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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.

family-friendly, Oklahoma City history, Visit OKC, zoo, Adventure District, attractions
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!

Adventure District, attractions, family-friendly, zoo
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 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.

museums, OKC National Memorial, Route 66, Stockyards, western heritage, zoo, Adventure District, arts and culture, day-trip, family-friendly, history
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.

museums, nightlife, racetrack, western heritage, zoo, Adventure District, arts and culture, family-friendly, live sporting events
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Celebrating those who served

45th Invantry Division Museum

As we’ve talked about before, Oklahoma City’s ties to the military run deep. This weekend is Veterans Day, and events across Oklahoma City will give you plenty of opportunities to celebrate America’s armed forces and honor those who have served.

  • The annual Veterans Day service at the 45th Infantry Division Museum will take place at 10 a.m. on Nov. 11. Pay tribute to the men and women of the military at this patriotic ceremony, which includes a helicopter flyover, massing of the colors and guest speakers. More information.
  • Midwest City will hold their annual Veterans Day Parade on Friday, Nov. 10 at 10 a.m. The parade begins at Century Boulevard and Southeast 15th Street. More information.
  • On Nov. 11, the Oklahoma City Zoo will offer free entry to all active duty, active reserve and retirees of the military. More information.

If you know of any events we didn’t mention, please include them in the comments or give us a shout on Facebook or Twitter.

holiday, military, museums, zoo
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

All treats, no trick

Halloween is right around the corner, and there is nothing we like better than some candy and costumes. If you aren’t in the mood to go door-to-door in your neighborhood, don’t sweat it. We’ve compiled a list of some family friendly haunts to enjoy. Of course, we can’t list everything. If you know about a cool Halloween event, list it in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook.

  • Haunt the Zoo: Haunt the Zoo is an Oklahoma City favorite as it has been going strong for 30-plus years. This year the event will take place on October 21, 22, 28 and 29 and will feature candy, mascots and a Halloween trail through the Zoo.
  • Halloween Train: Tour the Oklahoma Railway Museum and take a spooky train ride October 28 and 29. Admission varies depending on age, but children under 3 are free.
  • Haunt the Harn: A little something for everyone: trick-or-treating, marshmallow roasting, hayrides, pumpkin bowling and much more. Children are $3 in advance and $5 at the door. Up to two adults may accompany a child for free. This year’s Haunt the Harn will be Oct. 26 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Haunt Old Town Moore: On Oct. 28 from 4 to 7 p.m. the streets will be shut down for family-friendly fun. Everything you could ask for in one place: face painting, exotic animals, food trucks, live music and even clowns (hopefully not the scary kind).
family-friendly, holiday, kids, Moore, zoo
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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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.

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

Adventure District, Bricktown, concerts, Film Row, live music, Uptown 23, zoo
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.

western heritage, zoo, Adventure District, arts and culture, Boathouse District, camps, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, spring break
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.

nightlife, racetrack, western heritage, zoo, Adventure District, concerts, family-friendly, kids, museums
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.

Adventure District, family-friendly, holiday, zoo
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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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.

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



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.

Adventure District, community, zoo
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



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

Adventure District, live music, music, Oklahoma City history, zoo
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



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.

spring break, theater, Thunder, Adventure District, western heritage, arts and culture, zoo, basketball, Boathouse District, camps, downtown, kids, museums
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



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.

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



Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Looking back, forging ahead

OKC Energy Fans  [Photo Credit: OKC Energy]

[Photo Credit: OKC Energy]

2015 was an exciting year in Oklahoma City. We committed to the Oklahoma Standard, celebrated the inaugural season of the OKC Dodgers, welcomed two new elephants at the OKC Zoo, got fired up for OKCFest, went rolling on the river as we hosted national and international contestants during the Oklahoma Regatta Festival, cheered as the Energy made their first playoff run, shopped till we dropped at all the new retailers across the city and were inspired by the creation of Innovation District.

But if you thought 2015 was thrilling in OKC, buckle your seat belts and hold on tight because we are just getting started. With the completion of some MAPS 3 projects including improvements at State Fair Park and the world-class RIVERSPORT Rapids, 2016 promises to be an exhilarating year.

And our resolution for 2016: keeping you – our loyal reader – in the know about all of the cool, hip happenings in OKC. Don’t hesitate to hit us up on Facebook or Twitter with questions or ideas. All our posts are also tagged by topic so you can easily find past blogs for information, everything from attractions to downtown and much more.

Oklahoma River, retail, State Fair Park, zoo, Dodgers, festivals, Innovation District, MAPS, OKC Energy
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



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.

western heritage, zoo, Adventure District, family-friendly, golf, museums, Plaza District, Uptown 23
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.

museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, parks, shopping, water sports, Adventure District, western heritage, arts and culture, zoo, attractions, family-friendly, food
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, May 12, 2015

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

While forecasts for Oklahoma City still predict some rain this week, we are quickly moving into the season where it’s fun to be outside as much as possible. Oklahoma City has one of the sunniest climates around – around 65 percent of our days each year are sunny and perfect for outdoor activities.

If you’re stuck for ideas, here are a few to get you started exploring:

  • We’ve written about this before, but check out hiking, nature and wildlife at Martin Park Nature Center at 5000 W Memorial Road, an oasis of calm by the busy John Kilpatrick Turnpike.
  • Go to Lake Overholser on the city’s west side and check out the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge, 1,000 acres featuring a hardwood forest, marshlands and animals. Hike or bike, or explore on water with kayaks or canoes. Find out more by searching “Stinchcomb” at www.travelok.com. Or call 405.297.3882.
  • Visit the Oklahoma City Zoo, and see if you can get a glimpse of the baby gorilla born in March.
  • Play at Oklahoma City’s two major amusement parks –  White Water Bay for pool fun and Frontier City if you like your rides with a Western feel.
  • Fish at any number of Oklahoma City’s lakes and ponds.
family-friendly, fishing, outdoor recreation, water sports, 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.

parks, running, water sports, zoo, Adventure District, cycling, family-friendly, museums, outdoor recreation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Share the story of OKC

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

  • Treat the whole family to an unforgettable experience at the Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory.  We love the tranquil setting and the out-of-this-world playground area, but our favorite activity during the holidays has to be the ice-skating rink. Hours for the ice rink have been extended throughout the holiday season.     
  • Science Museum Oklahoma, one of our favorite destinations for family fun, houses so many hands-on science experiments that we have a hard time choosing where to start. From the Tinkering Garage and Gadget Trees to daily shows in the planetarium and dome theater, the museum allows your inner child to run wild.
  • We love to share the history of our great state, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is the perfect locale to take an inside peek at the spirit, passion and grit symbolized by the American West. There are exhibits for the tikes, too, including the Chuckwagon and Prosperity Junction.
  • Come on, the wild is calling! Did you know the Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Gardens ranks among the top three family-friendly zoos in the nation? If you haven’t visited in a while, check it out. 2014 has been an exciting year as the zoo celebrated 110 years. 2015 is sure to be just as exciting as with the expected arrival of a baby elephant before the end of the year.
  • The 45th Infantry Division Museum, the nation’s largest state-operated military history museum, offers an inside glance at Oklahoma’s military history. Stroll through Thunderbird Park to see more than 60 types of equipment, including tanks, artillery, personnel carriers and aircraft.
  • Boot-scoot over to Oklahoma City’s Historic Stockyards City, one of the largest livestock markets in the world, to immerse yourself in authentic cowboy culture. This unique district offers a glimpse into Oklahoma’s cowboy scene. Satisfy your hunger at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, then head over to catch a live show at the Centennial Rodeo Opry.
  • Enter the Oklahoma History Center and let the fascinating lives of Oklahoma oil barons, pioneers, American Indians and Oklahoma’s famous citizens bring the past to life. From the mighty Land Run to nostalgic Route 66 lore and from the stirring Civil War to high-flying airplanes, there’s something for everyone at the Oklahoma History Center.
  • OKC 125: A Photography Exhibition provides an interesting perspective on downtown Oklahoma City. The exhibit features works by 125 individuals who captured their favorite downtown sites in 125 minutes.
downtown, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens, outdoor recreation, restaurants, Stockyards, western heritage, zoo, Adventure District, attractions
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Make Your Breaks

Ahh, Christmastime. Snow, lights, Santa, candy canes, carols, and fudge. Mmm, fudge... Sorry. We just really like fudge. Anyway, for you parents out there, all this merriment can mean maybe just a little too much time with your little snow angels now that they’re out of school for a while. But before you go taking numerous nips from the nog in an attempt to deal, check out some of the winter break options to keep those kiddos from being cooped up in the house too much over the holidays.

  • Thunder Youth Basketball Camp – fundamentals and fun for all skill levels. December 29 & 30, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., ages 5-16. An alternative to playing ball in the house!
  • Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center – camps include instruction in different mediums / skills depending on age (5-8 or 9-12). December 18-19 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Let ‘em create art here instead of their bedroom walls.
  • OKC Zoo Safari Day Camps – ages 4-12 can hit the zoo December 30, 31 and January 19. Kids will connect with animals and nature instead of your last nerve. Advance registration and payment required.
  • Holiday Magic Drama Camp at NW Optimist Park – campers sing, dance and learn some classic holiday numbers culminating in a family performance. December 22-23 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 405-297-1437 for more info ($50 per camper). Now they can be dramatic about something other than that present they won’t shut up about.
  • Soccer City Winter Break Camp – let your kids get their kicks by taking out their frustrations on a soccer ball instead of the furniture and/or their siblings. Ages 4-15 are welcome and will be divided among age, ability and flopping potential (kidding!). December 22-24 and 29-31.
  • Santa’s Adventures at RIVERSPORT – not really a camp per se, but the Rudolph Launch, Candy Cane Rock Wall, Snow Bounce and more are open for riverside fun from 1 – 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through January 4th. Note that this includes the SandRidge Santa Zip, where you drop a wrapped package into a chimney target as you fly down the zip line. Picture that for a second, and just try to tell us it doesn’t sound AWESOME.

What camps are we missing in our list? Let us know in the comments and we’ll get it added!

camps, kids, Oklahoma River, soccer, theater, zoo, arts and culture, basketball
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ghouls, Goblins, Ghosts and Fun

Halloween falls on a Friday this year so things are bound to get spooky and maybe a little wild. While there are a ton of great neighborhoods for your classic door-to-door trick or treating, we’ve compiled a list of some family-friendly haunts to enjoy. Of course we can’t list everything. If you know about a cool Halloween event, list it in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook.

  • Haunt the Zoo: Haunt the Zoo turns 31 this year so you know it must be doing something right. Running from Oct. 26-31 at the Oklahoma City Zoo, this annual tradition features candy, mascots and a Halloween trail through the Zoo. Tickets are $7 at the door and $6 in advance.
  • Halloween Train: Tour the Oklahoma Railway Museum and take a spooky train ride. Admission varies depending on age but children under 3 are free.
  • Haunt the Harn: A little something for everyone: trick-or-treating (mostly treats we are told), marshmallow roasting, hayrides, pumpkin bowling and much more. Children are $3 in advance and $5 at the door. Up to two adults may accompany a child for free. This year’s Haunt the Harn will be Oct. 23 from 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Museum of Osteology Halloween Bash: There simply isn’t a more perfect place to celebrate Halloween than a place dedicated the study of bones. This takes place on Halloween from 6 to 9 p.m. Plenty of candy and hands-on activities (in a bone museum that takes on a whole new meaning) for just $3.50 per person.
  • Haunt Old Town Moore: On Oct. 25 from 4 to 7 p.m. (do we really need to say p.m.? Are any of you celebrating Halloween at 4 a.m.? Never mind don’t answer that.) the streets will be shut down for family-friendly fun. Everything you could ask for in one place: face painting, exotic animals, food trucks, live music and even clowns (hopefully not the scary kind).
Adventure District, family-friendly, kids, museums, zoo
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Thereís more to explore with your family as summer ends

As summer winds down and boredom has truly set in, get your children out of the house and take them on a family outing to one of Oklahoma City’s ever-popular attractions.

Here’s a list if you need to refresh your memory of what you can do.

For amusement-park-type fun, there’s always WhiteWater Bay for a great chance to cool off with a day filled with water rides. Or, check out the traditional amusement park experience at Frontier City with rides and entertainment to fit all ages. If you’re too hot, Celebration Station has indoor activities like video games, air hockey, pool tables, driving games and outdoor ones as well, like batting cages, bumper boats, miniature golf and more.

You can also go to the tried-and-true family-oriented stops in the Adventure District like these:

  • The Oklahoma City Zoo, which recently added a one-horned Indian rhinoceros to its mix with a male baby rhino, born June 21. If you go, you might get a glimpse of mom Niki and her calf, named “Rupert” via an online vote.
  • Science Museum Oklahoma, which lets visitors explore all things science with a variety of hands-on exhibits and galleries and an IMAX Theater. If you go right now, you have a chance to see the traveling “Art of the Brick” exhibition by New York artist Nathan Sawaya, who creates large-scale sculptures using Lego bricks. The exhibit is open until Sept. 13.
  • Explore America’s Western history at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum with its art and interactive exhibits. If you haven’t taken your family there in a while, check it out now.

To get outdoors, check out the Oklahoma River by renting a kayak, zipping down the new SandRidge Sky Zip line or climbing the SandRidge Sky Trail and Slide, among other adventures you can have through RIVERSPORT. Or go to Lake Arcadia, the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge or Martin Park Nature Center.

There are more ways to entertain your children of all ages as summer comes to a close. For ideas go online to the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website.

outdoor recreation, water sports, zoo, Adventure District, attractions, Boathouse District, family-friendly, kids, museums
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Show off Oklahoma City to visitors

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adventure District, arts and culture, attractions, family-friendly, kids, museums, shopping, western heritage, zoo
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Membership Has Its Benefits

[Zoo photo courtesy of Carl Shortt]

Stumped on what to buy a few folks on your list this year? Why not give a membership that will keep giving long after the tree is taken down and winter has gone?

Myriad Gardens Membership
Membership to the Myriad Botanical Gardens starts as low as $50 per year and includes discounts to the Gardens’ Gardening School, a printed newsletter, invitations to members-only events and more.

Oklahoma City ZooFriends Membership
ZooFriends get unlimited zoo admission for one year, discounted admission to other zoos nationwide, a quarterly newsletter, a 10 percent discount at zoo gift shops and concessions, a 10 percent discount on the zoo’s education classes and an invitation to Family Fun Night.

Science Museum Oklahoma Membership
Science Museum Oklahoma offers several membership levels ranging from $75 to $175 with varying benefits. All levels include unlimited admission to permanent exhibits, Science Live and the planetarium, plus much more.

zoo, Adventure District, downtown, family-friendly, museums, Myriad Botanical Gardens
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Having a Costume Conundrum?

We figure our regular readers of The Better Life are bursting with civic pride and can’t wait to show it -- and the best way to do that come Halloween time is to dress up like something that just screams “OKC.” Here are a few ideas for you.

A Parking Meter – Perhaps you didn’t know that the biggest reason behind all those unpaid parking tickets you’ve got was first installed right here in Oklahoma City! Have stationary fun at the party while sporting a convenient excuse to keep boring folks from standing in front of you for too long.

Malee, the Zoo’s Baby Elephant – What a great opportunity for an OKC-centric variant on the classic four-legged animal costume. This takes two people to pull off, and one of you is not going to have nearly as good of a view as the other!

Captain W.L. Couch, OKC’s First Provisional Mayor – Though murdered in a dispute over his land near the present-day OU Health Sciences Center campus shortly after leaving office in 1890, W.L. Couch nevertheless sported a killer moustache and beard and therefore makes for a fantastic costume idea, hipster or not. Get that “grass grin” growing and maybe throw a six-shooter (fake, of course) on your hip and guard that claim!

 WLCouch1888

Wayne Coyne – So perhaps you have an affinity for glitter and grey suits, or you just like walking around in a homemade hamster ball whilst surrounded by confetti and weirdness. Either way, this is the costume for you. And you never know – if you’re at the right party, you might actually run into Wayne while you’re dressed like him! We’re not sure what would happen that that point, but one thing’s for sure – somebody’s mind is gonna be blown.

OKC Mascots  - Are you shy, but still like getting hugs from strangers? You don’t have to say anything to anyone in a big giant animal head. Rumble, Derrick, Cooper and Ruby are ready to be had for your pro-OKC sports team Halloweening pleasure. These costumes might be a little difficult to recreate, but we have faith in you. You can do it!

Devon Tower – Get a big cardboard cylinder, a three-cornered hat, some Christmas lights and BANG! You’re a walking version of OKC’s tallest landmark. For added effect, papier-mâché your shoes into something resembling the building’s rotunda and podium. Now that would be impressive.

Kevin Durant – This works best if you’re already tall (like 6’9” tall) and slender – also probably best if you’re a man – and even better if you can sink a silky-smooth jumper. But we know that not everyone is so vertically or athletically inclined. We think you could make it work anyway. Perhaps try some stilts, a #35 jersey, a pleasant demeanor, and plenty of alcohol for your friends to help mask the fact that you actually look nothing like Kevin Durant, and you never know. Don’t forget to instagram videos of yourself frequently.

Thunder Storm Chaser – Run around like a maniac waving a giant flag, jump on mini-trampolines, get the crowd pumped up and throw out some free t-shirts! The only con is that this could get expensive if you don’t own your own t-shirt factory.

What other OKC-centric costume ideas are we missing? Let us know in the comments!

community, family-friendly, music, Thunder, zoo
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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