Updated: Jul 11
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.
1. 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.
2. 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. While free, this adventure does require booking in advance!
4. 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, and iconic the Santa Fe Depot across the lawn!
5. Get outdoors at 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.
6. 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!
7. 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.
8. 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 (Spring & Summer are the best times to visit).
9. 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 play is free.
10. 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.
11. Find all 34 of Shawnee's iconic Painted Horses!
12. 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.
13. Attend the Fireflight Balloon Festival the second weekend in August! Entry is absolutely free to the festival, including parking. There's also a free-to-enter Outdoor Expo that runs annually during the festival on the same grounds.
14. In April and early May, check out the scores of redbud trees blooming across the city, and see why Shawnee is the Redbud City of Oklahoma.
15. Explore more art by finding Shawnee's two dozen murals, tucked all around town.
16. Uncover as many hidden gnomes in historic downtown as you can find!
17. Take the pups for a fun time at one of our pet-friendly parks and shops.
18. Attend Shawnee's legendary Halloween Festival, Monsters on Main (formerly Boo on Bell) for a downtown carnival, vendor fair, and trick or treat, and more.
19. See the prettiest, fastest, or most nostalgic cars and bikes at one of Shawnee's premier car shows and cruise-ins, most of which are free to onlookers.
20. Visit the Welcome Center for even more information and ideas on fun things to see and do in Shawnee, OK, USA!
Work up an appetite with all the free fun?
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 weekend of it! :)