5 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Oklahoma

Jul 22, 2021

Home to Native American tribes, breathtaking national parks, wide-open spaces, and some of the most fascinating historical sites in the country, Oklahoma is one of the United States of America's most thrilling destinations.

From Native American ruins to Spanish Missions, trailhead to playground, the country's most renowned state capital to the nation's most breath-taking national park, the must-see destinations of Oklahoma are all on this compact itinerary.

It's the perfect place to grab the whole family and head to one of the 150 historic towns and National Historic Sites that populate the state. The state has plenty of these spectacular attractions, and there's an endless amount to do on a range of budgets. Even if your time is limited, you can still choose to visit only a few of these destinations, including a Mexican pueblo, several Native American communities, and historic interpretive centers.

When your trip is over, plan your trip home with this Oklahoma itinerary that shows you how to get there and what to do once you arrive.

Oklahoma City Zoo

Photo of Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City: en.wikipedia.org

Oklahoma City Zoo is America's largest urban zoo, occupying 13,000 acres, including prairies, wetlands and forests. The zoo is home to more than 3,200 animals of 300 species, including the majestic bison, giraffe, jaguar, snow leopard, orangutan and white tiger, as well as reptiles such as alligator and snakes, and a diverse assortment of birds. It also features several conservation programs and exhibits on the wild side of animal life. Highlights of a visit include the giraffe and jaguar enclosures, where you can see these animals up close and get some fantastic photographs. Be sure to see the Penguin Encounter at the zoo's Central Park, where visitors can get up close with giant African penguins. Another highlight is the zoo's collection of wildlife and wild-life programs. There's the StoryTail baboons at the Wildlife Discovery Center, where you can learn about the animal's life and habitat, and watch native animals at night. There are also baby birds, a waterfall, and extensive children's play areas, including a large outdoor water area where kids can learn to swim. And there are live entertainment and family programs, including a car show, a petting zoo, animal shows, and seasonal events. The zoo also offers a variety of day trips and educational programs for students in the area.

Oklahoma State Capitol

Photo of Oklahoma State Capitol
Oklahoma State Capitol: en.wikipedia.org

The state Capitol, a 1911 structure originally designed by Chicago architect John Bartholomew, houses a museum dedicated to Oklahoma history and hosts a variety of public programs. As the official building of the State of Oklahoma, the building's interior and exterior can be seen in the 2003 film "House of the Rising Sun."

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Photo of National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum: en.wikipedia.org

The cowboy culture is alive and well in the United States today, and many of the traditions of this fast-disappearing cowboy lifestyle have been memorialized in this museum, which showcases almost 800 of the nation's finest Western artifacts and memorabilia, including horses, mustangs, cattle, oil derricks, and saddles. The displays also trace the development of this art form from its origin in the late 18th century to today's vivid and accurate portrayal of the cowboy's life in 18th- and 19th-century garb. Another highlight of this museum is the Tex Ritter Gallery, which honors the legendary Western performer, actor, singer, and former rodeo cowboy, Tex Ritter. Best known as the main character of many Western films, including Johnny Guitar, Tex is also the only rodeo star to have his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Among the film artifacts on display is a pristine hand-stitched leather jacket worn by Ritter when he starred in Johnny Guitar, and personal items of his from this film and other notable films. Museum admission is free, and there is a nominal charge for the audio guides.

Will Rogers Memorial Museum

Photo of Will Rogers Memorial
Will Rogers Memorial: en.wikipedia.org

Most museums are designed to educate and entertain an audience. Will Rogers Memorial Museum, dedicated to the life and times of famous American humorist and philosopher Will Rogers, achieves both by spending time in his family home, showcasing artifacts such as cowboy boots, Western wear, a horse-drawn hearse, and a three-story wooden house. Adjoining the house, the museum is filled with educational displays and videos, with information on the famous American icon. In addition, this museum has an extensive array of film and television memorabilia from his career. Other special exhibits throughout the year focus on the different aspects of Will Rogers life.

Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum

Photo of Oklahoma City National Memorial
Oklahoma City National Memorial: en.wikipedia.org

Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum is the only national memorial in the country dedicated to the diverse culture of African Americans. Displaying an impressive collection of 19th century artifacts and photographs as well as a memorial to the dozens of people killed at the Murrah Federal Building during a bombing in 1995, the memorial was dedicated as a national memorial in 2003. Along with walking around the museum, visitors can see a replica of the Murrah Federal Building, and learn about the history of African Americans and the Murrah building through the museum's exhibits, presentations, and audio-visual and film shows.