How to Get Some Sunbeam During COVID-19: Top 6 Places to Hang Out with Friends While Social Distancing

By: Abigail Chow

Quaran-teen-ing isn’t fun for teens, especially when we can’t see our friends. Finding fun activities to do while social distancing is hard come by during COVID-19. The Torch has curated a list of fun outdoor activities that you and your friends can do while social distancing. 

Admiral Twin

The Admiral Twin is a fantastic place to enjoy a movie with friends because people can still experience the movie magic while social distancing. Mondays are reserved for “Scary Movie Mondays” on the East Screen, while Saturdays and Sundays show two different movies on both the East and West Screen. The Admiral Twin staff recommends that guests bring a portable FM radio or boom box to hear the movie. Parking is “first come first served” and the lines get long as the showtime approaches. To make sure you are socially distanced, please either stay in your vehicle, or sit on lawn chairs in front of your car. 

Photo Credit to Tulsa World

For more information about the Admiral Twin, visit their website:  https://www.admiraltwindrivein.com

Circle Cinema

Circle Cinema is Tulsa’s independent non-profit art house movie theater. 

“We show films such as foreign films, documentaries, and independent movies,” says Ryan Thomas, the Graphics Designer for the Circle Cinema. “The kind of things that don’t show at the bigger theaters.” 

Although they aren’t showing any films in-person, the Circle Cinema has created a couple neat events during the pandemic:


Moonlight Drive-In Movies! Currently, the Cinema is screening films on their new inflatable screen in the parking lot behind their building on Fridays and Saturdays. Parking is limited to about 25 cars so that viewers can have plenty of space to distance themselves. Guests can call in their concession order and have it delivered straight to their car. People interested in the drive-in can purchase tickets in-person or online on their website. The week of September 18th was their first drive-in event and was it a hit! 

Thomas shared, “You could tell people were glad to get back out and kinda enjoy movies in a safe way again.”

Virtual Screenings! Circle Cinema is providing films online that people can watch from the comfort of their home. Viewers can rent a movie for a small fee through a link on their website. It’s a great way to support their unique business while getting something out of it as well! Generously, the theater is also screening many films for free on their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/circlecinema

In regards to COVID-19, Circle Cinema staff has been carrying out recommended CDC guidelines and cleaning all the high-touch point surfaces in the theater thoroughly. All employees and guests are required to wear their masks. The theater recently opened back up on September 24th to the big screen. To keep guests safe, they are adding more time in-between each film so they can go in and thoroughly clean the theater’s seats, cup holders, handrails and any surface that people would touch. 

As the sun sets, Circle Cinema’s inflatable outdoor screen glows up for another Moonlight Drive-In Movie. 

For more information, you can visit their website https://www.circlecinema.org/ or check out their Instagram and Facebook to keep up with their upcoming events and find out what they’re up to.

Gathering Place

Going to the Gathering Place is another terrific way to have fun with friends and family. 

“From cooling off in our water elements on a warm summer day, enjoying our 2 story fireplace with a warm beverage from Redbud Café in the winter, or enjoying free concerts, festivals, and family programs all throughout the year,”  says Rachel Magathan, the Operations Supervisor for the Gathering Place Marketing Team. “We have a new favorite activity and memory each visit,”

Guests can not only take in the views and design of the park, but also experience their hands on activities and playground equipment that is also adult-friendly. Something you may not know is that people can feed the Koi fish in the ponds now!

Guests’ safety and health is the Gathering Place’s top priorities. They make sure to keep up with CDC’s recommended guidelines and ask that staff, volunteers, and visitors all wear masks, social distance, and wash hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently. In addition to that, they provide one complimentary mask per guest and have sanitation stations all around the park. Due to COVID-19, Redbud Cafe is the only restaurant open every day. 

Sitting down at the dock’s to enjoy some time with friends during the evening is a great time to experience the tranquility of the Gathering Place after a long day at work.

For more information, you can go visit their website at https://www.gatheringplace.org/ or check out their social media platforms on Instagram or Facebook. 

Tulsa Botanic Garden

The Tulsa Botanic Garden is an outstanding place to take a break from life and enjoy what nature has to offer. It not only has a breath-taking garden that changes seasonally, but also a mile and a half long nature trail and a children’s discovery garden filled with numerous interactive activities. The grounds have plenty of lawn and other scenic places to put a blanket out and picnic. 

“When you go to a zoo, you see animals from all around the world,” says Lori Hudson, the Director of Communications and Outreach. “A lot of public gardens are like that. There are plants around the world that have different purposes, sometimes it’s just for ornamental beauty, but also a lot of times it’s for both–where you can be inspired and learn about what they do and what their purpose may be. We have a pineapple plant that has a pineapple ready to be cut off. It’s like ‘wow,’ that’s how it grows. You don’t get to see that all the time. You just see the end result.”

This fall, Tulsa Botanic Garden is hosting some cool events:

Autumn in the Garden! With live music, food trucks, a hay maze, a pumpkin labyrinth, scarecrow contest, crafts and a photobooth. There is something for everyone to enjoy at this seasonal event. The festivities will run from September 24th-October 29th, from 5 to 8 PM. 

Boo-tanical! On the last day of Autumn in the Garden (October 29th) trick-or-treating will be thrown in the children’s garden. 

The Garden requires employees and visitors to wear masks in the visitor center and restrooms. As long as guests practice social distancing outdoors, they are allowed to take off their masks. 

To help protect their guests’ safety, they follow CDC guidelines by cleaning the visitor center and restrooms more frequently, and adding shields to the registers for less contact. For a smoother entry and exit, advance tickets are sold online so guests can show their tickets on their phone or on paper. 

A mother and her daughter explore the pumpkin labyrinth at the Tulsa Botanic Garden.   

For more information or events, go to Tulsa Botanic Garden’s website: https://tulsabotanic.org/ or check out their Instagram or Facebook page. 

River Parks 

River Parks provides a great deal of open lawn for activities such as picnicking, disc golf, and hammocking. People can also exercise and bike on the paved pathways alongside the Arkansas River. Make sure to wear your mask when you are not able to social distance! 

Snuggling up in her hammock, Izzy Pankey, 12, flashes a smile as she enjoys the weather at River Parks. 

Make sure to go visit their website https://www.riverparks.org/ for more information.

Turkey Mountain 

Turkey Mountain provides five different trails that range from very easy to very difficult. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and enjoy mother nature. People can go hiking, biking, and even horse riding! Don’t forget to bring water so that you can hydrate!

Levi Lee, 12, gets some fresh air while hiking with his group of friends at Turkey Mountain.  

For more information about the trials or what to bring, visit their website: https://www.riverparks.org/experience/turkey-mountain

Make sure to go check out these incredible places offering the finest experiences in Tulsa during COVID-19. For more information, check out each location’s website linked at the bottom of each description. If you have any more suggestions on places to visit during COVID-19, leave a comment down below! Happy exploring!

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