Oklahoma Attractions

by Simon Fuller

With its Native American heritage and quirky roadside exhibitions, Oklahoma has plenty to offer visitors. Oklahoma has a range of both indoor and outdoor attractions, with the latter taking advantage of the state's location on the Great Plains. Some attractions are in Oklahoma City, the state's capital, but other highlights are in unlikely corners of the state.

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Museums

An educational time can be had at the Science Museum (sciencemuseumok.org) in Oklahoma City. Alongside exploring this museum's temporary exhibitions, visitors can enjoy movies on a 70-foot dome screen and learn about the wonders of the solar system via a planetarium. The latter contains a mural-sized image of the Hubble Space Telescope, donated by NASA. Another Oklahoma City museum to explore is the 99s Museum of Women Pilots (ninety-nines.org). This building examines the role of women in the development of aviation, and houses memorabilia such as personal effects and papers belonging to female aviators of the past.

Parks and Nature

Those who want to explore the outdoors can head to Turner Falls Park (turnerfallspark.com). This family-oriented park features a 77-foot waterfall, three caves and numerous sandy beaches. Families can take advantage of picnicking facilities, or head out on one of the area's hiking trails. Near the border with New Mexico, the Black Mesa Nature Preserve (travelok.com) gets its name from the lava rock once found in the area. Visitors have the opportunity to see up to 23 rare plant species while exploring the hiking trails in the preserve. The Black Mesa plateau, meanwhile, is the highest point in the state at 4,973 feet.

Roadside

Driving around Oklahoma can be rewarding in itself. Visitors might stop off at the Blue Whale (no website; 2705 North Highway 66, Catoosa), a model of a sperm whale constructed from just concrete and pipe. The whale is 80 feet long and famous enough to boast its own concession stand, open weekends. Near the town of Arcadia, visitors can find OK County 66 (no website; Route 66, Arcadia; 405-396-2055), a tribute to the famous Route 66. The exhibition contains replicas of the sights of the entire 66 route. These include a replica diner big enough for 100 people to cram into, alongside a Volkswagen Beetle car buried nose-first in the earth.

Cities and Towns

Historical Fort Gibson (fortgibson.com), instrumental in guarding the American frontier during the 19th century, is a town worth exploring. Visitors can take guided tours of soldiers' quarters and a hospital. Oklahoma City (visitokc.com) boasts a mild climate suitable for outdoor activities, as well as an intriguing mix of modern spirit and Western heritage reflected in its cultural and nightlife scene. On a night out in Oklahoma City, visitors can learn country line dancing or end up in a hip-hop club.

About the Author

Simon Fuller has been a freelance writer since 2008. His work has appeared in "Record Collector," "OPEN" and the online publication, brand-e. Fuller has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Reading and a postgraduate diploma from the London School of Journalism.

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