© Courtesy of Zack Frank - Fotolia.com
Oklahoma is centered at the cultural and geographical crossroads of the United States. Featuring both the green rolling hills of the East and the flat golden plains of the West, there are plenty of lakes and rivers for visitors to enjoy. The charm of Oklahoma lies in its small towns, beautiful natural features, and an array of interesting museums, wedding venues, romantic getaways and historic sites. Here are the best things to do in Oklahoma.
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1.Oklahoma City Museum of Art
© Oklahoma City Museum of Art
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is a museum in Oklahoma City that features a variety of art styles in both permanent exhibits and temporary exhibit spaces. The museum has one of the most impressive collections of Chihuly glass in the world, which includes a 55-foot Memorial Tower in the atrium that is dedicated to Eleanor Blake Kirkpatrick.
The museum's theater shows films each week, including classic, foreign, and independent films. The museum has ongoing self-guided and docent-guided tours every day and a full-service on-site restaurant that serves lunch, dinner, and a weekend brunch in addition to alcoholic beverages, coffee, and more.
415 Couch Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73102, Phone: 405-236-3100
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2.Philbrook Museum of Art
© Philbrook Museum of Art
The Philbrook Museum of Art is an art museum and cultural center that has two properties in Tulsa. The main museum is located in a 1920s Italian Renaissance villa that was home to Oklahoma oil man Waite Phillips and his wife. The home itself is impressive, however the art collection is one of the best in the state.
The pieces span European, American, Modern, and Contemporary art and design as well as African, Asian, and Native American genres and reflects contributions from many well-known artists. The museum is home to a museum shop, event space, library, children's area, and special exhibition space. The museum also has a satellite gallery in the downtown Tulsa Brady Arts District.
2727 S. Rockford Road, Tulsa, OK 74114, Phone: 918-749-7941
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3.Armstrong Auditorium, Oklahoma
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The Armstrong Auditorium is an impressive, eight-story performing arts venue in Edmund. The auditorium attracts prestigious international tours such as the Russian National Ballet and the Vienna Boys Choir. The interior is extravagantly decorated with Swarovski Strass crystal chandeliers, a royal purple carpet, and a crystal candelabra that was used by the Shah of Iran to celebrate the Persian Empire's 2,500th anniversary.
The main auditorium seats 823 people and includes well-thought out acoustics, extra leg room, and state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment. The auditorium is also home to the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation Performing Arts Series, which sponsors a variety of acts including jazz, classical and folk music, theater, folk dance, ballet, and more.
14400 S Bryant Road B, Edmond, OK 73034, Phone: 405-285-1010
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4.Chickasaw Cultural Center
© Chickasaw Cultural Center
The Chickasaw Cultural Center is an impressive center that celebrates the culture and heritage of the Chickasaw people. It also has an interactive exhibit center known as the Chikasha Poya Exhibit Center. Exhibits here include such things as a mosaic tile display, historical exhibits, a Spirit Forest, and an interactive, 360-degree exhibit of a spirit dance, which invites guests to participate.
The grounds feature the Aaholiitobli' Honor Garden, which memorializes leaders of the Chickasaw people as well as significant elders and warriors. Laser-cut photos of each person inducted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame are displayed on walls, which are connected by paved walkways and surrounded by beautiful landscaped features.
867 Charles Cooper Memorial Road, Sulphur, OK 73086, Phone: 580-622-7130
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5.Things to Do in Oklahoma: Will Rogers Memorial Museum
© Will Rogers Memorial Museum
The Will Rogers Memorial Museum is a museum in Claremore that is dedicated to the life and career of the famous entertainer Will Rogers. The centerpiece of the museum is a well-known sculpture of Rogers by artist Jo Davidson, which has a Will Rogers quote carved into its base.
The museum exhibits include memorabilia, photos, manuscripts, speeches, and documentaries. In fact, the museum claims to contain Rogers' entire collection of writings. There is an on-site theater that shows films starring Rogers and Rogers' final resting place is also located on the grounds. The museum store sells a selection of Will Rogers-inspired apparel, books, and souvenirs.
1720 W Will Rogers Blvd., Claremore, OK 74017, Phone: 918-341-0719
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6.The Cave House, Oklahoma
© The Cave House
The Cave House is a uniquely designed home near downtown Tulsa that offers weekend tours to curious locals and tourists. The home was decorated by owners Linda and Kate Collier and the decorations and furnishings are largely fashioned from recycled objects that the mother-daughter pair have found.
The building was originally built as a cave restaurant in the 1920s and was a popular outlaw hangout during the days of the Prohibition. There is said to be a system of tunnels that pass behind and under the house, which are said to hold the bodies of victims of the Ku Klux Klan. The house has been investigated by the Paranormal Investigation Team of Tulsa and is thought by many to be haunted.
1623 Charles Page Blvd, Tulsa, OK 74127, Phone: 918-378-1952
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7.Science Museum Oklahoma
© Science Museum Oklahoma
The Science Museum Oklahoma is a science museum and planetarium in Oklahoma City that features several sections displaying a variety of interesting objects. The Destination Space exhibit houses the planetarium as well as various items honoring contributions that Oklahomans have made to air and space travel. The exhibit includes the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame.
In addition, the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame resides in the Science Museum and features a large collection of medals, gymnastics apparatus, sculptures, and more. The museum also features a 20,000-square-foot kid-friendly area known as CurioCity, which offers learning opportunities through play.
2020 Remington Place, Oklahoma City, OK 73111, Phone: 405-602-6664
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8.Things to Do in Oklahoma: Tiger Safari
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Tiger Safari is a zoological park that includes a variety of exotic and domestic animals in a beautiful and intimate environment. The park offers unique animal encounter experiences, such as holding lemurs, snakes, monkeys, and owls. Guests can even play with and feed baby tigers.
Tiger Safari's “Zoo to You” service is a unique opportunity to have a large selection of exotic and domestic animals brought to your location of choice for private parties and events. The zoo is kid-friendly and offers something for the whole family. For visitors who want an even more special experience, you can book an overnight stay in an African-style hut.
963 County Street 2930, Tuttle, OK 73089, Phone: 405-381-9453
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9.Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve
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Woolaroc is a museum and wildlife preserve in the Osage Hills of Northeastern Oklahoma. The property consists of a 3,700-acre wildlife preserve that is home to many native and exotic animals, including longhorn cattle, buffalo, and elk.
In addition to the preserve grounds, the property boasts a museum dedicated to Western art and artifacts as well as Native American artifacts and an impressive collection of Colt firearms. The grounds are beautiful and encompass woods, lakes, and rocky cliffs and the property also features a small lodge with guest rooms for visitors who would like to spend the night.
1925 Woolaroc Ranch Road, Bartlesville, OK 74003, Phone: 918-336-0307
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10.Things to do in Oklahoma: Myriad Botanical Gardens
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The Myriad Botanical Gardens is a 17-acre urban oasis in the center of Oklahoma City. The park includes several gardens and pieces of art surrounding a sunken lake. The centerpiece of the botanical gardens is the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, which features numerous living plants, trees, waterfalls, and exotic animals.
Some of the park's features include a children's garden complete with a playground, an off-leash dog park, walking and jogging paths, and a visitors center with gift shop. The Myriad Botanical Gardens are quite involved in youth and adult community education and several programs are offered throughout the year.
301 W Reno Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73102, Phone: 405-445-7080
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The Oklahoma Aquarium is 72,000-square-foot aquarium located near Tulsa on a beautiful site on the banks of the Arkansas River. The museum is home to eight exhibits that depict not only some of the wildlife and habitats native to the nearby river and other waterways in Oklahoma, but also exotic ocean wildlife from all over the world.
The museum features more than 100 exhibits, such as the Hayes Family Ozark Stream, Aquatic Oklahoma, EcoZone & Coral Reef, and the Ray & Robin Siegfried Families Shark Adventure, where guests can walk through a tunnel and dome to see the largest bull sharks in captivity up close and personal.
300 Aquarium Drive, Jenks, OK 74037, Phone: 918-296-3473
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12.Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History
© Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History
The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum located on the grounds of the University of Oklahoma. The museum features several permanent exhibits, including the Hall of World Cultures and the Hall of Ancient Life, which features several impressive dinosaur skeletons.
The museum also showcases interesting temporary exhibits such as Roots of Wisdom, which examines the relationship between the knowledge and beliefs of native peoples and modern science. The museum's Discovery Room is an interactive hands-on exhibit that allows visitors of all ages to learn and explore through activities and interactive experiences. The Discovery Room hosts animal feeding sessions on Saturdays.
2401 Chautauqua Avenue, Norman, OK 73072, Phone: 405-325-7029
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13.Things to do in Oklahoma: Gilcrease Museum
© Gilcrease Museum
The Gilcrease Museum is an art museum in Tulsa that holds the world's largest collection of American Western art and has an impressive, growing collection of artifacts and art from Latin America. The museum is named after Thomas Gilcrease, who worked in the oil industry in Oklahoma and was an art collector and who donated the property and art collection to the City of Tulsa.
Twenty-three acres of themed gardens surround the museum building and demonstrate a variety of gardening styles from four different time periods in the American West. The Gilcrease Museum has 3 areas that are specially designed for children, featuring interactive exhibits geared towards creative learning.
1400 N Gilcrease Museum Road, Tulsa, OK 74127, Phone: 918-596-2700
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14.Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
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The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum is a moving tribute to the victims, survivors, and rescuers who were touched by the tragic Oklahoma City bombing that occurred April 19, 1995. The memorial sits on the former site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City.
The original building was destroyed in the bombing. The memorial is framed by two twin bronze gates that are stamped with times denoting the minute just before the attack happened and the minute just after. There is a reflecting pool, a survivor wall, and 168 empty chairs with names inscribed on them to represent each of the victims of the attack.
620 N. Harvey Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73102, Phone: 405-235-3313
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15.National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
© National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is dedicated to Western culture, history, and art. The museum preserves and displays a large collection of historical and cultural artifacts and pieces of art related to the American West, featuring artists such as Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell, and James Earle Fraser.
The museum includes an interactive town that reflects life in the West as it was in the early 1900s and has a restaurant and a museum store that sells Western apparel, gifts, books, and souvenirs. The museum welcomes artists to come and sketch in their galleries and even offers supplies on loan at the visitor services desk.
1700 NE 63rd Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73111, Phone: 405-478-2250
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16.Oklahoma Route 66 Museum
© Oklahoma Route 66 Museum
The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum is dedicated to the history, myths, music, and more of the iconic American highway. The museum explores the history of the road, starting from when it was just a dream in the minds of its designers. Some of the exhibits are also related to the road's construction.
The museum plays soundtracks that include Big Band music from the time period, the sounds of big rigs on the highway, and sounds of soldiers returning home from war. The museum features a working 1950s-style diner where guests can sit at a counter or in a booth and enjoy a meal. The museum store offers books, souvenirs, apparel, road signs, and more.
2229 W Gary Blvd., Clinton, OK 73601, Phone: 580-323-7866
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17.Beavers Bend State Resort Park
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Beavers Bend State Resort Park is one of the most popular state parks in Oklahoma. Located near Broken Bow, the park contains both the Beavers Bend and Hochatown State Parks as well as Lakeview Lodge and Cedar Creek Golf Course.
The park's waterways include lakes and rivers that offer fishing and boating opportunities and RV and tent campsites with water and electricity are also available. The park features a nature center that hosts daily programs and activities for guests of all ages. The Forest Heritage Center has a museum and gift shop. Other popular park activities include horseback trail riding, hayrides in the park, eagle watching, and hiking the miles of trails in the park.
4350 S Highway 259A, Broken Bow, OK 74728, Phone: 580-494-6538
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18.Henry Overholser Mansion
© Henry Overholser Mansion
The Henry Overholser Mansion was built in 1903 and is believed to be the first mansion constructed in Oklahoma City. The 20-room Victorian home was erected by prominent Oklahoman Henry Overholser and was passed through the family for several years until it was developed into a historic site and tourist attraction.
The home and all of its furnishings have been preserved by the city's historical society for visitors to explore and learn from. Guests can visit the museum on a docent-guided tour; tours take a little less than an hour and are given several times a day. Both the mansion and carriage house may be rented for wedding ceremonies and receptions.
405 NW 15th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73103, Phone: 405-525-5325
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19.Things to do in Oklahoma: Woody Guthrie Center
© Woody Guthrie Center
The Woody Guthrie Center is a museum and public archive that memorializes the life and career of American singer-songwriter and folk musician, Woody Guthrie. The museum's exhibits include musical instruments that Guthrie used as well as some of his original artwork, notebooks, and handwritten lyrics while his personal memorabilia, photographs, and more are also on display.
The museum showcases a short film about Guthrie's life and plays samples of his music. The center also hosts folk music events from time to time. In addition to artifacts specific to Guthrie, the museum includes exhibits and videos from artists who have drawn inspiration from the influential folk artist.
102 E. Matthew B. Brady Street, Tulsa, OK 74103, Phone: 918-574-2710
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© Tucker Tower
Tucker Tower is a uniquely identifiable building on the grounds of Lake Murray State Park that was initially built as a getaway for the state's governors, although it was never used for that. It was once a geological museum and most recently housed the nature center for the state park.
Guests may visit Tucker Tower by walking up a path from the current nature center location. The tower features a museum on the main level with exhibits related to the history of the area and the tower itself. There is a patio as well as access to the top of the tower, both of which offer stunning views of the lake and the surrounding area.
18407 Scenic Highway 77, Ardmore, OK 73401, Phone: 580-223-2109
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21.Things to Do in Oklahoma: Fort Smith
© NPS Photo
The Fort Smith National Historic Site preserves and interprets nearly 80 years of history from the time the fort was established in 1817 until the end of Judge Isaac C. Parker's term residing over Indian Territory in 1896. The site features jails, courtrooms, exhibits, walking trails, and more that tell the story of the Trail of Tears, the lives of soldiers, dangerous outlaws, and lawmen.
In addition to the interesting historical sites and exhibits, the park features several outdoor activities. Guests can explore the park grounds on their own and view the cannons and wagons and there are several interesting walking trails that offer scenic overlooks and photo ops.
301 Parker Avenue, Fort Smith, AR 72901, Phone: 479-783-3961 (NOTE: This site is in the state of Arkansas, not Oklahoma).
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22.Corral Drive In RV Park
© Corral Drive In RV Park
On your trip to Oklahoma, stop at this unique RV park, pizzeria and grill, and a seasonal drive-in theatre. Located in Guymon, a small city in the Oklahoma panhandle, Corral Drive In RV Park is surrounded by farms and feedlots. The drive-in theatre, one of the only six drive-ins in Oklahoma, offers seasonal family entertainment, operating from May to October. The pizzeria is also seasonal and caters to the movie-goers, but their delicious hand-rolled pizzas are famous far and wide. Owned by the same family, the RV park is open year round and has 24 spacious pull-through and 23 back-in sites, equipped with 30/50 amp service as well as sewer and city water hook-up. It is pet-friendly and offers free Wi-Fi throughout the park.
825 SW U.S. 54, Guymon, OK 73942, Phone: 580-338-3748
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23.45th Infantry Division Museum
© 45th Infantry Division Museum
The 45th Infantry Division Museum is a 27,000-square-foot museum dedicated to military artifacts, especially those related to the 45th Infantry Division of the National Guard, a division known as the Thunderbirds. The museum's outstanding holdings include the impressive Reaves Firearm Collection, which consists of a range of weapons dating from the Revolutionary War to the Vietnam War.
One of the most significant pieces in the collection is a Confederate cannon. The museum contains an exhibit of more than 200 World War II cartoons that were created by a soldier in the division as well as a History of Flags exhibit and other artifacts from American military history. The museum is designed for visitors to explore by themselves.
2145 NE 36th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73111, Phone: 405-424-5313
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24.Things to do in Oklahoma: Marland Estate Mansion
© Marland Estate Mansion
The E.W. Marland Mansion is a nearly 44,000-square-foot Mediterranean Revival-style mansion that was built by Oklahoma oil man and founder of the Marland Oil Company, E.W. Marland. The home is a beautiful architectural achievement and accurately portrays the lifestyle of the Marland family during the 1920s–30s.
The home was built between 1914 and 1916 and includes some impressive features for that time period, including an automatic dish washer, a three-car garage, a central vacuuming system, and the state of Oklahoma's first indoor swimming pool. Guests can participate in guided tours of the home as well as visit the two museums housed inside: The 101 Ranch Museum and the Native American Collection. Read more
901 Monument Road, Ponca City, OK 74604, Phone: 580-767-0420
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25.Museum of Osteology
© Museum of Osteology
The Museum of Osteology is a privately owned museum showcasing the study of skeletons and bones. The museum has more than 350 skeletons, including bones from a diverse collection of animals from all the corners of the world. The museum's exhibits focus on the anatomy and physiology of the skeletal system and displays include taxonomic and educational displays from all five classes of vertebrates.
The collection includes around 5,000 items from 2,500 species. Some of the skeletons on display include elephants, primates, a pygmy sperm whale, an African lion attacking an antelope, and a display of skeletons from local Oklahoma wildlife.
10301 S. Sunnylane Road, Oklahoma City, OK 73160, Phone: 405-814-0006
25 Best Things to Do in Oklahoma
- Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Photo: Oklahoma City Museum of Art
- Philbrook Museum of Art, Photo: Philbrook Museum of Art
- Armstrong Auditorium, Oklahoma, Photo: Courtesy of aerogondo - Fotolia.com
- Chickasaw Cultural Center, Photo: Chickasaw Cultural Center
- Things to Do in Oklahoma: Will Rogers Memorial Museum, Photo: Will Rogers Memorial Museum
- The Cave House, Oklahoma, Photo: The Cave House
- Science Museum Oklahoma, Photo: Science Museum Oklahoma
- Things to Do in Oklahoma: Tiger Safari, Photo: Courtesy of kyslynskyy - Fotolia.com
- Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve, Photo: Courtesy of forcdan - Fotolia.com
- Things to do in Oklahoma: Myriad Botanical Gardens, Photo: Courtesy of Alexandre - Fotolia.com
- Oklahoma Aquarium, Photo: Courtesy of Iuliia Sokolovska - Fotolia.com
- Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Photo: Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History
- Things to do in Oklahoma: Gilcrease Museum, Photo: Gilcrease Museum
- Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, Photo: Courtesy of Refocus Photography - Fotolia.com
- National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Photo: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
- Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, Photo: Oklahoma Route 66 Museum
- Beavers Bend State Resort Park, Photo: Courtesy of rjamphoto - Fotolia.com
- Henry Overholser Mansion, Photo: Henry Overholser Mansion
- Things to do in Oklahoma: Woody Guthrie Center, Photo: Woody Guthrie Center
- Tucker Tower, Photo: Tucker Tower
- Things to Do in Oklahoma: Fort Smith, Photo: NPS Photo
- Corral Drive In RV Park, Photo: Corral Drive In RV Park
- 45th Infantry Division Museum, Photo: 45th Infantry Division Museum
- Things to do in Oklahoma: Marland Estate Mansion, Photo: Marland Estate Mansion
- Museum of Osteology, Photo: Museum of Osteology
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Zack Frank - Fotolia.com
Washita Battlefield National Historic Site
The Washita Battlefield National Historic Site preserves the site where in 1968 Lt. Col. George A. Custer led the charge against the Southern Cheyenne Village of Peace Chief Black Kettle. The Historic Site is designed to be a peaceful place to enable visitors to reflect on the bloody conflict.
During the summer, Washita Battlefield offers docent-guided tours and educational talks. The park's beautiful walking trails are available all year round for guests to explore on their own. The park's visitor center shows a 27-minute informative film that explains the history of the site and features a small historical museum and bookstore.
18555 Highway 47A, Ste. A, Cheyenne, OK 73628, Phone: 580-497-2742