Oklahoma Captures the Spirit of the Wild West

Exhibit in the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
Exhibit in the National Cowboy
and Western Heritage Museum


Cowboys reign supreme in Oklahoma City! Cowgirls too, for that matter! There’s even a National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, but it isn’t at all the kind of museum I envisioned before entering the super modern structure with its stunning oil paintings, massive sculptures and yes, cowgirls and cowboys.

The museum features fine art, pop culture and native American objects, including historical cowboy gear. It brought back memories of decades past as I strolled through the museum looking at the exhibits featuring western attire of the stars of movies and television such as Gene Autry and Robert Redford. 

Statue at Stockyard City Entrance
Statue at Stockyard City
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The city is also home to historic Stockyards City, billed as the world’s largest live cattle auction. The auction takes place here every Monday and Tuesday throughout the year. More than 5,000 heads of boisterous cattle are marched through the stockyards on those days. There is a public viewing of the event, but for those who prefer shopping to watching a noisy herd of cows, Stockyards City has an abundance of western wear shops from discount to high end. You can have a cowboy hat or boots made to order or shop at a thrift shop. It’s also the place to sample some of the best steak at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse. The Stockyards City also has Rodeo Opry’s live western music show every Saturday evening.

Banjo Museum in Bricktown
Banjo Museum in Bricktown | Larger

Music lovers and those that appreciate vibrant melodies, will enjoy a visit to the American Banjo Museum in downtown Bricktown, nestled in between shops and breweries. The museum is dedicated to preserving and promoting the music and heritage of America’s native musical instrument. There are more than 300 banjos on display. The exhibit tells the story of the evolution of the banjo from its simple beginnings in slavery to bluegrass and folk music.

Bricktown also has a multitude of restaurants, bars, cafes and coffee shops. It’s a fun place to sample a local beer or taste some good western style cooking from country-fried steak to Tex-Mex specialties. I also enjoyed a water taxi ride along the Bricktown canal with entertaining guides who pointed out area eateries and attractions enroute.

There are few people in our nation that can forget the events of April 19, 1995, the date when Oklahoma’s Federal Building was bombed and 168 lives were lost. Thirty children were killed on that day and 219 children lost at least one parent in the horrific event. The city has since rebuilt the Federal Building across the street and on its exact place is the Oklahoma National Memorial and Museum.

The Memorial Museum offers a unique insight into the events that took place before and after the bombing. It is a remembrance for those who were killed and for those that survived. Bring along a tissue. The Memorial also offers a background on terrorism and the changing legislation that has occurred with regard to Federal Buildings in the U.S. as a result of the tragedy.

Wall of letters, Oklahoma National Memorial and Museum
Wall of letters, Oklahoma
National Memorial and
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I was especially touched by the Children's area and the letters written by children offering words of encouragement following the act of terrorism. This outstanding Museum is a must on any visit to Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City also has myriad of family-friendly attractions from the city zoo to the Science Museum Oklahoma. Dale Chihuly fans will also be awed by one of the largest collection of blown glass in the U.S. by the master sculptor at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

I enjoyed my stay at the Renaissance Oklahoma City, a clean and comfortable hotel, with a spacious lobby adorned with greenery and waterfalls. The hotel also has a delicious breakfast buffet in its atrium restaurant. Located in downtown Oklahoma City, the hotel is walking distance to Bricktown and adjacent to the Cox Convention Center.

For more information about the area, log on to: www.visitokc.com.