You've heard all about Oklahoma's gorgeous open spaces, but there's more to this state than prairies and cowboys. Oklahoma has a vibrant arts scene, historical sites, and unique outdoor adventures you won't find anywhere else.
In this blog post, we're going to explore some of the coolest and most unique things to do in Oklahoma that would delight even the most seasoned travelers. From the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge to your Oklahoma City National Memorial, there's plenty of unique attractions to be experienced in Oklahoma. Whether you're a first-time visitor or looking for discoveries in a familiar place, there's plenty of quirky and unusual attractions and activities that perfectly capture the adventurous cowboy spirit of the Sooner State.
Pioneer Woman Museum in Ponca City
A hidden gem in Oklahoma is the Pioneer Woman Museum, honoring Ponca City native Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman.
- Enjoy a replica of a pioneer home, complete with furnishings and kitchen equipment from the era. Kids would probably love the opportunity to churn butter or cook over an open fire. There are also exhibits on Native American history, ranching equipment, and the area's early oil boom.
- While you're there, stop by the Pioneer Woman Mercantile, Ree's popular shop filled with kitchenware, pantry items, and home décor. Grab lunch at the deli featuring Ree's comfort food recipes like chicken fried steak, pot pie, and cinnamon rolls as big as your face.
- After visiting the museum, take a stroll along Ponca City with its immersivity galleries, antique stores, and historic buildings. Or head to the Ponca City State Park, where you can hike, bike, fish or just enjoy a picnic by Lake Ponca.
- Ponca City offers a glimpse into American west or old west history altogether from the perspective of one of Oklahoma's most well-known residents.
Visit The Largest Free-Standing Collection of Art Deco Architecture in Tulsa
Tulsa is home to one of the largest collections of Art Deco architecture in the country. Head to Tulsa to visit these architectural wonders for yourself.
Historic Brady Arts District
The historic Brady Arts District is a great place to start. This offers an immersive art experience featuring many Art Deco buildings from the 1920s and 1930s, like the historic Brady Theater and the Philcade building. Stroll around Main Street to spot Tulsa Club Hotel, The Atlas Life Building, and the Mayo Hotel. The terra cotta details and vertical designs of these structures are quintessential Art Deco. If you don't mind a nice museum of art, this is a must.
Boston Avenue Methodist Church
Don't miss Boston Avenue's Methodist Church, an iconic Art Deco cathedral. With its elongated spire and ornamental details, this National Historic Landmark is a sight to behold. For panoramic views of the city skyline and Art Deco buildings, head to the observation deck at the 320 South Boston Building.
If you want to learn more about the architectural history of these landmarks, join a walking tour. The Tulsa Foundation for Architecture offers tours highlighting the Art Deco heritage. They provide insight into the designs of influential architects like Bruce Goff, Adah Robinson, and Joseph R. Sunn.
With so much architectural beauty concentrated in one area, Tulsa is a must-see destination for Art Deco aficionados and design enthusiasts. Take time to appreciate the details of these historic structures that have shaped the city's skyline. Tulsa's Art Deco treasures are architectural wonders of a bygone era waiting to be discovered.
Check Out The Unusual Gnome Homes Along Gnome Road in Choctaw
On a drive to lake Eufaula or Gravity Hill? stop by the notorious Gnome Homes! One of the most unique things to do when in the Oklahoma area (if not the entire world), is visit the Gnome Homes along Gnome Road in Choctaw. This quirky roadside attraction features over 2,000 handcrafted gnome homes attached to trees and posts along a short stretch of road.
The gnome homes were created by Harold Thomas Smith, who wanted to spread some whimsy and wonder. Each tiny structure is unique, with details like mailboxes, welcome mats, and some beautiful gardens. Some even have solar-powered lighting! As you stroll down the lane, you'll discover gnomes engaged in various activities like fishing, gardening, and even outhouse use. The level of creativity and craftsmanship that went into each one is truly impressive.
Finding The Gnome Homes
To find the Gnome Homes, head 15 minutes east of Downtown Oklahoma City to the town of Choctaw. Gnome Road is located 1/4 mile north of NE 23rd Street, just east of Hiwassee Road. These gnome homes are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and admission is free. However, the road is not well lit, so daylight hours are the best time to visit if you want to view all the humorous details.
The Gnome Homes are a hidden roadside gem and popular Instagram spot, so go early and be prepared for some crowds, especially on weekends and holidays. But the whimsical creatures and pint-sized abodes will charm both young and old. Put the Gnome Homes at the top of your list for a delightfully unusual diversion when visiting Oklahoma. After all, there's no place quite like gnome!
Explore the Mysterious Abandoned Ghost Town of Skeleton Creek
One of the spookiest things to do in Oklahoma is explore the remains of Skeleton Creek, an abandoned mining town near Spiro. In the early 1920s, the town had over 1,500 residents, but today only remnants of the buildings still stand.
As you wander the site, use your imagination to visualize what life was like in this isolated community. Listen closely and you might hear the faint sounds of children playing, coal carts rattling, and people chatting. An eerie feeling overcomes you as you realize nature has reclaimed this place, leaving the town frozen in time.
Some of the more intact spots include:
- The coal mine entrance, now fenced off for safety. Peer into the inky blackness and wonder about the hardship of working deep underground.
- The remains of the general store, school, and miners’ cottages. Pieces of rusted tin and wood litter the forest floor where homes and businesses once stood.
- The abandoned train tracks that transported coal out of Skeleton Creek. Follow the raised gravel path to get a sense of the vital role the railroad played.
- The Skeleton Creek Cemetery, resting place of over 200 souls who lived and died in this remote town. Many graves are unmarked, a sobering reminder of the hard lives of coal miners and their families.
For a spooky adventure, visit Skeleton Creek and let the ghosts of the past whisper their secrets to you. Will you discover the mysteries of Skeleton Creek?
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