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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.

Visit OKC, zoo, Adventure District, attractions, family-friendly, Oklahoma City history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Opening Night 2019


For more than two decades, Opening Night has been the place to ring in the New Year in Oklahoma City. Put on by Arts Council Oklahoma City, Opening Night features great food and music for the whole family in Downtown OKC.

This year’s entertainment includes Take Cover, The Allie Lauren Project, Edgar Cruz, OKC Improv, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, OKC Philharmonic and more. Also several of the metro’s best food trucks will be there.

Party favors can be picked up inside the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Also, those who are 21 and older can keep warm with adult beverages in certain tents.

Wristbands are $8 in advance and can be purchased at MidFirst Bank and 7-Eleven stores around town. The night of wristbands are $10 and kids under five get in free.

festivals, food, holiday, live music, nightlife, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Christmas lights to see around OKC

Myriad Gardens Christmas Lights

This article originally ran on

It’s the most wonderful time of the year folks. The weather is cold, hot chocolate is flowing, and I think I saw Rudolph doing some practice runs a few days ago. This time of year two things become much bigger than any other time of the year; Mariah Carey and Christmas lights. In fact, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” jumped back in the top 100 just a few days ago. You know where to find the music though, so, here are the best light displays in the OKC area.

  • The Midwest City light show at Joe B. Barnes Regional Park is great! There are 100 dazzling displays of lights including an 11-story Christmas tree that has nearly 9,000 twinkling bulbs. The trail through the park is about 1.5 miles. You can take a horse-drawn carriage ride or simply stretch your legs and walk the park. It will warm your heart during such a cold time of the year.
  • The Myriad Gardens have an entire month full of festivities lined up for the holiday season. The Devon Ice Rink will be open, there are Saturdays with Santa, you can learn how to curl, and, of course, there are Christmas lights. The special display at the Crystal Bridge is designed by professionals and can be viewed for just a small fee.
  • The Chickasha light display just might be the best of all. I have gone to this show multiple times, and I am never ever disappointed. The park is completely covered in lights. Nearly every tree is covered. There is an amazing bridge and a ton of displays that will put you in the holiday spirit.
  • Automobile Alley just between N.W. 4th and N.W. 10th off of Broadway has a spectacular show. Known as “Lights on Broadway,” the district has several buildings draped in lights that would make anyone stop and gaze for a few extra moments. The lights are up from the day after Thanksgiving to New Years, and the best part is that you experience them while doing some local Christmas shopping and dining along Automobile Alley and 9th
  • Yukon might have the biggest display in terms of size. They have three connecting parks that consist of Yukon’s Chisolm Trail, Freedom Trail and city parks. These combine to make up 100 acres where you will find a 50 foot Christmas tree.  This display has so much to offer.
  • Edmond has a brand-new light display called Luminance. Held at Mitch Park, the lights are lit every night in December from 5 to 10 p.m.
  • The Bricktown Canal might be the most unique of all of these options. The businesses and buildings are lined with vibrant colorful lights. You can take a free water taxi ride to slowly travel down the canal as you take in the beauty of the scenery around you. The free taxi rides are available for all ages courtesy of the Downtown Business Improvement District. They are dependent on weather so make sure and watch the forecast!

One of the can’t miss sights and experiences of OKC is the beautiful Christmas tree in Bricktown. These are just the seven that we here at the chamber recommend, but there are other places where you can see great lists.

There is no shortage of lights this Christmas, or Mariah Carey this year, which means you have no excuse not to be in the holiday spirit!

free, holiday, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Get on board with the blue

OKC Blue logo

With the start of Thunder basketball also comes the start of the regular season for the NBA G League (formerly known as the D League). In fact, one of the coolest things about the Thunder’s G League team, the Oklahoma City Blue, is the way in which they use it.

If you can’t make it to a Thunder game, an OKC Blue game is a great way to get in your basketball fix throughout the regular season. The Blue are off to a great 9-2 start this season.

They play the majority of their home games at the Cox Convention Center and the best part is they are usually on the weekend. You can see their full schedule here.

family-friendly, live sporting events, basketball
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Downtown in December 2018

Christmas Lights in Automobile Alley

Every December, downtown Oklahoma City transforms into a winter wonderland. You might think we are being a tad hyperbolic but Downtown in December brings everything from ice skating to pop-up shops in central Oklahoma City. Here is a rundown of things to look forward this year:

  • Quickly becoming everyone’s favorite Downtown in December event, the Devon Ice Rink is already open at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.
  • Are you fan of holiday trees? Check out the fourth-annual Red Earth Treefest for a great look at Oklahoma’s native cultures.
  • Speaking of trees, don’t miss the Bricktown Tree Lighting Festival.
  • Automobile Alley’s annual Lights on Broadway is your chance to see the district’s breath-taking lights display for the first time this year. As an added bonus EMBARK will have a staged OKC Streetcar at the event so people can get a sneak peek of what to expect when it goes live later next month.
  • Looking for that unique or quirky gift for someone who has it all? You can’t go wrong with the Holiday Pop-Up Shops.
  • The Deluxe Winter Market is also a great place to do you holiday shopping.
  • Starting Nov. 23, Lyric Theatre will be putting on their annual performance of their classic A Christmas Carol.

Shockingly enough this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Downtown in December. For a full list of activities visit their site.

family-friendly, free, holiday, downtown
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 9, 2018


KJ103 RiverScream

We all want to make memories with our family, right? We want something we can look back on 10 or 20 years from now to smile, laugh and reminisce. KJ103’s Riverscream is the perfect answer to that need. They have a zombie zip line and zombie-themed laser tag. There is a pirate’s zone for the younger children, ages 2-7, and whitewater rafting. There are a plethora of options available to make memories for the entire family. You can find all the information here.

All of this is great, the kids are important and memories with your family and kids are something you never want to lose, but what about us adults? When do we get to be a little loose and have a little fun without the kids? We love them, but we all need time apart to breathe. Once again, Oklahoma City has your back.

Haunt the River in downtown Oklahoma City provides a relaxing boat ride. The boat is decorated for the holiday, provides haunting music and light appetizers, but maybe most importantly alcohol is available. There is a cash bar on board, which can certainly help you relax and ease into the holiday season. Cruise privileges are not valid for groups of eight or more though. You can find all the information you need here.

family-friendly, holiday, nightlife, Oklahoma River, outdoor recreation, Boathouse District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Myriad Gardens Pumpkinville

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

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

family-friendly, holiday, Myriad Botanical Gardens
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

2018 Oklahoma Regatta Festival

Oklahoma Regatta Festival

The 2018 Oklahoma Regatta Festival will take place Sept. 28 - 30 in the Boathouse District. This amazing three-day competition includes rowing, dragon boating, kayaking, white water rafting and family fun.

The weekend will also feature the Oklahoma City University Head of the Oklahoma race, OGE NightSprints, and food trucks and beer gardens. The races features teams from all over the nation competing on all levels of competition--collegiate, masters and junior rowing.

During the festival the 500-meter NightSprints are held when the sun sets. This creates a unique and intense atmosphere for everyone involved from spectators to competitors. Everyone is invited to bring something to sit on or someone to sit with, or both of course, and cheer the athletes on.

live sporting events, Oklahoma River, water sports, Boathouse District, family-friendly, free
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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The Plaza District Festival turns 20

Plaza District Festival

The Plaza District Festival turns 20 this weekend and the celebration is September 29th from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. There will be live music, art, good drink and great food.

Outside the usual art, music and food, there will be Zumba classes, Home Depot will have areas for building birdhouses and even soccer activities. Heck, the Plaza has thought of everything as they will even have childcare available.  

If you really want to get involved check out volunteer opportunities here. You can find a map of the festival here.

Plaza District, family-friendly, festivals, free
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hands on history

Overholser Mansion

There is perhaps no experience quite as fulfilling as holding a 400-year-old object in your hand, or being in a place where a landmark event once happened. Such are the joys of history, many of which can be found right here in OKC.

For the aspiring historians out there we’ve compiled a list of some of the more historic spots across Oklahoma City that you might be especially interested in visiting. As always, this isn’t a comprehensive list, so if you think we missed a really good location, please let us know!

Centennial Land Run Monument
Henry Overholser Mansion
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
Oklahoma State Capitol Building
Oklahoma History Center
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
Red Earth Art Center
Science Museum Oklahoma
American Banjo Museum  
International Gymnastics Hall of Fame
Harn Homestead
Museum of Osteology
Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art
Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame
Oklahoma Railway Museum
Oklahoma Hall of Fame

Oklahoma City history, western heritage, family-friendly, history, museums
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Great State Fair of Oklahoma

Midway at the Oklahoma State Fair

Football, cooler weather and the State Fair of Oklahoma means it is fall. If you are new to Oklahoma City then you might be surprised to find out that for many the kickoff of the State Fair of Oklahoma is our official signal that autumn has arrived!  

From Sept. 13-23, State Fair Park in Oklahoma City will be bustling with the Oklahoma State Fair and all that it entails. An annual extravaganza stretching back more than 100 years, the Oklahoma State Fair offers a little something for everyone, from deep-fried culinary delights (sign us up!) to ice-dancing Disney princesses. Read on for our can’t-miss fair favorites.

  • Disney on Ice- A State Fair mainstay, Disney on Ice is back with Dare to Dream!, a fun adventure with all your Disney favorites.
  • Xtreme Bulls- What do you get when you mix action-packed bull riding and high-energy country music concerts? You get Xtreme Bulls.
  • Chickasaw Country Entertainment Stage- Nothing can beat free live music. This year’s lineup includes Neal McCoy, Beatlemania, Dylan Scott, Dru Hill, Foghat and more.
State Fair Park, family-friendly, live music, live sporting events
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, August 28, 2018


Chihuly Glass

Among local favorite museums is the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKCMOA). The largest art museum in the entire state, the OKCMOA boasts a permanent collection of countless pieces of art (including an especially massive collection of Dale Chihuly glass that’ll make you feel like you’re walking through a Dr. Seuss book), a film program with its own theater, and is constantly getting the best of the best in traveling exhibitions (Matisse, Rembrandt, Picasso, Rubens, Fabergé—those are just some of the famous artists whose work has only recently been viewed at the museum!). The modern art connoisseur who wants to feel inspired, the art history enthusiast who wants to admire some classics, the film buff on the prowl for their new favorite movie, and even families looking for Downtown activities that everyone can enjoy will all find something incredible at the OKCMOA.

museums, arts and culture, family-friendly, film
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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The American Pigeon Museum and Library


Throughout mankind’s history, one hero has always been there. Watching over us, guiding us, inspiring us and helping us when nobody else could. I’m talking, of course, about the most underrated species in all of recorded history: the pigeon.

I know that may sound a bit exaggerated, but think about it for a moment! Some of the most landmark events in human history would’ve gone much differently (and much slower) if not for the bravery and intellect of the carrier pigeon. Some carrier pigeons were even made decorated war vets because of it! Does the sheer thought—the awe-inspiring mental image—of these beautiful warriors have your full attention now? It should.

Enter The American Pigeon Museum and Library: The first and only museum dedicated to the mighty pigeon in the entire country. Visitors can peruse the illustrious history of the great carrier pigeon, learn about pigeon breeding, look at awards/records from pigeon racing, or enjoy some lovely art portraying the noble pigeon! Depending on the time of day you visit, you might be able to see some rare pigeons too: pigeons with more feathers than you ever dreamed a pigeon could have, pigeons with extraordinarily long legs, colorful pigeons who look more like aviary royalty, and more. And, if you’re interested in learning more about the fascinating history of the pigeon, there’s a library attached to the museum that has more pigeon-related records, documents, references and literature than you could ever imagine.  

family-friendly, museums, attractions
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Library Ė A School, a Stage, a Home

Its ideation came in 1889, in the early meetings of the Philomathea Club, a women’s study group. Set out to improve community culture and education, members raised funds to establish Oklahoma City’s first public library, which found its first home in an unused room in the Commercial Club, now the Chamber of Commerce. This fledgling institution grew to become Oklahoma City’s Metropolitan Library System, and, nearly 130 years following, operates wide and proud. Now incorporating 19 locations spanning across the greater OKC area, the Metropolitan Library System provides a plethora of resources, programs, and events to its citizens year-round.

The Metro Library System contains online and physical databases spanning far in subject, from auto engine repair to health & wellness, or from job preparedness to simple homework help. It also offers programs on GED preparation, adult education, and even how to become a US citizen. The Metro website provides book lists covering multiple topics, and also features an eBook collection titled “Indie Oklahoma”, which is fueled by the Self-e program, where young authors can submit works.

One of our favorite things about the Metropolitan Library System is its constant list of events occurring throughout all the locations, all the time. The Northwest Library hosts “Teen Time” every Monday evening, featuring varying activities. Nicoma Park and Harrah libraries are each hosting a “Spy School” in July, designed for younger children to learn if they have what it takes to be a spy. Also in July, Southern Oaks and Harrah libraries will host “OKC Zoo: Animal Acoustics-The Remix!” where kids can come learn about the musical styles animals are fond of.

The highlight of the Metropolitan Library System’s events is the Neighborhood Arts programs, where, every June and July, the Metro Library hosts performances of family-friendly music, theatre, and comedy. This year, Neighborhood Arts features four performing acts, appearing at various locations: Rhythmically Speaking, an educational theatre troupe, will present a moral story about a dinosaur egg; Sugar-Free Allstars, a musical duo, will perform their signature family funk; Adam & Kizzie, another musical pair, will show audiences just how many different ways you can rock out; and OKC Improv, a comedic acting group, will encourage audience involvement in their fun and games. You can find out more about these performances here.

People often forget about the library: it is often not so flashy, popular, or exciting compared to other institutions of learning. Neither is it a school, nor a stage, nor a home, but it can be all of these things still. What it is, assuredly, is a place for you and your family to grow with the community around you. Whatever you’re trying to accomplish, be it fixing your old lawn mower or putting a smile on your child’s face again, there’s going to be something waiting for you at your local library.

free, library, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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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!

festivals, free, holiday, outdoor recreation, parks, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Summertime in the 4-0-5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fishing, free, kids, movies, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, water sports, Bricktown, Dodgers, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

An introduction to OKCís artsy side†

Paseo Arts Festival

The Paseo Arts Festival is the perfect time to celebrate one of Oklahoma City’s most unique artistic communities: The Paseo Arts District. For more than 40 years, the Paseo Arts Festival has brought food, fun, music (and, ya know, art) to the picturesque district’s streets.

This year the festival will take place May 26-28. Attend this event to see the work of more than 90 visual artists whose work spans a wide variety of media including painting, photography, woodworking and jewelry. With live performers and dozens of food vendors, this event is one that the entire family can enjoy.

free, live music, Paseo District, arts and culture, family-friendly, festivals, food
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Circle the wagons

Chuck Wagon Festival

Oklahoma’s connection to the days of wagon trains and cattle drives is undeniable and there’s no better place to relive that part of Oklahoma’s past than the annual Chuck Wagon Festival at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. From May 26-27, you can experience a fun-filled weekend of chuck wagon food samples, a petting zoo, artisan demonstrations, live music, Western Reenactors, square dancing and more.

Each day of the festival, you can also enter your child for a chance to become the Sheriff for the Day. One lucky winner will patrol the event as sheriff with their own cowboy hat, badge and stick horse. So giddy up, partner. This event is not to be missed!

family-friendly, festivals, museums, western heritage
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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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 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.

history, museums, OKC National Memorial, Route 66, Stockyards, western heritage, zoo, Adventure District, arts and culture, day-trip, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Choose your own adventure at the Boathouse District

Flat water kayaking

The Oklahoma River has the ultimate comeback story—all you need to do is look at the Boathouse District for tangible proof. What is now the glittering jewel of Oklahoma City’s outdoor recreation offering used to be a dry riverbed that required periodic mowing. Today, the Boathouse District is home to an Olympic training venue for rowing and canoe/kayak and the only permanently lit paddle sport racing course in the world, but even beginners and casual athletes can enjoy the facility through corporate rowing leagues and rowing classes.

If you want to get on the water, the Boathouse District offers flatwater kayaking and stand up paddle board rentals and a Learn to Row program that will teach you how to scull and sweep in only one month. But if you prefer to climb to new heights instead, the Boathouse District can also oblige with the Rumble Drop or SandRidge Sky Trail, the tallest adventure course of its kind in the world! Both the 700-foot zip line across the Oklahoma River and the 72-foot sky slide from atop the sky trail will make you feel like a kid again. There is even a youth zone for the kiddos. And certainly anyone who appreciates the great outdoors will love the 13 miles of scenic trails that meander along the Oklahoma River.

The easiest way to take in everything the district has to offer is through the RIVERSPORT Pass, which includes RIVERSPORT Rapids, Love’s tubing and river boarding, plus all land and flatwater adventures in the Boathouse District, at Lake Overholser and at Lake Hefner. No matter your activity level, the Oklahoma River and the Boathouse District are sure to have something for you to enjoy.

family-friendly, Oklahoma River, outdoor recreation, water sports
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Class V fun at RIVERSPORT Rapids

whitewater rafting

As only one of six manmade whitewater courses in the country, RIVERSPORT Rapids distinguishes Oklahoma City as the premiere location for whitewater sports, not just in the United States but around the globe. The whitewater center, which was funded debt-free by the MAPS 3 program, offers recreational rafting, kayaking and tubing experiences. And it’s not just for novices—people will also see elite athletes from around-the-world training and competing on the slalom channel.  

RIVERSPORT Rapids also offers a few more relaxing options if “rapid” is not really your speed. On Thursday evenings this summer, participants have the option of tubing with the rapids slowed down followed by a “floating film” after the sun sets.

In addition to adding fun and excitement to our community, RIVERSPORT Rapids also helps increase community safety. The center is available for swift water rescue training, offering a controlled setting where rescuers can learn the most advanced techniques for rescuing people from fast-running water.

If you want to sample all that you can experience at RIVERSPORT Rapids, attend the Oklahoma City Whitewater Festival, May 19-20. The celebration will feature the BoaterX extreme downriver kayaking competition and free whitewater kayaking clinics. Spectators can enjoy music, food and beer specials at the on-site Big Water Grill while experiencing all the action.

family-friendly, Oklahoma River, water sports
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Take me out to the ball game

OKC Dodgers

That sweet smell of spring means it is time for Dodgers baseball in Oklahoma City. The Dodgers first pitch of the home season is tonight against the fighting Express of Round Rock.

While this is the third season of OKC’s affiliation with the Dodgers, the metro’s history with minor league baseball stretches all the way back to at least 1903. Since changing AAA affiliation from the Astros to the Dodgers in 2015, the franchise has won two division titles and a conference championship.

AAA baseball is a great way to enjoy Oklahoma springs with the family or friends while seeing some of the future stars of baseball. Recent All-Stars like Nelson Cruz, Chris Davis, R.A. Dickey, Adrian Gonzalez, Ian Kinsler and Carl Crawford are just a few to have spent time in OKC. Even Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg spent a couple of seasons in the metro. Seeing the future stars of baseball at one of the best minor league ballparks in America, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, is why Dodger baseball is can’t miss fun.

family-friendly, baseball, Dodgers
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Wheeler Criterium


If the warming temps are making you want to break out your ten-speed then you should check out the Wheeler Criterium. The Wheeler Crit, as locals call it, is a weekly event that takes place every Tuesday, from March 20 until August 28, in the Wheeler District. Each week races are held on both flat and fast courses. The Wheeler Criterium provides an opportunity for families and friends to engage in what this city has to offer, especially during the summer months. Food trucks only add to the atmosphere for a nice evening out in OKC!

festivals, cycling, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Bricktown: fun for all ages

Bricktown Nightlife

Adjacent to downtown Oklahoma City is one of the most well-known entertainment districts in the Southwest – Bricktown. With its large concentration of high-energy night clubs, casual lounges and list of restaurants covering a multitude of culinary cultures, Bricktown has something for every taste. And, when you factor in its picturesque setting, which embraces a mile-long canal lined with eateries, clubs, a movie theater, a bowling lounge, the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and beautifully landscaped gardens and public art, you'll discover something the whole family can enjoy! Vibrant melodies can be heard coming from the American Banjo Museum and the Academy of Contemporary Music. You can also see some of the hottest acts in music at the Criterion. Take a Bricktown Water Taxi cruise along the canal and discover the history of this energetic district. And while the weather is warm, be sure to hail a pedicab or one of several horse-drawn carriages that can be seen ferrying customers all over Bricktown. It's the perfect place for you to choose your own adventure.

live music, museums, nightlife, restaurants, Bricktown, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Land of a lot of lakes

Lake Hefner

Oklahoma City is one of the premier places for water sports in the country. There are more than 30 lakes within an hour’s drive of OKC. In fact, Oklahoma has more man-made lakes than any state in the Union and more shoreline than the east and Gulf coasts combined. With so many lakes in Oklahoma it would take weeks to cover all you can do, so let’s just focus on what to do within OKC’s city limits.

  • Lake Hefner: features 2,500 surface acres, heated fishing docks, boat ramps, 9.1 miles of biking and jogging trails and is famous for sailboats and windsurfers. Hefner is also home to the Oklahoma City Boat Club.
  • Lake Draper: features 2,900 surface acres, four covered fishing piers, boat ramps, tending docks, handicap facilities and fish attractors. Picnicking, fishing, jet skiing, boating and sailing are all permitted. Skiing is allowed in open waters.
  • Lake Overholser: features 1,500 surface acres, covered fishing pier, boat ramps, tending docks, handicap facilities and fish attractors. Picnicking, fishing, sailing, boating and jet skiing are permitted. Lake Overholser is also attached to the wondrous Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge.
  • Arcadia Lake: features 1,820 surface acres, picnicking, camping, swimming, water skiing, boating, hiking, disc golf and an equestrian trail. A heated, covered dock is provided for year-round fishing.
family-friendly, fishing, outdoor recreation, running, water sports, cycling, equine
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.

family-friendly, Myriad Botanical Gardens, parks, attractions, downtown
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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.

parks, family-friendly, outdoor recreation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Energy FC

OKC Energy FC

Oklahomans have always been accused of being football crazy but few could have predicted just how fútbol crazy Oklahoma City has become. Thanks to the Oklahoma City Energy FC, the love of soccer has swept across the metro. 

The Energy will kick off their 2018 season March 17 against their rivals the Roughnecks FC out of Tulsa at Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City. This will mark the franchise’s fifth season and the club will be welcoming a new head coach this season, Steve Cooke. The Energy FC have made the playoffs three straight years which has led to raucous home crowds. The club routinely draws 4,000 fans to their matches.

Check out the 2018 schedule and get your tickets today.

OKC Energy, soccer, family-friendly, live sporting events
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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