When Devon decided to go to Oklahoma for school, all I could think of was “why?” It turned out fantastic, though, because we were able to visit a number of times. Just recently we stopped on cross-country road trip and couldn’t believe that we ran out of time to do everything on our list, a list that keeps growing. We hope you plan an Oklahoma trip, and here are plenty of reasons to visit.
Oklahoma Facts and History
Reasons to Visit
1. The Wild, Wild West.
As I was growing up, I had never really thought about Oklahoma as being part of the Old West, but when I visited I found that quickly proved that it’s wild, it’s cowboy, and it’s proud of it. One of the most interesting things we did was to take the self-guided tour of the Oklahoma Capital building that is filled with historical facts and famous artwork from noteworthy Sooners.
My favorite story was the one about how the state seal was secretly moved in the middle of the night from their first capital of Guthrie to Oklahoma City in 1910. It fits in so well with the idea of rogue politicians making up their minds to do something when the west was still wild…and just doing their own way!
We started with the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, which is a sprawling modern building with well-thought out and interesting exhibits. Who doesn’t love learning about taming the west, with Native American tribes, buffalo, covered wagons, and rodeos. The museum had it all! I especially loved the rodeo and frontier-living exhibits. One of my favorite things was the different brands cattle ranchers used as well as all the different ways to make barbed wire.
Continuing with my exploration of the great state of Oklahoma, we headed north about 100 miles to Ponca City where there is the Pioneer Woman’s Museum. One hundred miles is really far when you compare it to central Europe or even the east coast of the U.S., but in Oklahoma it’s just “up the road a bit.” As you can see the scenery was a bit repetitive, but different than what I’m used to. I was somewhat mesmerized by the rhythmic pumping of the oil wells. Someday I’ll have to do a tour of one to find out more about how it works.
All about the hardships of frontier life, and how women dealt with it, the museum itself is small, but does have some interactive displays for children and if you happen to go at the right time, you might even be able to take in a weaving demonstration or even a lesson. I, unfortunately, wasn’t there at the right time. I like a museum with a distinct trail through the various displays. I despise having to juggle one side of the room with the other. Which way do I go? Will I miss something? At any rate, this museum had an easy to follow path, and I enjoyed the stories of famous Oklahoman women, their homes, their struggles. However, probably the best part of the visit was talking to the lady behind the sales counter. She babbled on, in her friendly mid-western way, about the scandals the town has endured and some colorful personalities. I absolutely love it when this happens. The museum was small enough to do in about one hour, and that’s pretty much reading every placard, so we moseyed out of town looking for our next attraction.
2. Oklahoma is Beef Country
Oklahoma is known for its cattle and its oil. In Oklahoma City, you can even go to a live stock auction down at Stockyard City. Here modern-day cowboys and ranchers get together to buy and sell cattle. It is fascinating…and free!
3. Great Food
The other thing that makes Oklahoma great is its food. Did I mention there are plenty of cows? And tasty ones at that! We even tried calf fries! It is a state where you eat steak for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Who, may I ask, is going to argue with that?
Now you might not be too sure what there is to do for a tourist like me in the Sooner state, and if you aren’t that’s okay, because I had no idea what to do either. As it turns out there’s a fair number of things to do and see in the area. It was a great way to spend a few hours out of the hot afternoon sun.
If you are interested in the American Old West, even though Oklahoma is a little off the beaten track, I would go. It’s a great place to get your cowboy cowgirl on!