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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Invite your out-of-town friends to play in OKC

Bricktown Canal

Whether you’ve just moved here or lived here a long time, you can pitch Oklahoma City as a great destination for visitors to your out-of-town friends, and we at The Better Life Blog are happy to help tell them why.

After all, this year National Geographic named Oklahoma City as a “must-see,” “go-now” destination in its Best Trips 2015 list for good reason.

Here are some ideas for your own adventure:

  • Oklahoma City has a collection of truly world-class and won’t-see-them-anywhere else museums that will keep you busy for days. The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum is a must-visit for anyone who comes to our community. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and Oklahoma City Art Museum should also be at the top of any to-do list. Get a comprehensive list of all the great OKC museums here.
  • Rent a kayak or stand-up paddle board, go zip lining across the Oklahoma River on the SandRidge Sky Zip or climb the six-story SandRidge Sky Trail at the Boathouse District, where next year, you’ll also be able to enjoy outdoor whitewater rafting on a course that’s under construction and scheduled to open in 2016. Find out more from RIVERSPORT Adventures.
  • Go to Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and tour the Oklahoma City Zoo, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Science Museum Oklahoma, or watch horse racing at Remington Park Racing and Casino.
  • Explore the city’s other districts and local shopping and dining. Get outside at Lake Hefner, Lake Overholser, in the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge, or at one of the many city parks, such as Martin Park Nature Center, a 140-acre park that feels like an escape from urban life. The Myriad Botanical Gardens are also a treat, whether you stay in the outside gardens, attend an event there or tour the rainforest atmosphere inside the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory.

There is plenty more in Oklahoma City to see and do. So sell your out-of-town friends on Oklahoma City as a place to visit. You’ll get to see them on a regular basis and make good memories with all that this place has to offer.

If you need additional help with the sell (and we don’t think you will), tell them that this year Travel and Leisure Magazine recently named Oklahoma City as the fifth friendliest city in America.

Start planning your trip online at www.visitokc.com and get more ideas by exploring The Better Life Blog.

food, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, parks, shopping, water sports, Adventure District, western heritage, arts and culture, zoo, attractions, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Shawnee’s diverse history includes Native Americans and French monks

The City of Shawnee has its own charm and history and it’s big enough (more than 30,000 people in 2013) to have a small regional airport. But there are plenty of reasons to drive west on Interstate 40 to visit Shawnee.

While you’re there, stop at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art and see its Egyptian, Greek and Roman objects; Renaissance art from the early 20th century; and other cultural artifacts. It is home to Oklahoma’s only Egyptian mummy. Founded in 1919, the museum is affiliated with Catholic-affiliated St. Gregory’s University, which developed because of the value that two Benedictine monks placed on education in what was then Indian Territory more than 100 years ago. These monks, Dom Isidore Robot and Frere Dominic Lambert, moved to the area from France in 1875 and immediately started education programs under the Sacred Heart Mission.

Don’t miss a stop by the Cultural Heritage Center of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, which has its headquarters in Shawnee. The heritage center even includes an eagle aviary – a home to injured eagles rescued from the wild that cannot be rehabilitated and released. Tours of the aviary are available by appointment, but you can stop by the heritage center’s museum to see cultural and contemporary objects presenting the Native American tribe’s history. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

What served as the Santa Fe Train Depot from 1902 and served as a train station until 1973 now serves as the home of the Pottawatomie County Museum and Historical Society. Visitors can learn about the area’s history, including more about the country’s railroad and transportation history. Near the museum is the current home of Shawnee’s first building, a home known as the Beard Cabin, built after the land run in 1891.

And finally, on the Shawnee Board of Directors’ website to promote area tourism, www.visitshawnee.com, are two must-see sites that sound quite intriguing:

  • For the water gardening fans, the Pond Pro Shop has streams, waterfalls, fountains and ponds to help you design, build and maintain your backyard pond.
  • If you have children and want to venture a little further from Shawnee – about 20 miles to the southeast – don’t miss the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum in Seminole.
museums, western heritage, arts and culture, day-trip, family-friendly, gardening
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Cultural Celebration

If you’ve been in OKC any time at all, chances are that you’ve heard of the Red Earth Festival. The exciting three-day event celebrates the rich Native American culture that makes our city and state unlike any other.

The event will kick off with the annual Red Earth Festival parade this Friday in downtown OKC.  The majestic parade is a certainly a sight to behold. Not only has it been heralded as one of the most unique in America, but it’s also something that you will only see in Oklahoma City. Tribal members from across the country will take to the streets, many in full tribal regalia. Native American bands, honor guards, dignitaries and tribal princesses will provide entertainment during the hour-long event.

Inside the Cox Convention Center, expect to be wowed by the nation’s best Native American dancers from more than 100 tribes as they compete during the Red Earth Fancy Dance competition. The booming drums and rhythmic stomps of hundreds of dancers showcase the emotion and celebration of the tribes’ dances. While you’re here explore the history of the Five Civilized Tribes that were relocated to Indian Territory, or discover the culture of the tribes whose headquarters are in Oklahoma. And the kiddos are sure to be entertained with exciting hands-on activities and will have an opportunity to learn about Oklahoma’s deep Native American roots.

festivals, native american, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Arts and Culture

If you’ve read much of our blog you can probably tell the arts are an important aspect of life in OKC. From festivals like Red Earth, whole districts like the Paseo who focus on the arts and world-class museums like the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the arts help tell the story of our city and state and connect each newer generation to the culture of our region.

To learn more about the countless festivals, museums, districts and galleries OKC has to offer, be sure to check out the Arts & Culture section of our Better Life website.

western heritage, arts and culture, festivals, museums, Paseo District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Make Our History Less of a Mystery

We know that all this history talk has probably whetted your whistle for more insight into what makes Oklahoma City the place it is today. Lucky for you, OKC is home to many history-focused museums and organizations that make it their mission to educate people about the past.

The Oklahoma Historical Society
The Oklahoma History Society has chronicled the history of Oklahoma for more than 100 years, and its Oklahoma History Center provides a self-guided exploration of Oklahoma’s past and present. In addition to having tons of resources available on their website (including several different first-hand experiences of the 1889 Land Run), the Oklahoma History Center currently houses an exhibit detailing the Century Chest Time Capsule unearthed in the basement of the First Lutheran Church of Oklahoma City in 2013.

The Gaylord-Pickens Museum
No one tells the story of Oklahoma like its own people, and the Gaylord-Pickens Museum specializes in honoring and preserving the stories of the individuals who have shaped this state into what it is today. Through its interactive exhibits, you will get to know the faces, voices and spirits of Oklahomans from every walk of life. You can also become part of Oklahoma’s history by sharing the story of your own heritage. Be sure to visit the Oklahoma Hall of Fame Gallery to research the stories of more than 650 inductees dating back to 1928.

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
The early days of Oklahoma City probably make you think about the Wild West, right? If you want to dive into Oklahoma’s Western past, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is America’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture – and it's located right in the heart of Oklahoma City. This museum is home to a vast collection of classic and contemporary Western art, including the awe-inspiring 18-foot “End of the Trail” sculpture by James Earle Fraser.

history, museums, Oklahoma City history, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Share the story of OKC

We love to show off our city to out-of-town guests and there’s no better time than the holidays. Once you finish your holiday feast, head out to explore some of the exciting activities in the city.

  • Treat the whole family to an unforgettable experience at the Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory.  We love the tranquil setting and the out-of-this-world playground area, but our favorite activity during the holidays has to be the ice-skating rink. Hours for the ice rink have been extended throughout the holiday season.     
  • Science Museum Oklahoma, one of our favorite destinations for family fun, houses so many hands-on science experiments that we have a hard time choosing where to start. From the Tinkering Garage and Gadget Trees to daily shows in the planetarium and dome theater, the museum allows your inner child to run wild.
  • We love to share the history of our great state, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is the perfect locale to take an inside peek at the spirit, passion and grit symbolized by the American West. There are exhibits for the tikes, too, including the Chuckwagon and Prosperity Junction.
  • Come on, the wild is calling! Did you know the Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Gardens ranks among the top three family-friendly zoos in the nation? If you haven’t visited in a while, check it out. 2014 has been an exciting year as the zoo celebrated 110 years. 2015 is sure to be just as exciting as with the expected arrival of a baby elephant before the end of the year.
  • The 45th Infantry Division Museum, the nation’s largest state-operated military history museum, offers an inside glance at Oklahoma’s military history. Stroll through Thunderbird Park to see more than 60 types of equipment, including tanks, artillery, personnel carriers and aircraft.
  • Boot-scoot over to Oklahoma City’s Historic Stockyards City, one of the largest livestock markets in the world, to immerse yourself in authentic cowboy culture. This unique district offers a glimpse into Oklahoma’s cowboy scene. Satisfy your hunger at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, then head over to catch a live show at the Centennial Rodeo Opry.
  • Enter the Oklahoma History Center and let the fascinating lives of Oklahoma oil barons, pioneers, American Indians and Oklahoma’s famous citizens bring the past to life. From the mighty Land Run to nostalgic Route 66 lore and from the stirring Civil War to high-flying airplanes, there’s something for everyone at the Oklahoma History Center.
  • OKC 125: A Photography Exhibition provides an interesting perspective on downtown Oklahoma City. The exhibit features works by 125 individuals who captured their favorite downtown sites in 125 minutes.
Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, restaurants, Stockyards, western heritage, zoo, Adventure District, attractions, downtown, museums
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Visit Stillwater

Home of Oklahoma State University, Stillwater is just an hour or so up the road from OKC and features plenty of diverse activities to do in its own right. In fact, you can visit museums and art alongside an exotic animal safari. And sure, while you can drive by the house where Garth Brooks used to live, go to the yearly Calf Fry at the Tumbleweed and pay homage to the home of Red Dirt music, there’s plenty more you should see and do in Stillwater.

  • The National Wrestling Hall of Fame – this “shrine to the sport of wrestling” should definitely be on your Stillwater to-do list. Full of memorabilia and history, “mankind’s oldest and most basic form of recreational combat” is celebrated here. Learn about the sport’s pioneers, African-American and Latino wrestling history, America’s Olympic heroes, and more. 
  • Main Street ShoppingDowntown Stillwater features that classic Main Street feel, with lots of local flavor and things to see and eat. Bike nights, Food Truck nights, and the Car and Bike Show augment the experience. Check the calendar at the link above to see what’s going down Downtown, or just head out and get your shop on.
  • Lake Fun – Stillwater’s three area reservoirs of regalement stand ready for you to visit any time of year. Lakes Blackwell, McMurtry, and Boomer offer all the typical lake fun you can stand and then some, including bird watching, mountain biking, hunting, disc golf, camping, horseback riding and trails for fitness, among other features.
  • Golf at Karsten Creek – the Stillwater area in general offers plenty for the duffers out there, but you may want to pay a special visit to Karsten Creek. Considered one of the best public courses in the nation, this Tom Fazio-designed course is the home of Oklahoma State’s golf teams, and you can play there too! Take the opportunity to grab your clubs and experience a demanding course you’re sure not to forget.

For more info, just hop over to www.visitstillwater.org.

Stillwater, water sports, western heritage, college, golf, museums, shopping
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Show off Oklahoma City to visitors

There’s plenty to do in Oklahoma City if you have friends and family visiting here from elsewhere. This week, The Better Life Blog is here for you so you can plan to show off the city and everything it has to offer. So come along and use their visit as an opportunity for you to explore the city yourself.

Want museums? Start with Oklahoma history at the Oklahoma History Center or the Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum. One of the city’s other premier museums includes the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the place to learn about American West history and culture and see some of the top fine art of that genre. For art, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is worth a stop, especially to see the impressive the Dale Chihuly glass art collection. The Science Museum Oklahoma has a lot of hands-on displays and activities for children.

But a fun tour of OKC might include some of Oklahoma’s more special-interest museums: Amateur Softball Association National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum; the 45th Infantry Division Museum; the 99s Museum of Women Pilots, the Museum of Osteology, which has more than 300 skeletons on display and other bones; the American Banjo Museum, the Oklahoma Railway Museum and more.

If you and your guests are still going strong, take them to the Oklahoma City Zoo. It is one of the oldest in the southwest, is spread over more than 119 acres and home to about 1,900 of the world’s most exotic animals, including 54 threatened or endangered species. It also features more than 500 species of animals, 117 species of birds, 153 species of reptiles and amphibians and 155 species of fish, aquatic invertebrates and marine mammals. And you wouldn’t want to miss the Lion Overlook or the Great EscApe.

For shopping, you can head over to one of OKC’s many shopping malls, like  The Outlet Shoppes, Quail Springs Mall, Penn Square Mall or Plaza Mayor at The Crossroads or any of Oklahoma City’s boutique shops.

And if the tips here aren’t to your liking, head over to Oklahoma City’s Convention and Visitors Bureau website, where you can find attractions and suggested itineraries. There’s a downtown walking tour, a Western heritage tour, a list of things to do with children and a must-see Oklahoma City tour.

kids, museums, shopping, western heritage, zoo, Adventure District, arts and culture, attractions, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Go West, young (wo)man!

While you’re in Oklahoma City, don’t miss the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. The museum bills itself as “America’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture.” You’ll realize the description is an accurate one as you wander through its multiple art and sculpture galleries, stand in front of the poignant 17-foot-tall “End of the Trail” sculpture by James Earle Fraser or explore a replica of a Western town for children, called Prosperity Junction, and the Children’s Cowboy Corral. You’ll learn about cowboy culture and gear, Native American history, Western performers, settling the frontier and more.

The museum has plans for its future, such as a seven-acre outdoor addition, but here’s a bit about its past.

It was founded as the National Cowboy and Hall of Fame and Museum in Oklahoma City in 1955, seven years after its founder Chester Arthur Reynolds envisioned a hall of fame that would honor cowboys, cattlemen and ranchers.

Governors from 17 western states, prominent cattlemen and leaders in rodeo were invited to serve on the museum’s board, and a 37-acre site at what is known as Persimmon Hill was dedicated on Nov. 11, 1955. And in 1960, the museum became the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center. (It took on its current name, dropping the Hall of Fame part, in 2000.)

Although fundraising efforts stalled along the way, it finally opened in 1965. It fell into disarray in the 1980s but a $35 million capital campaign revived it. In 1993, President George Bush formally dedicated the site that had expanded to more than 230,000 square feet.

Since then it’s been host to numerous community events, collections and Museum events such as the annual Western Heritage Awards, honoring significant contributions to literature, music, film and television.

western heritage, Adventure District, arts and culture, history, museums
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Red Earth Festival Returns

The 28th annual Red Earth Festival, celebrating Native American arts and culture, kicks off this week. This year, the festival will be held at Remington Park on Thursday through Saturday (June 5-7), with the traditional parade at 9 a.m. on Friday downtown. A full schedule of events including live music, dance competitions, an arts market, native food and more can be found at http://www.redearth.org/red-earth-festival/. Experience one of our state’s most unique and culturally vibrant events!

western heritage, arts and culture, family-friendly, festivals, native american
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Get Some Culture in Sulphur

A great way to learn about Native American culture in general, and the Chickasaw culture specifically, is to visit the aptly-named Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur. The campus consists of an exhibit gallery with “Spirit Lesson Stations,” language learning stations and historical objects; a Stomp Dance interactive display; the “Removal Hallway” exploring the Chickasaws’ painful “Trail of Tears” experience; and even an historically accurate outdoor “Inchokka’” traditional village, among other exhibits. The center aims to “capture the essence of Chickasaw culture” as well as share the Chickasaw’s “unique culture with the world,” and is a can’t-miss stop.

“But wait,” you say to yourself. “Where is this ‘Sulphur’ of which you speak, and how do I get there? Is it a burdensome journey?” Easy there, Chief. Sulphur is less than 90 miles from OKC and makes for a quick and easy day-long or weekend escape. There are tons of other cool things about Sulphur – the Chickasaw National Recreation Area is one of the nation’s oldest national parks and has about 10,000 acres of pristine preserved flora and fauna to explore, the nearby Lake of the Arbuckles offers camping, boating, fishing and more, and popular Turner Falls features a 77-foot waterfall, hiking trails, sandy beaches, three natural caves, and even a rock castle(!), among other beachin’ items. Yep, sounds like a trip to Sulphur is the kind of cure you’re looking for.

For more info on Native American cultural attractions in our great state, check out http://www.travelok.com/article_page/top-native-american-attractions-in-oklahoma.

[Image via Chickasaw Nation.]

water sports, western heritage, day-trip, museums, native american, outdoor recreation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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A Brief History of Tribes

Deeply and inexorably rooted in Native American culture and history, Oklahoma as a state proudly bills itself as “Native America,” with a statue called “The Guardian” depicting a Native American man with a spear and shield by former Seminole Chief and member of the Oklahoma Legislature (not to mention artist, obvi) Enoch Kelly Haney sitting atop the dome of the Capitol. The name “Oklahoma” even comes from two Choctaw words meaning red (“humma”) and people (“okla”).

A total of 67 Native American tribes have called Oklahoma home, and the state is currently home to 38 federally-recognized tribes producing an estimated $10.8 billion in economic impact. As with many indigenous cultures the world over that have been subject to the forces of imperialism or colonization, the history of Native Americans in Oklahoma is not only a source of pride for Oklahomans but is also complex, often tragic, and naturally difficult to sum up in a blog format. But, we endeavor to please, so here’s a brief sketch.

Prior to European contact, native tribes such as the Wichitas, Caddos, Apaches and Quapaws inhabited modern-day Oklahoma. As European influence and pressures elsewhere grew, other tribes migrated here including Pawnee, Osage, Comanche and Kiowa, in some cases displacing other native peoples. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 then forced all native peoples west of the Mississippi, and the “Five Civilized Tribes” (Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw and Seminole) were relocated to Oklahoma (the eastern half of the state was known as “Indian Territory”), along with several others (Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Shawnee, etc.).

After more post-antebellum resettlement due to stresses partially brought on by the expansion of rail networks through then-Indian lands in Kansas and Nebraska, The Dawes Act of 1887 (and other subsequent legislation in the case of the Five Civilized Tribes) then effectively ended communal land ownership, with the government ceding plots to individual tribal members. The “leftover” land was then allowed to be resettled, often via land run (the method by which a large portion of central Oklahoma was opened). The Wheeler-Howard Law or Indian Reorganization Act ended the practice of allotment and renewed tribal government and organization rights in 1934. After World War II, Congress then decided to end recognition of some tribes, resulting in land forfeiture in some cases.

From 1968 to the present day, Native Americans have been able to claim more sovereignty and take advantage of more of a stance of “self-governance” toward the tribes from the federal government, reestablishing themselves as cultural and economic forces.

For a bibliography/source info and more on this complex subject, please check out:
http://www.theamericanindiancenter.org/oklahoma-tribal-history
http://www.okhistory.org/research/oktribes
http://www.travelok.com/american_indian_culture
http://www.travelok.com/files/genealogy/origins_of_oklahoma_tribes.pdf
http://www.travelok.com/article_page/oklahomas-rich-indian-history
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Removal_Act
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_of_Tears
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawes_Act

history, native american, Oklahoma, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Unusual and interesting spots in Oklahoma

You’ve day-tripped to some of Oklahoma’s hot spots outside and inside the metro area. How about the unusual and weird attractions?

See as many as a million bats fly over your head at twilight during the open-to-the-public Selman Bat Watches, which begin May 27 and end Aug. 2, at the Alabaster Caverns State Park in Freedom in northwest Oklahoma. Print out a registration form online to enter a drawing for one of the coveted spots. Tickets are $12 per adult age 13 and older and $6 for children ages 8 to 12. While you’re in the area, tour the caverns, which include the largest natural gypsum cave in the world that is open to the public.

If you’re into unusual roadside attractions, especially if you’re continuing your U.S. Route 66 exploring, you might want to travel to Catoosa for The Blue Whale. The icon was built in 1972 near what was then a swimming hole, and it has always been a popular novelty for travelers, even before it was restored around 1995.

Head northeast to Bartlesville for the Woolaroc Museum, which is located in the former home of Phillips Petroleum Co. founder Frank Phillips and then, as you explore the area, don’t miss the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve near Pawhuska.

Also note that Oklahoma is home to 38 federally recognized Native American tribes, and many of them showcase their own unique history with cultural centers. For a start, explore the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Capitol Museum in Durant, or the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee.

If you’re into archaeology and ancient history, the Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center in Spiro is worth a trip. The mounds site, which was created between 850 and 1450 AD, is the only prehistoric Native American archaeological site open to the public.

[Image courtesy of The Blue Whale]

day-trip, museums, Oklahoma, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

An Ode to the Oldies

Oklahoma City is relatively new in comparison to some other states and certainly other parts of the world, but that doesn’t mean we lack history. Here’s a quick look at some of places in Greater Oklahoma City that claim the title of “oldest” in their given category.

 

[Photo from BC Clark]

restaurants, shopping, Stockyards, western heritage, arts and culture, education, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Don’t Go Stir Crazy

Most parents recently experienced the joy of a snow day at home with their kids. But then that snow day turned into days and they forgot how difficult it can be to keep little ones entertained. Now that winter break is upon students in Oklahoma City, here are a few ideas for keeping your kids (and you) from going crazy at home.

Show your kids that science is fun at Science Museum Oklahoma.
Let them discover their inner cowboy at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Watch them go bananas over bones at the Museum of Osteology.
Help them discover their inner Amelia Earhart at the Museum of Women Pilots.
Let them find their tune at the American Banjo Museum.
Find even more museum options.

Adventure District, family-friendly, museums, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Great State of a Fair

Beloved by all ages, the Oklahoma State Fair is back this week with something for everyone. Crafting, cars, Clydesdales and carnival rides all abound at this eleven-day event that runs from Sept. 12-22, 2013.

Be sure to check out the list of free concerts (with the price of admission) taking place during the week, and sample some of Oklahoma’s best wines at the Wine and Beer Garden. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of things to do, the state fair website offers a comprehensive schedule and a customizable agenda to help make your experience more fun.

[photo courtesy of the Oklahoma State Fair]

festivals, music, State Fair Park, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Take It All In

You’ve probably already heard about the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, but did you know that Oklahoma City is home to America’s only skeleton museum? A museum dedicated to celebrating and preserving the banjo? A museum honoring the rich history of women aviators? From celebrating Oklahoma City’s western culture to displaying the works of up-and-coming artists, Oklahoma City’s vast choice of museums makes it easy to find just what you are looking for. To help you narrow it down, our friends at the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber have a list of museums that we think is tops.

western heritage, arts and culture, family-friendly, museums, music
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
parks, running, western heritage, community, MAPS, museums, outdoor recreation
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.
movies, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, parks, pets, water sports, arts and culture, western heritage, bmx, family-friendly, free
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

And I Would Walk (or Drive) 100 Miles …

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:

western heritage, arts and culture, family-friendly, parks, restaurants
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Do you know your Land Run?

We all know that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but Oklahoma City sure was. On April 22, 1889, more than 50,000 hopefuls were lined up on the edge the unauthorized lands of Indian Territory to stake their claim on some cheap land—and a new life. Overnight, a tent-town of 10,000 people had formed the city that we now call home. Here are a few more facts that you may not know about Land Run Day:

  • The Land Run was authorized by President Benjamin Harrison, and it opened up a 1.9-million-acre tract of land for eager citizens to settle.
  • Cannons and pistols fired at precisely high noon on April 22, giving the go ahead for people to stake their claim on a tract of land. Those that participated in the mad dash were called “Boomers,” since they waited for the boom of the cannon to charge into the new territory.
  • Soldiers were tasked with keeping the rowdy crowd in line, but a few sneaky citizens slipped through and crossed into Indian Territory before the sound of the gun. These people were labeled “Sooners,” which is the source of Oklahoma’s nickname “The Sooner State.”
  • Oklahoma has an official Land Run Song called The Oklahoma Run. It was written by an area professor to commemorate the explosive start to our upstart state. We dare you to give it a listen and not have the tune stuck in your head. Many people who grew up in Oklahoma learned this song in elementary school.

Ready to celebrate this festive day? Stake your claim for fun and head to the annual 89ers Days Celebration in Guthrie or the Land Run Festival in Choctaw to experience Western-style food, old-fashioned games, concerts, parades and carnivals. Or head over to Myriad Gardens with your friends and some picnic supplies and host your own modern-day version.

western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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How the West Was Fun

With more than 100 years of history under its belt, there is no better place to go experience Oklahoma City’s rough-and-tumble past than Stockyards City. Located just southwest of downtown, Stockyards City is home to the Oklahoma National Stock Yards—the world’s largest stocker and feeder cattle market.  Originally called “Packingtown,” the area was developed as a meat processing and packing plant in 1910, and by 1915 the area was booming with cowboys and cattle drives.

By 1961, the packing plant closed and was replaced by a cattle auction. More than 102 million head of livestock have passed through the iron gates of the Stockyards since that time, and the auction is still in operation today.

Even though the days of the cattle drive are over, the area still serves up its unique Western heritage to cattlemen and greenhorns alike. The original business district is intact and still sells its wares to Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers, and many of the area’s stores and restaurants are among OKC’s oldest establishments. Stop in at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse for food that has won the approval of everyone from U.S. presidents to Sir Charles Barkley since 1910, and rustle up some authentic cowboy gear at Langston’s Western Wear, which was established in 1916.

restaurants, shopping, Stockyards, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Lasso Up Some Cowboy Gear

All this information about cowboy cultures means you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? Don’t leave Stockyards City without lassoing some authentic cowboy gear.

Visit Shorty’s Hattery for a custom made and stock Western-style cowboy hats that have been worn by rodeo winners and country music stars. The store’s owner, Lavonna “Shorty” Koger is well-steeped in the tradition of the Western cowboy, and she keeps that tradition alive through custom hats made with the highest quality materials.

Langston’s Western Wear is the oldest store of its kind in Oklahoma, and it has become a national leader in Western fashion. Its flagship location in Stockyards City recently underwent an award-winning restoration and they carry over 15,000 pairs of boots and 40,000 pairs of jeans—so you are sure to find just the style for you.

A cowboy’s life might contain a little more dirt and mud than most, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be refined. Cross Bar Gallery specializes in high-end western furniture, art and home décor. Its furniture is all made in the U.S.A. and the gallery offers the largest selection of western artwork in Oklahoma City.

shopping, Stockyards, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Rustle Up Some Cowboy Grub

Oklahoma City has some of the world’s best cowboy grub around, so put on a feedbag with some of these Okie-food favorites:

Cattlemen’s Steakhouse is an Oklahoma City-staple with a history as rich as its decadent homemade desserts. This restaurant, which opened in 1910, was won in a high-stakes dice game between the owner and a local rancher. Be sure to try the T-Bone “Presidential” Steak, which won the approval of President George H.W. Bush while he visited Oklahoma City.

Iron Starr Urban Barbeque offers a modern spin on traditional comfort foods with its Oklahoma barbeque with traditional smokehouse flavor. Named after Belle Starr, Oklahoma’s notorious outlaw, this restaurant stays true to its traditional roots by with its down-home atmosphere. Order the fancy macaroni and cheese for the ultimate comfort-food treat.

Onion burgers are an Oklahoma specialty with origins dating back to the 1920s, and you can’t get much better than the selection at Tucker’s Onion Burgers. Tucker’s serves up this Oklahoma classic in a casual setting with a focus on fresh, regionally-grown ingredients. Not a fan of beef? You can get an all-natural turkey burger or choose from its selection of salads to round out your meal.

food, restaurants, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Calling all Cowboys

Spring has sprung (or at least it will, on March 20 – the first official day of spring!), which means it’s time to get out of the house and enjoy some milder weather! And if you’ve been stuck inside all winter with your little angels (or little hooligans if you prefer to call them – hey, we won’t judge!), you are probably more than ready to get out and about. We suggest you take your kiddos down to the 3rd Annual Cowboy Round-Up at the Oklahoma History Center on March 23. What better way to welcome spring than with chuck wagons, trick ropers, medicine man shows, music and activities for the kids? There will be ample opportunities for all little cowboys and cowgirls to run off their pent up energy. And the best part? The event is free.

family-friendly, museums, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wild, Wild West

Born from the single gunshot that launched the historic Land Run of 1889, Oklahoma City’s history and heritage is uniquely Western. And the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is the ideal place to experience the legacy of the American West. With more than 28,000 Western and American Indian art works and artifacts, it’s home to one of the most comprehensive collections of Western art in the world. The museum is a can’t-miss destination with fine art, pop culture, Native American objects, historical cowboy gear, an amazing gift shop and tasty dining.

You should also check out ... historic Stockyards City where you can pick up some Western wear of your own, enjoy one of OKC’s most famous restaurants – Cattlemen’s Steakhouse – and see a live cattle auction.

... the Red Earth Museum in downtown to see more than 1,400 traditional and contemporary Native American art pieces including traditional and contemporary fine art, pottery, basketry, textiles, jewelry and beadwork.

Stockyards, western heritage, arts and culture, museums, restaurants, shopping
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Look Into the Past

Oklahoma City – and the state as a whole – have a storied past in the Wild West. Relive the glory days of the cowboy through a fantastic exhibit at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Shown at only 10 locations across the U.S. “National Geographic: Greatest Photographs of the American West” will transport you to the days of saddles and spurs as you experience our nation’s western heritage through the art of photography. The exhibit kicks off this Saturday, Oct. 27 and will run through Jan. 6, 2013. And when you fall in love with the exhibit (because we know you will), you can head over to the Museum Store and purchase the companion book. The store has endless treasures for you to take home – maybe you can even get a jump start on your holiday shopping.

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is $12.50 for adults, $9.75 for seniors (62+) and students with a valid ID, $5.75 for children ages 4-12. Children under 3 are admitted for free.

Adventure District, museums, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Whoa, Nelly!

Did you know that Oklahoma City is the reigning "Horse Show Capital of the World?" Home to more national and international equine (that's horse-related for you city slickers) championship events than any other city in the world, Oklahoma City is prime time when it comes to top national and world championship horse shows, and you don't want to miss the opportunity to check out one (or more) of the rough riding, yee-hawing good times.

And fall is a great time to watch these riders and their horses giddy-up – all while getting a taste of Oklahoma City's western heritage. Feel free to slap on some Wranglers, a pearl snap and boots, or just head over to State Fair Park in your weekend wear. Five of the industry's biggest shows will be in Oklahoma City over the next few months and you certainly don't want to miss out on any of the excitement.

Grand National Morgan Horse Show
October 6 - 13
www.morgangrandnational.com

U.S. Team Roping Championships
October 20 - 28
www.ustrc.com

American Quarter Horse World Championship Show
November 2 - 18
www.aqha.com

National Reining Horse Association Reining Futurity
November 22- December 1
www.nrha.com

World Barrel Racing Futurity
December 4 - 8
www.barrelfuturitiesofamerica.com

live sporting events, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Discover Oklahoma’s Heritage

Oklahoma's Native American heritage can be seen nearly everywhere in our great state – on our state flag, in our state's name, in our museums and in the lives of many of our citizens. Want to experience it for yourself? Well, that's easy. Simply venture south of Oklahoma City on I-35 and a little bit east to Sulphur, Okla., where you'll find the nation's largest tribal cultural center – the Chickasaw Cultural Center. We think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the museum's non-traditional approach to learning. Instead of looking at displays encased in glass, you'll experience interactive media stations, hands-on classes, a cultural amphitheater and a traditional village replica. Before leaving, make sure you check out some of the various activities offered on the campus, including spirit lessons, stomp dancing, plays, storytelling, cultural ceremonies, an extensive artifacts gallery and more.

The Chickasaw Cultural Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Admission prices are as follows:

Chickasha Poya Exhibits: $6 for adults; $5 for senior citizens, students and military; $3 for children 12 and under. Children 3 and under and Chickasaw Citizens are admitted for free.
Anoli' Theater Feature Films: $6 for adults; $5 for senior citizens, students and military; $3 for children 12 and under; $5 for Chickasaw Citizens.
Exhibit/Theater Combo: $10 for adults; $8 for senior citizens, students and military: $4 for children 12 and under.

arts and culture, family-friendly, museums, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Best of the West

Saddle up and head over to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum for one of the premier arts exhibitions of its kind. Boasting nearly 340 paintings and sculptures by the finest contemporary Western artists in the country, the Prix de West Art Invitational Exhibition and Sale is in the midst of another banner year. Its opening weekend in June racked up more than $3 million in sales, but plenty of extraordinary pieces are still available, and it’s all on display. For more information on the exhibition, which runs through Aug. 7, go online to www.nationalcowboymuseum.org.

arts and culture, museums, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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