POSTED ON AUGUST 29, 2012:
Stops along the way for Labor Day or any day
Perhaps you didn't have much of a summer, or even a chance to vacation. The first weeks back to school and gearing up for fall can be noisy, stressful, and busy, busy, busy.
Oklahoma City is only a short drive away. Tap into your inner child and plan a "Wild and Wacky Getaway" with these tips and ideas. The best way to start such an adventure is to head out on Route 66 and saunter around the downtown area of Oklahoma City.
The first stop on the adventure west is at POPS, home of the Must See Route 66 landmark: the 66 feet tall soda bottle. POPS invites you to dive into the biggest, coolest soda pop collection.
"We're a unique destination where visitors can stop to take part of the day to enjoy the entire experience. We have 650 types of soda from all over the U.S.," Doepke said.
Marty also gives a taste of his favorite flavor.
"Cheerwine, a black cherry flavored soda, was established in 1917 in Salisbury, North Carolina."
Another fun feature of POPS is the LED light display of a seemingly infinite array of color and patterns that play off the giant landmark as the sun goes down. Nestled in the Oklahoma red rock base, this destination is definitely worth the stop.
Hungry? There's also an eatery inside to enjoy along with that fizzy liquid soda goodness. One can also fill up the gas tank in ultra-modern fuel pumps and enjoy other cutting-edge amenities.
POPS is located at 660 W. Highway 66, Arcadia, Okla., just Northeast of Oklahoma City.
American Banjo Museum
"I'm a ramblin guy!" Steve Martin is known for his Banjo playing skills. Remember the skit called "Ramblin' Guy?" It just would not have had the same soul and finesse without that humble, yet lively instrument to make the skit move along and provide that delightful sound.
The American Banjo Museum is a world-class 20,000 plus square feet, multi-million dollar facility paying homage to the history, spirit and life of the banjo. Containing more than 300 instruments, The American Banjo Museum contains the largest display of banjos in the world. Marvel at the banjos developed by African slaves to the Minstrel Age instruments of the 19th century. Imagine the songs played on WWII instruments to the lively tunes plucked out on pieces from the Jazz Age of the 1920s and 1930s.
On September 8, 15, and 29, there will be a live banjo performance in the Shakeys Room with paid admission. Another great feature, in addition to the live performances and two stories of galleries to explore is that American Banjo Museum is offering free admission to active military personnel and their families through Labor Day.
Find your own whimsical adventure at the American Banjo Museum in OKC located at 9 E. Sheridan Avenue, in the heart of the Bricktown and Entertainment District.
Red Earth Museum
Perhaps you are seeking to expand your knowledge of Native American Art? The Red Earth Museum and Gallery is recognized as a multi-cultural resource for advancing the understanding of Native American culture and art. This museum hosts a diverse and changing schedule of travelling exhibitions and contains more than 1000 items of fine art, basketry, pottery, textiles and beadwork. The jewel in this museum's crown is the Deupree Cradleboard Collection, which is described as one of the finest individual collections of its kind in North America.
The Red Earth makes education a top priority. Their new R-E-A-C-H program, designed to strengthen and expand the year-round educational programming and outreach, is a multi-year program that will concentrate on the permanent collection and the Internet. This is combined with resources offered at the yearly Red Earth Festival.
The content will include projects pertaining to Native American Dance, Art, Music, Food, and Tribal Government. The existing maps and directories of Oklahoma's 39 recognized tribes, items from cultural centers and other Native American exhibits will also be featured in the project.
Like to shop? The Red Earth Museum Gift Shop offers a smorgasbord of all manner of Native American items to take home, from paintings and pottery, to cultural items and book.
The Red Earth Museum is located downtown at 6 Santa Fe Plaza.
Looking to enjoy the warm weather from a unique vantage point? A visit to the Boathouse District hosts a wide range of activities, sure to delight everyone in your party.
Located adjacent to Bricktown, and short walk or drive from downtown hotels, the Boathouse District on the river offers everything from outdoor on-the-water activities, such as rowing, to regattas and festivals throughout the year.
The US Olympic Committee has recognized the Oklahoma River as a US Olympic and Paralympic Training Site. Perhaps your trip will include viewing Olympic hopefuls training at the OKC National High Performance Center.
One great destination is the Chesapeake Boathouse, which was one of the first structures to be built on the banks of the newly revitalized Oklahoma River in 2006. This $3.5 million landmark resembles a sleek rowing shell with translucent polycarbonate walls can store up to 124 rowing shells. There is also a panoramic 24 foot wall overlooking the deck, river, and reflecting pool.
Why stand on the shore when one can get into the action first hand? One can indulge in a wide variety of fitness activities, such rowing, kayaking, and dragon boating every day of the week for a small fee.
The Chesapeake Boathouse is located at 725 S. Lincoln Blvd. For hours or to make rental arrangements, please call 405-552-4040.
Another special destination is the historic Stockyard City, just minutes from downtown. From real cowboys hard at work at the cattle auction, to a variety of authentic Western shops, to the craftsmen who produce Western art, this district is rife with personality.
On Saturday nights, the Rodeo Opry offers the best in country and gospel entertainment. A project of the Opry Heritage Foundation, and declared by Governor Brad Henry to be Oklahoma's Official Country Music Show, this venue features a rotating calendar of top notch entertainment. This high-energy family show also features special guest hosts and each entertainer is backed by the Rodeo Opry band.
Hungry from all this rootin' tootin' fun? Check out one of Oklahoma's oldest restaurants, Cattleman's Steakhouse. This world famous venue is known for its steak, lamb fries, homemade desserts and oddly enough, the made-on-site Cattleman's House Salad Dressing. Open late on Friday and Saturday, there is also a Saturday and Sunday breakfast buffet. Cattleman's Steakhouse is located at 1309 S. Agnew Ave.
Route 66 Park
One final stop on the Route 66 escape is a great place to stretch the legs: the Route 66 park, located off Lake Overholser at 9901 NW 23. This park features the Parks and Recreation Department's largest playground, a three story tall observation tower, the Route 66 Plaza for picnicking, a skate court and one mile of winding walking trails.
There are also three ponds containing wetland boardwalks, bridges, plantings and interpretive signage. Why not take the long way home back to Tulsa via Route 66? Happy Trails to you on the upcoming Labor Day weekend or whatever time one can find to get away to Oklahoma City.
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