National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum#3 in Best Things To Do in Oklahoma City
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.
You'll find the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum northeast of the city center, off of Interstate 44. Admission for adults costs $12.50; entrance for kids 6 to 12 costs $5.75. Children 5 and younger enter for free. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Parking is free. You'll also find a museum store and cafe on-site. For more information, visit the museum's website.
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#1 Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum
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.