Who knew Oklahoma held such appeal? I sure didn’t! From a museum to a vibrant downtown to a nifty recreation site, we found three sightseeing spots that this family would be happy to return to on another road-trip vacation.
Our first Suite Stop this morning: the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, where my favorite area, hands down, was Prosperity Junction. Here, a cattle town in 1900 is recreated, with a saloon, one-room schoolhouse (at right), blacksmith shop, general store and so much more. The attention to detail here is extraordinary. The kids also played with the Earnshaw children in the Children’s Cowboy Corral, trying on a bunch of cowboy and cowgirl dress-up clothes, lassoing a horse and ringing the chuckwagon dinner bell.
A water taxi ride on the canal in downtown Oklahoma City was great fun; the drivers offer a humorous 30-minute narrative of the history of the area and Oklahoma. Guides also point out popular restaurants along the canal, including Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill. I spotted plenty of restaurants on the canal that I’d love to dine at on another visit to Oklahoma City.
Most impressive on the tour was the bronze sculpture that brings to life the famous Oklahoma Land Run that took place in 1889. Anyone interested in homesteading on Oklahoma land took off like a shot just after high noon on April 22 to plant a flag in the ground and claim their property of 160 acres. There are several parts to the sculpture — men on horseback, driving wagons, kids, dogs — and when it’s complete it will be the longest free-standing bronze sculpture in the world, covering more than 300 feet. Again, the attention to detail is amazing — muscles of the horse are sculpted in its legs, and there are hoofprints in the “sand” below the sculpture I photographed above.
We hopped on I-35 South to Chickasaw National Recreation Area, which holds so much appeal for my active family. We just made a short drive through the area, but happened upon some campgrounds and a nifty little swimming hole (at left), where kids were jumping from rocks and playing in a waterfall. I would have loved to explore and hike and let the kids actually swim, but all of this travel in the past week had definitely caught up with us, and we were eager to make it to our hotel for the night!
Last night’s hotel: Country Inn & Suites By Carlson Oklahoma City Airport
I know you are likely tired of hearing me say this, but the front desk staff at all of the properties we’ve stayed at on this trip (up to six as of tonight) have been so wonderfully welcoming. But Colette, the general manager at the Oklahoma City airport property, takes the cake! She had written “Welcome, 1K Country Adventure Families” on a white board, and had cut out our little family photos and bios from the 1K Country Adventure webpage and taped them on. We had a one-bedroom suite waiting for us, and inside a bag full of made-in-Oklahoma goodies: chips and salsa, peanut brittle and fudge. Yum! Sweet Colette even gave us some Oklahoma coffee mugs, pointing out to me that I could use them at breakfast instead of the Styrofoam cups I’d disdained in an earlier post. Very thoughtful!
This property is just off a busy commercial strip with loads of other hotels and restaurant chains, so if you’re seeking scenery, this isn’t the place. It’s also close to the airport: we saw some low-flying planes but I didn’t hear any from our hotel room. But, it is new, having opened just a couple of years ago, and the rooms and common spaces are in excellent condition. Like all Country Inns & Suites, the beds are so comfortable, the cookies are warm and the hospitality top-notch.
Gear Spotlight: CD Audiobooks from our Public Library
I know that the hip thing to do these days is download audiobooks onto iPods or use IPhone apps to access digital stories, but we went old school this trip: I checked out three CD books for the kids from our public library at home.
On this trip, the whole family has listened to Judy Blume’s Fudge-a-Mania, Donald J. Sobol’s Encylopedia Brown Finds the Clues. Honestly, I tended to zone out (or start messing around with my Blackberry) during some of the tales, but the kids were and husband were thoroughly entertained, especially during the Encyclopedia Brown mysteries, when the driver would hit pause on the CD and they’d try to figure out the solution to the crime. Good, healthy fun!
Today’s Suite Stops
- National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City
- Bricktown Water Taxi, Oklahoma City
- Chickasaw National Recreation Site, Sulphur
- Tweeting after we crossed into Texas
- Historic clock tower and courthouse in Denton, Texas
- Country Inn & Suites By Carlson Lewisville, Texas
- Day 5, 1K Country Adventure: Kansas to Oklahoma
- Day 4, 1K Country Adventure: Missouri to Kansas
- Day 3, 1K Country Adventure: Illinois to Missouri
- Day 2, 1K Country Adventure: Wisconsin to Illinois
- Day 1, 1K Country Adventure: Minnesota to Wisconsin
- Pre-Trip Excitement
- My Family is Going on a Mystery Road Trip
If you’re having fun following my road-trip adventure, consider planning your own here: www.countryinns.com/1kcountry.
Disclosure: A significant portion of the costs and resources for my family’s participation in the 1K Country Adventure was provided by Country Inns & Suites By Carlson.