Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby and other officials Thursday took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center and Bedré Fine Chocolates retail store. Both venues are located at the southwest corner of I-35 and S.H. 7 at exit 55 in Murray County.
Anoatubby said the new welcome center continues the Nation’s strategic tourism effort that includes major projects in Davis, Sulphur, Chickasha and Thackerville areas.
“This Welcome Center is the gateway for many family-friendly attractions and cultural destinations in south central Oklahoma,” Anoatubby said. “This is an excellent location for us to share the heritage of the Chickasaw people as well as to create an educational experience and a comfortable, inviting spot to take a break for the thousands who travel along I-35 each day.”
The 5,500-square-foot Welcome Center features information about the hundreds of destinations and lodging options located in Chickasaw Country as well as two interactive kiosks. The kiosks will enable visitors to customize a travel route from hotel to attraction to restaurant and everything in between.
The Welcome Center also will feature works of art by Native American artists. And, it will have a gift shop featuring Made in Oklahoma products, a lounge area, vending machines, an outdoor children’s playground, a dog park and public restrooms. Free coffee for all visitors is available as well as ample parking to accommodate campers and trailers.
The Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. November through February and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. March through October. Travel information and brochures for destinations throughout Oklahoma will be available 24 hours per day.
Next door to the new Welcome Center is a 34,600 square-foot Bedré Fine Chocolates manufacturing facility, which is expected to open in the spring of 2013. The facility will offer visitors an up-close, chocolate experience and event space for groups.