For Ruth and me 2015 has been the year of Iceland and Oklahoma City. How’s that for contrast. Late in 2014 I read an article that said Oklahoma City was the #1 U. S. destination for 2015, so we went twice to see if this was true. It was.
Luckily we weren’t there on May 6 when a tornado ripped through town and killed 12 people. Oklahoma is something of a tornado magnet. It’s little wonder that half of the movie Twister’s locations were in Oklahoma. Another downside in this state’s history is that, for Native Americans, it was at the end of the Trail of Tears. And then there was the domestic terrorist bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building in 1995. The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum downtown is all about this awful event. Since Ruth & I didn’t make it there, I’ve listed is among my reasons to go back.
Other RTGBs are the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, probably Oklahoma City’s biggest tourist attraction, and the peculiar sounding Museum of Osteology, which is described as a skull and skeleton museum. Hmmmmm.
We did make it to some offbeat attractions on our 2 visits. The American Banjo Museum was excellent. The Ninety-Nines Museum of Women Pilots was worthwhile. The Gaylord Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum was about famous Oklahomans, and they are legion.
Many were athletes. Oklahoma City is a sports town. Jim Thorpe, Mickey Mantle, and Johnny Bench all called Oklahoma home at some point in their lives. And they’re only 3 of the many. The downtown Chesapeake Energy Arena is home to the most cheer-inducing team in town, the NBA’s Thunder. The city’s official visitor guide proudly boasts that We Are Thunder has been mentioned on Twitter more than 19 million times. We asked our shuttle driver to take us to the restaurant in town with the most buzz and, as a result, dined at Kd’s Southern Cuisine. KD stands for Kevin Durant, a much-awarded member of the Oklahoma City Thunder team. The other must-dine spot, if you enjoy beef, is authentic Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, a fixture in Stockyards City since 1910.
Three Oklahoma City attractions not-too-miss include Bricktown. Once a fading warehouse area, it’s now a hot spot with a mile-long canal, water taxis, and almost 50 restaurants including Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse, and Kd’s. The Oklahoma History Center is the best state museum I’ve been in. I’ve blogged about it, the Banjo museum, etc. OKCMOA, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, attracts 125,000 visitors each year with its exciting temporary shows (Faberge) and comprehensive Dale Chihuly art glass collection, the finest outside of Seattle. It’s here because Chihuly’s wife is an Oklahoman.
Skip the American Pigeon Museum and Library (odd hours and remote), the Route 66 Park (not much more than a remote lakeside playground), and any museum exclusively about the Oklahoma land rush (they’re all over the state and similar).