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.
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.
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 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.
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 only skeleton museum in the United States, the Museum of Osteology is a great place for people of all ages to learn about phlanges, metatarsals and carpals. With over 400 skulls and 300 complete skeletons on display, the museum gives valuable insights into the skeletal makeup of humans as well as animals. Visitors can enjoy some hands-on learning at the Explorers Corner, where you can handle bones from various North American mammalian species. On your way out, the gift shop is a great place to get someone something unique.
Country music has long played an important role in the culture of Oklahoma, almost as much as it has in Nashville, Tennessee. The Rodeo Opry hosts live concerts every week featuring professional and amateur musicians with backing from the famous house band. The Opry prides itself on being family friendly, with concerts that are accessible for music lovers of all ages. For an authentic and entertaining local experience, be sure to catch a show at the Rodeo Opry.
This museum honors this famed division that captured Hitler's apartment, and you can see the memorabilia they collected at this free museum. The museum also displays World War II and Korean era artillery, uniforms and firearms. The outdoor military exhibit features more than 40 military vehicles, aircraft and other machinations of war. One unique exhibit is the collection of Bill Maudlin cartoons, this is a great way to teach kids about the military and learn something yourself about WWII.
This gallery is composed of nine talented, local artists in the quaint and sometimes sleepy Paseo Arts District. The Spanish Colonial architecture of the building itself is worth the visit and inside you will find mostly oil paintings that range from traditional still-life pieces to more contemporary ones. Aside from oil on canvas, visitors will also find sculpture, glass, clay and other mixed-media on occasion within the gallery. Most of the art is for sale and if you would like to create your own masterpiece, you can do it through personalized classes given by the artists. Check website for current exhibits and details on classes and workshops.