Oklahoma City is the largest city and capital of the state of Oklahoma. The city actually lies in the middle of an active oil field so there are oil Derricks spread throughout the city. The summer months are normally hot and humid which can at times lead to prolonged periods of drought. The city has a varied and interesting past which means there are many museums to visit on your time off.
If you like sports there are several local teams to get behind in a variety of sports as well as the teams that play for the Oklahoma City University. With so many things to do let’s look at the best things to do in Oklahoma City.
1. Remember The Victims Of The Oklahoma City Bombing
On April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City and the rest of the United States was shaken as a domestic terrorist bomb killed 168 people and injured 680 more. Today the Oklahoma City National Memorial stands in Oklahoma City as a memorial to those that lost their lives, the hero’s that rescued the buried and cared for the injured and the survivors who lived to tell the tale. There are several sections to the memorial, each telling a tale of what happened on that fateful day. A trip here may take longer than you expect as there is much to see and reflect upon.
2. Escape From The Hustle And Bustle Of The City
In the middle of downtown Oklahoma City are the Myriad Botanical Gardens, a public space that stretches out over 15 acres. There is much to see and do in the gardens including a children’s park, splash fountains, an off-leash dog park and plenty of paths to walk and run along. There are occasional concerts to be enjoyed at the bandstand and the Crystal Bridge Conservatory is popular with couples getting married. Classes are run throughout the year for both adults and children. Classes include chocolate making, story reading, gardening lessons and much more.
3. Learn The History Of Oklahoma At The Oklahoma History Center
The Oklahoma History Center took many years to finish and is located on a plot of land spanning 18 acres. The building has 215,000 feet that is focused on teaching people about the history of this great city. There are more than 2,000 artifacts covering more than 50 different topics within the center. Visitors to the center can also enjoy a Red River walking tour. The tour is a 1/4 mile walk that replicates the Red River’s journey along the border of Oklahoma.
4. Learn About The Skeleton At The Museum Of Osteology
The museum of Osteology is all about bones and skeletons. It has over 300 skeletons on display in the museum and anther 5,000 not on display. The museum was the first of its type in the U.S and the skeletons are from creatures all over the globe. Like many of the museums in Oklahoma this one is hands-on and kids will have a great time without realising that they are learning so much at the same time. Perhaps the star of the show is the 40 foot skeleton of a humpback whale.
5. Cheer On The Oklahoma City Dodgers
The Oklahoma City Dodgers play in the Pacific Coast League of the minor baseball league. Their home games are played at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and they have had quite a lot of success over the years. The team was founded in 1962 and has 4 league titles, 2 conference titles and 13 division titles. Due to the success of the team the city is right behind their every move and a sense of excitement fills the city on match days.
6. Be Entertained At The Paycom Center
If Basketball is your thing instead of Baseball then you should make a visit to the Paycom Center. The Paycom Center is home to the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team and has a capacity of 18,203 seats which are full to the brim on home games. For those that are hungry before and after a game you have a choice of restaurants, bars and an Irish Pub. Apart from basketball the arena has been used for many WWE events including Raw, SmackDown and Unforgiven. UFC and other fighting events regularly feature on the arena’s calendar also.
7. Meet The Animals At Oklahoma City Zoo And Botanical Garden
If you love animals then you will love the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. There are more than 1,800 animals that live in the zoo, taking up 119 acres of space. One of the main attractions of the zoo is the elephant habitat that has a herd of African elephants living in it. There is an outdoor yard, swimming pools, a waterfall and various structures that allow the elephants some shade. Children can explore the children’s zoo where they can get up close with goats, monkeys, flamingos and other animals. There are also times each day where guests may feed the giraffes from a specially built platform.
8. Can You Handle The Rollercoaster At Frontier City
Frontier City is an amusement park in Oklahoma City that features more than 50 rides, four of which are roller coasters. The theme of the amusement park is the Wild West and there are regular Wild West gunfighter stunt shows. The roller coasters are the real stars of the show here with the ‘Brain Drain’ being the most exhilarating, the ride is seven stories high and shoots you around in a complete loop before returning to earth. Season tickets are available for avid ride fans and there are plenty of eating options within the park.
9. Enjoy Live Music At Civic Center Music Hall
Civic Center Music Hall is a great place for the family to go and be entertained by some live music. The hall was constructed in 1937 and was originally named the Municipal Auditorium, in 1966 the name was changed to the name we know today. Eight different organizations call the center their home and about 250 live shows a year are put on across the different stages. Despite its name, it is not just music events that are put on at the Civic Center, regular comedy and stage shows are also hosted.
10. See How Science Affects You Everyday
The Science Museum in Oklahoma is an educational and fascinating place that gets people of all ages involved in science. There are many interactive exhibitions to get involved with and each one will leave you wanting another go. There is a Segway Course that is great fun and teaches you all about the Gyro effect. You can learn how bridges are constructed and even build your own. There is a Resonant Pendulum that shows you how to move great weights with very little effort, these are just a few of the activities you can get involved in when you step inside The Science Museum.
11. Make A Splash At Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Oklahoma City
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is perfect for the whole family who are looking to enjoy a day out. It is a huge water park located in Oklahoma City, it features slide rides, raft rides and family rides. There are many exhilarating rides to enjoy at the waterpark and perhaps the highlight is the Mega-Wedgie, a 277 foot long speed slide that has a 64 foot free fall section at the end of it. Apart from the water slides, there are plenty of options for the family to eat at the park and catch your breath after all the excitement.
12. Learn The History Of The Oklahoma State Firefighters
More than 8,000 firefighters pay dues to keep the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum in working order. The museum was opened in in 1969 and since then it has provided a valuable education tool to the people of Oklahoma City. There are many antique fire apparatus and pieces of equipment on display for all to see, some of the items date back to the middle of the 18th century. There are also many pieces on display from the oldest fire company in the country as well as the world’s largest patch collection.
13. Enjoy The Great Outdoors At Lake Hefner
The city of Oklahoma was going to run into a water shortage issue if a new reservoir was not created, so in 1947 the Lake Hefner reservoir was built. Lake Hefner was named after Robert A. Hefner who was the city mayor from 1939 until 1947. Surrounding the lake are 9.5 miles of bicycles trails that the whole family can enjoy. If you like fishing you can fish for a large variety of gamefish in the reservoir including bass, bluegill and catfish.
14. Go Back To The Days Of The Wild West
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is an educational day out for both parents and children. At the museum there is an excellent collection of things to do with the American West. There are Native American pieces, original cowboy clothing, various firearms and lots of fine art. The museum has seen more than 10 million visitors since it opened in 1955 and it is the counties premier institution of Western history. There are permanent exhibitions at the museum as well as ever changing temporary exhibitions.
15. Take A Ride On A Diesel Or Steam Train
The Oklahoma Railway Museum is situated in a former railroad depot in Oklahoma City. Jim Murray Jr. and his partners started purchasing land and railroad track before opening the museum in 2002. There are various diesel trains and one steam locomotive that visitors can take a ride on. Each year the museum welcomes Thomas the Tank Engine as part of it’s Day Out with Thomas Event’ The museum is suitable for people of all ages and guarantees a fun day out for all visitors.
16. Perfect Your Technique At H&H Shooting Sports
The people of Oklahoma City like to practice their shooting and many locals take a trip to H&H Shooting Sports. H&H Shooting Sports is the largest indoor shooting range that is accessible to the public in the United States. In total there are 61 indoor shooting lanes. The lanes are broken down into three categories, 42 are for the public shooting of firearms, 15 for traditional archery and 4 for technohunt. The company offers private instruction for anyone with none or limited experience in firearms shooting. Boy scouts can learn for free if you are working towards your merit badges. H&H continue to stay at the forefront of technological advances and always have highly trained staff on site at all times to ensure maximum safety for its users.
17. See Incredible Artwork At The Fred Jones Jr. Museum Of Art
The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is causing quite a stir amongst the art world and is perhaps the finest university collection of art in the U.S. There are nearly 16,000 objects at the museum and the main collections hold pieces from many world renowned artists. There are pieces by famous impressionists Monet, Van Gogh and Renoir in the Weitzenhoffer Collection, the collection is valued at over $50 million. The museum was founded in 1936 by Oscar Jacobson who was an art professor at Oklahoma University. In the beginning the museum featured 250 works and from that small collection it has grown to the amazing collection we can see today.
18. Play A Round At Quail Creek
Quail Creek Golf and Country Club is no ordinary golf course! Instead it is a luxurious area that has many different types of recreational activities including tennis, fitness, swimming and formal and casual dining. The golf course at one time had the “Best 17th Hole in America” according to the Sports Illustrated magazine. Since then the course has gone through a complete renovation and provides its members with a beautiful yet challenging course. Due to the beautiful scenery the area affords many people choose to have their weddings and functions at the course.
19. Enjoy Farm To Fork At Ludivine
In today’s age we are a lot more educated about what we eat and where the ingredients come from. Take a trip to Ludivine and you can rest assured that you are only eating food that comes from local farms and is as fresh as it can be. The menu at Ludivine changes daily and Chefs Jonathan Stranger and Russ Johnson have really made the restaurant stand out from its competitors due to their incredible food. Reservations are recommended for larger groups due to the ever growing popularity of the restaurant.
20. Let Your Hair Down At The Blues And BBQ Festival
If you need to let your hair down, blow off some steam or just chill out with a great BBQ and some cold beers then you should get yourself down to the Blues and BBQ Festival. The event which is held in June lasts for two days and has non-stop Blues performers right up until midnight on each day. There is enough BBQ food to keep even the pickiest of eaters happy and an all round-good vibe. Previous performers have included the Scott Keeton Band and Otis Watkins and the Bushdoctors.
21. Admire The Beauty Of St. Joseph Old Cathedral
At the time Rev. Nicolas F. Scallon arrived in Oklahoma City the local Catholics were celebrating mass in a tent that was most commonly used as a general store. A couple of weeks later three lots of land were purchased and construction of the church began. This church was not big enough though because the congregation continued to grow and so in 1901 a new church was built and it became the first cathedral in Oklahoma. A lot of damage was done to the cathedral during the 1995 Oklahoma City bomb attack, this led to the cathedral being closed for two years whilst repairs were carried out.
22. Get Fit In The Boathouse District
The Oklahoma River has a row of boathouses and other attractions along it, the area is known as the boathouse district. In this area you can take part in various recreational activities including rowing and kayaking. The Boathouse District was developed in the 1990’s on a seven mile stretch of the river that goes through the city. This part of town has recently been named an official U.S Olympic training site for both Olympians and Paralympian’s. Further developments in this exciting part of the city are expected.