As we Shelter in Place, I’ve put together this list of places and things to do in Oklahoma when it’s safe to resume travel. Today, April 15, is also the 11 year anniversary I’ve been filming Uncovering Oklahoma and so this contains some of my favorite videos.
As I dig through my archives, I’ll be updating this article with more suggestions until I’m able to start filming new episodes.
23280 South Spillway Drive, Jet
If you’re looking for an adventure featuring an activity you can’t do anywhere else in the state of Oklahoma, plan a road trip to the Great Salt Plains State Park where you can dig for selenite crystals. Back in 2017, my wife and I went digging for some selenite crystals with a unique hourglass shape that can only be found there. These selenite crystal formations occur when the mineral gypsum mixes with the area’s moist, salt-saturated soils.
I have some travel tips in my article here.
NW 11th and Broadway, Oklahoma City
Right before Oklahoma Contemporary was about to open their doors to their new building in Downtown OKC, they postponed all events tied to their opening week due to the growing concerns surrounding COVID-19. Oklahoma Contemporary is an inclusive center for the arts where people of all ages and backgrounds can experience art, encounter new ideas and ignite their creative potential. Best of all, admission to the galleries is free.
I got to preview the new building and it’s amazing! I’m looking forward to it being open and meeting up with people in their lounge area. While Oklahoma Contemporary waits to open up, they’ve been updating their blog with art activities, profiles, and videos. Embedded above is their latest video, Illuminations with Joe Glasco, which I was commissioned to film and edit for them.
Downtown Oklahoma City
The Underground in Downtown OKC can be best described as a walk-through art installation. The Underground functions as a tunnel system, connecting the downtown’s skyscrapers, while also containing a few restaurants, art, and historical photographs. It’s a fun place for portrait and selfie photography with its colorful light installations.
Pioneer Road, Springer
Want to experience something weird? I took Heide Brandes to the natural phenomena known as Magnetic Hill in Springer. Put your car in neutral at the bottom of the hill, let off the brake, and “something” will pull your car backward at 5 miles an hour. There are numerous magnetic hills or gravity hills optical illusions throughout the world, including another outsider Bartlesville, but I think the one is Springer is better.
This Magnetic Hill is located 1 and 1/2 miles west of I-35 and Highway 53 in Springer. Take Exit 42, heading west on Highway 53 to Pioneer Road and then turn right heading north and go about 1/2 mile to the bottom of the hill.
When you get down to the bottom of the hill, you’ll see a lot of gravel that has washed up on the blacktop road from the rains. This is the cue for the bottom of the hill. Stop your car here, put it in neutral, let off the brake, and experience the car going up the hill.
While you’re in the area, there are lots of fun activities to do in Davis, so browse my Davis tag for past stories, like sampling some chocolates from Bedre, take a thrilling ride on 777 Zip, or go for a hike at Turner Falls.
During the fall, my wife and I stayed in a cabin in the Broken Bow area for our anniversary and had a wonderful time exploring the area. We especially enjoyed Hochatown. We were impressed with what the small town had to offer. There was The Grateful Head Pizza (if you like Hideaway Pizza, you’ll like them), Hochatown Distilling Company (they offer tours), Beavers Bend Brewery (some of the best patio views from a brewery), and so much more.
I had originally planned to spend a few days filming stories in Hochatown for Uncovering Oklahoma this spring. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get some sponsorships and do that project in the fall. Visit www.thingstodoinbrokenbowok.com for more listings of activities there.
Another small I recommend visiting is Medicine Park, a resort town known for its unique for its cobblestone decor. Whenever we take day trips there, we tend to spend most of our time at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. The scenery is incredible, and one of the best views can be found on top of Mt. Scott.
In 2018, Josh Wright gave me a day tour of Bartlesville as he showed off Outpost Coffee, Visit Bartlesville, the Phillips Petroleum Company Museum, Painted Horse, Price Tower, Frank Phillips Home, and the Pathfinder Parkway trails. I love this episode we did together and there’s more that we weren’t able to include because of time.
Earlier this year, Jeff Provine and I went to Bartlesville and recorded some interviews about the town’s ghost stories. You’ll have to wait for that episode though.
Gathering Place in Tulsa is magical. If you haven’t been, even if you don’t have kids, it’s worth a visit. The video above was from a media sneak preview tour before the park opened to the public.
Also, Gathering Place Coffee Co in Shawnee (no relationship to the park) is a treat.
116 Red Rock Canyon Road, Hinton
Red Rock Canyon Adventure Park (formerly known as Red Rock Canyon State Park) is a popular place for rock climbers, but this park has more to offer including hiking trails and camping spots. Plus, it’s about an hour’s drive from Oklahoma City. My wife and I went there for a day trip and in this personal travel video I made back in 2018, I share some of the sights we saw there. Since my visit then, they’ve changed names, added more amenities, and in 2020, started to charge an admission fee.
Concert venues were among the first to shut down and will be the last to reopen. I hope you’ll able to see a live concert soon at your favorite venue. Above are live shows of Speak, Memory at the Tower Theatre and The So Help Me’s in the Plaza District.
I will update this article with more #TravelOKlater suggestions until I’m able to start filming new episodes. I got more videos to dig through my archives. I want to say thank you for visiting and supporting me throughout the years. If you’re able to contribute, please become a patron supporter. Like other publications, I’m taking a major hit on sponsorships. I would love to grow the show and share more stories about creative people and places in Oklahoma.