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.
This is OKC's primary destination for visitors seeking restaurants, bars, museums and places to entertain themselves. The historic district was formerly a place filled with warehouses and storage depots along the Bricktown Canal, however this industry has now departed and the buildings have been rehabbed and refurbished into stylish lofts and businesses. Highlights in the district include the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, the Tapwerks Ale House and it is just steps away from the Cox Convention Center and Chesapeake Arena. One of the coolest attributes of the neighborhood is the mode of transport; the water taxis zoom up-and-down the Bricktown Canal and drop visitors off at several stops along the way.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
An academy that is dedicated to music, the Academy of Contemporary Music is a musician's dream realized. First founded in London, the school focuses on providing students with an opportunity to work with professionals in an encouraging environment. In the downtown area of Oklahoma City, this academy is a joint venture of the academy in London and the University of Central Oklahoma. Housed in a former warehouse, the academy features a Music IT Suite, a Roland V-Drum Room, and a Teaching Studio. See the website to know more.