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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Pumpkinville

Myriad Gardens Pumpkinville

Pumpkins have quickly become the official mascot of the fall. We put their spice in our coffee. We put them in pies. Even pumpkin-scented candles are all the rage. For our money’s worth the best pumpkin-related thing every fall is Pumpkinville at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.

This year’s extravaganza will be held October 5 – 21 in the Children’s Garden and will feature more than 16,000 pumpkins. If you’ve never been, the garden is filled all kinds of crafts and games. On Saturday and Sunday the visitors can even ride the Pumpkinville Express.

family-friendly, holiday, Myriad Botanical Gardens
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Summertime in the 4-0-5

It’s here, it’s here! Summer, that is. Memorial Day marks the traditional start of summer and the end of the school year. With backyard BBQ’s, 9 p.m. – or later – sunsets and great weather to be outdoors, what’s not to like about summer? Summer is the time of infinite fun, where the day seems to last forever and the fun never stops!

Hold on now, you say. How will we keep the kids entertained, you say. How will we make it through endless days of “Mom, what can we do today?” or “Dad, will you drive us to the mall?” while fighting the urge to ship the family off to distant relatives (distant being the key word) so you don’t have to be the fountain of fresh ideas for family fun and frolic???

Here at Better Life HQ, we have a few suggestions that just might keep your family entertained, all while enjoying some amazing attractions that should be on your summer “to do” list!

One of our favorite OKC hot spots for splashing is just outside the Children's Garden area at Myriad Botanical Gardens. Thunder Fountain lures in kids of all ages with everything from light sprinkles to heavy downpours. Fitting the nature theme of the gardens, this splash pad simulates a real rainforest thunderstorm by going through storm cycles to the delight of everyone under the shaded fountain canopy. The City of Oklahoma City also has pools and splash pads all around town. You can find them here.

Summertime used to mean drive-in movie time, back in the day, and you can still find a few drive-ins around the metro. But there's just something special about watching a movie while sitting on a picnic blanket in the great outdoors. One of our favorite places to catch a flick is Myriad Gardens’ Great Lawn. On Wednesdays throughout the summer, the Great Lawn becomes the backdrop for a free summer flick.

Buy the kiddoes – and treat yourself, too – some peanuts and crackerjacks when you root, root, root for the OKC Dodgers at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, home to Oklahoma City's minor league baseball team. Tickets to these fun-filled and family-friendly games are more affordable than a game in the bigs, so you’ll have plenty of extra cash for snow cones and hot dogs. The ball yard is conveniently located in Bricktown so catching a game affords you a chance to see the scenic Bricktown Canal and views of downtown. Check out the Dodgers’ schedule to find when the home team is playing.

Anyone who grew up fishing during the summer knows just how much fun it is to dip your hook, but it can be difficult for city dwellers to go to all the trouble to have their kids take up this summertime hobby. Grabbing a pole and bait and taking the time to get a fishing license and scope out a good spot to drop your line may not seem worth the effort. But don’t despair, OKC makes fishing easy by offering Free Fishing Days. You can fish without a city permit on the first Saturday of each month (but you still need your state license). Kids can also take weekly lessons at various Oklahoma City parks throughout the summer so there's no excuse not to share this iconic summer experience with the kiddoes! Who knows, you might even run into the Thunder’s PG13!

free, kids, movies, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, water sports, Bricktown, Dodgers, family-friendly, fishing
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Thirty, verdant and thriving

Myriad Gardens Crystal Bridge

When it comes to Myriad Botanical Gardens, 30 has never looked so good. Thirty years ago this month, the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory at Myriad Botanical Gardens opened to the public and, since that time, Myriad Botanical Gardens has served as the heart of downtown Oklahoma City and a breath of fresh air for all Oklahoma City residents.

The history of the gardens starts much earlier, however. This jewel of Oklahoma City was born during the downtown urban renewal project of the late 60s. Myriad Gardens was part of I.M. Pei’s plan for downtown Oklahoma City’s revitalization, and it’s one of the only parts of his plan to be fully realized. In order to win public support for the idea of a centrally located garden, city leaders made a trip to Denmark to study the Tivoli Gardens for design inspiration. A nation-wide search was made for the architects that would design the Myriad Gardens, which was named after “the Myriad,” the building now known as the Cox Convention Center. In 1971, the New York architectural firm Conklin + Rossant was chosen, and city leaders broke ground on the 17-acre plot for the garden on Nov. 17, 1977.

Unfortunately, construction was delayed as the oil bust of the 1970s and ‘80s diminished the project’s funding, so the area was constructed as money was available. In 1981, leaders formed the Myriad Gardens Foundation to raise private funds for the construction of the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory. Construction resumed from 1983-1985 and the building finally opened to the public on March 25, 1988.

More recently, Myriad Gardens and its Crystal Bridge received a facelift thanks to funds from the construction of Devon Tower and Project 180. This $176-million redesign of downtown streets, sidewalks, parks and plazas included new landscaping, a new children’s garden, a new restaurant space, and reglazed acrylic panels on the Crystal Bridge. Today, Myriad Gardens is stronger than ever and spring is the perfect time to explore all that it has to offer. Check it out for yourself by attending one of their upcoming events or classes.

attractions, downtown, family-friendly, Myriad Botanical Gardens, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

St. Patrick’s Day

Friends enjoying beer

It is time to make sure all your green clothes are washed because St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. We’ll be completely honest, it is not all that difficult to find a fun St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Oklahoma City. Your favorite restaurant or bar will probably have the green beer flowing. However, there are handful of events we want to make you aware of:

  • St Patrick’s Day in the Garden: This is a St. Patrick’s Day event the whole family can enjoy at the Myriad Botanical Gardens. Food trucks, face painting, bag pipes and even Scottish dancing will all be taking place.
  • O’City St. Patrick’s Day Parade: The official parade of Oklahoma City is back and will begin at 11 a.m. All sorts of local organizations will be showing their St. Paddy’s Day pride during the parade. The parade will take place on Sheridan between the Myriad Botanical Gardens and the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
  • Bricktown St. Patrick’s Day Block Party: Kicking off at noon around Reno & Oklahoma Ave, this all day shindig will feature live music and food trucks. It is for all ages and the admission is free.
Bricktown, family-friendly, holiday, Myriad Botanical Gardens, parade
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Sunday Twilight Concert Series is back

Concert at Myriad Gardens

One of the TBL staff’s favorite things to attend during the summer is the OKC Arts Council’s Sunday Twilight Concerts. These weekly shows at The Great Lawn at Myriad Botanical Gardens are a great chance to relax on your blanket or camp chair, chill out with some picnic staples and listen to some terrific tunes with your fellow Oklahoma Citians. Bring your ears, your own drinks and great attitudes whilst you enjoy the evening (but leave your stinky cigarettes, stinkier pets and even stinkier glass bottles at home). We’ll see you there!

Myriad Botanical Gardens, parks, concerts, family-friendly, free, live music, music
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick\'s Day Celebration

Remember in elementary school when St. Patrick’s Day was that holiday where you would pinch people if they didn’t wear green? Well, it’s a lot more than that in OKC (although, the pinching is still very important, too).

Join in on the St. Patrick’s Day fun by heading to the Myriad Gardens on March 17 to learn about Irish heritage with music and fun crafts for kids. Or, head to Bricktown for the St. Patrick’s Day Block Party, where you can enjoy live music, great food and even a few surprises.

Feel like going to Midtown instead? Then head to McNellie’s for their annual St. Patrick’s Day Party for food, drinks and music. If you want to make a difference this St. Patrick’s Day, consider participating in the 7th Annual Run Lucky 5k on March 12. All proceeds benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

running, Bricktown, holiday, live music, Midtown, Myriad Botanical Gardens
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Spring break adventure awaits

Riversport Ropes Course

If you are looking for an action-packed way to spend your spring break, we’ve got you covered. From the thrilling adventures in the Boathouse District to the electrifying experiments at Science Museum Oklahoma, there’s no better place to beat the spring break boredom blues than OKC.

Students in grades 2-9 can have a blast during the Spring Break Ultimate Adventure Camps at OKC’s Boathouse District. They will have an opportunity to navigate roaring rapids at RIVERSPORT Rapids (opening March 11), conquer their fear of heights on the tallest adventure course of its kind in the world, speed down a 72-foot Sky Slide, free fall 80-feet on the Rumble Drop and zip line across the Oklahoma River. Sounds like a thrill-seeker’s paradise to us.

Other family-friendly ways to spend your spring break include exploring the Oklahoma City Zoo, discovering the Jurassic world that existed right here in Oklahoma at Science Museum Oklahoma or getting hands-on history during the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum’s drop-in activities. OKC MOA’s spring break camps include a variety of activities from sculpture to drawings and paintings. Myriad Botanical Gardens offers a different themed adventure each day during spring break.

Boathouse District, camps, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, spring break, western heritage, zoo, Adventure District, arts and culture
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Free fun in OKC

Mat Hoffman Action Sports Park

You don’t have to break the bank to have a great time in OKC. In fact, there are so many awesome free things to do, we can guarantee that spring break 2017 will be one you won’t forget.

  • Perfect your ollie, heel flip or nose slide on the bowl course or street course of Mat Hoffman Action Sports Park. Ranked in the top 10 skate parks in the U.S., the action park is certainly an OKC treasure.
  • Get closer to nature. Marvel at the outdoor paradise of the Myriad Botanical Gardens, explore more than 1,000 acres that have remained unchanged since before statehood at Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge or get hands-on with the flora and fauna at the 144-acre Martin Nature Park featuring miles of trails, a bird observation wall and watch tower.
  • Explore our heritage. Have you ever wondered what the earliest moments of our city looked like? A stunning visual representation of the first moments can be seen at the Centennial Land Run Monument near the south end of the Bricktown Canal. Learn more about our state’s heritage with a guided tour of the Oklahoma State Capitol.
  • Discover art in new places. Check out the modern art found at the historic Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant turned 21C Museum Hotel gallery. Even Travel+Leisure is taking note of this OKC gem.
  • Check out more than 1,400 items of Native American fine art, pottery, basketry, textiles and beadwork at Red Earth Museum.
  • Learn about the day that changed our city forever at the outdoor symbolic memorial of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. The memorial honors victims, survivors, rescuers and all who were changed by the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

The Oklahoma City Visitors Guide, produced by the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, has more ideas for kids of all ages. Get a digital or printed copy, and start exploring OKC.

free, history, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, spring break, arts and culture, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What to OKC

The view from Vast

The holiday season is in full swing and whether you are a long-time OKCer who is looking to entertain guests or a visitor checking out the city for the first time, OKC has plenty of shopping, holiday lights, museums, events and activities to keep everyone bustling.

There’s no better place to get in the holiday spirit than Oklahoma City. Here are a few of our favorite ways to introduce OKC.

  • Take a Water Taxi Along the Bricktown Canal: Enjoy the lights, sights, and sounds and get a quick introduction to Bricktown during a water taxi ride this holiday season.  Free rides are offered on designated days in November and December. Nearby in Deep Deuce, Legends Night will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. on Dec. 17 and will bring some of the best jazz musicians in OKC back to Downtown in December.
  • Gaze at 55 Feet of Beauty: 2,400 individually hand-blown glass pieces make up the Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s 55-foot Chihuly Tower, making it one of the tallest Chihuly structures in the world. In fact, Oklahoma City Museum of Art is home to one of the most comprehensive collections of Dale Chihuly glass sculptures in the world.  Art lovers will also enjoy the eclectic exhibits at 21c Hotel and Museum in OKC’s Film Row district.
  • Take a stroll through the gardens: During the holidays, the Myriad Botanical Gardens is a favorite destination among locals and visitors as they enjoy the Devon Ice Rink, Winter Shoppes and the holiday carousel. The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory offers a beautiful balmy oasis featuring more than 750 varieties of plant life in two distinct climates: a tropical wet zone at the south end and a tropical dry zone at the north end.
  • Explore our history. Step back in time at the National Cowboys and Western Heritage Museum and discover the American West through one-of-a-kind exhibits, artwork and artifacts or check out the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum to learn about the day that changed our city forever.

Of course, this is just a small sampling of the fun going on here in OKC. There are so many festivals, games and activities happening in various districts, you’re sure to find an activity to appease any guest. Our friends at Visit OKC offer a plethora of ideas on how to get out and experience OKC. Learn more at visitokc.com.

Myriad Botanical Gardens, retail, shopping, western heritage, arts and culture, Bricktown, Deep Deuce, downtown, holiday, museums
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Myriads more than just the bare necessities at MBG

Myriad Gardens and the Moon

If you’re a long-time reader of our little blog here (and a heartfelt “thank you” to those of you who are!), you probably think we’re penning passages about the Myriad Botanical Gardens in our sleep because we mention it so much—or maybe if you’re a conspiracy theorist and/or rabblerousing crank, that they’re paying us in tulip bulbs like it’s 17th-century The Netherlands up in here. In either case, you’d be wrong—we write about it simply because they have a lot of great activities and it’s so lovely! Wherever we wander and wherever we roam in the MBG, we couldn’t be fonder of it, TBH. This month is no exception, as “The Jungle Book” takes over the Children’s Garden from May 6-22, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. To take a glance at the fancy ants or for more information: http://oklahomacitybotanicalgardens.com/the-jungle-book-takes-over-the-childrens-garden-in-may/

family-friendly, kids, Myriad Botanical Gardens
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A St. Paddy’s garden party

St Patrick's Day

You won’t want to get ejected from the Myriad Botanical Gardens on Thursday, March 17 (which, weekend celebrations aside, is actually St. Patrick’s Day), as the Great Event Lawn and Band Shell will be full of myriad opportunities to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. In addition to craft activities for the kids, there will be shows by the Oklahoma Academy of Irish Dance Performance, Celtic folk band Three Ravens, and bag piping by Oklahoma Scottish Pipes and Drums. You can even get a lesson in Irish step dancing with instructor Chelsea Baron, and then show off your new-found skills afterward by dancing on the Water Stage with the Three Ravens. Cushlamachree! The MBG draws a lot of water in this town, and for good reason, so get out there and go mingle Irish-style with the many other interested parties.

Get more info at http://oklahomacitybotanicalgardens.com/events/st-patricks-day-at-the-gardens/.

family-friendly, kids, live music, Myriad Botanical Gardens
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Natural beauty

Ice Skating at the Myriad Gardens

We have to admit that Myriad Botanical Gardens  might just be one of our favorite places in downtown OKC. Seriously, the gardens recently received the Urban Land Institute’s Urban Open Space Award recognizing it as one of the most outstanding public spaces in the entire world. So we are obviously not alone in our love of the OKC gem.

The Myriad Botanical Gardens always provide a serene locale to escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown OKC, but in the wintertime the gardens come to life in a whole new way complete with shopping, a festive outdoor atmosphere complete with lights and a selection of boutique-style vendors.

If you’ve never strolled through the gardens, we might suggest taking part in one of the free monthly walking tours. While you’re here be sure to take in the beauty of Crystal Bridge. The holiday season is the perfect time to explore the 750 varieties of plans in the 13,000 square feet conservatory. If you visit on Sunday evenings in December, you can take in all of the beauty for free.

The gardens also give you a great view of the fabulous Devon lights just across the street (look North).

Another fun family-friendly winter attraction at the Myriad Botanical Gardens is the Devon Ice Rink. The young and young at heart are welcome to slip and slide the night (and day) away now through January. A bit rusty on the ice? Don’t fret, you can even take skate lessons so you will be ready to show off your mad skills to your kids, friends, co-workers or all of OKC. Check the schedule for rink hours and get ready to hit the ice.

shopping, family-friendly, free, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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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, March 24, 2015

An oasis in the middle of downtown

If you are a frequent reader of our blog, you know that we love the Myriad Botanical Gardens. Seriously, what’s not to love? The Gardens offer 17 acres of flowing water falls, and fragrant flowers and even a tropical observatory. Numerous public works of art including the gateway sculpture, goldfish sculpture and the storytelling chair certainly add to the Gardens charm. This is hands-down one of our favorite spots for a perfect springtime picnic or a weekend visit. Michael Bublé and other celebrities have even taken time to explore the Gardens while in OKC and it has been featured in the Wall Street Journal.

What you may not know, is that the Myriad Botanical Gardens host a variety of events each month. From yoga in the Crystal Bridge to book readings, instructional seminars and even plant sales, there’s never a shortage of things to do here. There are monthly events for adults ranging from brown bag lunch speakers series to painting in the gardens wine and palette sessions and much more! Kiddos can learn about growing tomatoes or creepy crawlies. And of course, the children’s garden offers hours of fun!  There’s even a dog park so Sparky can enjoy the scenery with the rest of the family. Educational walking tours will be added this spring, thanks to a recent grant from the Oklahoma Community Foundation.

And after a nice relaxing afternoon at the Gardens, make sure you check out Park House, the on-site restaurant at the Gardens – we guarantee you’ll be glad you did. The appetizers here offer a plethora of options including chicken and waffle nachos, fried oysters and deviled egg flights. But that truly is only the beginning. Lunch and dinner menus offer something for everyone and range from green chili enchiladas to pork belly carbonara and filet mignon to oyster po’boys. A brandy ice is the perfect way to complete your meal or even as a treat on a hot summer day.

The spectacular views of the Crystal Bridge and the downtown skyline, as well as an impressive wine list and hand-crafted cocktails make this a fun locale to meet-up with friends or enjoy a special dinner. Chef Jonathan Krell seems to take pride in every dish served and has even been recognized as one of the top chefs in America by his peers.

Myriad Botanical Gardens
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Flower Power

What does Valentine’s Day mean for a lot of people? Flowers. Yes, flowers are a perfect way to say “You’re kind of cool” with pretty colors and lovely fragrance. Why don’t you give one of these reputable flower peddlers a call and your business? They will be happy to help you come up with just the right arrangement. And don’t forget that flowers are good for days other than Valentine’s Day. Send someone you care about flowers for no reason and thank us later.

Really want to kick it up to 11 in the flower department? If you’re looking to escape the chilly winter weather and see some fabulous flowers, don’t forget about the Myriad Botanical Gardens Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory. With indoor temperatures ranging from 62 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll keep warm while you enjoy the 2,000 different plant varieties.

holiday, local goods, Myriad Botanical Gardens, shopping
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.
downtown, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, restaurants, Stockyards, western heritage, zoo, Adventure District, attractions
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Blades of Glory

The chill is definitely in the air in Oklahoma City and that means fall is in full swing. However, don’t act like a bear and disappear until the thaw of spring. There is still boatloads of fun to be had in OKC when the temperature drops, including the yearly Devon Ice Rink at the Myriad Botanical Gardens. The opening of the Devon Ice Rink is the unofficial launch of the colder seasons for locals.

Open until Feb. 1, the Devon Ice Rink gives you a chance to channel your inner Bonnie Blair or Brian Boitano in Downtown OKC. On weekdays the rink opens at 3 p.m., and runs until 9 p.m. During the weekends, the rink opens at 11 a.m., and closes at 11 p.m. (if you want to get wild).

Really want to get your figure skate on? Each Friday night is Rock N Skate night. From 6 to 9 p.m., a DJ will provide the soundtrack and all you have to provide are the moves (and a small entry fee).

Garden members skate for just $7, while nonmembers pay $12, including skate rental. Own your own blades? First off, that is awesome, and you only have to pay $8. Food and drink will also be available both indoors and outdoors.

So work on your axel jumps and free dances and we will see you on the ice.

downtown, family-friendly, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Get away from the city without leaving it

If you love the Oklahoma City life but occasionally want to get away from it, there are places to escape while staying close by.

Later, we focus on two true retreats inside Oklahoma City limits– Martin Park Nature Center and the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge.

But you can also enjoy:

  • Spectacular views of the sunset at Lake Hefner, or biking, roller-blading, skateboarding, walking or strolling along its Hefner Trails that circle the lake.
  • More than 2,000 plants and a 35-foot waterfall that make visitors feel they’re at a tropical getaway inside the 244-foot-long Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.
  • Fishing at any number of Oklahoma City’s parks, ponds, lakes and rivers.
  • And, a little farther away, the views, trails and wildlife at Arcadia Lake, located on the Deep Fork River, east of Edmond.
Arcadia, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, water sports
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It’s the Great Pumpkinville, OKC!

For the third year, Oklahoma City can enjoy a pumpkin paradise thanks to Myriad Gardens and OGE Energy Corp. Pumpkinville, presented by OGE Energy Corp., is an enchanting celebration of all things fall that includes more than 3,000 pumpkins filling the Children’s Garden from Oct. 10-31. Admission to Pumpkinville is $5 per child and $3 per adult (unless you are a member of Myriad Gardens, in which case admission is free).

In addition to fall fun in the Children’s Garden, Myriad Gardens will also host the Pumpkinville Halloween Party: Garden Monster Bash on Oct. 25 from 6-8 p.m. This ghoulish party will be more friendly than frightening, so have no fear about bringing your children or skittish friends. View the admission prices and RSVP for this event by Monday, Oct. 20 to reserve your spot!

downtown, family-friendly, kids, Myriad Botanical Gardens
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Stargaze Like Edwin Hubble (Not A.J. Hammer) at the Gardens

If you’re like us, you’ve had enough TMZ, red carpet coverage, various Kardashians and Joan Rivers to last through the main sequence of a low-mass star. Get some real stargazing in for a change at Astronomy Nights in the Garden at Myriad Botanical Gardens. The OKC Astronomy Club will be looking long and hard at the moon, stars and planets above Oklahoma City on August 21 at the Great Lawn. If you have a telescope, bring it, but you don’t have to have one to see some stars and have some fun.

Can’t wait for some space? The Gardens’ next Full Moon Bike Ride is August 10 at 8:30 p.m. Meet at the Band Shell with your bike, helmet and bike lights, and leisurely tour downtown under the light of the moon.

Not enough science for you? Confidently boast that the pollination process is, in fact, your beeswax by attending Buzzing Bees. The Gardens hosts this session about our favorite honey makers in the Children’s Garden on August 12 at 9:30 a.m. Find out what all the buzz is about (sorry, we just had to go there).

downtown, family-friendly, Myriad Botanical Gardens
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

LIVE on the Music

If you’re like us, the phrase “live music” is like music to your ears … OK, maybe that’s not the best simile in this situation, but you know what we’re saying. And OKC’s live music culture continues to develop into a major part of life here. As Huey Lewis can attest, the “heart of rock ‘n’ roll is still beating” in Oklahoma City. (Aaaaand scene.) Anyway, the awesome part is that you don’t have to be a full-on hipster / scenester-type to enjoy the blossoming live music scene in Oklahoma City.

There are plenty of well-known, friendly and accessible venues hosting cool shows all over town. Need ideas? Check out this listing . And besides that, don’t forget about spots like The Conservatory, The Blue Note, Opolis, the Diamond Ballroom, the Chevy Bricktown Events Center, the ACM@UCO Performance Lab, the Bricktown Music Hall, and more. Where to get info on what shows are on this weekend? Besides sites like bandsintown or songkick, many a local in OKC will utilize the Oklahoma Gazette’s calendar to keep them up-to-speed on who is playing where. You can also purchase alcoholic beverages at many of the venues, which is a plus. Bring your own earplugs, though.


Oklahoma City native Graham Colton performs in March 2014 at Bricktown Music Hall

But to whom to listen? Besides actually getting out there and checking out some bands, the easy way to keep up with what’s going down on the OKC music scene includes listening to the Oklahoma Rock Show on the radio or on the computer, and checking out their playlists on the Spotify (and you can also follow @oklahomarock on the Twitter).

Prefer concerts of the outdoor variety? Oh snap, hum and dingereedoo, we’ve got you covered there too, you alfresco aficionado. Both the Downtown Airpark and the Zoo Amphitheater have a full slate of concerts for the summer and beyond, besides summertime staples Sunday Twilight Concert Series at the Myriad Gardens, LIVE on the Plaza at the (you guessed it, Sherlock) Plaza District, and Lower Bricktown Live at (surely you see where this is going at this point) Lower Bricktown Plaza.

What are your favorite live music tips for OKC? Let us know in the comments. Happy listening!

music, Myriad Botanical Gardens, nightlife, concerts, live music
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

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.

Myriad Botanical Gardens, parks, restaurants, downtown, food
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!

music, Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma City history, parks, festivals, history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Oklahoma City’s Premiere Film Festival: deadCENTER

If you’re a film fan, you don’t want to miss Oklahoma’s largest film festival, deadCENTER, when it starts in June. This year, again, MovieMaker magazine dubbed the popular event as one of “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee, 2014” and in the past has named it one of the “20 coolest film festivals in the world.”

For five days, movie buffs interested in all kinds of genres will converge on Oklahoma City for screenings that include films from around the world as well those made right here in Oklahoma. The festival offers comedies, dramas, documentaries, shorts, horror movies and kids’ films, among others, as well as parties and panel discussions on a range of topics. The schedule has already been posted.

Some of the events also are free and outdoors on the Myriad Botanical Gardens’ Outdoor Lawn, such as a showing of “Footloose” at 9:30 p.m. Friday, June 13.

So named because it’s in the “dead center” of the United States geographically, the deadCENTER Film Festival has a mission of promoting, encouraging and celebrating the independent film arts, according to its website.

So buy your deadCENTER pass now and enjoy a week of watching movies to your heart's content, as well as parties and a great festival atmosphere!

[Photos courtesy of deadCENTER]

festivals, film, movies, Myriad Botanical Gardens
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Stake Your Claim

We know, you are probably all jazzed up about this Land Run talk and you want to stake your own claim on part of Oklahoma City. You may not get 160 acres, but you can make a Land Run to a nice picnic spot for some OKC birthday celebrations of your own. Read on for some ideas for your own Land Run reenactment.

  • Myriad Botanical Gardens – Grab your friends and fam and head to this 17-acre paradise for the perfect picnic spot. And with Oklahoma City’s Festival of the Arts kicking off today, you will be in prime position to enjoy outdoor performances on the Great Lawn.
  • Boathouse District – While we know the Oklahoma River as the place to experience Olympic-level paddle sports, the Oklahoma River was originally one of the boundaries of the Land Run in 1889. Pay tribute to the adventurous spirit of both roles by checking out the Boathouse District’s Sky Trails or by renting a kayak and getting on the river.
festivals, food, history, Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City history, Oklahoma River, arts and culture, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Arts Festival Insider

You’ll hear everywhere about the Festival of the Arts, but you may not get insider tips to enjoy the event like a true local.

This huge, fun community event always takes place the last full week of April. Besides two blocks of tents filled by some of the finest artists from around the country, the Arts Council of Oklahoma City brings together varied local restaurants with food booths and a huge variety of local music.

First of all, pick your days and times with care. You can join the big crowds enjoying the gorgeous spring evenings, but mornings at the Festival have just as much music, art and food with lots more space to walk. If it happens to be wet or cold, that doesn’t mean you should stay home. Go then and you’ll find the friendliest vendors ever.

Next: parking. Skip the pay lots and come from a few blocks south where many empty lots and quiet buildings sit. Don’t be intimidated by how vacant it is – just get a glimpse of where the future public downtown park and convention center will be (you’ll need your imagination).

If you’re with kids, check out the children’s activities located in the Myriad Gardens (amazing itself). If you would prefer not to have to watch your step for fear of tripping over little ones, steer clear of the joyful chaos by staying on the north or west end of the Festival.

Faves: Take a little time to see artists in action, actually creating the work at the Artful Experiences area. This is also an ideal picnicking area with tables, grass and trees.

Another idea to get the real insider view: volunteer. Look around while at the Festival and you’ll see teams of grinning volunteers everywhere. This event is run by thousands of volunteers pitching in and they’re so enthusiastic it’s like summer camp for adults. Let the Arts Council OKC know you want to help, and you could quickly be meeting interesting folks while guiding bands to the stage, helping the festival go green or driving golf carts to deliver ice to the drink vendors.

music, Myriad Botanical Gardens, volunteer, arts and culture, downtown, family-friendly, festivals, food, kids
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Urban Dweller Had a Farm, E-I-E-I-O!

Spring is almost in full swing, which means it is the perfect time to start your garden for summer. Think gardening is only for those in rural areas? Think again. Whether you live on a corner lot or only have access to a corner balcony, you too can polish your green thumb this spring.

Thanks to an urban agriculture ordinance recently passed by the Oklahoma City Council, people who live in Oklahoma City can now participate in backyard composting, rainwater harvesting, building greenhouses and hoop houses, and gardening in the front, side and back yards. So get to your local lawn and garden shop and go flora crazy!

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If you find that you need a little guidance in the world of horticulture, Oklahoma City’s Myriad Gardens offers monthly horticulture tips online, and on March 15, the Gardens will host the Oklahoma Gardening School, which will focus on the modern kitchen garden. The event is open to gardeners of all skill levels and goals. Nationally-known speakers and local horticulture experts will help attendees learn how to design, plant and maintain a healthy kitchen garden—which means that at harvest time, you’ll be eating as local as you can get. Bonus: if you are a member of the Gardens, your cost to attend is half-off! Register here.  

community, gardening, Myriad Botanical Gardens
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.

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Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma City history, parks, Project 180, downtown, history
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 17, 2013

Lotsa Lights

Who doesn’t love grabbing a mug of hot cocoa, getting in the car and taking a drive to look at lights, all while listening to holiday tunes? We’d change out raindrops on roses for that one as one of our favorite things.

For a grand site, we suggest you start off at the Devon Energy Center where super-sized ornaments have taken over the lawn and the outside of the Colcord Hotel. Venture inside the rotunda (it’s open to the public, remember) and glance up to see the giant (seriously, giant) silver pine cones hanging from the ceiling.

Head across Sheridan into the Myriad Gardens to check out even more lights. The 17-acre park is perfect for wandering and enjoying the bright sights. And while you’re in the gardens, you might as well strap on some skates and take a turn around the Devon Ice Rink.

Next we’ll take this holiday adventure over to Bricktown for more festive follies. Did you know that through the end of the month on Thursdays through Sundays from 6 to 9:30 p.m. you can take advantage of free Water Taxi rides? It’s true! And there’s really no better way to experience OneMain Financial’s Bricktown Canal Lights. Once you’ve hopped off the Water Taxi, we suggest you head up the stairs to the corner of Reno and Mickey Mantle Drive to see the SandRidge Christmas Tree. Who knew there were so many great lights in OKC?! And we’re not done yet!

Hop on a Spokie (or you can get in your car if it’s nearby) and head up to Automobile Alley. All along Broadway Avenue between Northwest 4th and Northwest 10th Streets you can enjoy seeing the historic buildings of Automobile Alley all lit up for the holidays. So ho-ho-hop to it and experience the bright lights of this winter wonderland!

family-friendly, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, Bricktown, downtown
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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