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Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma. ©Nyttend

Oklahoma is a state of indeterminate location and character. While it may lack the rugged canyons and pastel skies of New Mexico or Arizona, Oklahoma's identity is distinct and very much a legacy of the Old West. Today Oklahoma has the second largest Indian population in the United States, and also has a strong African-American heritage. Both of these populations provide visitors with rich cultural history and experiences.

Encounters such as powwows, craft festivals and traditional storytelling all signify the great cultural history which Oklahoma offers its visitors. Events also pay homage to the cowboys of history, with more than 100 rodeos taking place in Oklahoma each year in which modern-day cowboys compete in calf-roping, steer-wrestling and bull-riding events.

The flat, fertile land of the central region is only one part of Oklahoma's diverse terrain. In the east, the prairies give way to rugged mountains and dense forests. This region, today a favourite of rappellers, hikers and equestrians, was once a favourite of outlaws as well. Robbers Cave State Park served as a hideout for such notorious fugitives as Jesse James and Belle Starr. The Broken Bow area is also popular with lovers of the outdoors. Its fly-fishing and boating opportunities also make it a top holiday spot. In the north, the grasslands shift again into one of Oklahoma's most intriguing natural wonders, the Great Salt Plains, literally an 8,690-acre sea of salt, and in the west lie the Beaver Dunes, where adventurous visitors can rev up dune buggies or ARVs and race down sandy slopes.

While Oklahoma as a whole tends to be conservative and inspires nostalgia for a slower pace and simpler life, sophistication is not precluded. The vision and sensitivity with which the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum were established, in honour of those who died in the 1995 bombing, attest to this. So do the state's well-preserved architectural gems, remnants of the Oklahoma oil boom of the 1920s and 1930s. Visitors in search of travel kitsch will find landmarks in roadside architecture, including the Blue Whale and Totem Pole Park.

It is safe to say that Oklahoma is a destination offering visitors culture, history and a great feeling of the Old West.

Climate Info

Because Oklahoma's geography is so diverse, temperatures and rainfall vary from one part of the state to another, and weather conditions change quickly. Generally, the state has a mild and humid climate, except for the northwestern panhandle, which is semi-arid. Winters are quite chilly, but cold snaps usually only last for very short periods of time. Summers, on the other hand, can be sweltering. Springs are warm, though thunderstorms are frequent, while autumn is often the most enjoyable season, with blue skies and mild, sunny days.

Getting Around

Oklahoma City is sprawling, to put it mildly. Therefore, it's best to rent a car when visiting. Otherwise, travellers should plan to stay downtown, where hotels and attractions are clustered and where they can take advantage of the Oklahoma Spirit trolley service, which runs between multiple attractions as well as hotel and dining areas. EMBARK provides bus services, but due to Oklahoma City's size, it can be difficult to rely solely on the bus system, and taking taxis over such long distances can be expensive.

Will Rogers World Airport (OKC)

LocationThe airport is located five miles (8km) southwest of Oklahoma City.
Time DifferenceGMT -6 (GMT -5 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).

Tel: +1 405 680 3200.

Getting to city

The private Jefferson Bus Company provides daily scheduled intercity service to Lawton, Chickasha, Wichita Falls, and Fort Worth. Shuttle service is offered by several hotels, but reservations must be made in advance. Taxis, private van shuttles and rental cars are also available.

Car Rental

Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Alamo, and Thrifty offer on-site service.

Airpor Taxis

Taxis queue at Transportation Plaza, accessible from the baggage claim area. The average fare from the airport to the downtown area of Oklahoma City is about $26.

Airport Facilities

Facilities at the airport include retail shops, restaurants and bars, several ATMs, charging ports, a pet relief area, an information centre, meeting rooms, and shoeshine service. Business services including fax, photocopying, and a notary are available from the administrative office.

Car Parking

Drivers are spoilt for choice when it comes to parking options at Will Rogers World Airport. Hourly parking is close to the terminal and the first 60 minutes of the first day is free; it costs $1 per hour thereafter up to a $24 daily limit. Long-term parking in the various long-term lots costs from $5 to $7 per day depending on distance from the terminal. Free shuttles service the more distant lots.


Tulsa International Airport (TUL)

LocationThe airport is located five miles (8km) from Tulsa.
Time DifferenceGMT -6 (GMT -5 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).

Tel: (918) 838-5000, Email: taaweb@cityoftulsa.org

Getting to city

Tulsa Transit provides a bus service from the airport to downtown Tulsa. Taxis, shuttles and rental cars are also available.

Car Rental

There are several car hire companies with branches at Tulsa Airport, including Budget, Avis, National, Alamo, Enterprise and Thrifty.

Airpor Taxis

There is a taxi rank outside the baggage claim area. Taxis have a minimum charge of $10, and there is an additional fee of $2 per extra passenger and per bag. The estimated fare for one person to downtown Tulsa is about $20 and to the University of Tulsa is about $16.

Airport Facilities

Located in the passenger terminal of Tulsa Airport are several ATMs, restaurants, bars, shops, a chapel, a business centre and conference rooms, shoe shine and massage services and a military lounge.

Car Parking

There are short and long-term parking facilities at Tulsa Airport. Hourly parking is available across from the baggage claim area; charges are $1 for the first half hour and $2 per hour thereafter, up to a maximum of $10 per day. Garage parking is also available at $10 per day. The economy parking lot has free shuttles available to the terminal and charges $6 per day.


Myriad Botanical Gardens

The Myriad Botanical Gardens are a 17-acre paradise right in the centre of downtown Oklahoma City. In addition to flourishing plant life, rolling hills, walkways, sculptures and a sunken lake, the gardens feature the seven-storey, circular Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, an archite
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Myriad Botanical Gardens ©Caleb Long

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum

On the morning of 19 April 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed by Timothy McVeigh, killing 168 people. Today, where the building once stood, the memorial and museum honour the victims, survivors and rescue workers of the Oklahoma City Bombing.

The outdoor m
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Oklahoma City National Memorial ©Nyttend

National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

The mission of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is to preserve and interpret the heritage of the American West. Exhibits include works by the finest contemporary Western artists as well as by Western masters like Charles Russell.

The 200,000-square-foot (60,960
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Cowboy Morgan Evans' World Series Rodeo ©Dr. B. R. Lang

Oklahoma City Zoo

The Oklahoma City Zoological Park has been recognised as one of the top ten zoos in the United States. It is both a living museum and a botanical garden. Exhibits include Aquaticus, showcasing marine life from around the globe; Cat Forest and Lion Overlook; Great EscAPE, featuring gorill
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Scarlet Macaw at Oklahoma City Zoo ©Janice Waltzer

Stockyards City

Visitors to the world's largest stocker/feeder cattle market can watch real Oklahoma cowboys work the livestock or attend a live cattle auction. Stockyards City's Cowtown is home to more than 70 businesses specialising in Western wear, farm and ranch needs, dining and entertainment. Guid
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