With its fascinating pioneer culture and lovely natural areas created by the Oklahoma River and several lakes, Oklahoma City is an exciting destination. Aside from well-known attractions such as the Oklahoma City Zoo, the city is home to numerous fascinating lesser-known wonders. Nearby most Oklahoma City vacation rentals are unusual museums, unique shopping venues, and beautiful parks and gardens. Here are the top hidden gems in Oklahoma City.
1. Myriad Botanical Gardens
The Myriad Botanical Gardens is a breathtakingly beautiful 15-acre hidden haven in the middle of downtown Oklahoma City. This lovely oasis has numerous terraced landscaped areas, walking paths, a playground and splash fountains for kids, and even an off-leash area for dogs. Throughout the gardens are numerous pieces of outdoor art, and special educational and entertainment events are regularly scheduled on the grounds. At the heart of the gardens is the Crystal Bridge Conservatory, which houses over 750 varieties of desert and tropical plants, a plunging waterfall, and a sky bridge over a tropical forest.
2. American Banjo Museum
The American Banjo Museum lies just east of downtown Oklahoma City near vacation rentals in the Bricktown entertainment district. The museum houses over 400 musical instruments ranging from primitive hand-made pieces to modern bluegrass banjos. The collections also include photographs, sheet music, songbooks, and other banjo-related memorabilia. Audio and video recordings highlight unforgettable banjo performances from the beginning of the recording industry. Displays focus on the minstrel banjo era of the 1800s, the jazz banjo era of the 1920s, the popularity of bluegrass after World War II, and the use of banjos in folk music in the 1950s and 1960s. The Learning Lounge offers a selection of practice banjos and instructional videos for visitors to try out this vibrant instrument.
3. Oklahoma City Underground
The Oklahoma City Underground, originally known as the Oklahoma City Conncourse after its creator banker Jack Conn, comprises a series of tunnels under downtown Oklahoma City that are spread out over a mile through 20 city blocks. Within the tunnel complex are numerous shops, restaurants, a barbershop, and a post office. Displays of artwork line the tunnel walls in sections neon-lit in blue, green, pink, orange, and other bright colors that identify the various galleries. You can access most of the tunnels via basements and parking garages of major downtown buildings.
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4. The Womb
The exterior mural surrounding The Womb art gallery offers one of the most unusual and flamboyant sights in downtown Oklahoma City. Founded by Wayne Coyne, a member of the local rock group the Flaming Lips, The Womb explodes with bright psychedelic art both inside and out. The brightly painted interior features disco balls, mannequins, and other bizarre artwork. Sometimes parties and psychedelic music performances take place within The Womb.
5. Will Rogers Gardens
Lovely Will Rogers Gardens is a part of Will Rogers Park, which lies northwest of vacation rentals in downtown Oklahoma City. Enjoy a relaxing stroll through the grounds, and view flamboyant flower beds bursting with roses, azaleas, irises, and peonies. The arboretum features hundreds of species of beautiful trees, and the conservatory houses a collection of cacti and succulents. Don’t miss a visit to the park around the gardens, which has amenities such as an aquatic center, an 18-hole disc golf course, a pleasant duck pond, picnic tables, and sports facilities.
6. Museum of Osteology
Located in southeastern Oklahoma City, the fascinating Museum of Osteology houses a collection of the skulls, bones, and skeletons of animals from all over the globe. The museum displays almost 300 skeletons from its collection of thousands. These range from the tiny bones of shrews and mice to the 40-foot skeleton of a humpback whale. Unusual animals represented in the exhibits include a Java rhinoceros, a kinkajou, and a Komodo dragon. Displays are divided into various animal groups such as primates, reptiles and amphibians, birds, carnivores, and marsupials. Special displays focus on forensic pathology, adaptation, and locomotion.
7. Martin Park Nature Center
Beautiful Martin Park Nature Center lies in northwest Oklahoma City. The park has two and a half miles of nature trails through meadows and woodlands where you can observe deer, raccoons, beavers, foxes, and other species of wildlife. The visitor’s center has exhibits on local ecology, a learning library, and live animal displays. Other park features include an observation tower, a bird watching wall, a picnic area, and a playground for children. Guided educational hikes offer an opportunity to learn about local flora and fauna.
8. National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is just north of downtown Oklahoma City. The museum features a large collection of classic and contemporary western art, including works by famous painters such as Frederic Remington and Charles Marion Russell. Exhibits offer photographs, firearms, and memorabilia from rodeos, ranches, wagon trains, Native American culture, and other aspects of life in the Old West. The museum is also home to the Hall of Great Westerners, the Hall of Great Western Performers, and the Rodeo Hall of Fame.
9. Lake Hefner
Lovely Lake Hefner is a large recreational lake that lies northwest of downtown Oklahoma City. Around the 17-mile shoreline are extensive trails for walking and cycling. The lake is popular for sailing and hosts the Oklahoma City Boat Club on its eastern shore. Fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, crappie, and other species is excellent. Lake Hefner is also renowned as one of the best bird watching locations in Oklahoma.
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