Itching to explore before summer ends? Here are 10 unique Oklahoma locations to see
As summer comes to an end, you may be looking for something to do to soak up those last bits of warm days before fall festivals and pumpkin spice lattes fully take over.
Here are 10 Oklahoma locations to check out for those wanting to get out and explore.
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10. Toy and Action Figure Museum
The name of this place says it all. Located in Pauls Valley, the Toy and Action Figure Museum is a one-of-a-kind gem located on Oklahoma's Adventure Road, and is loved by the young and old alike.
The museum has over 13,000 pop culture figures on display and exhibits on the creation of action figures dating back to the 1950s.
9. Alabaster Caverns State Park
See the world's largest natural gypsum cave open to the public at Alabaster Caverns State Park, located in northwestern Oklahoma. Daily guided tours leave on the hour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Visitors can enjoy hiking trails, picnic areas, group shelters, grills and a volleyball court. For those looking for more adventure, permits can be obtained for wild caving, better known as spelunking, in one of four caves ranging from 550 to 1,600 feet.
8. Salt Plains State Park
Want to see something incredibly unique? Check out Salt Plains State Park and the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge just north of the town of Jet. Visitors can dig for selenite crystals in the salt plain that is left of an ocean that covered Oklahoma in prehistoric times.
The park also has a salt-water lake that's great for swimming, kayaking and fishing, and there are designated equestrian trails for horse-lovers.
7. Collings Castle
Many Oklahomans know of the beauty that is Turner Falls in Davis. But hiding behind the trees and built along the rock is something worth exploring: Collings Castle.
Built in the 1930s by a University of Oklahoma professor, much of the castle is still standing. Visitors can walk through maze-like rooms with low ceilings and steep staircases, getting a feel for the Old English architecture the castle was modeled after.
6. Black Mesa Summit Trail
For those who crave that top-of-the-world feeling, hike the Black Mesa Summit Trail and find yourself at the tallest point in Oklahoma. Close enough, right?
The trail — an intermediate to expert-level route that totals 8.4 miles up and back — features both shortgrass prairie and juniper, shrub oak and cacti covered foothills. Once at the summit marker, New Mexico and Colorado can be seen in the distance.
5. Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area
Tulsa is home to a lot of great points of interest, one of them being the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area. Only a few miles from the city's bustling downtown, visitors can explore over 300 acres, miles of winding dirt trails and two ponds.
The area is purposely kept in a wilderness state for those who are looking for something more challenging than the flat and kept up trails in Tulsa's other park and recreational areas.
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4. Natural Falls State Park
A gem of northeast Oklahoma, Natural Falls State Park is named for the 77-foot waterfall that can be viewed from multiple observation platforms. Inside the park, visitors can opt to see more with the four and a half miles of hiking and nature trails.
Some may find the scenery familiar as scenes from the 1974 movie "Where the Red Fern Grows" were filmed in the park. Plan to have a cookout with your family using the park's picnic tables and grills, or stay overnight in one of the park's five yurts.
3. Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum
If you're new to Oklahoma, are interested in the state's history or just want to experience something both mesmerizing and solemn, visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.
Visitors will learn how the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City impacted the city and its people forever.
2. Endangered Ark Foundation
If you're an animal lover, make a trip out to Hugo in the southeastern part of the state to visit the Endangered Ark Foundation, a retirement ranch for circus elephants.
The Endangered Ark herd features 15 Asian elephants, and visitors can get up-close-and-personal with the endangered animals by scheduling a tour.
1. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Spanning over 59,000 acres and home to bison, Texas longhorn cattle, prairie dogs, elk and deer is the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Oklahoma. Recreational opportunities are abundant with the options of mountain biking, rock climbing, rappelling, hiking, camping, picnic areas and fishing.
Visitors can schedule wildlife or nature tours, climb or drive to the top of Mount Scott, or visit attractions like the Holy City of the Wichitas, Quanah Parker Lake and the Parallel Forest.