There's the Grand Canyon and the Black Hills of South Dakota.
And, then there's Turner Falls, which happens to be much closer to our area than you might think.
"Is that kids down there in the water? Yes, there's a lot of kids down there."
Evan Wallace and his grandson, Landon know how to spend the day.
They're doing it by enjoying the oldest park in all of Oklahoma.
"Me and my dad swim, and then I slide down."
Evan Wallace/Davis Resident: "I've been coming out here pretty much my whole life because I was born and raised in this area."
Wallace: "It's a great place to come, not just to swim, but just to see other people, to meet other people and stuff."
Ron Stokley/Okmulgee County Resident: "There you go. We've got your money in it. How do you keep it? How do you keep it going? Aww. You just adjust it to wherever you want to adjust it to. Can you see everything? Yeah."
Ron stokley and his wife, Sue live up in Okmulgee County, and it's because of Sue they keep coming back again and again.
Sue grew up here in the Turner Falls area, and to her, these Arbuckle Mountains are home.
Sue: "It's just a place where families can get together, and back to nature. Back to nature is what it is. Just to see those falls coming over there, and they're from springs up the creek you know. It just does something for you. It's home. It's home for me."
Ron: "Push it up toward the falls up there and look up that way. See that water coming over the falls? And, see how big that whole is up in that cliff? Yeah."
Sue: "We used to climb up those hills over there, and there's kind of like a cave in there."
David Mabe/Dallas Resident: "Does it go deeper? Am I going to get lost? Is it too dark? No, it's actually pretty cool. Good overlook."
David Mabe's family found one of the caves here, right by the largest waterfall in Oklahoma, and natural swimming pool below.
The Mabes' are from the Dallas area, at Turner Falls on vacation, and having the time of their lives.
"They love it. The slides here are great. They've had a blast so far. We've only been here about 3- hours. So, they've had a great time. We're going to be here for 2- more days."
David: It's great. Seeing water going over the waterfall. Big rocks. Big cave. Looking right out of the cave and everything. Great view." "It looks like there's another cave down there. Might even go and check that one out in a little bit."
And, Turner Falls does not have to be a one day trip. Besides the caves, you'll find cabins and places to camp. Cooking and picnic sites. You can even find funnel cake and novelty shops. At Turner Falls, there's plenty of fun for the whole family, outside and back inside the water.
Kids: "It's big, and the water fall. You can take a bath like with your head." "The water's really cold and the slide's really fun." "There's a lot of caves you can go through, and then there's a castle over there you can explore. It's fun."
Ron: "You always see something different here it seems like. You never know, but you're going to see something big. Did it click on you? Yeah. Ok."
Evan: "It feels great to see him enjoy the outdoors, and enjoy just seeing the falls and everything. Like I said, when we come through this way, he says, I want to go to Turner Falls. So, it's great to let him see it, and hope he gets to grow up enjoying it as much as I did when I was younger.
...and as much as other kids have since Turner Falls first became a recreational area all the way back in 1868.
Turner Falls, with its natural caves, rock formations of limestone, granite and others, and gorgeous waterfalls, offers a window into the distant past, and one into priceless family experiences to come.
To get from Turner Falls from our area, just go east.
It sits north of Ardmore, off I-35 in Davis, Oklahoma.
For more information, call 580-369-2988.
By the way, Arbuckle Wilderness sits right across I-35 from Turner Falls.
And, it would make a perfect destination for the whole family as well.
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