to 22 miles per hour or race a friend down the side-by-side Sky Dive slides.
Not exciting enough? What about dropping 80 feet in a freefall with the Rumble Drop? It’s similar to skydiving, but your harness will slow you down for the final part of the descent. Or you can take the Sandridge Sky Zip (zip line) across the river and back. Be aware that this is a separate line from climbing the Sky Trail. I actually ended up coming back another day to do this experience.
If all of that is just a bit too much for you, you do have the option of just walking back down the stairs beside the course.
Kids are allowed on the Sky Trail if they are a certain weight. However, on windier days, they may not be allowed on the Sky Trail or Sky Zip. The great news is there is now a ropes course and zip line for kids 7 years old and younger! Parents will appreciate this course that allows them to give more hands-on help without being in the sky.
Outside of the Youth Zone, kids can shoot hoops in a small basketball hoop/trampoline area, climb through webs like Spiderman or up rock walls. They will enjoy the inflatable American Ninja Warrior obstacle course or the Slide the Rapids water slide on Love’s Island in the whitewater area.
Another highlight is jumping on the Cloud Bounce, a large inflatable pillow. (Even though this activity is within the Youth Zone, older kids/adults are allowed to use it with their pass!)
Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Kayaking
In addition to kayaking in the whitewater course, you can rent stand up paddle boards or kayaks for rowing in the Oklahoma River, as part of your pass or single rental. I’ve not kayaked in the Oklahoma River, but I have rented kayaks through RIVERSPORT at Lake Overholser. Yes, RIVERSPORT Adventures also has activities at Lake Overholser and Lake Hefner!
The area near Lake Overholser is teeming with wildlife and you’ll get to paddle through marshland and more. In fact, RIVERSPORT does organized rows, including a Full Moon kayak, Fall Foliage paddle, and a journey to the nearby Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge!
You can climb rock walls and do mountain bike/BMX courses, some of the largest pump tracks in America. For free, kids can play in an interactive playground and there’s even a dog park!
If you’re more serious about getting into rowing or kayaking, lessons are available through RIVERSPORT at the boathouses nearby.
What You’ll Want to Know Before You Go
There are 3 kinds of tickets: season passes, day passes, or single experiences.
The only activities you can purchase separately from a day or season pass are one-trip Sky Trail passes, the Sky Zip, tubing, white water kayaking, or kayaking/stand up paddle boarding rentals.
A day Riversport pass at the Boathouse District includes one whitewater rafting trip, all of the land and flatwater adventures (except the zip line), tubing, and river boarding. (You do have the option to add the zip line for an extra cost.) If you want to upgrade to the Epic day pass, you’ll get two raft trips, the zip line, some fast passes, lockers, and discounts in the stores. An Adventure Pass only includes land adventures, such as the Sky Trail. The passes include access in all 3 Riversport locations, so, for example, you can spend an afternoon at the Boathouse District and the evening at Lake Overholser, if you want!
The cheapest day pass is the Youth Zone pass, which only allows young kids access to that particular area.
Riversport, Epic Season, and Adventure season passes include the same activities as their day pass counterparts, but access for the season, plus access to the fitness centers at the Chesapeake and Lake Overholser Boathouses. The Trailhead pass includes flatwater paddling only, while the Lifestyle Pass will include everything plus lessons and access to the fitness centers for the full year.
Parking is currently $5 ($10 on festival days).
Check the RIVERSPORT website for ticket prices. At the time of writing, season passes are on sale!
A lot of the activities have height/age/weight requirements. You will likely want to check those in advance on the RIVERSPORT website.
Be sure to wear secure shoes with at least a strap in back for any of the activities. Swimsuits are fine for water activities, but you’re required to wear shirts and shorts/pants for any land activities. If you want, you can rent lockers.
Celebrate the 4th of July: Stars and Stripes River Festival
The Stars and Stripes River Festival is today, Saturday, June 29, 2019! It’s completely free to come and watch the regatta (rowing and dragon boat races) on the Oklahoma River, the whitewater rafting league championship, OGE NightSprints, and the Riversport Challenge (a 5K combined with kayaking).
Of course, if you want to try out any of the above-mentioned activities, RIVERSPORT Adventures will also be open.
There will be food trucks and concerts and the night will cap off with fireworks over the river. Last year’s fireworks coordinated with music were fantastic, perfect for finishing a great day.
Or come back on the 4th of July itself to participate in lawn games, more food trucks, and the official OKC fireworks show!
What’s your favorite activity at the OKC Boathouse District?