Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Strength of Oklahoma City

In May, my mom and I traveled to Oklahoma City shortly after the series of tornadic activity in that area. Although we had planned our trip many months prior, we happened to visit at a difficult time in Oklahoma, but it allowed us to catch a small glimpse of the heart of the people in the area. It was our first time in Oklahoma and what we gleaned from the trip, we will carry with us forever. The people of Oklahoma are strong, compassionate, and resilient, characteristics that have been tried and proven time and again. We visited family which I am thankful to say are doing well and suffered little to no loss although they live quite close to one of the hardest hit areas. We also planned to tour Oklahoma City and that account is what I will describe next.

Statue at Will Rogers World Airport, Oklahoma City, OK
Our first day in Oklahoma City, was stormy and windy so we scrapped our plans to participate in outdoor activities and instead traveled south to the Museum of Osteology which is purported to be the only museum of its kind in North America. It was housed in a building that looked more like an office building than a museum, but the collection of skeletons contained in the museum is quite amazing. They have many educational plaques and hands-on exhibits throughout the museum.
Museum of Osteology, Oklahoma City, OK
After the weather cleared out on our second day, we walked through downtown Oklahoma City and strolled through the Myriad Botanical Gardens. While we did not have time to go inside the Conservatory, we enjoyed walking around the gardens, listening to the water trickle through manmade channels, and watching the fish and ducks play in the water. From there, we walked past the Oklahoma City Museum of Art to see the Eleanor Blake Memorial Tower created by Dale Chihuly. The glass tower stands approximately three stories tall and was quite a site to behold. We stood outside the museum to observe it.
Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma City, OK
The primary stop of day two, one which we had been anticipating prior to our arrival, was the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum which honors the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. This site was an emotional reminder of both the terror that the city faced that day, as well as the compassion, strength, and hope of the people of Oklahoma City. It was a proven display of compassion and solidarity of a city that had been rocked on its foundation. It was also the start of awareness and perhaps the loss of innocence of not just Oklahoma City, but also the nation of the effects of those that commit senseless acts on innocent people. The memorial is only one example of the people of Oklahoma City's strength and character which would be tested in the years following.
Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, Oklahoma City, OK
That evening, we walked to Bricktown for dinner at Nonna's Purple Bar which has a casual, eclectic vibe with cool mouth-blown glass light fixtures above the bar. We had the Strawberry and goat cheese salad with spiced candied pecans and the Nonna's Caesar Salad. Delicious!
The End of the Trail Sculpture by James Earl Fraser
in The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK 
The last day we were in Oklahoma City we visited The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. The museum carries many works of art by well known historical western artists such as Charles M. Russell and Frederick Remington. The amount of talent possessed by artists and the like completely amazes me and their attention to detail is extraordinary. We also ventured through the Western Performers exhibit so mom could ogle some of the actors and point at them saying, "I saw that one." I can't even begin to describe all that we saw. We spent over four hours walking through the halls of the museum attempting to absorb the information and appreciating the art and work of those that make up the American West.

Much pointing occurred when we saw this painting.
Painting of John Wayne in The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK 
We really enjoyed our trip to Oklahoma City. It is a beautiful place full of activities and food. We were educated and inspired. We look forward to our next trip to Oklahoma.
Statue on the Grounds of The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK 

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