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.
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.
The Chesapeake Energy Arena is the premier venue in Oklahoma City for large events and entertainment. It is primarily known as the home of the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, but it holds all kinds of other events as well. From major concerts with famous artists to arena shows like Disney on Ice and Walking with Dinosaurs, the Chesapeake Energy Arena has something for everyone.
Known as the City Arts Center when it was founded by philanthropists John and Eleanor Kirkpatrick in 1989, the renamed Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center features two art spaces, the Eleanor Kirkpatrick Gallery and Circle Gallery, respectively. The former eponymous gallery hosts rotating exhibits and the latter more mixed-media art such as interactive, digital and multi-sensory presentations. Additionally, the focus of the center is not only on art, here the artists offer classes and workshops on painting, two-dimensional studio arts, pottery in addition to many more interesting artistic pursuits. Since the center is a non-profit organization, admission is free, but there is a nominal fee for the classes. Check website for event calendar and schedule of courses.
When President Teddy Roosevelt signed Oklahoma into statehood in the fall of 1907, its original capitol was in Guthrie. Three years later the capitol moved to Oklahoma City and strangely enough it is the only one with working oil rigs on the grounds. This building is the centerpiece of the entire Capitol Campus and both representative chambers are located in the east and west wings, respectively. The capitol historical society offers tours on the hour from 9am-3pm and reservations are highly recommended. Admission is free, and when your done with the campus and capitol, the trendy neighborhoods of Lincoln Terrace and Capitol View have many restaurants and bars that provide perfect places to rest your feet.
Overlooking the Civic Center, this downtown urban park is a hub for cultural and leisure activities. Bicentennial Park with its lovely water feature and raised stage is not only a place to gather but also a performance space and the home of the annual Starlight Supper.
Located in Downtown Oklahoma City, [Artspace] at Untitled helps to promote the local art scene through exhibitions featuring up-and-coming local artists. A non-profit organization, all shows here are completely free. The works on display here use a variety of different mediums, including photography and ceramics. The gallery also hosts a variety of one-time events where artists talk about their work in depth.
The Oklahoma River is an offshoot of the Mighty Mississippi hundreds of miles away to the east. Thankfully, it is still a viable river perfect for recreation and leisure on its banks. The asphalt trails on both sides of the river cover 13-miles, however there is no way to cross from one side to the other! To access the north trail, start at Regatta Park and to access the south, there is an entrance at SW 15th and Sheridan. One other note, the OKC Parks Department does not allow motorized vehicles, only pedestrian and cycling activity.