Oklahoma City is the largest city in Oklahoma, with a metro population of more than 1.4 million. Oklahoma City was settled by the historic Land Run of April 22, 1889. Oklahoma City is rich in history, with many sites you can visit with your children to learn about the city’s past. Our Crème de la Crème team invites you to check out some of the Oklahoma City area’s best historical sites.
Oklahoma History Center
Standard Oil Truck by Kevin is licensed with CC BY 2.0
A great place to start your journey into history is the Oklahoma History Center at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive. Step into this 215,000-square-foot learning center to explore the many unique facets of Oklahoma’s history, including Native American culture, commerce, aviation, and more. The Oklahoma History Center is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is a Smithsonian Affiliate. Some of their featured exhibits include:
- In Citizen’s Garb. This exhibit features the history of Native Americans on the Southern Plains from 1889–1891.
- Becoming Fearless. This is a series of 25 black-and-white photographs exploring 70 years of Oklahoman firefighting.
- Sun and Silver. This one looks at historical photography before the time of Oklahoma’s statehood.
- Launch to Landing. You can explore the history of Oklahomans and space at this exhibit.
The center also provides children and their parents with many opportunities to learn through classes, programs, and field trips. The Oklahoma History Center also has a special way for kids to participate in National History Day. This annual event is a program for students in grades 6 through 12. Students choose a topic in history related to a theme and then engage in research leading to completing a project they’ll present in May.
Museum hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and an adult must accompany visitors under 18.
First Americans Museum
To delve into the history of Native Americans in Oklahoma, pay a visit to the First Americans Museum at 659 First Americans Blvd. This museum presents state-of-the-art exhibits which explore the collective histories of 39 distinctive First American Nations. These exhibitions show the first American history, art, and culture. Some of their exhibits include:
- Voices from the Drum. This presentation is a display of Native American drums, with an optional panel and guided tour.
- OKLA HOMMA. This exhibit shares the stories of Oklahoma’s 39 first American tribes.
For a unique experience as part of your visit to the museum, stop into their full-service Thirty-Nine restaurant to taste Native-inspired cuisine. You can also shop for art by premiere First American artists and authentic one-of-a-kind hand-made Native items in their museum store.
The First Americans Museum also presents live educational programs for the public, including unique programming for kids, such as their FAMcamps for youth ages 6 to 12, during school spring break and over the summer. While the camp is in an Indigenous-centered environment, it’s open to all youth, regardless of native American descendancy, tribal enrollment, or prior knowledge.
Visit First Americans Museum Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on Tuesdays.
Oklahoma Hall of Fame
To explore the history of the state’s most notable people, visit the Oklahoma Hall of Fame at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum at 1400 Classen Drive. You can learn about famous Oklahoma folks such as singer Reba McEntire, astronaut Shannon Lucid, and pilot Wiley Post. It also presents information on the accomplishments of not-so-famous but still notable Oklahomans from the past and present. People inducted into the Hall of Fame embody the five characteristics of Oklahomans: pioneer spirit, individualism, optimism, perseverance, and generosity.
Even the building that houses the Hall of Fame gives you and your children a glimpse into history, as it’s a stately, restored 1920s building. The Hall of Fame has an annual induction banquet and the yearly Statehood Day Festival every November, offering family-friendly activities and free admission.
Plan your trip to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame on Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
To learn more about some of the most central cultures in Oklahoma, visit the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum at 1700 N.E. 63rd St. This museum is your guide to the history and culture of the American West. The historical heritage of the American West is also a crucial part of our national identity in America. The history of the American West has been preserved and is displayed through fine art and artifacts.
One of their exhibits of interest to kids is Playing Cowboy, an exploration of how children have historically played cowboys and Indians. This game became popular in the 1880s, which saw the advent of touring Wild West shows and the publications of Western dime novels.
They have many special events throughout the year catering to children, such as:
- Kids Take Over the Cowboy: Cereal, Cartoons, and Crafts! Oh, My! This event brings back the nostalgia of your childhood with Saturday morning cartoons, pajamas, and Western-themed cereal.
- Chuck Wagon Festival. This annual event is designed for the whole family, featuring Western and Native American history, art, and cuisine. This year this event is scheduled for May 27 and 28. Tickets to the festival are $15 per person, free for Museum members, children 12 and under, foster families, and Blue Star families.
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Oklahoma is home to many other historical sites to explore with your family, including the following:
- Santa Fe National Historic Trail.
- Guthrie Historic District.
- Oklahoma City National Memorial.
- Washita Battlefield National Historic Site.
- Cherokee Heritage Center.
- Honey Springs Battlefield State Park.
- Sequoyah’s Cabin.
- Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center.
- Chisholm Trail Museum.
- U.S.S. Batfish.
- A. J. Seay Mansion.
- George M. Murrell Home.
- Price Tower.
Whether you’re a lifelong resident or just here for a short visit, the Crème de la Crème team of Oklahoma City hopes you and your children will visit some of these sites that bring Oklahoma’s history to life. There’s so much to learn and enough fun for the whole family.