Gathering Place is a World-Class Destination

From Tulsa’s Mayor by Mayor G. T. Bynum

OPENING DAY GREETING: As Tulsa’s mayor, I was proud to welcome visitors to the opening day at Gathering Place.

On Sept. 8, officials of Gathering Place swung the gates wide open and welcomed thousands of Tulsans into a veritable wonderland for people of all ages, diverse backgrounds and interests.

As mayor, I was lucky to have a position just inside the gate where I could welcome people as they entered the park. I will never forget the range of emotions I saw on the faces of those first visitors. Awe and gratitude…that’s what I felt on this historic day for our city. There has never been a better time to be a Tulsa!

Just before we opened the gates, I had the honor of reading to the crowd the final book of the Gathering Place Reading Challenge, which was titled, “Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site.” I’m so pleased that Tulsa County children took the reading challenge to heart and read more than 2.2 million books. I believe the Reading Tree Stage will be one of the most popular places for kids to hang out in the park.

We are fortunate to have people who love our city so much, who love their fellow Tulsans so much that they would contribute the greatest gift of any park to any city in the history of America. I’m grateful to the George Kaiser Family Foundation for donating $200 million, including $50 million in land to the River Parks Authority, as well as more than $150 million in pledges from corporate and community philanthropists.

I am also proud of the City of Tulsa for contributing $65 million in park infrastructure and improvements to Riverside Drive, a two-mile section which has been closed since July 2015 for Gathering Place construction. I joined a group of friends just before 1 a.m. on Sept. 10 for the first drive down the new Riverside Drive. As Tulsans are seeing, it has become one of the iconic stretches of road in America.

When you visit Gathering Place, get ready to be transported to a transformational place that’s a treat for all five of your senses. It’s an amazing place where all Tulsans can come together and enjoy one of the greatest gifts to our city, both now and for future generations to come.

If you haven’t had a chance yet to visit Gathering Place, I invite you to come out for the 100 Days of Opening Celebration. There’s so much to see and do for the entire family: Kayaking and paddleboat rental; pump track and the skatepark; winding trails, water features; plenty of benches and tables that provide picnic spots; zip lines in the Sensory Garden; and much more! Gathering Place is open daily, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. For more details, visit

Updated 10-15-2018

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