Oklahoma Stories

Travel Oklahoma from A to Z

By Marilyn Jones May 2023
Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee (left) | Photo by Courtney Leper girgis; Tulsa Zoo (right) | Courtesy

There are hundreds of great attractions in Oklahoma. So, where do you begin to talk about the wonder and beauty of the state? How about the alphabet?

A is for art. There are many fine museums, collections and galleries in the state. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa and the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee are three of the more than 20 art museums statewide.

B is for Boston Avenue Methodist Church. Tulsa is known for its Art Deco design. The church was completed in 1929 and is considered one of the nation’s finest examples of Art Deco architecture. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated a National Historic Landmark.

C is for Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur. The Chikasha Poya Exhibit Center offers the history of the Native Americans. Chikasha Inchokka’ Traditional Village recreations include the council house, two summer houses, two winter houses, a replica mound, a corn crib, a stickball field and a stockade fence.

D is for discovering National Historic Landmarks. The U.S. Government designated 22 sites. Examples include Price Tower, a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building in Bartlesville; Boley Historic District in Boley, a Black town founded in 1903; and Creek National Capitol in Okmulgee, used between 1878 to 1907. It is now a museum.

E is for Endangered Ark Foundation. Located in Hugo, the nonprofit dedicates itself to providing a retirement ranch for Asian elephants once used in circuses. They are on the endangered species list.

F is for the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee, and First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City, which honor Native American art, dance, history and culture.

G is for gardens. Myriad Botanical Gardens, Lendonwood Gardens in Grove, The Botanic Garden in Stillwater and Tulsa Garden Center at Woodward Park top the list of the many public gardens in the state.

H is for history. Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City is an 18-acre Smithsonian-affiliated museum that presents the state’s native culture, pioneers, aviation, space exploration, and commerce history.

I is for infantry. The 45th Infantry fought from the shores of France to Berlin and later served in the Korean War. The museum in Oklahoma City honors one of the first activated National Guard units in World War II.

J is for Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. With 39,650 acres, it is the largest protected piece of tallgrass prairie left on earth. Over 700 plants, 300 birds and 80 mammals make this prairie home near Pawhuska.

K is for Kiddie Park in Bartlesville. This year the park is celebrating 76 years of family fun. It features rides, including a train that circles the property.

L is for Lake Tenkiller. The pristine lake area offers camping, fishing, hunting, boating, hiking and scuba diving. Several communities near the lake include Cookson, Park Hill, Gore, Sallisaw, Tahlequah and Vian. Each community has its storied history and attractions.

M is for mansions. Henry and Anna Overholser Mansion in Oklahoma City, Belvidere Mansion in Claremore and Marland’s Grand Home in Ponca City are three of the many homes open for touring, highlighting the state’s history and illustrious citizens and business people.

N is for National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. The museum, located in Oklahoma City, collects, preserves and exhibits internationally renowned Western art and artifacts.

O is for Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum honoring the men, women, and children who lost their lives on April 19, 1995, and first responders who saved many trapped in the aftermath of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing.

P is for Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa. The museum is the former 1920s home of oil pioneer Waite Phillips and his wife, Genevieve. The museum showcases nine collections of art from all over the world; the cornerstone collection focuses on Native American art featuring paintings, basketry, pottery and jewelry. There are also formal gardens.   

Q is for BBQ. There are many award-winning barbecue destinations in the state, including The Butcher BBQ Stand in Wellston. The stand is a winner of two world championships.

R is for Route 66. Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton and National Route 66 Museum in Elk City focus on the men and women who worked, lived and traveled along the “Mother Road” that cuts through Oklahoma.

S is for SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology, located in Oklahoma City. More than 450 skeletons from all corners of the world are displayed, including rare species typically not seen in museum exhibits.

T is for the television show “The Pioneer Woman.” To visit the Pioneer Woman’s ranch, stop by The Mercantile, Ree Drummond’s general store and restaurant in Pawhuska, where an employee will give you tickets and instructions on how to get to the ranch.

U is for USS Batfish. Located at the Muskogee War Memorial Park, visitors can explore a World War II submarine. During the war, the USS Batfish crew performed with honor.

V is for Vintage Sewing Center and Museum. The Tulsa museum features a collection of old, new, used, restored and rare sewing machines and sewing-related artifacts.

W is for Will Rogers and Woody Guthrie. Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore honors the famous entertainer. The museum houses artifacts, memorabilia, photographs and manuscripts about Rogers’ life. The Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa preserves the folk singer’s body of work and celebrates his life and the continuation of his legacy. His music advocated for social justice.

X is for Explore State Parks. There are 38 state parks from Gloss Mountain State Park near Fairview and Black Mesa State Park near Kenton to Robbers Cave State Park near Wilburton and Arrowhead State Park near Canadian.

Y is for Yellow Rose Theater in Moore, Oklahoma’s only full-time dinner theater. Every original production is family-friendly.

Z is for Zoo. The Oklahoma City Zoo covers 130 acres and is home to more than 1,900 animals. The Tulsa Zoo features an 84-acre campus with animal habitats connected by 4.9 miles of pathways. The Tulsa Zoo was named “America’s Favorite Zoo” in a nationwide contest sponsored by Microsoft Game Studios.

Come on! You know your ABCs. Get out there and start exploring your beautiful, historic and exciting state.

Category: Oklahoma Stories

Sign up for our Oklahoma Living Newsletter

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Get The Latest Edition

Get the app: