It is the unique goal of travel adventurers to visit all fifty states in America. To boost this objective, each week we shall explore one state. Alphabetically, the 36th to visit is none other than Oklahoma, abbreviated OK. Regardless of the order in which you explore them, the Sooner State is not to be missed.
Visit state # 36 – OK
|State Motto||Labor Omnia Vincit (Work conquers all)|
|State Flower||Rosa ‘Oklahoma’|
|State Bird||Scissor-tailed flycatcher|
|State Gem||Rose rock|
|State Capital||Oklahoma City|
|Famous Foods||Oklahoma barbecue, fried onion burger, chicken-fried steak, fried pies, fried okra, steak, Indian taco, Banh mi, Theta burger, fried chicken, calf fries, grits, cornbread, and more.|
Oklahoma is a U.S. state that borders Colorado and Kansas to the north, Missouri and Arkansas to the east, Texas to its south, and New Mexico to the west of its Panhandle region. The terrain is diverse, varying from rolling hills to treeless plains, a combination from rich to barren landscapes. Main rivers include the Arkansas River and the Red River. The word Oklahoma is a combination of the word for “people” and “red” in Choctaw words. Since it’s admission as the 46th state of the union in 1907, Oklahoma is proud of its rich Native American culture, history, roots, and integration success. The state was originally referred to as “Indian Territory” as some Native Americans were displaced to the region by settlers.
The state of Oklahoma has a special aura. In fact, Oklahoma! was the first musical written by the famous duo Rodgers & Hammerstein. The courtship story is set in Oklahoma farm country outside of Indian Territory in 1906. The musical captures some of the “brand-new state’s” spirit via Rodgers’ lyrics as follows, “Oklahoma! Where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain, and the wavin’ wheat, can sure smell sweet, when the wind comes right behind the rain. Oklahoma! Every night my honey lamb and I, sit alone and talk, and watch a hawk, making lazy circles in the sky.”
A top-rated attraction in the state is the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Here, dioramas, art and artifacts together help to document and interpret the history of the American West. Other visitable state sites include Philbrook Museum of Art, set in the historic home of Waite and Genevieve Phillips and featuring expansive formal gardens in Tulsa; the Oklahoma City Zoo featuring an array of animals, walking trails, shows and attractions; the Myriad Botanical Gardens a 17-acre facility rich in formal gardens, tropical conservatory, a dog park and more. Also, not to be missed are the Gilcrease Museum which houses extensive collections of arts & artifacts of the American West & Native Americans. Don’t miss the Oklahoma City Museum of Art showcasing works from the colonial era to the 1960s and featuring European paintings and contemporary exhibits.
In addition to a wide array of cultural sites, Oklahoma has an abundance of parks and natural attractions. This includes the Gathering Place, a sensory park with mazes, chimes, and playgrounds. Beavers Bend Resort Park is another great attraction for those seeking horseback riding trails, fishing, camping, kayaking, canoeing and more. Lake Tenkiller is a best-rated clearwater lake featuring dining on the water. Broken Bow Lake is another hot-spot ideal for camping, picnicking, fishing, swimming and more. Consider seeing Tallgrass Prairie, a visit-able site befitting lovers of nature. Nearby sits the quaint northern Oklahoma town of Pawhuska featuring intimate cafes, shops, and more, as well as the Osage Nation Museum that traces the history of the area’s Osage people. In town, discover The Pioneer Woman Mercantile, owned by Ree and Ladd Drummond. What began humbly as a general store with restaurant and bakery, expanded into an 8-room inn, pizzeria, and ice cream shoppe.
In terms of memorials, a trip to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum is best described as impactful. The museum is a place of quiet, reflection, healing, and hope as it relates to the events which occurred on April 19, 1995. What was once the footprint of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building is now home of the Field of Empty Chairs, Reflecting Pool, and Rescuers Orchard, a moving experience for all.
Oklahoma is a beautiful place filled with small iconic, walkable towns including Medicine Park. A trip here offers quaint shopping and dining experiences, intimate accommodations, friendly atmosphere and more. As a bonus, the town is just a short drive to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge that preserves approximately 60,000 acres of mixed grass prairie, ancient granite mountains, freshwater lakes and streams, plus roaming herds of animals to include bison, longhorn, Rocky Mountain elk and more. Nature lovers will not be disappointed at the true Oklahoma gem, knowing that a trip here is more than just O.K.
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