Open space abounds in Oklahoma
On my journey to visit all 50 states (and have truly meaningful experiences in them), I found myself in a place seldom listed as anyone’s top vacation spot– Oklahoma. And yet this quirky, vast state left its mark on me. I cried, I laughed, I was even the center of the universe.
So what is there to do in Oklahoma? Believe it or not, roadside attractions abound in this state, and there are plenty to keep your camera snapping. Headed out with my friend Franco, and sang songs from the musical as we drove. We started in Tulsa (“The Paris of Oklahoma”- Chandler Bing, Friends) visiting the following spots:
John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park– This park was more moving than I anticipated. When you walk in, there is Hope Plaza with a giant 16 ft. statue that has three parts: Hostility (a white man armed fully for attack), Humiliation (a black man with his hands raised in surrender), and Hope (the white director of Red Cross holding a black baby). Then there is the Tower of Reconciliation which is a 25 tall tower depicting the struggle of African Americans throughout American history. A beautiful part with a charged purpose.
The Prayer Tower at Oral Roberts University– Legit looks like a spaceship. We had a blast walking around the park, taking silly pics and checking out the unique architecture.
The Golden Driller- This gigantic man stands at 75 ft tall in front of a random building. DEFINITELY fun to take some weird photos with this dude. I felt very little next to this guy, and it was just what my pregnant self needed LOL
Woody Guthrie Museum (Painting)– This land is your land, this land is my land! One of my favorite murals, and if you are into the musician museum thing, go head inside. We stayed outside and loved on the mural. In the age of social media, this makes a great backdrop wall!
Whiskey 918– When we went it was still Legends, used to be the best line dancing, country-western bar in town. Hopefully, it still is…
Cave House of Tulsa- Definitely quirky, and you need to set up a tour in advance because the owner will personally take you through. Amazing stories, great artifacts, and an overall unique place.
Tulsa Center of the Universe- You can stand in this little circle, and for whatever reason, your voice echoes around you. And it sounds distorted to those on the outside. Cue Twilight Zone music. It’s just a small concrete circle made of bricks, and it’s random, but there was a lot of giggling as we tried it out.
A few places to eat in Tulsa:
Margaritaville Tulsa (also has a casino)
Then we moseyed (mosied?) along to Oklahoma City for a very different experience.
The Oklahoma City National Museum and Memorial.
“We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.“
The silence spoke a thousand words. One of the most moving memorials I’ve ever been to was in Oklahoma City. The memorial to the horrific Oklahoma City bombing. The 168 empty chairs symbolizing the empty seats at the dinner table, the lives lost that day. Something I will never forget, and even now as I write about it I get chills.
Come to Remember. Leave With Resolve. This memorial made me stand strong against violence, and to this day I will preach that it is never the answer. The my students, to my community, to my government. Violence is never the answer.
Oklahoma has a few other stops you can check out along the way:
Confederate Memorial Museum and Cemetery
Foss, Oklahoma (Ghost Town)
Oklahoma Route 66 Museum
Sandhills Curiousity Shop
As you can tell, Oklahoma has more to offer than what you might think. In fact, as we drove away down Route 66 you could hear us singing
“You’re doing fine Oklahoma, Oklahoma, OK!”