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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Celebrating history

45th Infantry Division Museum

The 45th Infantry Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the “Thunderbirds” of the 45th Infantry Division. This group of was formed during the National Defense Act of 1920 and spent their first years maintaining order in times of disaster and political unrest. Before deploying during World War II, the Thunderbirds trained at five bases, including Fort Sill in Oklahoma. They participated in four amphibious landings and saw 511 days in combat, and were described as “one of the best, if not the best division in the history of American arms” by General George S. Patton.

The Thunderbirds continued to serve after WWII until January 1969, and their legacy lives on today at the museum honoring the accomplishments of the division. Admission is free to this 27,000-square-foot attraction. Exhibits include Reaves Military Weapons Collection, which features firearms and related artifacts dating as far back as the Revolutionary War. Thunderbird Park also features tanks, artillery and aircraft onsite. 

If the history of America’s military aviation is more to your liking, then visit the Charles B. Hall Air Park near Tinker Air Force Base on Interstate 40 East. The park is rich in the history of Tinker Air Force Base and in the aircraft that have been part of Tinker’s operations for more than seven decades.

You can also head out to the 99s Museum of Women Pilots to learn more about the history of women in aviation, including an exhibit on female military pilots. Read more about the 99s Museum here.

aviation, free, history, military, museums, parks, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, August 21, 2018

MAPS 3 Update

Streetcar

The huge success of previous MAPS projects led to a vote in late 2009 that approved of a one-cent sales tax to pay for debt-free projects that improve our quality of life. MAPS 3 consists of eight different projects; several of the projects have been completed, and the last project is scheduled to be complete in 2021.

  • The MAPS 3 Convention Center to replace the current aging convention center is located directly south of the Chesapeake Energy Arena. This new center will help the city stay competitive in the lucrative convention industry for years to come. A 200,000-square-foot exhibit hall, 45,000-square-foot meeting space and 30,000-square-foot ballroom are all included in the $288 million budget for the convention center. Construction is underway on this cornerstone of the ongoing Core-to-Shore renaissance in downtown OKC, and it is expected to open by June 2020.
  • Construction is also underway to the immediate west of the new convention center for a 70-acre urban oasis christened Scissortail Park. Design plans for the park call for everything from a café and sports facilities to a lake and nature trails. Scissortail features two sections, a 40-acre north section scheduled for completion in 2019 and a 30-acre south section projected to be complete in 2021.
  • In a transformative moment for public transit in OKC, a budget of $131 million is being put towards linking major employers, businesses, attractions and residences in the downtown area. Construction for the modern streetcar transit system can be seen at a number of route sections along with safety testing at others in preparation for the streetcar service to begin this December. The streetcar project will connect Midtown, Automobile Alley, Bricktown and the Business District.
  • The State Fairgrounds hosts more than 200 trade shows and other events throughout the year, including several equine events that helped Oklahoma City earn the title of Horse Show Capital of the World. MAPS 3 added to the appeal of Oklahoma State Fairgrounds with the Bennett Event Center. Its design makes for a state-of-the-art flexible facility capable of comfortably accommodating a wide variety of shows and events. The 279,000-square-foot event center was completed in 2017 and its operations are in full swing.
  • Senior Health & Wellness Centers will connect OKC’s seniors with important services and also with each other. Two of the four planned centers are completed, with the third to be completed in 2019 and fourth in 2021. The centers will be spread around the city and have experienced operating partners in senior services.
  • The Oklahoma River has become an Olympic rowing destination, so MAPS 3 expanded on current operations by building the RIVERSPORT Rapids whitewater rafting and kayaking center along the river with additional improvements to existing rowing facilities. The whitewater park is suitable for beginners enjoying a summer weekend or elite kayaking competitions.
  • Former Mayor Mick Cornett emphasized a healthier community during his tenure and the MAPS 3 trails and sidewalk improvements promote a more active lifestyle by taking advantage of OKC’s natural beauty. Three trails were developed using MAPS funds: West River Trail was completed in 2015, Will Rogers Trail was completed earlier this year and Lake Draper Trail is set to be complete this fall. The trails wind through wetlands, wooded areas, natural landscapes, neighborhoods and more urban settings. MAPS 3 sidewalks are planned for the areas with a high demand for pedestrian amenities.

Stay up to date on all MAPS 3 news by signing up for the MAPS 3 newsletter or following the efforts on Facebook and Twitter.

Oklahoma River, outdoor recreation, parks, public transportation, State Fair Park, streetcar, community, downtown, MAPS
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Party like its 1776

Kids on the 4th of July

It’s almost here! America’s 242nd birthday! And that means fireworks, neighborhood cookouts, fun at the lake – or down on the river – and the smell of sunscreen.

OKC really knows how to do Independence Day and whether you like cooking out, enjoying the outdoors, or just watching a good fireworks display, you don’t have to go very far to find what July 4th is all about, the celebration of America's birthday as the fireworks adorn the sky. And in the Oklahoma City metro area, you have plenty of options for July 4th fireworks. Plus, many of the events have turned into multi-day affairs with games, activities, free live music concerts and much, much more. Get detailed information here on:  OKC 4th Fest, Red, White & Boom at State Fair Park, Bethany's Freedom Festival, Edmond's LibertyFest, Yukon's Freedom Fest, Midwest City's Tribute to Liberty and Moore's Celebration in the Heartland.

What better place to get together with friends and families to celebrate our country's Independence Day than out on the lake. Enjoy campsites, water sports, fishing, picnicking, kite-flying and other outdoor recreation, or simply find a place to sit back, relax and take in the view. The Oklahoma City metro area has several excellent lake options. Get all the details here.

Lakes aren't the only place where you can enjoy the outdoors on the Fourth. If you prefer your fun to be land-based, visit one of the many city parks for playgrounds, sports fields, gyms, golf courses, trails and more. And for the water fun, check out the city pools or the many spraygrounds sites.

So, put on your red, white and blue, light some sparklers, and get ready to "Ooh!" and "Ahh!" as you enjoy some patriotic fun with your family this 4th of July. Be safe and have fun!

family-friendly, festivals, free, holiday, outdoor recreation, parks
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
Comments (0)



Tuesday, March 20, 2018

This land is our land

Bison at Wichita Mountains

Many outside of our state borders think of Oklahoma’s geography as uninspiring, to say the least. However, you don’t have to live here long to realize Oklahoma’s topography is diverse. From mountains to sweeping plains, sand dunes and mighty rivers, Oklahoma’s 32 state parks allow you to experience and discover all our great state has to offer.

From rappelling at Red Rock Canyon State Park to boulder hopping and climbing at Robbers Cave State Park, there’s an activity for everyone to enjoy. Bring your own dune buggy or rent an ATV and fly over the dunes at Little Sahara State Park or grab your wet suit and have a scuba adventure in Lake Tenkiller's dive park. The range of activities offered at state parks includes golfing, disc golf, hiking, horseback riding, swimming and even cave exploring (check out the Alabaster Caverns State Park near Freedom).

In addition to relaxing in the beautiful surroundings - lakes, mountains, sand dunes and forests - you can hike, bike, fish or participate in organized park activities. Then rest in a comfortable lodge or cabin, or camp in your own tent or RV.

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

cycling, day-trip, fishing, outdoor recreation, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Urban oasis

Kids playing in a park

As temperatures warm up, we are feeling the need to head outdoors and stretch our legs a tad. Oklahoma City’s vast array of city parks offer all the fun you can think of under the sun.

To keep you in the know, the Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation department has created a handy guide to enjoying its amenities during the 2018 spring season.

From enjoying a pool day to taking a nature walk, the guide has something for every interest and every age. View the 2018 Summer Program Guide here, and let us know your favorite way to enjoy your neighborhood parks in the comments.

Speaking of parks, if you have been on the southern edge of downtown lately you’ve noticed tons of dirt moving. Scissortail Park, the new 70-acre downtown park, is coming closer to reality. Keep up-to-date with the park’s progress here.

family-friendly, outdoor recreation, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Oklahoma City and the military

USS Oklahoma

Veterans Day may only occupy one day on the calendar, but in Oklahoma City you can learn about this community’s military history year round.

Did you know there have been two different USS Oklahoma City ships? There is currently a submarine christened the USS Oklahoma City that served in the Persian Gulf. There was also a light cruiser named the USS Oklahoma City with an interesting history that served in World War II and the Vietnam War.

Want to experience a more hands-on history of the military? Visit the 45th Infantry Museum, which is dedicated to telling the story of the “Thunderbirds” of the 45th Infantry Division. This group of was formed during the National Defense Act of 1920 and spent their first years maintaining order in times of disaster and political unrest. Before deploying during World War II, the Thunderbirds trained at five bases, including Fort Sill in Oklahoma. They participated in four amphibious landings and saw 511 days in combat, and were described as “one of the best, if not the best division in the history of American arms” by General George S. Patton.

The Thunderbirds continued to serve after WWII until January 1969, and their legacy lives on today at the museum honoring the accomplishments of the division. Admission is free to this 27,000-square-foot attraction.

If the history of America’s military aviation is more to your liking, then visit the Charles B. Hall Air Park near Tinker Air Force Base on Interstate 40 East. The park is rich in the history of Tinker Air Force Base and in the aircraft that have been part of Tinker’s operations for more than seven decades.

history, holiday, military, museums, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The OKC renaissance continues

Riversport Rapids

Thanks to a revitalization effort that began in the 1990s, Oklahoma City has been in the midst of a multi-decade renaissance. With a low cost of living and future endeavors underway such as the creation of an innovation district, a 70-acre downtown park and more, OKC is primed for even more growth into the future.

If you want to keep up-to-date with the latest news and happenings in the 4-0-5, the newsroom on the Chamber’s site is a great tool. Bookmark it and we will pass along the latest developments involving MAPs, economic news and more.

cost of living, Innovation District, MAPS, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



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!

concerts, family-friendly, free, live music, music, Myriad Botanical Gardens, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Letís get campy

Camping by a lake

Need an outdoor escape to celebrate the start of summer? You don’t have to leave the metro area to get your camping fix.

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

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

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

Around the state
Want to get a little further away? The Oklahoma State Park system offers plenty of diverse opportunities to spend time under the stars. Our friends at the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department are experts in exploring Oklahoma. Be sure to check out their tips for camping in the state and view a list of state parks.

equine, family-friendly, fishing, mountain biking, outdoor recreation, parks, water sports, camping, day-trip
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Oklahoma City Parks

Myriad Gardens Park

It’s no secret that the City of Oklahoma City has an array of parks, trails, splash pads and programs that will help you enjoy the great outdoors, and during the summer months, the opportunities to enjoy them are more plentiful than ever. To keep you in the know, the Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation department has created a handy guide to enjoying its amenities during the 2017 summer season.

From enjoying a pool day to taking a nature walk, the guide has something for every interest and every age. View the 2017 Summer Program Guide here, and let us know your favorite way to enjoy your neighborhood parks in the comments.

Speaking of parks, progress is starting to pick up on the new 70-acre Downtown Park. Keep up-to-date with the park’s progress here.

parks, family-friendly, outdoor recreation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

More fun than stress

Brickopolis Putt Putt

Golf takes many forms. Long gone are the days of yore when golf required a club and ball. Today you can play a round of disc golf in a public park or show off your skill when it comes to putting a ball through a clown’s mouth.

Looking for a fun place to take your date after enjoying a cold Coke? Or maybe just want to have a relaxing afternoon with the family? Head out to one of OKC’s popular miniature golf courses. These establishments offer 18-holes of the finest mini-golf around and the best part is that balls and putters are included:

TopGolf is also a great way to have some fun swinging the club without the stress of exploring for your lost ball. Never been to a TopGolf? The concept is simple, you hit golf balls towards certain targets to score points. The great thing is the balls have computer chips in them so the score is totaled by a computer. You don’t have to break out your math skills. That is a good thing because you can enjoy TopGolf while eating and enjoying your favorite adult beverages. The three-story complex allows even the most novice golfers to hit the ball a mile (not literally). TopGolf is fun for everyone in the family, from those who think they are the next Jack Nicklaus to those who don’t know the difference between a birdie and a bogey.

family-friendly, golf, outdoor recreation, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Golf without a club or ball?

Frisbee Golf

Like the idea of golf but don’t want to mess with clubs, golf carts and green fees? Give disc golf a try. Never head of disc golf?  It is actually quite simple: think golf with a Frisbee. All you need is a Frisbee because the courses are free. Central OKC is home to several courses:

 

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



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Operation: Exploration

Wichita Mountains

Spring break is the perfect time to make explore and make memories with family and friends. And, you don’t have to travel far to have an amazing adventure. Check out one of Oklahoma’s 32 diverse state parks. From rappelling at Red Rock Canyon State Park to boulder hopping and climbing at Robbers Cave State Park, there’s an activity for everyone to enjoy.  Bring your own dune buggy or rent an ATV and fly over the dunes at Little Sahara State Park or grab your wet suit and have a scuba adventure in Lake Tenkiller's dive park. The range of activities offered at state parks includes golfing, disc golf, hiking, horseback riding, swimming and even cave exploring (check out the Alabaster Caverns State Park near Freedom).

In addition to relaxing in the beautiful surroundings - lakes, mountains, sand dunes, and forests - you can hike, bike, fish or participate in organized park activities. Then rest in a comfortable lodge or cabin, or camp in your own tent or RV.

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

camping, cycling, day-trip, equine, family-friendly, fishing, golf, outdoor recreation, parks, spring break
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Haunt a bunch of other places

Kids playing in hay

If you’ve ever thought, “Hey, this Halloween spirit I am fomenting within myself and my children would be a lot better if it were accompanied by a whole bunch of city-sponsored events,” you’re in luck. The city’s Parks & Recreation Department have heaps of Halloween-themed events on the slate, including “Halloween on the Green” at Will Rogers Gardens, “Haunted Hikes” at Martin Nature Park and “Halloween Glow Swim” at the Foster Indoor Pool, among others. Check it out and really stoke the Halloween mood!

family-friendly, holiday, outdoor recreation, parks, water sports
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Explore your own backyard

Riversport Rapids Kayaking

Longtime readers know that Oklahoma City offers plenty of ways to get in touch with your exploratory side – without leaving the city limits. Read on for a roundup of ways that you can get adventurous right here in Oklahoma City.

outdoor recreation, parks, Boathouse District, cycling, family-friendly, Oklahoma River
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Park it

Family biking on a trail

It’s no secret that the City of Oklahoma City has an array of parks, trails, splash pads and programs that will help you enjoy the great outdoors, and during the summer months, the opportunities to enjoy them are more plentiful than ever. To keep you in the know, the Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation department has created a handy guide to enjoying its amenities during the 2016 summer season.

From enjoying a pool day to taking a nature walk, the guide has something for every interest and every age. View the 2016 Summer Program Guide here, and let us know your favorite way to enjoy your neighborhood parks in the comments.

family-friendly, kids, outdoor recreation, parks, water sports
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Martin Park recreation

Man Hiking at Martin Park Nature Center

As the great Ron Swanson once said, “I think it’s pointless for a human to paint scenes of nature when they can go outside and stand in it.” While we actually think painting landscapes and other scenes of the great outdoors is a noble pursuit, nature is indeed readily available at Martin Park Nature Center. Now that we’re into the warmer months, summer hours are in effect which means even more time on Thursday-Saturday to satisfy those occasional stand-in-nature cravings we all get. We’ve written about Martin Park Nature Center a bunch, so enjoy these blasts-from-the-pasts as you get to know Martin Park and its 144 acres of accessible wildlife. After all, you should “never half-ass two things; whole-ass one thing”–in this case, learning about Martin Park Nature Center.

Park It at Martin Park Nature Center
You’ll want to give up your neighbor’s open wi-fi connection for this, nature fiend. More>>

Visiting Martin Park Nature Center
For hiking, nature and wildlife, visit Martin Park Nature Center at 5000 W Memorial Road, an oasis of calm by the busy John Kilpatrick Turnpike. More>>

Hang out with Mother Nature
You've felt that, right? That cool air in the morning? The pleasantly just warm afternoons? Fall is on the way, and this weather makes us want to be outside ALL THE TIME. Since you probably feel the More>>

Back to Nature
You don't need to travel far to get in touch with nature's glory. Martin Park Nature Center & Trail is one of Oklahoma City's greatest treasures, a crossroads of wildlife, recreation and More>>

Nurturing your Nature Side
Nestled on 144 acres on Oklahoma City’s northwest side, Martin Park Nature Center is what we like to call a “hidden gem.” Yes, we’ve talked about it on here before, but we More>>

Stroll along, stroll along like we know you do
Last week we told you about some great ways to get in some two-wheeled action around town, but maybe you prefer to stay grounded on your own two feet. Not to worry. We’ve got some great ideas More>>

Spring has Sprung
Spring is upon us, fellow OKC’ers. The birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, sometimes there’s a torrential downpour. We know that you’re itching to put away those winter coats More>>

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 More>>

family-friendly, free, outdoor recreation, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



70 acres of green, blue and you

MAPS 3 Central Park

One of the MAPS 3 projects we’re most excited about is the new downtown public park. Situated just south of the Chesapeake Energy Arena and going all the way to the river, the MAPS 3 park will give us 70 total acres of green space right in the middle of our community.

The master plan has been approved by the City Council, and designs are being fine-tuned. Current plans call for a lake, a café, nature walks, sports facilities and more.

The 40-acre north section is scheduled to be complete in 2018, with the 30-acre south portion ready in 2021. And if you’ve been wondering how you’ll get across I-40 to access both sides, that’s what the Skydance Pedestrian Bridge is for!

downtown, MAPS, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Something for everyone

Lake Hefner Trails

If you prefer drier modes of transportation, there’s plenty of other MAPS 3 projects coming that will keep you moving and exploring our great city. From trails that will connect lakes Hefner, Overholser and Draper and the Oklahoma River, to a modern street car system that will link Bricktown, Automobile Alley, Midtown and the Central Business District, the momentum in OKC is unstoppable.

And the truly fun thing, is we are just getting started. In the coming years, we’ll add a fabulous 70-acre park in the heart of downtown OKC connecting the Central Business District to the Oklahoma River. Other additions will include a state-of-the-art convention center and hotel to be built south of Chesapeake Energy Arena as well as a new Expo Center at State Fair Park.

It's easy to stay up-to-date on what's happening with MAPS 3. Sign up for the MAPS 3 newsletter to stay informed about upcoming community meetings, groundbreakings and other progress.

running, State Fair Park, streetcar, cycling, MAPS, Oklahoma River, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Hike in a park or take your children on shorter adventures, many of them free

If you don’t want that much structure or to pay so much for some spring break fun, it’s time to check out other places in the metro area. Here are some ideas:

  • 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 browse for ideas of all ages. By the time you finish it, you won’t have enough time over spring break to do them all.
fishing, kids, outdoor recreation, parks, spring break
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Edmond/Arcadia

POPs

Edmond is Oklahoma City’s neighbor to the north and one of Oklahoma’s largest cities, but its location (15.2 miles from downtown and 22.6 miles from Tinker Air Force Base) allows it to be a popular suburb for people who work all across the Oklahoma City area. And thousands of students at Oklahoma Christian University and the University of Central Oklahoma call Edmond home during their academic careers. Even if you don’t live in the area, don’t miss out on all that Edmond has to offer visitors.

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

Want to spend time outdoors? Edmond offers ways to do that, too, especially with several parks. Arcadia Lake offers trails for bicycling, motorcycles and hiking/running, boat rentals and horseback riding, among other things. Edmond has a range of other parks, as well, but two big ones with lots of trails are Mitch Park and Hafer Park. In warmer weather, you can check out two water parks: The Edmond Y Water Park and Pelican Bay Aquatic Center.

Also in far north Edmond is another architectural marvel, the Armstrong Auditorium. It is a luxury venue that hosts premier concerts and performing arts, ranging from the Russian National Ballet to classical, jazz or even bluegrass music, depending on the season.

Further north and east of Edmond, the community of Arcadia will allow you to get your kicks on Route 66 here, starting with POPS, a restaurant and gas station celebrating the original interstate highway – U.S. Route 66 – and all its history as the “Main Street of America” or the “Mother Road.” You can’t miss POPS because of the 66-foot-tall soda bottle and straw that at night lights up in a dazzling show of different colors. POPS is part future, with a bold architectural design, and part past.

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

water sports, Arcadia, college, day-trip, Edmond, live music, museums, outdoor recreation, parks, restaurants, Route 66
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.

Adventure District, western heritage, arts and culture, zoo, attractions, family-friendly, food, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, parks, shopping, water sports
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Red Rock Canyon State Park Rocks

Canyon wall and Gaillardia flower

[photo credit: Lisha Newman / OK Tourism]

Just an hour west of OKC and a little south of Hinton off Interstate 40 is Red Rock Canyon State Park. Nestled among fantastic red Rush Springs Sandstone canyon walls and native Caddo maple trees, the park is a favorite for rappellers, hikers, climbers and car campers. Historically, Red Rock Canyon was a preferred winter camp for Plains Indians, and was also a typical stop on the “California Trail” for pioneers headed west in the mid-19th century. In fact, you can still see wagon wheel ruts left by their covered wagons in the park! Besides hiking and climbing, there is a fishing pond, swimming pool and playground to enjoy. In the fall, it also makes a fantastic spot to see the native foliage embrace its colorful autumnal awesomeness. Red Rock Canyon State Park makes for an easy and fun quick escape and is ready to be explored by TBL readers, so get out there, campers, and be sure to let us know how it went in the comments section.

Red Rock Canyon SP sign

camping, day-trip, fishing, Oklahoma, outdoor recreation, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Must Love Dogs

If you are looking for some quality time with man’s best friend – or looking for a fellow dog lover like yourself – then you might want to load up your furry friends and take them out for an afternoon adventure at one of Oklahoma City’s many dog parks.

  • Paw Park at Lake Hefner, which recently received some construction upgrades, has separate big/small dog play areas, water stations, a duck pond, benches, trees and other features sure to keep your dog’s tail wagging.
  • In addition to the flora that Myriad Gardens’ features for humans, the park boasts an off-leash dog area so your pup can also enjoy some of OKC’s finest scenery.
  • Bickham-Rudkin Park in Edmond has half an acre of off-the-leash fabulousness for Fido, including pond access for a water-splashing good time.
  • Ray Trent Park in Del City sports the awesomely-named Wiggly Field Dog Park. The park has equally awesome features, like agility equipment, fire hydrants (what a relief) and even lights for night use.
  • Griffin Community Park in Norman has two acres of off-leash fun for pets as well as owners – the first few holes of the disc golf course are part of the dog area! A hole-in-one while your dog runs freely about? That’s the best of both worlds.
  • Midtown Mutts Dog Park is the newest dog park on the scene. Located in Midtown between NW 10th and 11th Streets and west of Hudson, the park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., giving you and Rover plenty of time for roaming.
parks, pets
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mapping the Future

So we’ve talked about the Oklahoma River and the great trail system in OKC. Those things didn’t just happen randomly. Thanks to the citizens of OKC passing the MAPS initiatives, we all get to enjoy world-class quality of life amenities like the Oklahoma River, Bricktown Canal, Chesapeake Energy Arena and much more. If you are new to Oklahoma City and not familiar with MAPS check out this quick refresher on the ground-breaking initiatives.

With all the construction and development announcements, even we have trouble keeping track of everything going on so we thought we would give you a little MAPS 3 construction update. For future reference bookmark the city’s website for the latest updates on the projects.

  • Sidewalks: Construction is well underway and you can already walk on MAPS 3 sidewalks in many parts of the city. All sidewalk construction should be completed this year.
  • Oklahoma River: The racecourse improvements have been installed and the Whitewater course is under construction. All phases of the river improvements should be done in 2020.
  • Downtown Public Park: The Master Plan has been approved and the land is being acquired. The park will be complete in 2020.
  • Oklahoma State Fairgrounds: Construction of the new expo center has started.
  • Convention Center: Additional site analysis is underway with an opening in 2019 or 2020.
  • Modern Street Car: Route framework has been approved. The plan is to have the streetcar operational in 2019.
  • Trails: Construction on the West River Trail is nearing completion and the I-44 Trail is in final design. The final phase of the trails will be completed in 2017.
  • Senior Health and Wellness Centers: Architects and operating partners have been identified for the first center. All four wellness centers are slated to be complete by 2021.
downtown, MAPS, Oklahoma River, outdoor recreation, parks, State Fair Park
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A walk in the park

Did you know that Oklahoma City is home to more than 100 parks? Yep, you read that right – more than 100 parks in OKC. No matter how you prefer to get your recreation on, there’s sure to be something for you. Playgrounds, fishing, walking paths, spraygrounds and even a mountain bike trail are all just minutes away, no matter what part of the city you choose to call home. There are even special parks for thrillseekers including the Mat Hoffman Action Sports Park and the Route 66 Skate Court.

Oh, and did we mention that there are accommodations for every sport imaginable—soccer, baseball, basketball, football, tennis, disc golf and even cricket? And the offerings at OKC parks are only going to get better thanks to MAPS 3 projects which are currently in the works. We can hardly wait for the downtown park which will connect downtown with the Oklahoma River. We can only imagine the fun concerts, festivals and events that will be held at the 70-acre park.

bmx, family-friendly, fishing, kids, mountain biking, outdoor recreation, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Hit the trails

One of our favorite things about springtime is the ability to get out and explore the great outdoors. Luckily, OKC is home to several trails to help you stay fit while you explore all the city has to offer. And speaking of trails – these are increasing all of the time.

Our personal favorite is the Bert Cooper Trail at Lake Hefner. Who doesn’t love to run, bike or skate around a beautiful body of water? And Lake Hefner has it all – beautiful scenery including a lighthouse and sail boats, a slew of fun things to do including parks for the kiddos, picnic areas and paved running and bike lanes around the entire lake.

If water really isn’t your cup of tea, explore Oklahoma City’s Adventure District on the Katy Trail. You’ll get a new view of the Oklahoma City Zoo, Science Museum Oklahoma, Remington Park, Railroad Museum, Firefighters Museum and National Softball Hall of Fame.

There are a numerous other trails throughout OKC and each trail has a unique feel and varies in distance. For a complete list of Oklahoma City, click here.

Adventure District, cycling, family-friendly, museums, outdoor recreation, parks, running, water sports, zoo
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Check out state parks and other outdoor places

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

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

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

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

Oklahoma, outdoor recreation, parks, spring break
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Paws-itvely a Blast

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

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

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

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

free, outdoor recreation, parks, pets
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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