By Pablo Angulo-Gonzalez
[Header photo provided by riversportokc.org]
Oklahoma City offers a wide range of outdoor adventure activities for everyone to enjoy. There is something for everyone, from museums, waterparks, bike trails, and amusement parks to botanical gardens, underground tunnels, and high-rise dining experiences. However, there is a particular place where locals and visitors gather for an exhilarating and unforgettable summer experience.
RIVERSPORT OKC is a fantastic destination that is diverse, fun, and conveniently located just south of downtown. Visitors of all ages can enjoy an incredible range of activities providing plenty of entertainment.
“The focus is on outdoor adventure, fitness, and encouraging people to take on new challenges – whether they are totally novice or training as an Olympic hopeful!”
It is hard to convey through words how fun this place can be. But, when it comes to water activities, both mellow and upbeat for everyone while also having rock climbing and zipline, RIVERSPORT is the place to go. The Boathouse District encompasses three distinct sections – the river, the Sky Trail, and the main area.
THE MAIN AREA
The main entrance is called the McClendon Whitewater Center, and it is the place where people arrive. Visitors can check in, get their passes and access the lockers in the center. The bar and kitchen are also located in this building, along with some cool merchandise (with lots of outdoor products like sunblock, water shoes, hats, etc.), restrooms, and the skiing facility.
Ski OKC is an indoor slope where skiing and snowboarding happen. Attendees will basically choose whatever gear they prefer and jump on the slope. Socks are required.
If skiing or snowboarding in the middle of the summer is not appealing, you can step outside the building and sign up for several watersports. Tubing, surfing, whitewater rafting, or kayaking are all available within a 5-minute walk from the lockers.
The FlowRider -which pumps 3 inches of water over a roughly 8 feet tall slope of cushion material- is one of the main attractions. This is where people are surfing in Oklahoma. Living in the dead center of the country is no longer an issue for those wanting to ride the wave.
Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation Executive Director Mike Knopp said in the inaugural speech of Surf OKC recorded by the Oklahoman that one of the main goals of opening a place like RIVERSPORT is “to think boldly and do unexpected things.” He also said, “There is nothing like this in the United States or even the world in a downtown urban area.”
Whitewater rafting is another thrilling group outdoor adventure activity offered by RIVERSPORT OKC. A guide will set up safety equipment (including floatation devices and helmets) before getting on the water and navigating the raft through the moving waters. This same water course also gives OKC Firefighters a training facility to practice swift water rescues.
The SandRidge Sky Trail is an 80-foot-high structure featuring different balancing challenges with various difficulties. The higher you get, the more complex the obstacles become. Before entering the Sky Trail, a guide will harness visitors and safely attach you to the structure throughout the experience.
The Sky Trail is central to other altitude-related adventures. As you go up the stairs, you can choose between going through obstacles or going up until you reach the top. At the highest level, visitors can jump off the Rumble Drop -an exhilarating but safe 80 feet-free fall- or take the Sandridge Sky Zip across the Oklahoma River.
The slides are located alongside the Sky Trail and offer climbers a different way down the structure. Shirts and shoes are required for all the adventures in-and-around the Sky Trail. Activities have a height and weight requirement and may be closed depending on weather and wind speeds.
The Boathouse District sits on the north shore of the Oklahoma River. The river is home to the rowing team, but there is plenty of water for other activities. Locals and tourists can paddle the river with a RIVERSPORT kayak, paddle board, and other water vehicles. Rentals are available, and paddlers can bring their own floatation device.
Please visit the link below for more information about RIVERSPORT’s hours, prices, and other city boathouse options. RIVERSPORT also offers programs, lessons, classes, and coaches. There is a lot of information on their website!