Travel

OKLAHOMA, USA

May 6, 2018

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Sweet Home Oklahoma Baby!

When everyone heard I was heading to Oklahoma on my USA trip, there were a lot of questions about WHY?
So much negativity for this southern state that apparently had nothing going for it. I just didn’t understand when people would say, but there’s nothing in Oklahoma!
It may not be the destination of many bloggers or fashion peeps I know but I knew I had to go!

So I packed my bag, put on my check-shirt aka my flanno, and got ready for some southern hospitality. I’m heading to the Sooner state. The state that on a map looks like it’s pointing!

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Let the Adventure begin.

Fun Facts about Oklahoma:

The city ranks as the eighth-largest city in the United States by land area. It’s BIG. And spaced out!

Oklahoma City has one of the world’s largest livestock markets. Yes, I’m talking World not just in the USA.

Oil, natural gas, petroleum products and related industries are the largest sector of the local economy. The city is in the middle of an active oil field.

The federal government employs large numbers of workers from the Air Force in Oklahoma.

They get tornadoes, which terrifies me! And Oklahoma was the setting for the movie “Twister”. The State is a part of what’s known as ‘Tornado Alley.’ Oklahoma City alone, which suffered 5 tornados in one day in 1974, has been hit by about 150 since the 1890s.

Gordon Matthews, born in Tulsa, was the inventor of an electronic communication system to store audio messages patented in 1982. We know it as voicemail.

The world’s first installed parking meter was in Oklahoma City, on July 16, 1935.

Anadarko is home to the only authentic Indian City in the United States. It is located in the beautiful Washita river valley in southwest Oklahoma.

Okmulgee owns the world record for largest pecan pie, pecan cookie & pecan brownie. Also the biggest Ice-cream.

The National Cowboy Hall of Fame is located in Oklahoma City. It’s on my list next visit! Love me a cowboy anything!

An Oklahoman, Sylvan Goldman, invented the first shopping cart.

Edward Roberts, a 1968 Oklahoma State University graduate in electrical engineering, is credited wth inventing the personal computer and he gave software giant Bill Gates his first job in the industry.

Known as the Antique Capital of Oklahoma, Jenks is home to the state’s best variety of: Antique Stores, Gift Shops, Galleries, Museums, Crafters Malls, and Collectible Retailers.

Tahlequah, Oklahoma is the Tribal capital of the Cherokee Nation.

Bob Dunn a musician from Beggs invented the first electric guitar 1935.

Garth Brooks was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He grew up in Yukon, Oklahoma. Who doesn’t love a little Garth Brooks?!

State Motto: Labor Omnia Vincit {Labor Conquers All Things}

State Flower is the Mistletoe.

State Animal is the Bison.

Famous Oklahomans: Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench, Vince Gill, Woody Guthrie, Patti Page, Reba McEntire, James Garner, Van Heflin, Tony Randall, L. Gordan Cooper, Owen Garriott, Thomas Stafford, Paul Harvey, Shannon Miller, Will Rogers, Dan Rowan and Jim Thorpe.

Oklahoma has produced more astronauts than any other state.

The Aerosol Can was invented in Bartlesville.

In Gurhrie nearly 20,000 lighters and “fire starters” are displayed at the National Lighter Museum. The nation’s only museum devoted to the collection of lighters. Random but could be cool to see.

Oklahoma’s four mountain ranges include the Ouachitas, Arbuckles, Wichitas and the Kiamichis.

Oklahoma is bordered by six states: Texas to the south and west, Arkansas and Missouri to the east, Kansas to the north and Colorado and New Mexico at the tip of the northwestern Oklahoma panhandle.

Oklahoma’s state wildflower, the Indian Blanket is red with yellow tips. It symbolizes the state’s scenic beauty as well as its Indian heritage. The wildflower blooms in June and July.

On April 22, 1889, the first day homesteading was permitted, 50,000 people swarmed into the area. Those who tried to beat the noon starting gun were called Sooners. Hence the state’s nickname.

Oklahoma has the largest Native American population of any state in the U.S. Many of the 250,000 American Indians living in Oklahoma are descended from the 67 tribes who inhabited the Indian Territory. Oklahoma is tribal headquarters for 39 tribes.

Oklahoma City National Memorial honours the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were changed forever on the site of the bombing in Oklahoma City April 19, 1995. Which if you get a chance to go to is pretty powerful and beautiful.

I bet you have learnt a few new things about Oklahoma now that you never knew!

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Oklahoma and I have a soft spot for each other. I’m still trying to understand it but I do very much love it. It’s calming, easy and relaxed but still a city.  It also helps that I have a few smiling faces there that make me want to go back more than once! Let’s be honest, I probably would have headed to Oklahoma if I didn’t know someone. It’s no New York City, but it’s just as charming in its own way. I only really had a small introduction to the Southern Charmed City. I can’t wait to have another trip, see those smiling faces and explore it more, see what really makes it tick!

To get a look at what my whirlwind week in Okie was like… check out my video…

One thing I highly recommend is Witchita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and Visitor’s centre.
The views are magical and the open range is stunning.

The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge outside of Lawton is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Oklahoma and a fav for Instagramers. The photo-ops are endless – drive to the top of Mount Scott for a classic photo of Quanah Parker Lake and huge rock formations. The refuge spans over 59,000 majestic acres and is home to free range buffalo, Texas longhorn cattle, prairie dogs, elk and deer. Pop your hiking shoes on, grab a camera and have an epic adventure. Or why not call it home for a few days at one of the many campsites.

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There is a lot of fun to be had in Oklahoma, you’ve just got to look. Like any city, it’s revolving with more and more with cooler bars, cafes, restaurants and shops popping up!

I have a list of things I have found for the next trip. Hunt and you shall find! Seek and you shall have an adventure!

Here are just a few fun things I have found:

The Centre of the Universe – An acoustic anomaly with a mysterious cause.

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The so-called Center of the Universe in downtown Tulsa is marked by a small concrete circle in the middle of a larger circle of bricks. It’s not much to look at, but looking isn’t really the point.
If you stand in the middle of the circle and make a noise, the sound is echoed back several times louder than it was made. It’s your own private amplified echo chamber.
A foghorn could be going off in the centre of the circle and those on the outside wouldn’t hear it. This may be an exaggeration, but your voice does sound extremely distorted when heard from outside the circle. It’s an incredible effect.
An acoustical vortex that seems to defy the laws of physics—the effect is thought to be caused by the sound reflecting off a circular wall, in this case, a nearby planter. Still, though many people have studied the cause of the odd anomaly there’s no clear consensus. Whatever the causes of this natural sonic distortion may be, it is truly an amazing place.

20 E Archer St
Tulsa, Oklahoma, 74103
United States

The world’s only museum devoted solely to the art and collection of action figures.

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Opened in 2005, the museum was actually started thanks to a program started by the city of Paul’s Valley. Nearly five years before the museum’s opening, the city of Paul’s Valley started an initiative called Vision 2010, the goal of which was to create attractions which would drive local tourism. To this end, local toy designer Kevin Stark began working on The Toy and Action Figure Museum that stands today. Stark was able to open the museum as a fully accredited nonprofit, thus making it the only official museum of its kind in the world.

111 South Chickasaw Street
Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, 73075
United States

Pop Bottle.
The future of roadside attractions is this sci-fi soda mecca that is home to a 66-foot tall neon pop bottle.

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Who doesn’t love big things?!?

Established in 2007, the Route 66 restaurant is designed like a classic roadside attraction straight out of the future. The restaurant building itself is designed in an ultra-modern style, all angular steel and glass. It is purposefully reminiscent of old-style gas stations (it is also a gas station!) with a large overhang out front over the front entrance. Inside, the restaurant is decorated with a huge wall of soda bottles that are stunningly arranged, not by flavour or brand, but by colour. Pops sells around 700 different kinds of soda and drinks. The 66-foot tall bottle looks like it’s made of rings of neon, but it is actually lit with LEDs, set into the metal rings. Each night, the bottle lights up in an impressive light show, worthy of Route 66’s sensational heritage.

660 Route 66
Arcadia, Oklahoma, 73007
United States

The Womb.

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Psychedelic arts centre founded by the frontman of the Flaming Lips.

The arts complex — where you can find colourful contemporary art shows, music performances, a creative agency, and a store — is the brainchild of Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips. Coyne co-started the Womb in 2011 with collaborators Rick Sinnett and Jake Harms, and it’s not unusual to see some spare props from Flaming Lips stage shows like a mammoth disco ball or laser-shooting hands. The long-running Oklahoma rock band, known for their psychedelic performances involving UFOs, dancing giant rabbits, and earnest music about life and death, has always been visually creative, and this is a place where you might dance in a thick smoke machine fog one night, or see some strange experimental music performance the next.

25 NW 9th Street
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73102
United States

 Blue Whale of Catoosa

Nature’s biggest mammal swims in landlocked Oklahoma.

Hugh Davis built the Blue Whale of Catoosa for his wife as a 34th wedding anniversary present in 1972. Since then, the smiling whale has greeted visitors cruising down Route 66 and has become a major hub for visitors passing through Oklahoma.

2705 N Highway 66
Catoosa, Oklahoma, 74015
United States

Totem Pole Park.

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This historic folk art garden contains a nightmare tower that claims to be the world’s largest concrete totem pole. Located a few miles off of historic Route 66, one man’s collection of homemade, concrete fetish decorations is home to a totem pole so large it actually has a room inside of it.

Oklahoma’s Totem Pole Park is the work of local artisan Ed Galloway who created the attraction on his own across a number of decades.

21300 Highway 28 A
Chelsea, Oklahoma, 74016
United States

Heavener Runestone.

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 The Heavener Runestone is a ten-foot by twelve-foot high sandstone slab carved with symbols that are controversially attributed to the Vikings.

Heavener State Park is on top of Poteau Mountain, one and a half miles northeast of Heavener, off of State Highway 59 and US Highway 270.

18365 Runestone Rd
Heavener, Oklahoma, 74937
United States

 Oklahoma City Underground.

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The Underground of Oklahoma City covers over 20 city blocks, filled with art and history exhibits that illustrate the individuality of the state and its residents. There is no one entrance to the Underground, but rather many secret entrances scattered throughout downtown.

The tunnels are colour coded in a variety of neon (pink, lime, orange, yellow, light blue, purple, green, red, and blue), and each colour represents a wing, which corresponds to a gallery. There are several glass skyways between buildings without underground connections. Many of the secret entrances are in the basements and parking garages of big buildings. The Sheraton Hotel’s basement is one of the more popular and accessible tunnels, but the Banc First Building has access to a larger number of tunnels. Simply take the elevator to the basement. From there, you’ll find an underground cafe, a post office, and a barbershop on your way to a tunnel lined with green fluorescent lights. That tunnel takes you to a yellow tunnel, which leads to an underground Chinese restaurant.

The tunnels are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and there are plenty of entrances throughout the city:

Dowell Center Parking, 433 North Harvey Avenue
Dowell Center, 250 North Robinson Avenue
County Office Building, 320 Robert S Kerr Avenue #101
Leadership Square, 211 North Robinson Avenue #400
Sandridge Parking Garage, 320 N Broadway Avenue
101 Park Avenue
Banc First, 101 North Broadway Avenue
Sheraton Hotel, 1 North Broadway Avenue

Route 66 Sidewalk Highway.

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Historic Route 66—America’s Main Street—has 2,451 miles of stories to tell. From one of the last remaining “Muffler Men” in Wilmington, Illinois, to the End of the Trail in Santa Monica, the Mother Road runs through eight Midwest and western states, weaving a dreamy and transient roadside past.
Miami, Oklahoma is in the far northeastern corner of Oklahoma. You can find sections of the remaining Sidewalk Highway along E 140 Rd (there is a marker at the corner of OK Hwy 59). You’ll want to drive slowly – the road is pretty rough.

Coleman Theatre.

Coleman Theatre
This historic theatre’s pipe organ still accompanies silent films just like it did in 1929.
Located on historic Route 66, the gorgeous Coleman Theatre was built in 1929. Originally serving as a vaudeville theatre and movie palace, the theatre’s original “Mighty Wurlitzer” pipe organ was sold due to economic difficulties in the 1970s but was returned to its original home in 1996.

Attend a silent film screening for an authentic classic movie experience with the “Mighty Wurlitzer” pipe organ providing the musical accompaniment.

103 N Main St
Miami, Oklahoma
United States

National Cowboy and Western Museum.

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Sitting in the arguable birthplace of the Wild West, this museum holds the largest collection of bronco busting bric-a-brac in the world. To truly understand the era and the land that the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum celebrates, one need only look at the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889 for context.

1700 North East 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73111
United States

Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum.

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This museum holds not just a world-class collection of firefighting artefacts and gear but even the region’s first fire station itself.
Celebrating the brave men and women who have devoted their lives to fighting fire in the state of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City’s Firefighter Museum has amassed an impressive collection of firefighting gear, uniforms, vehicles, and even an entire fire station within its walls.

2716 NE 50th Street
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73111
United States

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.

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The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum stands as a symbol of strength in the wake of unspeakable violence. Visit the Memorial Museum to experience the brutality of the Oklahoma City bombing, and the tenderness of the response.

620 N Harvey Ave,
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73102
United States

Chickasaw Cultural Centre.

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The Chickasaw Cultural Centre offers a world of opportunity to learn and connect with Native American history. Watch the story of the Chickasaw people unfold before your eyes through powerful performances, reenactments, demonstrations, collections and exhibits at one of the largest and most extensive tribal cultural centres in the United States.

867 Charles Cooper Memorial Road,
Sulphur, Oklahoma, 73086,
United States

Oklahoma Aquarium

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The Oklahoma Aquarium is the state’s must-see attraction featuring amazing aquatic life in immersive exhibits. You’ll be transported to a tropical beach visiting the new Sea Turtle Island. View 300-pound sea turtles, reef sharks and Caribbean fish from three levels plus an underwater observation station. Experience massive bull sharks swimming alongside you and overhead from the safety of a unique walk-through tunnel and dome in the half-million gallon Shark Adventure.

300 Aquarium Drive,
Jenks, Oklahoma, 74037,
United States

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 Oklahoma and its Southern Charm has more to offer than most think. This is just a snippet of what you can do. An adventure can be had anywhere, its what you discover is the adventure.
See you soon, Okie!

KB x

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