Best Things To Do in Oklahoma City
Visit Oklahoma City and you'll find an eclectic assortment of museums. For instance, you'll find a museum solely dedicated to skeletons at the Museum of Osteology and one chronicling the Wild West at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. And though the specter of 1995's Oklahoma City Bombing still hovers, the museum and memorial do a nice job of honoring and remembering while still offering hope.
Updated October 16, 2017
- #1View all Photos#1 in Oklahoma City0.3 miles to city centerMonuments and Memorials, MuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND0.3 miles to city centerMonuments and Memorials, MuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
April 19, 1995, was one of those days in America's history when time stopped. A bomb decimated the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building at 9:02 a.m., killing 168 people including 19 children in its blast. This museum and memorial were raised in honor of the people affected by the domestic terrorist attack. The museum offers visitors a chronological self-guided and interactive tour separated into 10 chapters, starting with the history of the site all the way through the bombing's lasting impact and what it means for our country's future. Along the way, you'll see archived news footage, hear survivors (and surviving family members) tell their stories, and see artifacts recovered from the event, including Timothy McVeigh’s getaway car.
Outside the museum, you'll find a memorial honoring the victims, survivors and rescuers sitting on the grounds where the building once stood. There are many features to the outdoor memorial, but the Field of Empty Chairs is perhaps the most moving, according to recent visitors. Located on the footprint of the Murrah Building are 168 chairs made to represent all the lives lost that day. Each chair details the name of a person, as well as the floor they were on. There are 19 small chairs to represent the children who perished in the bombing.
- #2View all Photos#2 in Oklahoma City8.3 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND8.3 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
If you and your family have an interest in biology or osteology (the study of bones and skeletons), you'll want to add in a stop to this museum. One of just two osteology museums in North America (the other is in Orlando), this museum spans 7,000 square feet and houses more than 300 complete skeletons, as well as more than 400 skulls. Skeletons range in size from an enormous humpback whale to the tiniest hummingbird. As you walk through the museum and learn about the vertebrate kingdom, you'll have the option to touch some of the skeletons on display and learn more about adaptation and locomotion, or how animals evolved to better survive their environment and how that impacted their skeletal system.
Many recent visitors were pleasantly surprised with their experience at the Museum of Osteology. According to reviewers, the museum doesn't look like much from the outside, but upon entering the building you'll be astonished at the museum's vast collection. Travelers said it was an ideal outing for all ages thanks to the friendly, informative staff; visitors suggested setting aside several hours to tour all of its exhibits.
- #3View all Photos#3 in Oklahoma City5 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND5 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Founded in 1955, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum contains an expansive collection of western art and artifacts, including works by Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell and James Earle Fraser. Along with cowboy artifacts, such as firearms, equipment (like saddles and spurs) and apparel, the museum also houses a replica turn-of-the-century town, "Prosperity Junction." You'll also find several exhibits showcasing Native American art and culture, as well as a map of tribe alliances and networks. There's also an interactive section made for kids – the Children's Cowboy Corral – where children can dress up, "ride" a horse and learn about a cowboy's code of ethics. Outside the museum, there is a courtyard with landscaped gardens.
Most visitors express surprise at how much they enjoyed this museum using adjectives, such as "beautiful," "huge" and "well done." Reviewers also suggested allotting several hours or even a full day to see all the museum has to offer.
- #4View all PhotosfreeBricktown#4 in Oklahoma City0.6 miles to city centerEntertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND0.6 miles to city centerEntertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Bricktown's red brick buildings first appeared at the turn of the 20th century as warehouses. Now, in the 21st century, this area is a bustling entertainment district with restaurants, bars, shops, hotels and even the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and the Cox Convention Center. There's also a canal, which visitors can enjoy via water taxi.
Recent visitors said Bricktown provided a nice pre- or post-dinner stroll and were impressed with the amount of nightlife offered here. If you can, reviewers suggest leaving your car at your hotel and enjoying this area with your own two feet as parking around here can be difficult, especially on the weekends. For more information on Bricktown, visit the area's website.
- #5View all Photos#5 in Oklahoma City4.4 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND4.4 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Founded in 1958 and spanning more than 8 acres, Science Museum Oklahoma offers an interactive look at a variety of science fields, from engineering to aviation and even art. Start at "CurioCity," a 20,000-square-foot "city" divided into eight neighborhoods. Each neighborhood offers interactive features that teach kids (and adults) about different scientific concepts, such as the distribution of mass and investigation and observation. Among the museum's many exhibits, you'll also find a planetarium, a two-story tree house and a "Tinkering Garage" – a hands-on workshop.
According to recent visitors, the Science Museum Oklahoma appeals to a variety of ages and interests. Reviewers raved about the quality of the museum's exhibits and its friendly staff. Travelers were also impressed with the museum's size, saying it was large enough to accommodate the many exhibits and crowds, but not too overwhelming.
- #6View all Photos#6 in Oklahoma City0.3 miles to city centerParks and Gardens, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND0.3 miles to city centerParks and Gardens, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Situated downtown, the Myriad Botanical Gardens sprawl across 17 acres and feature outdoor and indoor spaces for year-round fun. Among the gardens' many paved paths are two interactive water features popular with little ones, including the Thunder Fountain, which mimics a thunderstorm with light and noise. But the gardens' star attraction is undoubtedly the Crystal Bridge Conservatory, which houses thousands of tropical and desert plants across its 13,000 square feet.
Recent visitors used phrases like "hidden gem" and "city jewel" to describe the gardens. Reviewers suggest bringing a lunch to make a day of your visit. Travelers also say the fee to see the conservatory is completely worth it, calling it a beautiful oasis.
- #7View all Photos#7 in Oklahoma City0.2 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND0.2 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
According to recent visitors, a stop at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is a must if you're a fan of artist Dale Chihuly. That's because this museum houses one of the largest collections of Chihuly glass in the world. The crown jewel of its collection, the Eleanor Blake Kirkpatrick Memorial Tower, isn't hard to miss – the 55-foot piece is on display in the museum's atrium. Along with its Chihuly collection, the museum boasts paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures from 19th- and 20th-century European and American artists, including Georgia O'Keeffe, Renoir and Gustave Courbet, among others.
Recent visitors were impressed with the museum's Chihuly collection, though they do concede that the museum is small. Reviewers also appreciated the on-site theater and cafe, which offers daily lunch, dinner and tea service, as well as Sunday brunch.
- #8View all Photos#8 in Oklahoma City4.5 miles to city centerZoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND4.5 miles to city centerZoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Part zoo, part botanical gardens, the Oklahoma City Zoo is a hit with recent travelers for its large size, manageable layout and variety of exhibits. You'll find the usual suspects here, including bears, lions and giraffes, but the Oklahoma City Zoo also boasts an exhibit unique to the area – Oklahoma Trails. This naturalistic habitat features more than 100 different animal species native to Oklahoma (around 800 individual animals) and 11 unique life zones special to Oklahoma, including the grassy Black Mesa and the rolling Ozark Highlands. You'll also find a 25-foot replica of Turner Falls, found at Big Rivers. In summer 2018, the zoo is expected to open a nearly 7-acre sanctuary for endangered animals from Asia, including elephants, red pandas and Komodo dragons, among other animals. You can also fork over a bit more cash for the zoo's many rides and animal encounters, including giraffe feedings and stingray touching experiences.
Recent visitors were impressed with the size and scope of the zoo and recommended adding this to your OKC itinerary if you've got young kids in tow. Several reviewers suggested allotting several hours to seeing all of the zoo's exhibits. The only gripe among travelers? The high cost of food at the on-site cafes.
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