My two older kids and I decided to take a little road trip two hours up the road to the Oklahoma City area, including Norman and Bricktown. We did not have the baby, so we took full advantage of 24 hours and did not stop. This weekend was the famous OU-Texas football game in Dallas.
Every year, the University of Oklahoma and The University of Texas meet halfway from their respective campuses in Dallas, Texas. The Red River Shootout game is at the Cotton Bowl and is played right outside the Texas State Fair. We decided to go the opposite direction and go into Oklahoma!
The Red River is right at the Texas/Oklahoma border; our superstition is to lift our feet over it is coming in and going out of Oklahoma for luck. It must have worked because Oklahoma won the Red River Rivalry for the third year in a row that day.
We headed straight to Norman, Oklahoma, which is the University of Oklahoma, Norman, and my alma mater. I graduated with my master’s degree in 2011. Since the game was playing in Dallas, the campus was EMPTY.
We had the whole campus take silly pictures, walk around quietly and hear the occasional loud excitement from the campus bars across the street every time there was a touchdown.
A fascinating little history of making a new wrinkle in your brain- The University of Oklahoma is a public research campus founded in 1890, located 25 minutes outside Oklahoma City’s capital. The Oklahoma Sooners, which is famously linked to the University, has a rooted history with Oklahoma’s origin of Indian Territory.
In 1830, Congress set aside Indian Territory in Oklahoma to aggressively relocate many tribal nations from their original homelands via the Trail of Tears. The Civil War followed, and many tribal nations lost their land and homes in Indian Territories due to renegotiations in treaties; the land then became Unassigned Lands.
These Pioneers, known as Boomers, sought to settle the Unassigned Lands, which later would combine with Oklahoma Territory. These territories opened to pioneers for settlement which famously became the Oklahoma Land Runs of 1889.
The race began with a pistol shot, and people would rush to stake their land claim. Those who jumped the gun “Sooner” than later became known as Sooners. Boomer Sooner later emerged and is chanted at games and rivalries to this day.
The University of Oklahoma embraces the inclusivity that its foundation was built upon. Today, the University is proud and represents the spirit and resilience of the American Indian heritage. When in the Oklahoma City area, Norman and the University of Oklahoma are worth seeing.
The kids and I made a reservation at the Sam Noble Museum for the afternoon. The museum is an excellent natural history museum that I have been coming to for many years.
It is not an overwhelmingly large museum and is great for kids and adults to learn, engage and play. We even picked up a sloth at the gift store we have named, Sausage.
Things to do in Norman Oklahoma:
Catch a game: The University of Oklahoma has a combined 38 National Championships from various intercollegiate sports. They currently have one at least national championship for the last seven consecutive years.
Sam Noble Museum: The Sam Noble Museum at the University of Oklahoma is one of the world’s finest natural history museums. It houses over 10 million specimens and artifacts from life, natural and cultural histories.
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art: Acclaimed as one of the finest university art museums in the country, he was recently gifted one of the largest French Impressionist paintings ever given to a University-The Weitzenhoffer Collections.
Where to Eat, Norman, Oklahoma
Any fun restaurant/bar/coffee/donut near Boyd Avenue and Asp Avenue across the main entrance of the University campus. It is filled with many fun shops, students, and fans.
Neighborhood Jam (breakfast & brunch) 102 W. Main Street Norman, Oklahoma
Sideline Bar and Grill 563 Buchanan Ave, Norman Oklahoma
Blackbird Gastro Pub 575 S. University Blvd #110, Norman, Oklahoma
Downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
After our museum visit, we headed to the downtown Oklahoma City area known as Bricktown. This would be the first time I have ever been to this area, and we were impressed. Highly. I will be back because I did not have time to see what this area and other activities Oklahoma City offers.
The Bricktown District, a massive tourist redevelopment in the downtown area of Oklahoma City, is filled with lively restaurants, nightlife, sports venues, trendy hotels, and lots of family fun. You can take a cruise on the Bricktown Water Taxi, the cruises along the Bricktown Canal.
Head over to Brickoloplis with the kids for mini-golf, a bungee trampoline, an arcade. Drinks out front for the adults! You can see a horseshow or rodeo at the Oklahoma City State Fair Park, catch an Oklahoma City Thunder game at Chesapeake Energy Area, or OKC Dodgers AAA pro baseball game. There is SO MUCH to do!
Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.
This memorial is one of the most impactful museums we have ever been to. I was a young girl when the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed on April 19th, 1995. My family watched as the city grieved and devastated families of lost ones suffer from their loved ones being taken away from them so horribly.
My family and I watched public servants, and the city’s citizens come together in unity, strength, and heroism. I remember shortly after; a chain-link fence was built to protect the site; it became a place of mourning, where condolences and mementos were shared.
The site is sad with memory but brings a surprising comfort—a moment of reflection and thankfulness.
History of the Memorial
At 9:01 am on April 19, 1995, there was peace, quiet, innocence at the Alfred Murrah Federal Building. At 9:03 am, a bomb exploded outside the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. One hundred sixty-eight people, including 19 children, died, and hundreds were injured.
Up until 9/11, the bombing was the worst act of terrorism in America’s history. A Memorial and Museum are now honoring those involved who lost their lives where the building once stood. A beautiful reflective pool and a field of 168 empty chairs were dedicated in 2000.
“We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived, and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope, and serenity.”
The families, survivors, and the public had seven wishes and goals for the Memorial: Remembrance, Peace, Hope, Cherished Children, Comfort, Recognition, and Learning.
Where to Stay Downtown Oklahoma City:
- The Skirvin Hotel A three-towered historic hotel and one of the city’s oldest and most charming hotels. This hotel also has rumors of hauntings, in which famous basketball players of the NBA have been blamed for losses and strange noises by a ghost named “Effie.”
- The Omni Oklahoma City
- The Colcord
We had a ton of fun, and Oklahoma City exceeded our expectations. I was so impressed with the Bricktown District and am excited to go back. It would even be a fun girl’s weekend.
Moreover, Norman, Oklahoma, will always hold a special place in my heart. My dad’s family is from, my dad was raised in the area, and the University of Oklahoma is my Alma Mater! It’s always a good time to catch a football game, walk the beautiful campus, or see one of the amazing museums! Thank you, Oklahoma!
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