Oklahoma City Zoo#8 in Best Things To Do in Oklahoma City
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.
You'll find the Oklahoma City Zoo northeast of downtown, nearby Lincoln Park. Along with the zoo's attractions, it also houses several gift shops and cafes. The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission costs $11 for adults (ages 12 to 64) and $8 for seniors (65 and older) and kids between the ages of 3 and 11. Fees for select zoo activities and rides, such as the carousel and the daily giraffe feeding demonstration, cost extra. Parking is free. For more information, visit the 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.
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