Don't sleep on Oklahoma City's legit wealth of museums
A well kept secret about visiting Oklahoma City is that it hosts a truly excellent set of museums. Start with the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum, a stunning exploration of the Oklahoma City Bombing, the second-largest terrorist attack on American soil. In addition to a lovely memorial and overview of the bombing itself, the museum provides a riveting dive into the chase to find Timothy McVeigh. Few people remember that the case was one of the first uses of DNA and forensic tracking by local police departments, and the interactive exhibit provides visitors an opportunity to get hands-on with the evidence; think of it like a #truecrime, real-life CSI episode that you won’t soon forget.
A lighter attraction (at least for the more macabre among us) is the Museum of Osteology, AKA the first-of-its-kind skeleton museum. Visitors can experience everything from the skeletons of ordinary house mice to humpback whales to creatures that haven’t yet been identified, all while learning about new technologies for analysis, like 3D imaging. If you’d rather dive into some history, there’s no better place to indulge your inner John Wayne than the National Cowboy and Western History Museum. Collecting westeren history since 1955,, the museum has exhibits on cowboys from North Africa through the “New World;” cowboy artistic artifacts like saddles and spurs; and cinematic exhibits like the current focus on the film True Grit. Consider staying in or visiting the 21c Museum Hotel, a two-for-one art museum and hotel that also appropriately hosts film screenings in Film Row. Visitors can enjoy a 14,000 square foot contemporary art gallery, rooftop eats and cocktails, on-site activities like yoga, and ogle the beautifully renovated, historic Ford Motor Company assembly plant the hotel is housed in all at once, a true bang for your buck.
These attractions, like the restaurants and bars, speak to a wide-ranging cultural identity, one that meets at the convergence of the American east, west, and south; modern and historic; indigenous and immigrant; industrial and artistic; highbrow and low. And if you're willing to dismiss OKC's unique and immersive culture as simply "flyover country," well, you're truly missing out.