Last week we visited the Center of the World in Ohio, today we’re going to the Center of the Universe in Oklahoma! We love winding our car through the country, seeing amazing spots that are unique to the state. As most of us stay near our own neighborhoods much of the time, it can be easy to forget just how large the U.S. really is. We’re thrilled to be in Oklahoma this week (at least digitally) to marvel at the beauty of the Great Plains and learn more about our nation’s history.
If, when you take your trip to this gorgeous state, you can’t drive, you can always fly in. And, if you’re flying into Tulsa, the Aviator’s Arrow will guide your pilot to safety. From ground level, the landmark isn’t much, but from above, the arrow directed Charles Lindbergh to his landing spot. We will be driving down Route 66. With our love of road trips, we’ll stop off at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum. It’s a great spot to learn more about how the road stretched through the land and impacted the state and how people used Route 66 to flee the Dust Bowl.
When we need gas, we’ll head to Pops for a fill-up. But we aren’t going into the gas station/restaurant because it serves 700 types of soda and the idea of being near what much sugar makes us nervous! We might want to avoid the spot, but the Old Route 66 Filling Station closed back in the ’30s when its owner was caught counterfeiting money! But, the site of the old station is worth a visit as it is decorated with well-maintained flower boxes planted there by persons unknown.
We’ll pay our respects to Mr. Ed at the talking horse’s gravesite before going to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. We’ll learn about the Native Americans and cowboys who built the culture that instantly comes to mind when you hear the word “Oklahoma.” The museum also features beautiful gardens and the Rodeo Animal Cemetery. It will be a great chance to get out and stretch our legs, diving into the past.
Then we’ll take a stroll around Arcadia’s famous Round Barn. No one knows precisely why the farmer wanted a round barn, but it’s been a tourist hotspot since it was built in 1898! Reviewers say you must go inside to look at the beautiful roof from beneath. Admission is free, and the gift shop has a lot of press clippings about the history as well as notes about reconstruction and restoration work done over the hundred-plus years since it was first built.
As lovers of roadside attractions, we want to see the Golden Driller who stands 76 feet tall as a monument to oil workers. We also want to see the world’s largest concrete totem pole. The site was his project after retiring from teaching art and took him 11 years to complete. Now, it is maintained by the National Park Service. Then we’ll head over to the Blue Whale of Catoosa, built by a man for his wife on the 34th anniversary. The whale, coming out of a pond acts as a dock for swimmers. Its tail is a diving board, and its fins are slides! The whale is a fun photo op and people like the Route 66 themed gift shop at the location.
It would be wrong to be in the Great Plains and not see a bison. We are going to visit the Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Reserve that has 3,700 acres of land for more than 30 species of native and exotic animals. We can’t wait to see native longhorn cattle and foreign ostriches in the same place!
After that, we will head over to our final destination for the state: the Center of the Universe. Located in Tulsa, it’s a quick stop but something we want to experience. An acoustic quirk amplifies sound made in the center of a marked circle that echoes back loudly. Some people say it’s a bucket list must; others say it’s not worth the stop. We say that while in Tulsa you should take a look — if only to brag to your friends that you’ve stood in the center of the universe!