Updated: Sep 15
You don't have to spend a lot to experience a lot! And in some cases in Shawnee, you don't have to spend at all. There are many free things to do and see in the Redbud City -- learn about native cultures; see nature and the animals that inhabit it. Take a hike. See the arts!
Here are 20 free things to do in or around Shawnee.
At the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Cultural Heritage Center learn about the historical and contemporary aspects of the tribe by seeing the newly renovated galleries which feature tribal history ranging from pre-contact history to present day. It’s free to visit, but you may want a commemorative item or two from the gift shop.
Also at the Center is the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Eagle Aviary. A permanent home for eagles (and other birds) that have sustained injuries serious enough that they cannot live in the wild, the Aviary shares with visitors the spiritual and cultural significance of these majestic animals.
Learn about another tribe at the Seminole Nation Museum in nearby Wewoka, one of the most historically significant and culturally diverse communities in Oklahoma. Artifacts, historic photographs, and interpretive exhibits spotlight the culture of the Seminoles.
While there’s a nominal fee to enter the Pottawatomie County Museum, the grounds are free to walk. See the Beard Cabin built in 1891!
Get outdoors a Shawnee's Twin Lakes Reservoir. Sure the fishing and boating require permits at a cost, but between the two lakes, there’s 25 miles of shore to explore which is free. Lake Thunderbird State Park is 40 minutes from Shawnee. The Discovery Cove Nature Center is free to visit as are the hiking trails. (A parking fee is required at State Parks.)
Also outdoor are the multiple parks in Shawnee. Sister City Park includes the Japanese Peace Garden; Dean Weigant Park features two playgrounds; Boy Scout Park a splash pad, basketball courts, pavilions, and walking trail!
The Ravine Outdoor Adventure Park in Macomb is free to roam on foot. (Bikes and ATVs are available to rent.) There’s both family-friendly places to explore and extremely challenging places to explore!
The Arboretum on the campus of Oklahoma Baptist University includes 154 different species of trees and more than 630 trees and shrubs. Explore the campus and see the beauty of nature.
The Butterfly Garden at the OSU Pott Co Extension is where you can find, well, butterflies. There’s many species of butterflies and moths, bumble bees, and honey bees.
Back on OBU’s campus is an 18-hole disc golf course. At each tee pad area, you will find a map for that particular basket number. An overall course map is also available. Sure you’ll need to invest in a disc or two, but to play is free.
Have an interest in aerospace? West of campus is the Aerospace Career Museum. In the Shawnee Regional Airport Terminal, the museum showcases wonderful exhibits on everything that takes to the skies.
As you’re now looking to the skies, look to the stars at Ten Acre Observatory at Tribbey. the primary viewing location of the Odyssey Astronomy Club, view the night sky using the 13" Coulter Optics and Starmaster 20" Telescopes.
Into the arts? See the Painted Horses and Murals. The Painted Horses started in 2007 – Oklahoma’s Centennial – and now dot Shawnee with more than 30 horses. A dozen Murals are painted around town further showcasing Shawnee’s creativity.
The MGMOA Gallery at SSM Health is located on the north side of the SSM St. Anthony's Shawnee Hospital. Artwork is displayed in the gallery by different local artists from around the region in diverse forms and genres.
Work up an appetite? The money you saved allows you to grab a bite. Here's where the locals eat. And who knows, you may find there's too much to do in one day. Grab a hotel room and make a three-day weekend of it! :) See you soon in Shawnee!