Oklahoma City is a vibrant metropolis in the southwest United States, and the capital of Oklahoma. It gained fame in 1995 as the site of the worst act of domestic terrorism in America until September 11, 2001.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum is a tribute to the memory of the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that left 168 adults and children dead. The museum charges $10 for adults and $6 for students, but the outdoor memorial free and open all year round. Download a free video podcast from iTunes before you visit or use your cell phone onsite to listen to an audio tour of the site.
In addition, visit these nine free attractions and events to help make your visit to Oklahoma a more affordable family vacation.
1. Sunday Twilight Concert Series and “Screen on the Green” Movie Nights – Free concert series under the Oklahoma City skyline along with “Screen on the Green”, a free outdoor movie festival featuring such family films as Singin’ in the Rain, Casablanca and The Wizard of Oz. With a couple of the films being shown directly after the Twilight Concert Series, families can enjoy an entire night under the stars in downtown Oklahoma City. See website for full schedule.
2. Bricktown Festivals – A variety of free holiday and music festivals take place in the Bricktown Entertainment District throughout the year. Concessions, beverage tents and live music.
3. 45th Infantry Division Museum – This museum depicts the military history of Oklahoma and the 45th Infantry Division. With displays from 1541 through Desert Storm, the museum includes the country’s third largest collection of historic U.S. military fire arms and the world’s largest collection of items that were once the property of Adolf Hitler.
4. Stockyards City or Cattlemens Restaurant – This National Register Historic District hosts the world’s largest live cattle auction, held each Monday and Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. Authentic western shops and the popular Cattlemen’s Steakhouse are also onsite.
5. Mat Hoffman Action Sports Park – This 26,000-square-foot outdoor sports park for BMX riders, skateboarders and rollerblades is the state’s largest and most challenging. Local BMX biker Mat Hoffman lent his name to the park, which features a multi-feature bowl course and a street course.
6. Bricktown Canal – Lined with restaurants, nightlife and family attractions, the mile-long pedestrian canal runs through Bricktown – Oklahoma City’s entertainment and dining district. Turning south at the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark, the canal travels under the highway to a waterfall-and forested park area, which is home to the Oklahoma Land Run Monument.
7. Oklahoma River – Six years of work and an estimated $53.5 million transformed a once almost non-existent river into a seven-mile-long series of river-lakes bordered by landscaped areas, 13 miles of trails and recreational facilities. Located directly south of downtown Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma River hosts numerous regattas, national and international championships, festivals and other outdoor events.
8. Route 66 Park – Nestled on the west side of Lake Overholser and just adjacent to a stretch of the original Route 66 highway, Route 66 Park features a watchtower, an amphitheatre and its own walkable version of the historic highway.
9. Oklahoma Railway Museum – Collects, conserves and interprets artifacts and structures that reflect the heritage of Oklahoma’s railroad and street rail transportation in the 19th and 20th centuries.