Oklahoma is an authentic gateway to the west – a land of red soil, where buffaloes roam the plains and oil rigs prosper. But the largest cities, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, also have a distinctly sophisticated air, built on the proceeds of an oil boom in the early 1900s. Modern museums, galleries of international art and lavish gardens give the state a more cosmopolitan feel. head start, but many tourists choose to experience Oklahoma with the simple pleasures of a road trip, and no highway is more iconic than the state’s Route 66.
1 Route 66
The full stretch of Route 66 runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, but the longest stretch of miles cuts diagonally through the state of Oklahoma. This OK length starts in the northeast corner of the state and travels through Tulsa and Oklahoma City before crossing the border into Texas. Attractions along the way range from the historic, such as Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton and National Route 66 and Transportation Museum in Elk City , to the odd, such as the Catoosa Blue Whale or Golden Driller in Tulsa . The Museum of Oklahoma Route 66in Clinton is a great way to learn about the history of the road, with immersive experiences like a 1950s diner and rotating exhibits celebrating the Route 66 experience. In general, sightseeing stretches on Route 66 have a motorhead, such as drive-ins, motorcycle museums, and old-timey gas stations, meaning it’s avid road-trippers who enjoy the trip the most.
Official site: www.okhistory.org/sites/route66.php
2 Philbrook Museum of Art
Collections at the Philbrook Museum of Art include works from Africa, Asia, and Europe in a variety of media, as well as the work of American artists and artisans. This Italianate Renaissance-style art museum sits on 23 acres of picturesque formal and informal gardens along Crow Creek. It has the elegance and opulence of oil-rich Tulsa in the 1920s, while the art collection has a decidedly international reach. When visiting the gardens, keep an eye out for the cats on rodent patrol and the bees that both pollinate and produce local honey sold seasonally in the gift shop. There is a second museum of the art museum in downtown Tulsa.
Adres: 2727 South Rockford Road, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Official site: www.philbrook.org
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Tulsa
3 Oklahoma City Zoo
Elephant at the Oklahoma City Zoo
Ambling trails lead visitors through many ecosystems at the Oklahoma City Zoo, from African plains to tropical jungles. Established over a century ago, the zoo and botanical gardens have since bred 500 species of animals, including some endangered species, as well as a large garden landscape. Demonstrations and educational sessions are a highlight for families, whether it’s a giraffe feeding or an elephant show. Other fun things to do include exploring the stingray tank, hopping on a train ride, or boating on the zoo’s lake.
Address: 2101 NE 50th Street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Official site: www.okczoo.com
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Oklahoma City
4 University of Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma
In Norman, on the southern edge of Oklahoma City, the University of Oklahoma offers many tourist attractions and strong sports programs. The school was founded in 1890 and has since grown into a 3,000-acre campus. Drawing include contemporary exhibits at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and artifacts from global civilizations (plus dinosaur bones) at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History . For bibliophiles, the Bizzell Memorial Library is a lovely landmark structure built in 1929.
Address: 660 Parrington Oval, Norman, Oklahoma
Official site: www.ou.edu
5 Marland estate
Near the Kansas border to the north, Ponca City is another oil community in Oklahoma. Dating back to 1928, the Grand Marland Estate Mansion was commissioned as a second home for millionaire oilman and Oklahoma’s 10th governor, EW Marland. The palatial home has 55 rooms, including three kitchens, plus expansive grounds with a swimming pool, artist studio, and boathouse. Other historical museums on the estate include the Bryant Baker Gallery dedicated to the eponymous sculptor and the Marland Oil Museum. For a look at the Marland’s former home, visit his smaller town residence (also in Ponca City) known as Marland’s Grand Home .
Adres: 901 Monument Road, Ponca City, Oklahoma
Official site: www.marlandmansion.com
6 Museum of the Great Plains, Lawton
The Museum of the Great Plains in Lawton offers hands-on and interactive natural history exhibits that reveal life in the West for Native Americans and pioneers. Head outside to see a number of historic buildings, including a train depot, trading post, and schoolhouse. Also in Lawton, tourists can discover local culture at the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center , or tour The Holy City – an unusual collection of buildings built to resemble Israel during the Biblical period.
Address: 601 NW Ferris Ave, Lawton, Oklahoma
Official site: https://www.discovermgp.org
7 Gilcrease Museum
The Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa presents an extensive collection of art and history from the American West, exploring both frontier settlement and Native American cultures. Collections include art, historical manuscripts and anthropological artifacts. The museum is located on 460 acres in the Osage Hills . Stunningly lush gardens cultivate 23 of those acres with themed garden styles, including fine Victorian, Colonial, Pre-Columbian, and Pioneer landscapes.
Adres: 1400 North Gilcrease Museum Road, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Official site: www.gilcrease.org
8 Oklahoma City National Monument
The 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building is poignantly commemorated at this Oklahoma City outdoor memorial and museum. Victims, survivors and rescuers are honored on the grounds, which include a reflection pool, gardens and symbolic sculptures. It has become a landmark of the capital. The nearby Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum recounts the tragic events felt across the nation.
Adres: 620 North Harvey Ave, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
9 Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve
Woolaroc Ranch spans 3,700 acres where American bison, longhorn cattle, and elk roam freely in the vast landscape. Visitors can see and photograph these beautiful beasts safely from their vehicles. Also on the ranch grounds are a west-facing museum (exhibition of art and artifacts) and a rustic lodge. The reservation is a 20-minute drive southwest of Bartlesville , which is also worth a visit to see Price Tower Arts Center – the only skyscraper constructed from the designs of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Adres: 1925 Woolaroc Ranch Road, Bartlesville, Oklahoma
Official site: www.woolaroc.org
10 National Weather Center
Oklahoma State has some of the most severe weather in the world, with powerful tornadoes, lightning, and scorching heat. These extreme conditions make a tour of the National Weather Center in Norman (south of the capital) so interesting. The guided session visits Oklahoma University’s School of Meteorology, as well as the Storm Prediction Center. Advance reservation is required. There is also an on-site cafe open to the public and there is no entry fee to visit the weather center.
Address: 120 David L Boren Blvd, Norman, Oklahoma
Official site: www.ou.edu/nwc/visit
11 Cherokee Heritage Centre
Tahlequah has been the capital of the Cherokee Indian Nation since 1839, but its living history is showcased even earlier at the Cherokee Heritage Center. Outdoor exhibits in Diligwa recreate a 1710 Cherokee Village while the historic log buildings of Adams Corner Rural Village revive Cherokee life in the 1890s. Both are worth a visit to discover an unusual perspective on Native American history. Tahlequah is located southeast of Tulsa, halfway between Muskogee and the Arkansas border.
Adres: 21192 S Keeler Drive, Park Hill, Oklahoma
Official site: www.cherokeeheritage.org
12 JM Davis Arms & Historical Museum
The collections at the Jim Davis Arms & Historical Museum in Oklahoma City contain 50,000 items. The main exhibit is Davis’s vast private collection of over 12,000 firearms dating back to the 14th century. Additional displays include Native American artifacts, authentic riding saddles, and traces of Wild West historical items. The museum also features a recreation of the lobby of JM Davis’s Mason Hotel, as well as World War II memorabilia and local history information. Outside, visitors can admire the collection’s largest piece, a U.S. Army M41 Walker Bulldog tank, circa 1950.
Adres: 330 North JM Davis Blvd, Claremore, Oklahoma
Official site: www.thegunmuseum.com
13 Myriad Botanical Gardens
Myriad Botanical Gardens offers an oasis in downtown Oklahoma City for residents, families and tourists. The space and facilities are free to use, cover 15 acres with walking trails, a large lawn and a small lake. There is also a playground, off-leash dog park, and visitor center. The gardens include a children’s garden, ornamental gardens and the impressive Crystal Bridge Conservatory . Here, visitors can explore the plants of two climates, the Tropical Wet Zone and the Tropical Dry Zone, and the desert planting area. Together, more than 750 plant species are represented in a beautiful setting with a waterfall and a bridge over the tropical forest, from which visitors can enjoy a panoramic view.
Address: 301 W. Reno, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Official site: www.oklahomacitybotanicalgardens.com
14 National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City began as a “Hall of Fame” dedicated to American cowboys in 1955 and has grown to become the premier archive of Western art, artifacts, and cultural history. Galleries showcase a variety of Western art with painting and sculpture, as well as interactive exhibits about the people and culture of the Old West. Areas of focus include military and firearms, the tradition of rodeos and Western performers, and Native American culture. The museum also contains a replica of a western town and hosts regular educational events. Parents can relax in the yard while the kids play and learn outside in a small wild west forest with the Kinder Cowboy Corral.
Adres: 1700 Northeast 63rd St. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Official site: www.nationalcowboymuseum.org