Explore & Imagine
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Explore & Imagine Education Programs

Explore & Imagine at Gathering Place 

The Explore & Imagine program sponsored by American Electric Power Foundation and supported by Public Service Company of Oklahoma offers a wide variety of free educational opportunities for students, educators, and families throughout the region. Ranging from free field trips for Title 1 schools and professional development sessions for educators, to performances in the Park and large-scale community events, Explore & Imagine is intended to increase equity and access to engaging educational experiences for our community.


Explore & Imagine Field Trips

Plan your next Field Trip at Gathering Place, made possible by AEP and PSO! 

Gathering Place offers field trip options with Oklahoma academic standard-aligned curriculum for groups during the school year and extended learning during the summer. Teacher-led field trips are available Monday through Friday during the school year. Teacher-led field trips in the summer are available in June and July. These field trips offer teachers and chaperones a chance to lead their own students through an engaging, educational lesson at Gathering Place and are available any weekday. Reservations are now open for both teacher-led and guided field trip opportunities.

Click HERE to book an Explore & Imagine teacher-led field trip. You will be provided with curriculum to lead your own group through an incredible learning experience at the park!

Click HERE to learn more about Explore & Imagine guided field trips and request a guided experience for your class. 

Transportation reimbursements

Transportation reimbursements for field trips to Gathering Place are reserved for Title 1 public educational institutions within the PSO service region that engage in Explore & Imagine educational activities and/or curriculum while visiting the park. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Email fieldtrips@gatheringplace.org with any inquiries, and please allow up to 72 hours for a response.


Explore & Imagine Professional Development for Educators

Join us in ONEOK Boathouse for free Professional Development courses on teacher-led field trips at Gathering Place! Educators will receive grade-level specific curriculum and training to ensure you feel confident leading your students on an educational adventure through the park.

Each professional development session includes an in-depth explanation of the lesson plan while you enjoy dinner, a guided half-mile tour through the Park, and helpful information on booking field trips. Participants will also learn about upcoming education programming at Gathering Place. Educators will leave the session with free classroom supplies for the pre-and post-field trip activities.

Registration is first come, first served, and limited to 25 public school educators at a time. The one and a half hour sessions run from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Registration for fall sessions opens August 14, 2022. Email education@gatheringplace.org to reserve your free spot!

Dates for 2022 include:

  • September 14: PreK-2nd  

  • September 15: 3rd-5th 

  • October 5: 6th-8th 

  • October 6: 9th-12th

Explore & Imagine Education Programming

Explorer Packs

Discover new adventures in the Park with our free bilingual Explorer Packs! Available at Guest Services Welcome Center in Williams Lodge. Explorer Pack themes include Geology, Engineering, and Nature Exploration. Each Explorer Pack is filled with prompt cards in both English and Spanish, hands-on activities, educational games, and toys. Guests may check out Explorer Packs by leaving their ID with a Guest Services representative at the Welcome Center in Williams Lodge. 

Love exploring the park? Check out and complete all three Explorer Packs and have your explorer card punched after each visit to become an official Gathering Place Explorer! All Gathering Place Explorers will receive an official explorer lapel pin and bandana. 


This pop-up program gives visitors a chance to interact, learn, and play with a variety of materials relating to themes of science, sustainability, art, sports and movement, nature, culture, history, and music—all on a mobile cart! Exploration Stations will rotate through themes and supplies and be stationed in a variety of locations throughout Gathering Place. Be on the lookout for new engaging activities! 


Explore & Imagine Events

The National Geographic Photo Ark at Gathering Place: April 30-July 31, 2022

The National Geographic Photo Ark at Gathering Place is a celebration of Oklahoma’s native and migratory species showcasing more than 35 images of animals local to the region, including the spoonbill paddlefish, scissor-tailed flycatcher, monarch butterflies, and the American bison. Pictures of some of the world’s most exotic animals will also be highlighted in an effort to inspire people to care and help protect these animals for future generations. 

Photo Ark is a multiyear effort to raise awareness of and find solutions to some of the most pressing issues affecting wildlife and their habitats. Led by National Geographic Explorer and photographer Joel Sartore, the project aims to document every species living in the world’s zoos, aquariums, and wildlife sanctuaries; inspire action through education; and help save wildlife by supporting on-the-ground conservation efforts.

The exhibit is free to the public and will be on display in ONEOK Boathouse.

Visit here for weekly events and activities tied to the exhibit.


Kids Take The Stage: september 24, 2022

Join us for an awe-inspiring performing arts-focused event, providing a platform to showcase the talent of local children. Performances and activities will range from dance and singing, to circus arts and instrumental performances, allowing children to take center stage in front of a live audience!

Have a child age 5-18 that would like to showcase their skillset on our stage? Email education@gatheringplace.org and let us know!

Gathering Place is accepting solo and group applications from now until August 12, 2022 at midnight.



Imagination celebration: october 15, 2022

Meet us on the Reading Tree lawn to celebrate a love of learning at this fall festival promoting family-focused education and entertainment. Guests will enjoy live entertainment, free family photos, face painting, balloon animals, seasonal hands-on activities, story times with special guest readers, fall arts and crafts, and free giveaways throughout the event!