Located in the South-Central region of the United States, Oklahoma is the 20th largest state in terms of physical area and the 28th largest in terms of population. This state has borders with Missouri, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Colorado, and covers an area of 69,899 square miles in total. Oklahoma has an estimated population of 3.93 million. Nicknamed 'Native America' and the 'Sonner State', Oklahoma's official name comes from Native American Choctaw words 'okla' and 'humma' which mean 'red people' when put together. The 'Sooner State' nickname of Oklahoma is used in reference to the people who claimed parts of the land as their own before they were officially allowed to do so. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
5 of the Largest Cities in Oklahoma
- Overview, Photo: spiritofamerica/stock.adobe.com
- Oklahoma City, Photo: ManuelHurtado/stock.adobe.com
- Tulsa, Photo: ManuelHurtado/stock.adobe.com
- Norman, Photo: mbuban/stock.adobe.com
- Broken Arrow, Photo: Ongala/stock.adobe.com
- Lawton, Photo: raksyBH/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
Attraction Spotlight: Philbrook Museum of Art
The Philbrook Museum of Art truly a national gem. Located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Philbrook is nationally recognized as one of the top 50 museums in the United States. The Philbrook is also regarded as one of the only five museums in the country that has a combination of art collections, gardens, and a historical home.
There are three histories related to the Philbrook: the home, art museum, and gardens. Beginning with the home, Villa Philbrook was created by Waite and Genevieve Phillips. The Phillips hired Edward Buehler Delk, a prominent architect based in Kansas City, to design a mansion with the inspiration of an Italian Renaissance home. Villa Philbrook was completed in 1927 and was a mansion with three stories, a steel construction, and concrete framework. After residing in the home for approximately eleven years, the Phillips family donated their Villa Philbrook and surrounding property to the city of Tulsa. The main purpose for their donation, was so Villa Philbrook could become the art and cultural hotspot of Tulsa. It’s important to note that almost the entire home, except for the main rooms in the first floor, has been renovated and remodeled so it could adequately serve as a public facility.
The Philbrook Art Museum was made possible by the teamwork from the first director, Eugene Kingman, the Tulsa Art Association, and the original art collection that was housed in Villa Philbrook. In fall 1939, the Philbrook Art Museum officially opened to the public. One year after the Museum opened, official educational classes and workshops were added to the Museum’s services. This ultimately sparked and contributed to the created of the Children’s Museum, which opened in 1949. Since the Philbrook Art Museum opened, the Museum has undergone various renovations that have expanded and adjusted the overall facility. Thus, ensuring visitors will have an extremely unique and significant experience.
Since Villa Philbrook sits on approximately 23 acres of land, the surrounding areas of the home were turned into magnificent gardens. These elaborate gardens were influenced by one of Giacomo Barozzi de Vignola’s most magnificent estates, Villa Lante. Most of the gardens of the current day Philbrook have been maintained in a way that preserved the original construction. In 2004 an extension of the gardens was created. This extended the gardens to the summerhouse.
The Philbrook is home to a variety of permanent attractions spread across their 23 acres of land. Throughout the original Villa Philbrook, guests can explore areas of the original Villa Philbrook construction, as well as the following permanent art attractions:
• African Art
• American Art
• Asian Art
• Decorative Arts
• European Art
• Modern and Contemporary Art
• Native American Art
• Works on Paper
In addition to the Philbrook’s permanent art collection, the Philbrook is home to an extensive display of gardens. In order to explore the gardens, visitors have to participate in a guided walking tour. Some of the highlights of the Philbrook gardens include:
• Sensory gardens
• Meditative niches
• Intricate arch designs
• Italian inspired architectural structures
• A sculpture walk
• A refurbished creek
• A combination of native Oklahoma plants and exotic plants
Aside from their extensive permanent collection, the Philbrook regularly hosts special attractions throughout the year. For more information about special attractions at the Philbrook, check out the museum’s website.
The value and importance the Philbrook holds in regards to education is shown within the extensive educational opportunities the museum offers. The educational programs at the Philbrook range from typical specialized tours for groups and schools to a variety of classes for people of all ages, interests, and skill level.
Every class offered at the Philbrook focuses directly on making art, regardless of the art form and genre. A few of the art classes available provide participants with extensive information about a concentration within the Philbrook’s permanent collection. Then, participants utilize their new found information to create art inspired by the Philbrook’s permanent collection.
Back to: Best Things to do in Tulsa
2727 S Rockford Rd, Tulsa, OK 74114, Phone: 800-324-7941
Attraction Spotlight: Tulsa Zoo
Located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Tulsa Zoo serves as an 85 acre facility that promotes the conversation, sustainability, and education of animals. The Tulsa Zoo has a variety of attractions spread out across their 85 acres of land. In order to get the most out of your time at the Tulsa Zoo, employees of the zoo recommend to spend at least three hours exploring the Tulsa Zoo.
The Tulsa Zoo was founded in 1927 by the Tulsa Zoological Society. Shortly after the Tulsa Zoo was founded, Monkey Island was established in honor of George Watkins, who was a mayor of the city of Tulsa. The next exhibit to be featured at the Tulsa Zoo was the current day koi pond. But, when it was founded in 1939, the koi pond was used as an alligator attraction.
Fast forward approximately ten years after the establishment of the alligator attraction, the Tulsa Zoo acquired their first chimpanzee, named Duke. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the Tulsa Zoo acquired many animals and established various habitats and attractions, such as the Primate Aviary Building (which is the current day Conservation Center), the Cat and Bear Grottos, and the zoo’s first giraffes. During this time period, the Tulsa Zoo also benchmarked various foundations for future zoos, such as being one of the first zoos in the United States to raise a wide amount of giraffes.
In 1966 the Tulsa Zoo’s director, Hugh S. Davis resigned. David G. Zucconi became the next director, and created various initiatives for the Tulsa Zoo, which helped the zoo gain national recognition.
African Plains takes visitors across the world to Africa. Visitors will feel as if they are exploring through the welcoming village of an area in Africa. All of the animals in this exhibit are native to the African Plains. Some of the highlighted animals include; giraffes, southern ground hornbills, and lions.
Asia allows visitors to explore some of the most special and endangered species that are found within Asia. Two of the featured animals are Malayan tigers and snow leopards.
Children’s Zoo is the perfect opportunity for visitors to explore smaller mammals and even get to interact with them one-on-one. Visitors can expect to vie red kangaroos, guinea hogs, river otters, and even miniature horses.
Chimpanzee Connection is an indoor and outdoor exhibit that enables visitors to observe chimpanzees in an up close and personal way throughout any season.
Conservation Center is a combination of various animals, such as reptiles and primates. One of the coolest parts of the Conservation Center is the Reptile Nursery, where visitors can examine reptiles hatching through eggs.
Robert J. LaFortune WildLIFE Trek Life in the Cold showcases animals, such as chinchillas and grizzly bears, who prefer to live and thrive within cold environments.
Robert J. LaFortune WildLIFE Trek Life in the Desert features animals, such as naked mole rats and black-footed cats, who have unique adaptions that enable them to live within deserts.
Robert J. LaFortune WildLIFE Trek Life in the Forest houses a variety of animals that live in forests. Highlighted animals include bobcats and crocodile monitors.
Robert J. LaFortune WildLIFE Trek Life in the Water features a variety of animals that live within the later. Some of the featured animals include lionfish and seahorses.
Mary K. Chapman Rhino Reserve is a naturalistic home with indoor and outdoor features for white rhinos, African crowned cranes, springbok antelope, and white storks.
Oceans and Islands take visitors to an area resembling a tropical island. Visitors can explore various animals, such as African penguins and sea lions, as well as the architectural elements of this exhibit, such as the shipwreck elements.
The Rainforest is an attraction home to a variety of animals that are typically found within Central and South America. One of the highlighted animals of this exhibit is the two-toed sloth, who roam freely throughout the exhibit. Thus, visitors can truly have an interactive experience within this attraction.
Lost Kingdom is a new exhibit at the Tulsa Zoo coming in 2017. Lost Kingdom will be an entire complex dedicated to providing visitors with a truly unique, up close, and even interactive experience. Visitors will be able to explore various indoor and outdoor aspects of the complex that resembles ancient cultures, such as the city and civilizations of Angkor-Wat.
The Tulsa Zoo has a variety of educational opportunities, such as specialized tours, classes, and interactive activities for people of all ages. For more information about the educational opportunities at the Tulsa Zoo, check out the zoo’s website.
Back to: Best Things to do in Tulsa
6421 E 36th St N, Tulsa, OK 74115, Phone: 918-669-6600
Attraction Spotlight: Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium
The Tulsa Air and Space Museum (TASM) is an aerospace museum in Tulsa, OK that is dedicated to preserving Oklahoma’s significant aerospace heritage and inspiring science-based learning through discovery. Located on the grounds of the Tulsa International Airport, the Museum features 19,000 square feet of historical exhibits, vintage aircraft, and interactive, educational displays. The museum is also home to a full-dome planetarium, which was the first ever built in Tulsa, and boasts modern educational facilities school and scout groups and summer camps. The Museum also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including Tulsa Centennial Airshow, the TASM Air and Rocket Racing Show, the National Air Tour, Defender Days and many other fly-in events.
The Tulsa Air and Space Museum was established in a 1940s hangar on the Spartan School of Aeronautics’ campus in 1998 with the aim of preserving Oklahoma’s significant aerospace heritage and inspiring science-based learning through discovery. Due to its extensive growth, the Museum moved to its current location at the Tulsa International Airport in 2005 and opened the James E. Bertelsmeyer Planetarium – the first in Tulsa - a year later. In 2013, a state-of-the-art interactive Discovery Center was added to the fold, including a gift from American Airlines – an MD-80 aircraft. Today, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum is one of the city’s most popular tourist attraction and has seen over half a million visitors come through its doors to explore the historical exhibits, enjoy hands-on science exhibits, take a ride in the computer flight simulator lab, and discover full-dome planetarium shows. The Museum also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including Tulsa Centennial Airshow, the TASM Air and Rocket Racing Show, the National Air Tour, Defender Days and many other fly-in events.
Collections / Exhibits
The Tulsa Air and Space Museum’s collections focus primarily on Tulsa's aviation history, and permanent exhibits include The Early Birds, The Golden Age, World War II, Survivors, The Jet Age, The Space Age and other hands-on exhibits.
The Early Birds explores Oklahoma’s aviation history; it’s early aviation pioneers and the aerospace industry. Signature features of this exhibit include the Star Cavalier, which floats above the space, a smoke filled-balloon, and a replica of Tulsa’s first airport terminal, the McIntyre Hanger.
The Golden Age takes visitors back in time to the 1930s in a recreated Art Deco-style Tulsa Municipal Airport terminal. This outstanding exhibit explores the Golden Age of flight and features a Spartan NP-1, a crank-start bi-plane used to train U.S. Navy reserve units.
World War II delves into the role Oklahoma played in the Second World War and features pilot logs and read accounts from local men who served during World War II and the Spartan Executive, the last civilian aircraft Spartan ever made. Visitors can meet the crew of the Tulsamerican, the last B-24 bomber built by the Douglas Aircraft Company during WWII, and hear the story and the fate of this plane during the war.
The Survivors exhibit tells the incredible stories of the brave Oklahomans who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor and other war experiences via a short documentary film.
The Jet Age focuses on essential pioneers in the aviation industry such as the Douglas Aircraft Company, the Spartan Aircraft Company, American Airlines, and Boeing and features an Engines exhibit with a range of aircraft engines from the first mass-produced jet engine to the engines used in commercial air travel today.
The Space Age exhibit features NASA artifacts and showcases local Oklahoma astronauts with interactive displays where children can ‘launch a space shuttle’ and see what’s like to work in space using a space shuttle robotic arm.
Other hands-on exhibits include a Rockwell Ranger 2000 jet trainer, and an F-14 Tomcat fighter jet, both of which can be explored from observation platforms, and a Viper F-16 Wind Tunnel which allows visitors to experience pitch, roll, and yaw using rudder pedals and a control stick as if flying a plane. Featured aircraft at the Museum include a Schleicher Ka-6e, an XTC (Ecstasy), and a Spartan C-2, Bell 47K Helicopter.
MD-80 Discovery Center
The MD-80 Discovery Center is based in the MD-80 airliner that was donated to the Museum by American Airlines and features hourly MD-80 tours and MD-80 flight experiences in the MD-80 Flight Theater.
The Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium provides science-based learning opportunities for children of all ages with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education.
The Tulsa Air and Space Museum is located at the Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa and is open to the public from Monday through Saturday between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. The James E. Bertelsmeyer Planetarium is open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm and
3624 N 74th E Ave, Tulsa, OK 74115, Phone: 918-834-9900