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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Be sure to do the OKC Zoo

OKC Zoo Lion

One thing that can surprise newcomers and visitors to Oklahoma City is that we have one of the best-ranked and largest zoos in America. With 100 acres and more than 1,900 animals, there is a reason the Oklahoma City Zoo is on every local’s must-do list. With an array of gorgeous habitats, it should come as no surprise that people are known to spend entire days there. And who can blame them? With plenty to eat, watch and experience there’s never a shortage of wild things to do.

The Oklahoma City Zoo welcomes more than 1 million visitors each year and is located in the Adventure District, just northeast of downtown.

The zoo has been a priority of our city since pre-statehood days. The zoo opened in 1902 in what was then called Wheeler Park. Damages from the flooding of the Oklahoma River eventually forced the zoo to move to its present day location in 1920. In 1990, the residents of Oklahoma City voted for a 1/8-of-a-cent sales tax to help fund the zoo.

The zoo is also in the early stages of planning for a $71 million renovation that could bring more exciting exhibits and amenities to the world-class attraction.

Adventure District, attractions, family-friendly, Oklahoma City history, Visit OKC, zoo
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, January 15, 2019

OKC districts 101

Plaza District

You don’t have to read our blog very long to figure out local districts are a big deal in Oklahoma City. Whether you are getting funky in the Plaza, living it up in Bricktown or getting adventurous in the Adventure District there is a corner of the city that is perfect for you.

We will be the first to admit that getting to know the districts in OKC can be a little overwhelming for newcomers. Getting to know your Midtowns from your Uptowns might take some time. Luckily that is why we are here. Over the next month or so we will be giving you in-depth looks at each district. Until then here is a quick snapshot of each district:

  • Adventure District- the most aptly named district in OKC, home to the Oklahoma City Zoo, Remington Park, Science Museum Oklahoma, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and more.
  • Asian District- a vibrant enclave of Asian culture in the heart of OKC. You’ll find some of the best Asian food in the region here.
  • Automobile Alley- Just north of Downtown, this district used to be the primary location of the city’s car dealerships. Today it is home to local dining and shopping.
  • Boathouse District- home to future Olympians, this district features stunning architecture and is an outdoorsmen’s dream.
  • Bricktown- this former warehouse area is OKC’s prime entertainment district.
  • Classen Curve- located in NW OKC this district features great shopping and dining.
  • Deep Deuce- the center of urban living in OKC.
  • Film Row- what was once home to the film distribution industry for the region is now one of the metro’s quickest developing districts.
  • Midtown- the perfect mix of local retail and historic homes.
  • Paseo Arts District- eclectic art and great restaurants are the name of the game for this district.
  • Plaza District- the epicenter of funky local retail in OKC.
  • Stockyards City- this district is a blast to the past and pays homage to the metro’s western heritage.
  • Western Avenue- an eclectic mix of local restaurants and bars, retail shops and boutiques, antique and furniture stores and fine art galleries make up Western.
  • Uptown 23rd- anchored by the historic Tower Theater, you'll find great locally-owned restaurants and bars, as well as fun boutiques
Stockyards, Adventure District, Uptown 23, Asian District, Western Avenue, Automobile Alley, Bricktown, Classen Curve, Deep Deuce, Film Row, Midtown, Paseo District, Plaza District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Oklahoma City Zoo

Giraffe at OKC Zoo

Does anything conjure fond elementary school memories quite like the word “zoo”? Are field trips to the zoo not perhaps the great equalizer among elementary schools across the country? Clearly they can’t be, because if they were then OKC kids would have an unfair advantage since the OKC Zoo is a favorite OKC destination for all ages.

The OKC Zoo covers more than 100 acres and has ~1900 animals in a wide array of habitats. Elephants, giraffes, tigers, rhinos -- all your favorites are there! Visitors from all across the country are known to spend entire days traversing our beautiful zoo—and who can blame them? There’s plenty to see and do! Even outside of visiting the various habitats the OKC Zoo has set up, visitors are welcome to eat, shop, watch shows and learn to their heart’s content!

attractions, family-friendly, zoo, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Science Museum

Science Museum OK

Complete and utter darkness. Darkness so strong you can’t even see your own hand in front of you. Until you notice a faint glow above your head—the faint, familiar glow of stars. Slowly, the glowing becomes strong enough that the darkness isn’t all that dark anymore. In fact, it looks almost inviting. Now there’s millions of small glowing specks in the sky and no city lights to distract you from them. Just you and a beautiful glittered sky. You hold your gaze, totally fixed to this breathtaking sight. And then a voice—a loud, seemingly omnipresent voice—reminds you that “We’re looking at the view from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in late October of last year.”

Oh, right, of course. You got so hung up on the beauty of it all that you forgot—you were in a planetarium all along!

Such were the beginnings of Oklahoma’s illustrious Science Museum (which some of us older Okies might still mistakenly call by its former name The Omniplex from time to time). Originally a humble planetarium, the Oklahoma Science Museum has grown to be Oklahoma’s largest (and most fun!) testament to the joys of science of all kinds: geology, biology, seismology, if it ends with -ology, it has a presence there! With more than 350,000 square feet of pure hands-on science fun, it’s easy to see why the Science Museum is considered to be one of Oklahoma’s best and most creative museums.

attractions, family-friendly, museums, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Donít strike out and miss the NCAA Softball Championships

ASA Hall of Fame Stadium

One of Oklahoma City’s favorite ways to celebrate the start of summer is at the NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) hosted in Oklahoma City. The 2018 WCWS will take place May 31 – June 6 at USA Hall of Fame Stadium in the Adventure District. Get tickets to the games.

This year the hometown Oklahoma Sooners will be gunning for their third-straight NCAA Championship bit will face a tough field including Oregon, Washington, Arizona State, Florida State, Georgia, UCLA and Florida.

During the tournament, those eight teams will be cheered on by around 70,000 spectators. Since 2010, the ASA Hall of Fame complex has welcomed record-setting crowds for the event, and the venue is scheduled as the home of WCWS until at least 2035. The complex is home to four fields and a variety of fan and athlete amenities. While you are cheering on your team of choice, be sure to visit the USA National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum, a shrine to the growing game of softball and the athletes who have taken the sport to new heights.

college, live sporting events, museums, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Must-visit destinations

Pops on Route 66

“I had no idea!” If we had a nickel for every time we heard that phrase from a first-time visitor to the 4-0-5, we would be able to pay Russ’ contract. Visitors are always surprised about the metro’s combination of art, history, entertainment, food and nightlife and more. Here are some must-visit places in America’s best-kept secret in tourism (in our biased opinions):

Route 66
Oklahoma contains more of the historic Route 66 than any other state. While you journey across this iconic route, you’re welcome to make a quick stop for the Route 66 Museum, Totem Pole Park, the Blue Whale of Catoosa, and no trek through Route 66 is complete without a stop (and a soda) at POPS!

The Oklahoma City National Memorial
April 19, 1995 changed our city and country forever. Today, a one-of-a-kind memorial and  museum about that tragic morning stand atop the bombing site. The reflecting pond and empty chairs that represent the lives lost on that fateful morning are deeply ingrained into the hearts and minds of all who see it.

The OKCMOA
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is the largest art museum in Oklahoma. It features a wide array of art, including (but not limited to) sizable galleries full of European art, American art, contemporary art, and an iconic collection of Dale Chihuly’s glasswork. There’s also an exhibition gallery space that features new and wildly popular exhibitions every few months. The Museum also has its own movie theater, where it hosts special screenings and events almost every day.

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden
The Oklahoma City Zoo is considered a staple for both locals’ “let’s make a regular visit” lists and Oklahoma City’s visitor economy. With nearly 2,000 animals, aquatic life, reptiles, insects and plants the public can admire, it’s a very popular attraction for all ages.

National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
There is perhaps nothing more inherently Oklahoman than images of the Wild West. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of American Indians and cowboys that lived in Oklahoma throughout history with art, firearms, outfits and more.

Oklahoma History Center
Oklahoma’s rich history is preserved for all generations to see at the Oklahoma History Center. Featuring a vast collection of items tied to Oklahoma’s early history, the Oklahoma History Center isn’t a stop you want to overlook.

Stockyards City
For the quintessential Oklahoma cowboy experience, Stockyards City is a must see. Stockyards City is the largest feeder and cattle market in the world, which features architecture and shops designed to give you an authentic ranch experience. It’s also home of Oklahoma’s most famous restaurant, Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, which has been featured on Food Network’s Man vs Food and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Science Museum Oklahoma
With more than 350,000 square feet chock-full of hands-on science and experimentation, the Science Museum of Oklahoma is another one of the most popular and beloved tourist attractions Oklahoma City has to offer.

arts and culture, day-trip, family-friendly, history, museums, OKC National Memorial, Route 66, Stockyards, western heritage, zoo, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Adventure District

Adventure District

If there is one thing you can say about the Adventure District, it is that it lives up to its name and then some.

The Oklahoma City Zoo is one of the crown jewels of the city and features more than 1,800 animals spread over 119 acres. We recommend the Great escAPE (get it) exhibit where you can watch gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees monkey around. The newest addition to the Zoo is a baby gorilla born on Dec. 13. The baby is a girl and her name will be revealed soon.  

Next door to the Zoo is Science Museum Oklahoma which has been entertaining and teaching generations of kids about science since the late 50s. The museum is home to a must-see Science Live performance and a planetarium. On Feb. 9, the museum is launching its first-ever Late Nite Lab.

Nearby is the world-renowned National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum where you can find exhibits on cowboy heritage and one of the largest collections of western art in the known galaxy. 

There is also fun to be had for sports fans at the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame & Museum. Not just a place for history, the Museum welcomes thousands each year for the annual Women’s College World Series.

Last, but not least, if you need a break from the kids head over to Remington Park Racing & Casino which is not only the region’s top race track, but the city’s only casino.

You can read more about the Adventure district here.

arts and culture, family-friendly, live sporting events, museums, nightlife, racetrack, western heritage, zoo, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Better know a district

OKC Skyline

You don’t have to read our blog very long to figure out local districts are a big deal in Oklahoma City. Whether you are getting funky in the Plaza, living it up in Bricktown or getting adventurous in the Adventure District there is a corner of the city that is perfect for you.

We will be the first to admit that getting to know the districts in OKC can be a little overwhelming for newcomers. Getting to know your Midtowns from your Uptowns might take some time. Luckily that is why we are here. Over the next month or so we will be giving you in-depth looks at each district. Until then here is a quick snapshot of each district:

  • Adventure District- the most aptly named district in OKC, home to the Oklahoma City Zoo, Remington Park, Science Museum Oklahoma, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and more.
  • Asian District- a vibrant enclave of Asian culture in the heart of OKC. You’ll find some of the best Asian food in the region here.
  • Automobile Alley- Just north of Downtown, this district used to be the primary location of the city’s car dealerships. Today it is home to local dining and shopping.
  • Boathouse District- home to future Olympians, this district features stunning architecture and is an outdoorsmen’s dream.
  • Bricktown- this former warehouse area is OKC’s prime entertainment district.
  • Classen Curve- located in NW OKC this district features great shopping and dining.
  • Deep Deuce- the center of urban living in OKC.
  • Film Row- what was once home to the film distribution industry for the region is now one of the metro’s quickest developing districts.
  • Midtown- the perfect mix of local retail and historic homes.
  • Paseo Arts District- eclectic art and great restaurants are the name of the game for this district.
  • Plaza District- the epicenter of funky local retail in OKC.
  • Stockyards City- this district is a blast to the past and pays homage to the metro’s western heritage.
  • Western Avenue- an eclectic mix of local restaurants and bars, retail shops and boutiques, antique and furniture stores and fine art galleries make up Western.
  • Uptown 23rd- anchored by the historic Tower Theater, you'll find great locally-owned restaurants and bars, as well as fun boutiques
Asian District, Uptown 23, Automobile Alley, Western Avenue, Boathouse District, Bricktown, Classen Curve, Deep Deuce, Film Row, Midtown, Paseo District, Plaza District, Adventure District, Stockyards
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

January in Oklahoma City

Just because the holidays are over that doesn’t mean the fun stops in Oklahoma City. Don’t just take our word for it though. Go check out the January in OKC video from our partners at the Convention and Visitors Bureau for a look at all of this month’s happenings. From Thunder basketball to the Color Purple and everything in between, the calendar is packed full this month in the 4-0-5.

attractions, Thunder, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Harryhausenís Mythical Menagerie

7th Voyage of Sinbad

As a kid were you transfixed by the special effects in movies like “Clash of the Titans” and “Jason and the Argonauts?” The stop-motion animation of Ray Harryhausen not only entertained generations of people but inspired countless filmmakers and special effects masters.

A comprehensive collection of Harryhausen’s models, prototypes, sketches and storyboards are on display at Science Museum Oklahoma. Ray Harryhausen’s Mythical Menagerie will run through December 3 and is free with regular museum admission. More than 150 artifacts are on display, including the terrifying Medusa from “Clash of the Titans.” This is the first U.S. exhibition of Harryhausen’s works since his death in 2013. 

family-friendly, museums, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Itís zoo-rific!

Feeding Giraffes

With more than 2,000 animals, you are sure to have a wild time exploring the animal kingdom at the Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden. Sure, there are exhibits that will keep your kids enthralled with the great outdoors, like the Great EscApe, Cat Forest, Lion Overlook and the Children’s Zoo. But the zoo has plenty of fun for adults, too! Upcoming programming for adults includes the zoo treasure hunt breakfast and stroll on Aug. 5. The Zoo Amphitheatre, which has been serving up live music since 1936, will host a full summer’s worth of concerts, with artists including Collective Soul, Megadeath, Matchbox Twenty and Counting Crows, all playing there this summer.

concerts, family-friendly, live music, zoo, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Running the bases

World Cup Softball

One of Oklahoma City’s favorite ways to celebrate the start of summer is at the NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) hosted in Oklahoma City. The 2017 WCWS will take place June 1-7 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium – OGE Energy Field in the Adventure District. Get tickets to the games.

During the tournament, eight softball teams will be cheered on by around 70,000 spectators. Since 2010, the ASA Hall of Fame complex has welcomed record-setting crowds for the event, and the venue is scheduled as the home of WCWS until at least 2035. The complex is home to four fields and a variety of fan and athlete amenities. While you are cheering on your team of choice, be sure to visit the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum, a shrine to the growing game of softball and the athletes who have taken the sport to new heights.

college, family-friendly, live sporting events, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Various venues

The Criterion

The ‘Peake isn’t the only place to see a show around here. In addition to a plethora of smaller bar/restaurant venues, a number of schmedium-to-mid-sized live music venues have recently come on line, joining stalwarts like the Zoo Ampitheater, the Diamond Ballroom and indie-focused venues Opolis and 89th Street Collective.

The Criterion – a brand-new building in east Bricktown, this 4,000-capacity venue is across the street from the Steelyard development in a suddenly hot quarter of OKC’s premiere entertainment district. My Morning Jacket, Explosions in the Sky and Lil Wayne have played here recently, with performances by The xx and Jason Isbell on the upcoming calendar, among others.

The Tower Theater – a lot of excitement has surrounded the resurrection of one of the “grand old dames” of OKC’s early movie house scene. The main space has room for 700 standing on the main floor and an additional 264 (seated) in the balcony, and a smaller “studio” space handles 100 standing or 50 seated. The venue’s Studio Series has sold well, with only a few tickets for select shows available.

The Jones Assembly – set to open July 29 with The Wallflowers and Better Than Ezra, this renovated, 100-year-old, 20,000-square-foot space on Film Row (just south of the 21C Museum Hotel) features a 1,600-capacity performance venue as well as a true dining destination. Lake Street Dive and JJ Grey & Mofro have also been announced.

ACM@UCO Performance Lab – this performance space in Bricktown hosts plenty of touring acts in addition to ACM@UCO gigs (which is itself a pretty cool story, speaking of music), seating 200 sitting and 500 standing. The Lab has hosted Dr. Dog, Sean Lennon, Okkervil River and Ben Taylor recently.

Bricktown, concerts, Film Row, live music, Uptown 23, zoo, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



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.

arts and culture, Boathouse District, camps, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, spring break, western heritage, zoo, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Adventure District

Elephants at the Zoo

If there is one thing you can say about the Adventure District, it is that it lives up to its name and then some.

The Oklahoma City Zoo is one of the crown jewels of the city and features more than 1,800 animals spread over 119 acres. We recommend the Great escAPE (get it) exhibit where you can watch gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees monkey around. This is also where you can find the Zoo Amphitheater, the premier venue for outdoor concerts in the metro.

Next door to the Zoo is Science Museum Oklahoma which has been entertaining and teaching generations of kids about science since the late 50s. If you were raised in Oklahoma City, you know all about the shadow wall. The museum is home to a must-see Science Live performance and a planetarium. Also you still have a couple of months to check out the Red Dirt Dinos exhibit. In this one-of-a-kind experience, the dinosaurs who used to roam the Sooner State come back alive.

Nearby is the world-renowned National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum where you can find exhibits on cowboy heritage and one of the largest collections of western art in the known galaxy. 

There is also fun to be had for sports fans at the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame & Museum. Not just a place for history, the Museum welcomes thousands each year for the annual Women’s College World Series.

Last, but not least, if you need a break from the kids head over to Remington Park Racing & Casino which is not only the region’s top race track, but the city’s only casino.

As you can see the Adventure District has a ton to do (even more than we listed), but if you want to see it all you are going to need more than a weekend.

concerts, family-friendly, kids, museums, nightlife, racetrack, western heritage, zoo, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Haunt the Zoo

Dog in a pumpkin Costume

If you’ve ever thought, “Hey, this trick-or-treating would be a lot better if it were amongst wild animals,” you’re in luck. But the Oklahoma City Zoo’s “Haunt the Zoo” is great for a lot of reasons besides the simple addition of fauna. For one, it’s six nights long, so you have six chances to trick-or-treat among the creatures. Second, you can be sure your kiddos are getting their hands on some safe treats. Third, you don’t have to worry about traffic or ill-tempered youths or other neighborhood shenanigans. Fourth, if you’re scared of animals, then it’s your one chance to get back at them by wearing a scary outfit and making them wonder what the heck they are looking at for a change! Get your tickets to Haunt the Zoo and have some animal-inspired Halloween fun.

Haunt the Zoo
October 26 – Oct 31, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

family-friendly, holiday, zoo, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A great escape

Feeding Lorikeets at the Zoo

OKC is home to one of the best zoos in the country, in our humble opinion. In fact, we are home to one of the oldest zoos in the southwest with a vast collection of the world’s most exotic animals. With more than 500 species of animals including 87 species of mammals, 117 species of birds, 153 species of reptiles and amphibians and 155 species of fish and aquatic invertebrates and marine mammal, we promise that you’ll be channeling your inner animal lover in no time flat.

Discover your inner wild side and get up close and personal with grizzly bears, sea lions, Galapagos tortoises and elephants during hands-on encounters. Take a walk on the wide side and enjoy feeding the giraffes or lorikeets, touching stingrays, playing in the Children’s Zoo, exploring the elephant habitat or a variety of other wildlife experiences. Seriously, the OKC Zoo’s calendar is chock-full of events – from story times with zoo keepers to painting in the wild – your family fun day is one not soon to be forgotten.

In the fall, be sure to visit the red panda exhibit to get an oh-so-cute look at the zoo’s newest oh-so-cute arrival. A red panda cub, born earlier this month, is the 15th cub born at the OKC Zoo since the red panda program began in 1988. Since the youngsters take a few months to bond with their parents, don’t be surprised if the proud parents aren’t visible in the general viewing area.

Adventure District, family-friendly, kids, zoo
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Going way back!†

Feeding giraffes at the zoo

Remember when $1 made you feel like a king or queen? Ah, the good ol' days. Head over to the Oklahoma City Zoo on Wednesdays during the months of July and August for $1 “Way Back Wednesday” admission for guests of all ages. If Wednesdays don’t quite work with your schedule, don't fret. The zoo is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day (except for a few holidays) and is always a great bargain for family fun. For the total experience, consider a zoo-it-all pass which includes rides, attractions, shows, feedings and more! So hop aboard the Elephant Express and get ready for a fun-filled adventure.

family-friendly, zoo, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Youíve got a friend in me

Kids at the Zoo

You don’t have to have the singing voice of Gayla Peavey to make a difference in the lives of OKC’s zoo animals. There are several ways that you can make a hippo-sized impact for mere peanuts.

Consider becoming a ZooFriend. In addition to scoring unlimited free admission to our world-class zoo for a year (and numerous other benefits), you’ll be helping support the Oklahoma City Zoo further its mission to educate, research and provide exceptional care for our animals. Another way to support the OKC Zoo is through animal “adoption.” You can be the proud parent of any animal in the kingdom from sea lions to giraffes and elephants to snow leopards.  But the best part – when you adopt an animal at the OKC Zoo, you get all of the fun with none of the responsibilities. Don’t worry about the stinky fish or creepy crawlies that your animal thrives on; just make sure you visit often to check on your new-found friend.

community, zoo, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A piece of OKC history

For 80 years, OKC’s  Zoo Amphitheater has been a local favorite for musicians and music lovers, but the venue has a storied history. It was constructed from native red sandstone in the mid-1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, an organization formed under President Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Projects Administration, to carry out public works projects during the Great Depression.

Between 1933 and 1936, approximately 400 men lived in tents and wooden barracks in the area while they laid the groundwork for Lincoln Park, the Oklahoma City Zoo and the Zoo Amphitheatre. “The Circus of 21 Death-Defying Acts” was the first performance to be held at the amphitheater. During its early years, the Zoo Amphitheatre hosted circus extravaganzas, pageants, theatrical performances, concerts and public meetings.

The 1960s saw the site fall into disrepair due to non-use. But in the 1970s, the site was resurrected and the Amphitheater has been hosting some of the greatest acts in the entertainment business ever since. Some of the performers who have graced the stage here include the Grateful Dead, Sting, Dire Straits, Santana, Judas Priest, Willie Nelson, Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, Heart, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Oklahoma’s own The Flaming Lips.

Over the years, more than 1 million fans have visited the Zoo Amphitheatre, many with blankets and lawn chairs in tow to place on the venue’s native rock terracing. Check out the lineup of upcoming shows here.

Save

Save

live music, music, Oklahoma City history, zoo, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Thunderbirds

45th Infantry Museum

One of the best ways to celebrate Memorial Day is to visit the 45th Infantry Museum. Located in the Adventure District, the museum is dedicated to telling the story of the 45th Infantry Division.

The 45th Infantry Division (nicknamed the Thunderbirds) was organized in 1923 under the National Defense Act of 1920. The guardsman saw no major action until 1941, when they were one of the first National Guard units activated for World War II. During the war, the 45th participated in four amphibious landings and fought their way across Sicily, Italy, France and Germany.

During the Sicily campaign, the unit served with General George S. Patton. The renowned general had high praise for the 45th, saying, “Your division is one of the best, if not best division in the history of American arms.” The division led the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp in Germany and the museum includes artifacts from this historic event.

The 45th was activated a second time in June of 1950 for the Korean War. The unit was one of only two National Guard divisions to see combat in the Korean War.

The 45th Infantry Division’s contribution to America is distinguished, as nine men were awarded Medals of Honor and the division sustained more than 25,000 battle casualties.

The museum is a must-visit for anyone with an interest in military history, and features a 15-acre park that holds more than 60 different types of combat vehicles. The museum is so dedicated to telling the story of the 45th that admission is free, although donations are appreciated.

Each Memorial Day the museum holds a special ceremony that begins at 10 a.m.

holiday, military, museums, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Spring break camps cater to many interests and help with child care

If you have to work or want to stay closer to Oklahoma City, sign up your child for one of the area’s many spring break programs. Here are a few ideas, both for dropping off or participating with your children:

  • The Oklahoma City Zoo offers spring break day camps for children ages 4 to 11. You can go all week or select full days or half days (cost is $45 per day from 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and $25 per day for 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.). Kids will make tasty treats and deliver them each day to the animals, and the zoo will offer other ways to connect them with nature.
  • Sign your child up for Spring Break Science Camp at Science Museum Oklahoma, located in the Adventure District next to the zoo. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, elementary school kids will make things that fly; get dirty with chemistry, bugs and slime; play with water and more on different adventures each day. Cost for the week is $225 for members and $250 for nonmembers, but spots fill up quickly and as of this post, first through third grade slots are already full. But check out other activities at the museum as well.
  • The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63, is offering spring break activities that include weaving, metalworking, water color and more from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 14-18. It is free with museum admission.
  • The Myriad Botanical Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City is offering Spring Break Pop-Ins from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays from March 8 through 17. They’ll feature walk-up activities that include garden crafts, planting seeds or going on a scavenger hunt. Cost is a suggested $2 donation per child.
  • Oklahoma Contemporary is offering Spring Arts Camps over two sessions, March 7-11 and March 14-18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Tuition is $170 and $40 more if your child needs an extended time there. Depending on the age and session they choose, students will create sci-fi videos, create art projects based on a space theme, explore art and music, work with clay and more.
  • The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is offering spring break arts camps from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 15-18 (Tuesday through Friday). Some are sold out, but children ages 6- to 8 can work with color and abstraction, while 9- to 12-year-olds will be photographing downtown.
  • The Lyric Theatre Thelma Gaylord Academy is offering Spring Break Theatre Camps from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 14 to 18 for the second through eighth grades. Cost is $225.
  • In the Boathouse District, kids ages 8 to 15 can take part in its Spring Break Adventure Camps either at the Oklahoma River or at Lake Overholser. A half-day option is offered at the Oklahoma River, but full days are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Two of the city’s parks, Martin Park Nature Center and Will Rogers Gardens are offering a Natural Resources Camp on weekdays from March 7 to 18 for children ages 7 to 12. Cost is $275 for both sessions and $175 for a one-week session. Camp will run from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The first week will be at Will Rogers Gardens, 3400 NW 36; the second at Martin Park Nature Center, 5000 W Memorial Road.
  • Finally, look into the OKC Thunder Youth Basketball Camps, which is offering basketball workshops in different locations.

If you have a favorite local hangout for you and your children, check its website for spring break activities. Oklahoma City Public Schools are out for two weeks March 9-18, so some places offer two weeks of programs. Also, the local Metro Family Magazine has an even more comprehensive list of things to do throughout the metro. You can find all kinds of things to do each month at www.visitokc.com.

arts and culture, zoo, basketball, Boathouse District, camps, downtown, kids, museums, spring break, theater, Thunder, Adventure District, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Adventure District

If there were an award for the most properly named district in the 4-0-5, the Adventure District would probably win. The aptly-named section of the city is home to more family fun than you can shake a stick at.

The Oklahoma City Zoo is one of the crown jewels of the city and features more than 1,800 animals spread over 119 acres. We recommend the Great escAPE (get it) exhibit where you can watch gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees monkey around. This is also where you can find the Zoo Amphitheater, the premier venue for outdoor concerts in the metro.

Next door to the Zoo is Science Museum Oklahoma which has been entertaining and teaching generations of kids about science since the late 50s. If you were raised in Oklahoma City you know all about the shadow wall. The museum is home to a must-see Science Live performance and a planetarium.

Nearby is the world-renowned National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum where you can find exhibits on cowboy heritage and one of the largest collections of western art in the known galaxy.

There is also fun to be had for sports fans at the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame & Museum. Not just a place for history, the Museum welcomes thousands each year for the annual Women’s College World Series.

Last, but not least, if you need a break from the kids head over to Remington Park Racing & Casino which is not only the region’s top race track but the city’s only casino.

As you can see the Adventure District has a ton to do (even more than we listed) but if you want to see it all you are going to need more than a weekend.

arts and culture, family-friendly, kids, live sporting events, museums, racetrack, western heritage, zoo, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What are we thankful for? Local Districts

Louie\\\'s in Midtown

Partying in the Plaza and Paseo. Singing in the Stockyards. Boogieing in Bricktown. You get the picture, in Oklahoma City we love our local districts. Ask a random stranger walking down the street and they will probably agree with us, local districts are something we should definitely be thankful for in OKC.

The local districts have done a great job of carving out unique niches with eyes towards the future while celebrating their history. Food, shopping, music and fun are great ways to sum up these Oklahoma City hotspots.

  • Adventure District- A zoo, science museum, race track … yeah, this district is appropriately named.
  • Asian District- Oklahoma City has a rich Asian heritage and it is on full display in this district. Of course you already knew that if you are a fan of Pho.
  • Automobile Alley- Especially stunning this time of year with the fabulous light display.
  • Boathouse District- Just when you think the river couldn’t get any better, it does.
  • Bricktown- OKC’s original district success story.
  • Deep Deuce- This district is bursting with history and is quickly becoming the hub for urban living.
  • Film Row- An up-and-coming district that was once the center for film distribution in the region.
  • Midtown- This district is a great microcosm of Oklahoma City’s modern-day renaissance.
  • Paseo Art District- A hub of arts, history and great food.
  • Plaza District- A great place to get funky with food, local shops and live entertainment.
  • Stockyards City- Our city’s Western heritage come to life.
  • Western Avenue- Trendy food and shopping in abundance can be found on Western.
  • Uptown 23rd- Already home to some of OKC’s favorite restaurants this district is one to watch the next couple of years.
Asian District, Western Avenue, Automobile Alley, Boathouse District, Bricktown, Deep Deuce, Film Row, Midtown, Paseo District, Plaza District, Stockyards, Adventure District, Uptown 23
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Find your own adventure in Oklahoma City

Stingray Bay at the Zoo - Adventure District

This week on The Better Life Blog we’re going to go exploring in some of Oklahoma City’s districts that offer local flair to appeal to various interests, whether those interests tend towards artsy, uptown and up-and-coming, historical, family-friendly and outdoorsy. While multiple unique districts that reflect the city’s culture have been redeveloped and polished in recent years, this week we’ll focus on three of them – the Adventure District, the Plaza District and Uptown 23.

If you’re coming to Oklahoma City for a visit or are just moving here, chances are the Adventure District is one of the first places you’ll visit. Start with some of our more visible attractions, even if you don’t yet call the collection of attractions in that area by that name.

Located at the crossroads of Interstates 35 and 44, the Adventure District offers outdoor and indoor attractions for all ages. Here are a few things you can do there:

And here’s an old-but-new attraction that you might not know about – The American Pigeon Museum and Library, 2300 NE 63. It initially formed in 1973 as the American Homing Pigeon Institute and purchased the land where it is now. But its new facility opened in 2014 and has since welcomed visitors from around the world with its collections of art, history, memorabilia and more celebrating the American homing pigeon.

While you’re there, visit some of the Adventure District’s partners nearby, including the Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum, 1400 Classen Drive, and the historic Harn Homestead Museum, 1721 N Lincoln Blvd., both places where you can learn more about Oklahoma heritage, territorial life and its people’s pioneering spirit; and Lincoln Park Golf Course, 4001 NE Grand Blvd., for tournament-level golf at one of two 18-hole championship courses.

family-friendly, golf, museums, Plaza District, Uptown 23, western heritage, zoo, Adventure District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Museum Madness

Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art

Whether you’ve recently developed a large hole in your pocket, learned the hard way the downside to a “put it all in lottery scratch-offs” investment strategy, or you just plain lost your ATM card, sometimes you wanna have loads of fun without spending commensurate loads of cash. It’s cool – being thrifty is nifty, arewerite? This week, we’re all about free fun in OKC.

Let’s get started with a bang and “just a glass of water, thank you.” Did you know that you can visit some of our area museums for the price of air?

Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art – located on the OU campus in Norman, “The Fred” is known for its collection of French Impressionism, featuring works by Van Gogh, Degas, Renoir, Monet, Pissaro, Vuillard and others, in addition to fantastic collections of 20th-century American (O’Keeffe, Hopper, Davis), Native American and Southwestern art. And the best part? Admission is now free for all, thanks to an annual $60,000 gift from the OU Athletics Department.

Hours & Admission Info: www.ou.edu/fjjma/visit.html

National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum – Located in OKC’s Adventure District, the Softball Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates the greatest players in the sport’s history and their accomplishments, and history of the game. Located on the grounds of ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, the museum is a must-visit for softball players, aficionados or even casual fans.

Hours & Admission Info: www.teamusa.org/usa-softball/about/national-softball-hall-of-fame

45th Infantry Division Museum - Another Adventure District favorite, the 45th Infantry Museum features one of the country’s largest collections of military firearms in addition to plenty of WWII and Korean War artifacts, in addition to info and artifacts from other major conflicts. The museum commemorates the 45th Infantry Division and 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (aka “Thunderbirds”), an Oklahoma Army National Guard major formation from 1920 to 1968 and modular infantry brigade team since, respectively. Another cool part of the 45th Museum is the large military vehicle/equipment displays outside, with ‘copters, planes, tanks, transports and more available to check out!

Hours & Admission Info: 45thdivisionmuseum.com/

Red Earth Museum– Located downtown, the Red Earth Museum features more than you might think (especially if you’re thinking it’s just a museum full of various red clay soils—that would be madness). No, this museum is chock-full of fantastic Native American art items of all types, from pottery, beadwork and basketry to fine arts and textiles. Its “mission is to promote the rich traditions of American Indian arts and cultures through education, a premier festival, a museum and fine art markets,” and is definitely worth checking out the next time you’re downtown.

Hours & Admission Info: www.redearth.org/red-earth-museum/visiting-information

arts and culture, free, museums, western heritage, Adventure District
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.

arts and culture, zoo, attractions, family-friendly, food, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, parks, shopping, water sports, Adventure District, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Itís Zoo-rific!

If you want to get in touch with Oklahoma City’s wild side, then look no further than the Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Gardens located in Oklahoma City’s Adventure District. Oklahoma City’s zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the Southwest and is home to around 1,900 of the world’s most exotic animals, 54 of which are endangered or threatened species.

At the Zoo, you can discover the state-of-the-art Elephant Habitat (be sure to say hello to five-month-old Achara and new-to-OKC elephants Bamboo and Chai), catch the waves at Stingray Bay, and flutter your way through the largest walk-through outdoor Butterfly Garden in Oklahoma. And that doesn’t even begin to cover the Zoo’s Lion Overlook, Cat Forest and bear habitat, oh my!

Be sure to check out the Zoo’s upcoming events and schedule a behind-the-scenes tour to take full advantage your trip.

Adventure District, zoo
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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, 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.
Adventure District, attractions, downtown, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, restaurants, Stockyards, western heritage, zoo
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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