Oklahoma is a great state full of history and culture, and it is home to some of the country's most exciting museums and attractions. Whether you're looking for a relaxing day trip or an exciting family vacation, Oklahoma has something for everyone. Here are some locations we recommend adding to your itinerary to get the full Okie experience!
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (Oklahoma City, OK)
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is home to an astounding 28,000 works of art and artifacts related to the Western and American Indian cultures. Its collection of rodeo-related photographs, barbed wire, saddlery, and early rodeo trophies is second to none and is the largest in the world.
Philbrook Museum of Art (Tulsa, OK)
The Philbrook Museum of Art is a renowned art museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, boasting expansive formal gardens. It opened in 1939 and was originally the home of Waite Phillips and his wife Genevieve, built in the 1920s. Visitors can explore nine different collections of art worldwide, with a particular focus on Native American art. This includes baskets, pottery, paintings, and jewelry.
Oklahoma Aquarium (Jenks, OK)
The Oklahoma Aquarium is home to the world's most extensive display of bull sharks, allowing visitors to explore the unique underwater walkway tunnel. Additionally, the facility houses loggerhead sea turtles, zebra sharks, and humphead wrasse. As of 2020, the aquarium boasts a collection of 500 species and 10,000 animals.
Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden (Oklahoma City, OK)
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is in the heart of the Adventure District, located in northeast Oklahoma City. Spanning 130 acres (53 ha), this zoo houses an impressive 1,900+ animals and remains open daily, excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas. As a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Alliance of Museums, the Oklahoma City Zoo is accredited.
Woody Guthrie Center (Tulsa, OK)
The Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is an enlightening museum and archive celebrating the life and achievements of American folk musician and songwriter Woody Guthrie. It is a must-visit destination for any fan of Guthrie and his music. The Center also houses the archives of another influential folk singer, songwriter, and social activist, Phil Ochs, making it an essential repository of the history of folk music.
Cherokee Heritage Center (Park Hill, OK)
The Cherokee Heritage Center (Cherokee: Ꮳꮃꭹ Ꮷꮎꮣꮄꮕꮣ Ꭰᏸꮅ), a non-profit historical society and museum campus, is dedicated to the preservation of historical and cultural artifacts, language, and traditional crafts that are so important to the Cherokee People. The Heritage Center is in Park Hill, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tahlequah, near the mid-19th century Cherokee Seminary building. The facility is home to the central genealogy database and research center for the Cherokee People.
Museum of Osteology (Oklahoma City, OK)
The Museum of Osteology, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S., is a private museum specializing in studying bones and skeletons (osteology). Showcasing over 450 skeletons of animal species from around the world, it is the largest privately held collection of osteological specimens globally, with an additional 7,000 specimens behind the scenes. A part of Skulls Unlimited International, this museum is a unique experience for visitors of all ages.
Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve (Bartlesville, OK)
Nestled in the Osage Hills of Northeastern Oklahoma, Woolaroc is a much-loved museum and wildlife preserve located on Oklahoma State Highway 123, 12 miles southwest of Bartlesville and 45 miles north of Tulsa. Founded in 1925 by oilman Frank Phillips, the 3,700-acre ranch offers a picturesque retreat with over 30 species of native and exotic wildlife, including bison, elk, and longhorn cattle.
Tallgrass Prairie Preserve (Pawhuska, OK)
The Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Osage County and Foraker, Oklahoma, is a notable conservation project. Managed by The Nature Conservancy, the preserve comprises 39,650 acres (160 km2) that the Conservancy owns and an additional 6,000 acres (24 km2) through lease agreements. This is the most significant chunk of tallgrass prairie in the world. It was previously part of the original tallgrass region of the Great Plains that stretched from Texas to Manitoba.
Chickasaw Cultural Center (Sulphur, OK)
Situated in Sulphur, Oklahoma, the Chickasaw Cultural Center is a 184-acre (74 ha) campus close to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. This incredible facility features several museum buildings with interactive displays that cover Chickasaw tribal history, traditional dancing, and the Chickasaw language. There's also a historically accurate traditional tribal village recreated in the rear lot and a garden to pay tribute to Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame members.
Oklahoma History Center (Oklahoma City, OK)
The Oklahoma History Center (OHC) is a museum dedicated to the history of the Sooner State, located on an 18-acre (7.3 ha) plot in Oklahoma City, right by the Governor's mansion on 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive. Established in 2005, it is overseen by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) and provides an informative look into the story of Oklahoma's past.
Gilcrease Museum (Tulsa, OK)
The Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art, known as the Gilcrease Museum, is located northwest of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It houses the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of art from the American West. In addition, the museum's collection is growing to include artifacts and art pieces from Central and South America. The museum was founded by Thomas Gilcrease, an oil tycoon and art enthusiast, who started the collection with his acquisitions.
Did We Miss Anything?
Now that we have shared some of our favorite museums and attractions found in Oklahoma, we wanted to allow our readers to share anything we missed that they think should be on the list. Share your favorite Oklahoma museums and attractions in the comments below! Let's discover the hidden gems of Oklahoma together!