April 19, 1995 was one of the darkest days in Oklahoma City's history. On that day Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was attacked by Timothy McVeigh, subsequently killing 168 people. The site contains two parts, the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial and the museum itself. Inside the museum, you will see 168 empty chairs; one for each innocent victim, 19 of which included children. The most endearing tribute, however, is the part of the fence that has been left over from the makeshift memorial that stood here for five years after the attack. Today, visitors will see letters, photos, flowers and other precious sentiments left by survivors and visitors. Also prominently featured in the memorial is the Survivor Tree, it has become a symbol of hope to the people of Oklahoma City.
Science Museum Oklahoma is a center for learning with its Planetarium and a massive 70-foot (21 meter) diameter Dome Theater in addition to other hands-on, interactive galleries. Some of the museum galleries include the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame, the Kirkpatrick Air and Space Museum and the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. The Air and Space museum has one of the most complete collections of historic aviation memorabilia in the country. In addition to displays, the museum is available for birthday parties, corporate events and it even hosts several excursions and day-camps for students throughout the year.
The Myriad Botanical Garden is a green oasis that offers space and serenity within the concrete urban sprawl of Oklahoma City's downtown. The gardens are spread across 17 acres (6.9 hectares), and the horticulturists often offer educational classes and workshops as well as just a place to relax. Upon entering, the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory contains more than 2000 species of plants and in addition to permanent species, the gardens display rotating exhibits such as orchids and more exotic plants throughout the year. The Grand Event Lawn in the outer gardens and the Water Stage on the lake are frequently used for events like concerts, theater and movie screenings year-round.
The American West in all its glory and grandeur is captured in this 220,000 square feet (20,439 square meter) museum. There are hundreds of sculptures and thousands of paintings, photographs and artifacts from the Old West. The newest addition is the Joe Grandee wing, which features more than 5,000 artifacts. There is a life-size reproduction of a frontier town, a rodeo gallery, a cowboy gallery and a frontier soldier gallery. You will also see the largest collection of works by contemporary western artists, as well as the famous paintings of Frederick Remington.
Located on the grounds of the State Capitol and managed under the auspices of the Oklahoma Historical Society, this museum takes visitors on a journey through the state's exciting history. Many know the mythic story of the Land Run of 1889, but the exhibits here go back even further. Some of the most popular displays focus on Native American culture, the Oklahoma oil boom, the state's impressionist painters and they also have some interesting online exhibits.
This zoo in OKC is consistently rated as one of the best zoos in the United States, home to nearly 3,000 animals, it definitely is one of the largest. Some featured exhibits include the Cat Forest and Lion Overlook, in which you can see lions, tigers, jaguars and leopards. The 'Great Escape' showcases gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and other primate life. One of the zoo's most popular attractions is 'Aquaticus', an aquarium extravaganza that features a dolphin and sea lion spectacle. The zoo is also very active in the community, it provides nature classes, labs, tours and 'Zoomobiles' for all ages. At the end of the day, guests usually catch the show under the stars at the Zoo Amphitheater.
Oklahoma City, or simply OKC, is the state capital of Oklahoma and its largest city. OKC is very much in touch with the times but pays homage to its Western roots with pomp and show. The historic Stockyards City brings the Old West to life, while Frontier City is a convincing replica of an 1800s frontier town, complete with re-enactments of gunfights. There's also the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum with its lively chronicles of this distinctive era of American history. At the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, temporary exhibitions are showcased alongside excerpts from the museum's vast permanent collection and the world's most comprehensive repertoire of Chihuly glass. The cinema on site simultaneously shows a weekly program of independent, foreign and art films. As for the classical performing arts, the Civic Center Music Hall hosts the city's opera, ballet and philharmonic ensembles in spectacular Art Deco surrounds. While Oklahoma City's many attractions are a celebration of the arts, culture and history, the National Memorial commemorates the tragic attacks of 1995 that rocked the city. This stoic memorial is as much a part of the fabric of Oklahoma City as its more lively side; an indelible mark that has been immortalized by this moving monument to the human spirit. Besides these, there are the usual big city trimmings - fine steakhouses, plentiful entertainment and a great set of events to anticipate.
Did you know that gymnastics is one of the oldest Olympic sports? You can find out everything you ever wanted to know about gymnastics at this attraction downtown. Learn about American and international gymnasts, see great photos and memorabilia of the greatest gymnasts including Oklahoma's own Shannon Miller. Don't forget to browse through the great gift shop while you are there. It's a great opportunity to view medals and awards from the history of this popular sport.
Formerly known as the Myriad Convention Center, Cox Convention Center is a premier event venue in Oklahoma City. Aside from being the home rink of the Blazers hockey team and the home arena of the Wranglers arena football team, this newly renovated center is the place to see great concerts, basketball tournaments, and conventions. Plus there are brand-new banquet rooms for smaller meetings and events. The location, right in the heart of downtown and a short walk to Bricktown is perfect.
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art has more than 3000 works from 19th and 20th-century American artists. The highlight is a gallery that focuses on modern American art from the 1950s and 1960s, which includes work by Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Diebenkorn and Robert Indiana. Additionally, this art museum attracts wonderful traveling exhibits that are a must for connoisseurs. Guided tours are available for groups with ten or more people as long as the reservation is made two weeks prior to visit.