Photo courtesy Red Earth, Inc. Oklahomans celebrate their culture and heritage.

Family Vacations in Oklahoma Overview

From the mountains of southeast Oklahoma to the canyons and ranches of the northwestern part of the state, families can spend days, even weeks, exploring caverns and forests, rivers and waterfalls, and observing everything from buffalo and elk to monkeys and tigers, during a variety of wildlife tours.

In Oklahoma City or Tulsa, visitors can spend their days having fun at amusement parks, attending festivals or visiting museums filled with American Western art and artifacts, and have their pick of Broadway entertainment and restaurants at night.

In the following article, you’ll find profiles of some of the state’s most popular festivals, and it’s largest museums. Included is contact information to help you plan your trip as well as photos of each destination. Here’s a preview:

Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival

Every June, more than 100 Native American tribes from North America gather in Oklahoma City for a foot-stomping celebration of their culture, history, and artistic handiwork.

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Much of this enormous complex in Oklahoma City is devoted to Western-themed artwork of the highest caliber. It also has a number of exhibits that are particularly engaging to children.

Woody Guthrie Folk Festival

The five-day Woody Guthrie Folk Festival is marked by performances by dozens of top-notch folk musicians (regional favorites and nationally recognized touring musicians), a songwriting contest, and a deep reverence for the late, great Woody Guthrie.

Oklahoma City National Memorial

A visit to Oklahoma City National Memorial evokes the spirit of hope in America that can rise from tragedy. The "Gates of Time" at the memorial are inscribed with the times immediately before and after the bombing.

Continue reading to find out more about Oklahoma's Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Oklahoma State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Oklahoma, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

Photo courtesy Red Earth, Inc. The dancers at Red Earth are the elite of Native American dancers.

Family Vacations in Oklahoma: Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival

Every June, more than 100 Native American tribes from North America gather in Oklahoma City for a foot-stomping celebration of their culture, history, and artistic handiwork.

A parade kicks off the festivities and features master drummers, dancers, and tribal princesses resplendent in feather headdresses, buckskins, and beads. One of the highlights of this festival is the Red Earth Dance Competition, which features thousands of participants competing in war dances, victory dances, and more.

In the jingle dance category, women compete wearing buckskin dresses decorated with hundreds of aluminum cone-shape bangles. In the men's fancy dancing competition, Native American braves don the traditional clothing of their people and demonstrate incredibly intricate footwork. There's even a children's dance competition.

Traditional storytelling, music, and crafts are part of the festival as well. The Red Earth Art Market features about 170 Native American artists selling both traditional and contemporary art and handcrafted pieces that include paintings, woven items, and woodcarvings.

Art competitions honor the finest in each category, and prizes are awarded to artists ages nine and older. Food vendors prepare everything from tacos and fry bread to Okie Taters and fried bananas.

Continue reading to find out about Oklahoma's National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival Information

Address: Cox Convention Center at Robinson and Sheridan Ave.,

Oklahoma City, OK

Telephone: 405/427-5228

Hours of Operation: First weekend in Jun.

Admission: $10 adults; $7.50 kids

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Oklahoma State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Oklahoma, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

© Natl. Cowboy & Western Heritage Mus. "The End of the Trail" by James Earle Fraser at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Family Vacations in Oklahoma: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Much of this enormous complex in Oklahoma City is devoted to Western-themed artwork of the highest caliber. It also has a number of exhibits that are particularly engaging to children.

At the Children's Cowboy Corral, kids can dress up in authentic chaps, boots, spurs, and vests, and hit the trail on make-believe ponies. They'll enjoy listening to a resident cowhand talk and sing about life on the range; for a taste of life on the trail, they can help build a campfire and fix some grub at an authentic chuck wagon.

After a long day of herding cattle, it's time for a trip to Prosperity Junction, the museum's turn-of-the-century cattle town. The streets are lively with music from the saloon's tinny piano, and visitors can wander in and out of the many buildings, including Prosperity's church.

The museum's exhibits span a wide range of Wild West material. Older children will enjoy the assortment of firearms in the Weitzenhoffer Fine Arms Gallery. The American Rodeo Gallery celebrates the history, people, and events of the sport that made the Wild West famous.

In the American Cowboy Gallery, you'll find a wealth of information about this icon of the West. Exhibits include an impressive collection of cowboy hats, clothing, and a display of branding tools.

Once you've toured the museum, step outside and enjoy the beautifully landscaped grounds where children can stretch their legs. Shady walkways and a plaza provide a lovely place to relax while the kids check out the lily

pond that has been stocked with exotic fish.

Continue reading to learn about the Woodie Guthrie Folk Festival.

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Information

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Information

Address: 751 Erieside Ave., Oklahoma City, OK

Telephone: 405/478-2250

Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., daily

Admission: $8.50 adults; $4 kids

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Oklahoma State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Oklahoma, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

Arlo and Abe Guthrie, son and grandson of folk legend Woody Guthrie, performed at the 2004 festival.

Family Vacations in Oklahoma: Woody Guthrie Folk Festival

Bob Dylan's self-described "last hero," Woody Guthrie, is an American icon, not only as a musician but also as a champion of the working class. While Guthrie's most recognizable musical legacy is probably "This Land Is Your Land," he built a national following with protest songs that focused on class inequality. He became known as a folk musician during the 1930s in California, and his popularity broadened in 1940 when he adopted New York City as his new home.

After touring, recording albums, and writing his autobiography in the early '40s, Guthrie's health began to deteriorate due to Huntington's Chorea. He was institutionalized in 1954 and was in and out of hospital treatment centers until his 1967 passing at the age of 55. Woody's legacy is celebrated the week of his birthday, July 14, in his hometown of Okemah, Oklahoma.

The five-day festival is marked by performances by dozens of top-notch folk musicians (regional favorites and nationally recognized touring musicians), a songwriting contest, and a deep reverence for the late, great Woody Guthrie.

Continue to the next page for details on family vacations to Oklahoma City National Memorial.

Woody Guthrie Folk Festival Information

Address: Okemah, OK

Telephone: 918/623-2440

Hours of Operation: Week of July 14

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Oklahoma State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Oklahoma, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

© Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation. The Memorial Mission Statement guided the memorial's meaning, design, and development.

Family Vacations in Oklahoma: Oklahoma City National Memorial

At this peaceful plaza in the quiet downtown of Oklahoma City, the east gate is inscribed with the time 9:01, the west gate 9:03. The first time represents the moment innocence was lost; the second one the time healing began. On the morning of April 19, 1995, a terrorist's bomb took the lives of 168 people at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City.

The stark gates frame 168 forever-empty chairs, representing the lives lost that tragic morning. The chairs surround a single American elm, the Survivor Tree. The site is a stirring, visceral reminder of the damage done by violence and the resilience of the human spirit. A visit here evokes the spirit of hope in America that can rise from tragedy. Across the country, people supported each other to face the coming days with optimism. The memorial in Oklahoma City ensures that those who suffered here will never be forgotten.

Oklahoma City National Memorial Information

Address: 620 N. Harvey, Oklahoma City, OK

Telephone: 405/235-3313 888/542-HOPE

Hours of Operation: Dawn - Dusk

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Oklahoma State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Oklahoma, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.