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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Check out state parks and other outdoor places

If you want to get away from the city for Spring Break, many of Oklahoma’s State Parks are just a short drive away. The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department’s website, TravelOK.com, has a list of state parks that you can explore by selecting your areas of interest. Want a state park that offers archery and an RV hookup? Lake Thunderbird State Park in Norman is your place. What about hiking in a state park off of Interstate 40? Try Red Rock Canyon State Park in Hinton (about an hour from Oklahoma City), Foss State Park in Foss or Lake Eufaula State Park in Checotah. Yes, the options get that specific.

You can plan your perfect getaway based on your interests. The range of activities offered at state parks includes golfing, disc golf, hiking, horseback riding, swimming and even cave exploring (Alabaster Caverns State Park near Freedom).

Some areas of interest worth exploring that aren’t on the state parks’ list include the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service near Lawton, Quartz Mountain Nature Park in southwest Oklahoma and the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve operated by the Nature Conservancy.

Get a move on, and enjoy Spring Break in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma, outdoor recreation, parks, spring break
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Paws-itvely a Blast

The air in Oklahoma City is getting a tad more brisk as October rolls on, but the great thing about OKC is the sun still shines. In fact, the sun shines 350 days a year in the Sooner State. The ample sunshine means the metro is the perfect place to take man’s (and woman’s) best friend outdoors for some fun in the sun.

Even better (especially for your four-legged friend), Oklahoma City is home to one of the best dog parks in the country, Paw Park. Located at 3303 NW Grand, we would describe Paw Park as a sort of Disneyland for canines on two acres. That is just not our sense of local pride taking over either. Both Southern Living and Dog Fancy have named Paw Park to their “Best Dog Parks in the U.S.” list over the years.

“What makes Paw Park so special?” you might ask. The park features a duck pond for your buddy to cool off on the warmer days. Anyone who has a dog that likes to swim can attest that it is the most fun their pet has that doesn’t involve food or chasing cats.

The park is also sectioned off into two areas: one for smaller dogs and the ones who don’t get around as well as they used to, and one for larger dogs. Water stations, trees and lots of room to run make Paw Park just short of heaven for your dogs. Also, the park is completely free, but donations are much appreciated.

free, outdoor recreation, parks, pets
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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More Fun than You Can Shake (or throw) a Stick At

While we love to talk about Paw Park and all the fun it provides for our furry friends, the metro is filled with great parks. Here are just a few that you should check out.

  • In addition to the newly-renovated Myriad Gardens’ features for humans, the park also boasts an off-leash dog area so your pup can enjoy OKC’s finest as well.
  • Bickham-Rudkin Park in Edmond has half an acre of off-the-leash fabulousness for Fido. Take the opportunity to upload a YouTube video of your dog doing the “Edmond Shake” after he or she avails him or herself of the park’s lake access.
  • Ray Trent Park in Del City sports the awesomely-named Wiggly Field Dog Park. The park has equally awesome features, like agility equipment, fire hydrants (what a relief) and even lights for night use.
  • Griffin Community Park in Norman has two acres of off-leash fun for pets as well as owners – the first few holes of the disc golf course are part of the dog area! A hole-in-one while your dog runs freely about? That’s enough to make you say, “Whoomp, there it is!”
  • Midtown Mutts Dog Park is the newest dog park on the scene. Located in Midtown between NW 10th and 11th Streets and west of Hudson, the park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., giving you and Rover plenty of time for roaming.
outdoor recreation, parks, pets
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Visiting Martin Park Nature Center

For hiking, nature and wildlife, visit Martin Park Nature Center at 5000 W Memorial Road, an oasis of calm by the busy John Kilpatrick Turnpike. The area features 2.5 miles of kid-friendly hiking trails cut through woods and grasslands of the 144-acre park. Visitors can see many species of animals, as it is home to different species of birds, butterflies, squirrels, foxes, reptiles and even the city’s first observation bee hive.

Younger visitors will like the “Pollinators’ Playground” near the main park creek. Guided hikes and group tours are available for all ages.

Others might enjoy an education program or hike – these cover topics like knot-tying, orienteering, nocturnal animals and even – for those with a preteen sense of humor – animal poop. Coming up at 3 p.m. Oct. 18, “Bigfoot and Werewolves and Chupacubra, Oh My” will address Oklahoma animal myths in a free family event and “haunted” night hikes are on Nov. 1. Find out more or register on Martin Park’s programs page.

If you go, be sure to stop by Martin Park’s hands-on education center that shows off Oklahoma’s reptile and insect species.

In addition to the trails, the park’s playground and visitor’s center are accessible to visitors in wheelchairs, too.
For information, go to http://www.okc.gov/Parks/Martin_Park/index.html and check out Oklahoma City’s other parks at http://www.okc.gov/parks.

family-friendly, kids, outdoor recreation, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Time to Get Moving

Break out your tennis shoes—yes, the ones sitting in the corner of your closet collecting dust—and get ready to explore Oklahoma. Fall is a great time to get outdoors and explore our state. Thankfully, there are so many trails, parks and outdoor activities that you can become one with nature in no time.

No matter what part of OKC you live in, there’s sure to be a park or trail nearby to aid in your exploration of the Sooner state. Explore the flora and fauna at the Hefner-Overholser Trail, which roughly follows the water diversion canal between the two lakes. Other local trails include the Earlywine Trail, Katy Trail, Lightning Creek Trail, Oklahoma River Trails, Overholser Trail, South Grand Trail and Tinker-Draper Trail.

And the best part? These trails are free from motorized vehicles. That’s right, all of you walkers, runners, roller-bladers, skateboarders and cyclists can experience the beauty without the interference of four-wheelers, motorcycles or other speedy machinery.

family-friendly, free, outdoor recreation, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hey Boo Boo, Letís Go Get Us a Pic-a-Nic Basket

In Oklahoma, we love to spend our summers outdoors. It’s hard not to find a nearby lake, golf course or camping spot that is not packed with citizens enjoying the beautiful summers we get on the plains. If the sun is a shining we don’t need much of an excuse to head outside. Well, we’ll give you an excuse anyway: tomorrow is International Picnic Day.

You know it is serious, because it is an international holiday. You wouldn’t want to commit an international faux-pas right? So on the 18th, grab your friends, family or coworkers (heck grab them all and make it a party), head to the nearest city park and enjoy a relaxing al fresco meal. While you shouldn’t have to worry about scheming bears at a city park, make sure someone grabs the bug spray. Find a park near you.

family-friendly, food, outdoor recreation, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Make it a Work Picnic

Work downtown and don’t have time for a glamorous, relaxing picnic on International Picnic Day? No worries. That doesn’t mean you can’t partake in the great weather and food on your lunch break. Head over to the Myriad Botanical Gardens, grab a bite to eat and break up the grind of the workday at the 17-acre park. A couple of restaurants have just opened at the gardens making it the ideal location for a quick picnic downtown.

Park House is open for lunch and dinner and serves contemporary American food with a stunning view of the gardens. There is even a bar if you would like to have an “after-work” picnic.

Open seasonally from March to November, the Ice House serves burgers, shakes and salads. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill burgers either, they are world-famous Nic’s burgers. We aren’t exaggerating when we say world famous either. Nic’s Grill has been featured on Food Network and has had visitors from across the globe. So, head over to the Myriad Gardens and snatch a burger without having to wait in the line that always goes out the door at Nic’s Grill.

downtown, food, Myriad Botanical Gardens, parks, restaurants
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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A Myriad Gardens Primer

If you are a regular reader of our blog (or reading it for the first time) you realize we talk about the Myriad Botanical Gardens a lot. We have a soft spot for the 17-acre park as it serves as a nice getaway for downtown workers and a community gathering place for great festivals and concerts. Basically, it’s our little slice of relaxation in a bustling downtown. If you are new to OKC here is a brief (very brief) history of the gardens.

The first thoughts of the gardens came about more than 50 years ago in 1964 when world-renowned architect I.M. Pei was hired by city leaders to create a plan to revitalize downtown OKC. Oklahoma City pioneer Dean McGee (founder of Kerr-McGee Oil) became a champion for the park and continued that cause until his death in 1989.

In 1970, the name Myriad Botanical Gardens was adopted. Where did the name come from? If you are new to our city, across the street from the Gardens used to sit the Myriad, a 13,000-seat arena (the arena still exists as part of the Cox Convention Center).

The process was slow but in 1977 ground was officially broke on the Gardens. In March of 1988 the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory was opened to the public. More than 12,000 people visited the gardens in its opening weekend.

More recently (three years ago to be exact), the Gardens just completed a $10.5 million redesign that added features like the floating amphitheater, ice rink/reflecting pool and grand event lawn. The redesign also increased the horticulture of the park by 400 percent!

festivals, history, music, Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma City history, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Letís travel!

As a reader of The Better Life blog, you should be getting the most of Oklahoma City. But this week, we’re taking you on a tour of places and interesting things to see and do outside OKC.

There are short road trips and some that are a little farther away. These trips can match all kinds of hobbies – whether you’re into the outdoors, shopping, scenery or unique Oklahoma history.

Today, don’t miss some things to do around Edmond, so close to Oklahoma City to the north that when you reach one city limit, you’re already in the other one.

We’ll start in a community called Arcadia to the north and east of Edmond and work our way south. To use a popular cliché, you can truly get your kicks on Route 66 here, starting with POPS, 660 W Highway 66, a restaurant and gas station celebrating the original interstate highway – U.S. Route 66 – and all its history as the “Main Street of America” or the “Mother Road.” You can’t miss POPS because of the 66-foot-tall soda bottle and straw that at night lights up in a dazzling show of different colors. POPS is part future, with a bold architectural design, and part past.

Just down the road from POPS is another can’t-miss landmark, the Arcadia Round Barn, which is literally a round red barn that was built in 1898 and restored in 1992. It was used as a barn for livestock and hay storage and for dances around the turn-of-the-century, and today the 45-foot-tall barn again hosts community events.

Also in far north Edmond is another architectural marvel, the Armstrong Auditorium, 14400 S Bryant Road, #B (285-1010).  It is a luxury venue that hosts premier concerts and performing arts, ranging from the Russian National Ballet to classical, jazz or even bluegrass music, depending on the season. The Armstrong International Cultural Foundation 2014-15 season begins on Sept. 15 with Broadway stars Kelli O’Hara, an Oklahoma native, and Ted Sperling performing “Broadway’s Classic Hits.”

If you’re still in the mood for music, enjoy some soul music at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Jazz Lab. Call  405.359.7989 to buy tickets. Each week, the Jazz Lab features live entertainment, and visitors can order food and drinks from Hideaway Pizza next door. During the week, across the street, you can learn about Edmond’s history at the Edmond Historical Society and Museum.

Want to spend time outdoors? Edmond offers ways to do that, too, especially with several parks.

You can go to Arcadia Lake, which offers trails for bicycling, motorcycles and hiking/running, boat rentals and horseback riding, among other things. Edmond has a range of other parks, as well, but two big ones with lots of trails are Mitch Park and Hafer Park.  Or you can check out two water parks: The Edmond Y Water Park and Pelican Bay Aquatic Center.

[Image courtesy of The Arcadia Round Barn]

restaurants, water sports, Arcadia, arts and culture, Edmond, family-friendly, museums, music, outdoor recreation, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring has Sprung

Spring is upon us, fellow OKC’ers. The birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, sometimes there’s a torrential downpour. We know that you’re itching to put away those winter coats for good so here are a few ideas for how to get your spring fever going:

outdoor recreation, parks, volunteer, family-friendly, museums, nightlife, Oklahoma River
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How to Cure That Cabin Fever

Now that the big yellow ball in the sky has started to make its presence felt in the form of more pleasant weather, naturally a young man’s (and woman’s) fancy lightly turns to thoughts of nature and sleeping out-of-doors. And thankfully, we’re in luck here in Oklahoma City, with fantastic camping opportunities within easy driving distance (more on that below in locations both in and out of the city). But you may be thinking, “I can’t go camping—I don’t know what I’m doing, and I don’t have any camping stuff!” Well, even the gear-less shouldn’t fear: The Better Life has you covered.

What do you need to go camping? Not much, really. A tent, a sleeping bag and some camp-friendly cuisine is really all you need. Apart from that, anything else you might want to take depends on your pick of location and what else you’d like to do on your trip.

We here at TBL HQ enjoy going for a simple overnight excursion near a lake or stream at one of our nearby state parks. We suggest taking:

  • a tarp for ground cover;
  • a tent;
  • sleeping bags and some sleeping mats;
  • a cooler with ice, water, drinks and any foods you might like to have along; some matches to get a fire started;
  • and something fun to do in the forest, like a telescope for stargazing, a guitar for (literally) singing “Kumbaya” around the campfire, fishing gear (and a fishing license), a cornhole set (or “bean bag toss,” if you prefer) or a pair of hiking boots or a mountain bike to check out those park trails.

It’s not a bad idea to take some extra layers for that morning chill, and some first-aid, toiletry items, bug spray and sunscreen, just in case. Some parks even have coin-op showers if you want to smooth out the experience of roughing it.

Notice that we didn’t mention firewood. When camping at state parks, depending on the location you can either gather firewood from the forest floor or simply purchase some from the park office (they discourage bringing in outside wood for fear of strange bugs or tree diseases, so keep those dirty timbers at home!). Another important note – before you strike, be sure to make sure there’s not a burn ban in your area.

Our friends over at the state Tourism & Recreation Department provide a great primer on camping for beginners that can demystify the camping experience and give you some other great pointers – check it out.

Read our other posts this week for tips on places to camp both inside and outside the city.

camping, family-friendly, outdoor recreation, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Park It at a State Park

Oklahoma’s State Parks offer some great spots for camping. Whether you want to sleep in the forest, next to a lake or waterfall, abutting red canyon walls, or even on the sand dunes or near caves that were hideouts for Jesse James and Belle Starr, our state’s park system delivers.

But that’s not all, folks. Check this link for a nice listing of all the great State Parks, national recreational areas & forests, wildlife refuges, and other spots the state has where we can all enjoy an authentic camping experience right here in Oklahoma.

[Photo by John Jernigan]

camping, family-friendly, Oklahoma, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Places to Camp in OKC

So, we’ve got your interest all nice and piqued on the camping bit, but you’re thinking you don’t want to waste too much of this beautiful weather in the car. We hear you. There are some places right here in the metro where you can still get your camp on.

Lake Arcadia
The area around this in-city-limits lake in northeast Oklahoma County has been preserved to keep the nature natural, and provides an easy escape to camping bliss. At Lake Arcadia you can fish, boat, swim, ride your mountain bike, play disc golf and more. Get more info on camping here.

Lake Thunderbird State Park
With two swim beaches and two marinas (and a plethora of boat ramps) there is plenty to do both on and off the water at this state park just east of Norman. Hear that sound? Playgrounds, horse riding stables and all 18.5 miles of the Clear Bay Recreation Area Trail System are calling you (either that or the battery in your smoke alarm needs to be changed).

Oklahoma City East KOA
Located in Choctaw, this campground offers a pool, a snack bar, a playground and even Wi-Fi(!). Tent sites with water and electricity are available, as well as those without hookups.

At Home
If you’re a beginning camper and just want to try it out, you could even simply fire up your grill and have a nice little field trip in your own backyard. So get out there, build that fire and pitch that tent! Just remember your neighbors are still there, so you may want to keep the volume of your family’s hiphop version of Kumbaya to a minimum.

[Photo from TravelOK]

camping, family-friendly, outdoor recreation, parks, water sports
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Free for All

Who doesn’t enjoy some playtime? Even if you’re a grown-up, there are plenty of ways to recreate here in Greater Oklahoma City. And if you find yourself pinching pennies, that’s A-OK because we’re about to lay down some FREE-as-can-be options for you.

Mat Hoffman Action Sports Park
Ranked in the top 10 skateparks in the U.S., the action park is divided into two areas – a flow course with bowl combinations and a street course with ledges and handrails.

City Parks
Did you know that there are more than 100 public parks are located across the city? True story. Check one (or many) out.

Downtown Community Basketball Court
Located on the southwest corner of Hudson Avenue and Reno Avenue in Downtown, the court is open to the public daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Disc Golf
FORE! Head over to one of three disc golf parks in Oklahoma City and play 18 holes of flying fun.

Mountain Biking & Hiking Trails
Are you a biking and hiking enthusiast? The Bluff Creek Trail is a single loop of more than 2.5 miles with tight turns around trees and some moderately difficult terrain. The Lake Stanley Draper Trail has three connecting loops that can be ridden consecutively for a distance of 12 miles, with three color-coded loops that vary in difficulty.

Walking Paths
In the mood for a stroll? Get moving on one of the many trails and walking paths around town.

basketball, bmx, cycling, family-friendly, fitness, free, outdoor recreation, parks, running
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Takiní It to the Streets

From noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 30, part of Northwest 23rd Street will turn into a pedestrian’s paradise. Why, you ask? An initiative called Open Streets is repurposing the area into a fun, safe place to experience local businesses, healthy communities and active transportation. Open Streets OKC is reclaiming Northwest 23rd between Western and Robinson Avenues for non-motorized activity. Participants are encouraged to walk, bike, run or play along the route and discover community organizations and businesses along the way. The event is family friendly, so bring the kiddos for an afternoon of healthy fun!

family-friendly, festivals, parks, Uptown 23
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Myriad Gardens: A History

There is no better place to grab a slice of paradise in downtown Oklahoma City than the Myriad Botanical Gardens, which happens to celebrate its 26th anniversary on March 25. Here are a few facts that you may not know about one of Oklahoma City’s most popular green spaces:

  • This jewel of OKC was born as part of a downtown urban renewal project called the Pei Plan dreamed up by city leaders and legendary architect I.M. Pei in the late 60s.
  • Dean A. McGee, an oil pioneer and founder and CEO of Kerr-McGee Oil Corporation, was a huge proponent of building this centrally-located garden.
  • It was named after “the Myriad”, or what is now known as the Cox Convention Center.
  • Initial design of Myriad Gardens was based on Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens and city leaders even made a trip to Denmark to study its design.
  • A nation-wide search was made for the architects that would design the Myriad Gardens. In 1971, the New York architectural firm Conklin + Rossant was chosen.
  • City leaders and members of the Myriad Gardens Authority broke ground on the 17-acre plot for the garden on Nov. 17, 1977. The area was constructed as money was available.
  • In 1981, leaders formed the Myriad Gardens Foundation in order to raise private funds for the construction of the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory.
  • The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory was constructed from 1983-1985, but it did not open to the public until March 25, 1988.
  • Myriad Gardens and its Crystal Bridge received a facelift thanks to funds from Project 180. In addition to new landscaping, the park also received a new children’s garden, a new restaurant space, and reglazed acrylic panels on the Crystal Bridge.  

Check out the original landscaping and construction of Myriad Gardens, plus some insight on downtown OKC “before downtown was cool” in this retro-fabulous edition of the Mayor’s Magazine.

clientuploads/blog/_DSC1075.jpg

downtown, history, Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma City history, parks, Project 180
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Request for Proposals

Heads up, you unsuspecting but head-over-heels guys and gals! If your valentine has you headed to one of the following locations, make sure to do your hair in your finest tears-of-joy fashion and put on your best threads. Why? You may be in for the type of surprise that includes a bended knee. These spots have been identified by our love doctors as a few of the most intriguing places to pop the question in town. So go ahead, say yes to the request and make St. Valentine proud.

The Myriad Gardens and Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory includes 17 acres of natural loveliness as well as a 224-foot long circular jungle with palm trees, exotic plantings, crashing waterfalls and nightly LED shows just perfect for a ring and prayer. Located at 301 West Reno, the Crystal Bridge is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., while the outside gardens are open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Lake Hefner is another lovely urban oasis where gents are prone to find themselves on bended knee in front of their lady love. If you notice your beau taking your “spur-of-the-moment” leisurely stroll over near the lighthouse on the east side of the lake, you might find yourself wishing you’d gotten that last-minute manicure. (Maybe go ahead and schedule one anyways.)

Oklahoma sunsets are (we think) some of the very best the world has to offer. So don’t be surprised if your valentine wants to stop by the SkyDance Bridge to take it in. The backdrop of a bright downtown shining off the disappearing sun will take your breath away … as will the ring he places on your finger.

downtown, Myriad Botanical Gardens, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bundled Up

There’s definitely been a chill in the air and if you’re like us, you may be experiencing some cabin fever. Thankfully, there’s no reason to feel all cooped up. No matter the temperature, there are always great things to do and experience in Greater Oklahoma City. Here are just a few suggestions:

Visit a museum.
Warm up inside the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory.
Check out one of OKC’s great districts, filled with plenty of eating, drinking or shopping options. 
Do a little holiday shopping.
Curl up with a good book.
Catch a movie, in the not-so-usual way.

shopping, Western Avenue, Adventure District, downtown, food, library, Midtown, movies, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Doggone Fun

Sure, the air is feeling quite brisk today, but one of the great things about Greater OKC is the plethora of warm days, even in winter. So while you may be bundled up indoors today, this time next week may bring about your desire to get out and enjoy some crisp air—and perhaps you’ll want to do that while giving your hound homie a chance to stretch his legs. Here’s a quick rundown of some great places to let your dogs roam free-ish.

  • Paw Park on the southeast side of Lake Hefner is one of the South’s “Top 10 Dog Parks” according to Southern Living and has separate big/small dog play areas, water stations, benches, trees and other features sure to delight the little waggers. Weather-permitting, your furry friend might even want to take a quick swim in the duck pond.
  • In addition to the newly-renovated Myriad Gardens’ features for humans, the park also boasts an off-leash dog area so your pup can enjoy OKC’s finest as well.
  • Bickham-Rudkin Park in Edmond has half an acre of off-the-leash fabulousness for Fido.
  • Ray Trent Park in Del City sports the awesomely-named Wiggly Field Dog Park. The park has equally awesome features, like agility equipment, fire hydrants and even lights for night use.
  • Griffin Community Park in Norman has two acres of off-leash fun for pets as well as owners – the first few holes of the disc golf course are part of the dog area! A hole-in-one while your dog runs freely about? Everyone wins!
  • Midtown Mutts Dog Park is the newest dog park on the scene. Located in Midtown between Northwest 10th and 11th Streets, the park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., giving you and Rover plenty of time for roaming.
family-friendly, Myriad Botanical Gardens, parks, pets
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Happy Birthday, Oklahoma!

On Nov. 16, Oklahoma will celebrate its 106th birthday, marking the day it became the 46th state to enter the union (and we gotta say, Oklahoma is looking pretty good for a centenarian). Here are some ideas if you want to party hard for Oklahoma’s birthday.

Host a dinner party. Did you know that Oklahoma’s official state meal is fried okra, squash, cornbread, barbeque pork, biscuits, sausage & gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, chicken fried steak, black-eyed peas, and pecan pie? We don’t recommend eating this meal every day, but it sounds like the perfect dinner party fare. Be sure to send us an invite.

Sign up for some Oklahoma-themed karaoke. Sure, you could stick to the classic state song of Oklahoma! but don’t stop there. Oklahoma also claims Faded Love, Do You Realize??, Oklahoma Hills and Oklahoma Wind as its other state tunes.

Go on a nature walk. Head over to Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge and see if you can spot any of Oklahoma’s state flora and fauna. White-tailed deer, scissor-tailed flycatchers, redbud trees, mistletoe and Indian blanket wildflowers all make the list as some of Oklahoma’s most iconic images. If you are lucky, you might even find a rose rock, rare petal-shaped rocks that are only found in Oklahoma.

Got any other party ideas for Oklahoma’s birthday? Let us know in the comments!

food, history, music, Oklahoma, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Stroll along, stroll along like we know you do

Last week we told you about some great ways to get in some two-wheeled action around town, but maybe you prefer to stay grounded on your own two feet. Not to worry. We’ve got some great ideas for a leisurely urban stroll.

Myriad Gardens
If you’ve been checking out “The Better Life” for long, you know we are huge fans of the Myriad Gardens located in the heart of downtown. And when it comes to hoofing it, it’s one of our favorite places to explore and a great place to get a little exercise in. Take three laps around the outside and you’ll have gone a mile. 

Bricktown
OKC’s entertainment district is a great place to get in a walk combined with some splendid people watching. Located just east of downtown, you can walk along the Bricktown Canal down into Lower Bricktown or stay up on the streets and peruse past some of OKC’s most hopping restaurants and bars.

Automobile Alley
Great shops. Delicious restaurants. Historic buildings out the wazoo. Take a walk down North Broadway Avenue between Northwest 6th and Northwest 10th Streets to experience all Automobile Alley has to offer. We also suggest you head east off of Broadway down Northwest 9th so you can check out the super cool 9th Street District.

Martin Park Nature Center
Take a walk on the wild side through. Tucked away off of Memorial Road in north OKC, Martin Park Nature Center is 144 acres of wild-feeling, urban awesomeness, and with 2.5 miles of gentle hiking trails, you can get in a serene stroll without having to venture outside the city.

Oklahoma River
The Oklahoma River has transformed from a drainage ditch into one of OKC’s most glistening sites, and it makes the perfect path for walking. There are 13 miles of trails along the River (both on the north and south sides) so you’ll have plenty of space to stretch those legs.

Automobile Alley, Bricktown, downtown, free, Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma River, outdoor recreation, parks, restaurants
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Explore the Great Outdoors

Nothing reinforces the feeling of fall better than a crackling campfire and the taste of roasted s’mores, and you won’t find a better time of year than early October for experiencing those things in a campground near you. Sure, we may live in the largest city in Oklahoma, but that doesn’t mean you have to travel far to make your outdoor dreams come true.

For the folks in north OKC, Arcadia Lake in nearby Edmond has four parks and more than 140 campsites, ranging from full hook-up campsites to primitive spots (a.k.a. no water or electric hook-ups). Each site has access to picnic areas and fire pits, as well as community water and restrooms.

Lake Stanley Draper, located in southeast Oklahoma City, is the City’s largest lake and outdoor recreation area. The Lake Draper Marina offers a range of primitive camping locations near the southwest corner of the lake and close to the trailhead of the CrossTimbers Riding Area. Camping permits are available for $8 a day for each site.

Lake Thunderbird State Park is 13 miles east of Norman and full of hiking, mountain biking and nature trails sprinkled amidst its 447 campsites and 86 miles of shoreline. The nearby Discovery Cove Nature Center offers programs throughout the year and displays snakes, animals, furs and artifacts native to the region.

If you are itching to visit someplace a little farther from home, check out the Oklahoma camping resources available from our friends at TravelOK.com.

family-friendly, outdoor recreation, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

OKC by the Numbers

New people are moving to OKC each and every day.  Maybe that includes you. If so, here are some random tidbits to help you get to know your hometown.

  • 300+ instruments in the American Banjo Museum (Did you even know such a cool place existed?)
  • 27,000+ runners in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon (Start training now and you can be one of them in 2014!)
  • 60.1º average annual temperature
  • 405 – the area code in OKC
  • 4,320 acres of parks
  • $777 million being spent on quality of life improvements
  • 621.2 square miles of land
  • 04.22.1889 – day of the Land Run that settled OKC
community, MAPS, museums, outdoor recreation, parks, running, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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10 Ways to Do OKC for Free

We know that sometimes your pocketbook gets a little on the empty side. Not to worry. There are plenty of activities in Greater Oklahoma City that are full of free fun!

  • Mat Hoffman Action Sports Park
    1700 S Robinson. 405.297.3882. Ranked in the top 10 skateparks in the U.S., the action park is divided into two areas – a flow course with bowl combinations and a street course with ledges and handrails.

  • City Parks
    More than 100 public parks located across the city. www.okc.gov/parks

  • Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum Outdoor Symbolic Memorial
    620 N Harvey. 405-235-3313. Honors the victims, survivors, rescuers and all who were changed forever by the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

  • SONIC Summer Movie Nights
    Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W Reno. 405.297.3995. On Wednesday evenings during the summer months, enjoy movies on the Grand Lawn at 9 p.m. Come early and enjoy the Mid Week Market and Night Time Stories.

  • Watch sail boats and kite surfers on Lake Hefner
    East side of Lake Hefner near the Hefner Parkway and Britton Road. Watch sail boats cruise across the lake or kite surfers make daring jumps.

  • Paw Park
    At Northwest 73 and Grand Boulevard in Northwest Oklahoma City. A two-acre off-leash dog park with separated enclosures for large and small dogs, water stations and a swimming pond.

  • Tour the Oklahoma State Capitol.
    Northeast 23rd and Lincoln Boulevard. 405.522-5173. Take a self-guided tour or experience the capitol with a trained volunteer.

  • Land Run Monument
    Along the south end of the Bricktown Canal just southwest of Bass Pro Shop. Commemorates the opening of Indian land in Oklahoma Territory.

  • Disc Golf
    3 courses: Dolese Youth Park, Northwest 50 and Meridian; Will Rogers Park, Northwest 36 and Grand Boulevard; Woodson Park, Southwest 33 and May. Play 18 holes of disc golf at any of the courses. www.okc.gov/parks/disc_golf

  • Martin Park Nature Center
    5000 W Memorial Road. 405.755.0676. A 144-acre nature reserve with 3.5 miles of gentle hiking trails and many species of animals.
pets, water sports, arts and culture, western heritage, bmx, family-friendly, free, movies, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

And I Would Walk (or Drive) 100 Miles Ö

While we love Oklahoma City, Oklahoma as a whole is a diverse state with a little something for everyone. Within just 100 miles of OKC you can find everything from sand dunes to mountains. Here is a quick rundown of some of our favorites within 100 miles of OKC:

arts and culture, family-friendly, parks, restaurants, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Smarter Than the Average Pic-a-nic-er

You’re a picnic enthusiast. Yep, we know how you are. Red-and-white checkered blanket, a wicker basket of just the right size, a can of Off, and it’s on: Picnic Time in OKC, baby. But you don’t want to just plop that blanket down anywhere and start eating! If you tried that in some places, you’d be in big trouble (a stranger’s front yard, on top of the Capitol dome, or in the middle of the river, for instance). Fear not, fellow fare-in-the-field fans. All our picnic base we list here are belong to everyone.

Besides the multitude of City parks in which you can satisfy your picnicy pinings, the Grand Lawn at the Myriad Gardens provides a myriad of opportunities to dine whilst communing with Mother Earth – the Sunday Twilight Concert Series, the SONIC Summer Movie Nights (all five(!) Wednesdays in July), or really any day for that matter.

We’ve told you about Lake Hefner’s picnicking prowess before, but have you thought about the other lakes in town? Like Lake Overholser. Mayor Ed Overholser’s namesake lake and OKC’s oldest drinking water reservoir (it’s been around for nearly 100 years!) allows you to drink in a prime picnic spot along with your picnic beverage of choice (might we suggest something frosty from an OKC-based brewery, perhaps?).

Sometimes picnicking can be a zoo, especially if you’re got a large group. You know where it’s not? Paradoxically, the OKC Zoo! That’s right. Eat while watching animals dream of eating your tasty treats! Good thing they’re behind all those fences.

Speaking of hungry bears, where else can you get your Yogi Bear on? Let us know in the comments section.

zoo, Adventure District, downtown, family-friendly, food, free, movies, music, Myriad Botanical Gardens, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Cooliní at the Playground Ya Know!

Ah yes. The tire swing, the crawl tube, the seesaw, the swirly slide, the monkey bars, the seemingly misplaced and unconnected steering wheel that is nonetheless a favorite. OKC area playgrounds are perfect for the young or the young at heart. If you’re looking for playgrounds in the OKC metro, here ya go:

Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments section.

family-friendly, free, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Rosy Outlook

Have a fondness for flowers? We’re positive that you’ll be blown away by the radiant roses at the Charles E. Sparks Rose Garden located in the Will Rogers Gardens. Here you’ll find more than 800 bright and colorful rose bushes including more than 90 varieties of roses. This half-acre garden can be found on the northern side of Will Rogers Gardens, one of the city’s oldest park properties, and is a testing space for the All-America Rose Selections. With mild spring temperatures this year, now is the perfect time to head over and scope out these blooming beauties.

family-friendly, free, gardening, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Itís Warming Up So Cool on Down

Spring lasted a little longer than usual in OKC this year. But summer is upon us (officially beginning on June 21) and the warm temps will be here to stay for a couple months. Luckily, the Parks & Recreation Department has just the thing to keep your kids nice and cool – and entertained – on those hot summer days. Kids of all ages will love splashing their way through one of the 17 spraygrounds available throughout the city. With options as far north as NW 122 St., and as far south as SW 74 St., there is sure to be an option close to you. Spraygrounds are open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sept. 2, so grab your swimsuit and your sunscreen, and get ready to beat the heat at one of these locations:

Douglas Park, 901 N. Frederick Douglass Ave.
EB Jeffery, 4432 NW 16th
Harvest Hills Park, 8235 NW 104th St.
Lippert Park, 5500 S. Shartel
Macklanburg Park, 11700 N. Stratford
McCracken Park, 425 SE 64th
McKinley Park, 1300 N. McKinley
Melrose Park, Northwest 5th and Council
Memorial Park, 3600 N. Classen
Minnis Lakeview Park, 12518 NE 36th
North Highland Park, 301 NW 81st St.
Reed Park, 1217 N. May Ave.
Schilling Park, 537 SE 25th St.
Sellers Park, Southwest 82nd and Villa
Taylor Park, 1113 SW 70th
Wiley Post Park, Southwest 17th and Robinson
Youngs Park, Southwest 44 and Youngs

family-friendly, free, outdoor recreation, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

That putter looks a lot like a plate

Frisbees, chains, and baskets? No, it’s not the shopping list for the world’s worst family reunion. It’s all you need to play disc golf! And luckily for you, Greater OKC is chock-full of frisbee golf courses that are already target-affixed so all you need to fire off a game is your own set of “clubs.”

See some listings of area disc golf courses below, and if you know of any we may have missed, just let us know in the comments. What are you waiting for, you frisbee-based competition enthusiast? Get out there and frolf (you know, Frisbee golf) it up!

Area disc golf course listings:

Know of any more? Let us know in the comments section.

outdoor recreation, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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