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By Austin Tackett
Where on Earth can you find a Chocolate factory, a toy museum, and some of the best cherry limeades ever made? While it may sound too good to be true, you can find all of this in a place called Pauls Valley.
Visitors to Pauls Valley may want to start their trip at Bedre Chocolate Factory located at 2001 W Airline Road. Bedre is owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation which produces delicious chocolates right here in our great state. The factory itself is open to free tours, so feel free to leave your golden ticket at home. Make sure to take the factory tour where you can witness the industrial machinery used to produce the fine delicacies. The factory plays host to its very own gift shop which is filled from floor to ceiling with every imaginable form of great tasting chocolates and other confections you can think of. I walked away with a few white chocolate peanut clusters and milk chocolate turtles on my last visit, but not before taking a sample or two of Bedre’s excellent chocolate covered potato chips. I left only spending about five dollars, but had enough chocolate in my arms to keep me full of chocolate for quite some time.
After indulging on sweets for a while, one might feel compelled to hunt down a more conventional lunch. Luckily down the street visitors can grab a bite to eat at Ballard’s Drive-In, located at 100 Ballard Road. This wonderful drive-in restaurant is known for its tasty burgers and stellar cherry limeades. Locals and visitors alike find themselves blown away by Ballard’s fries which are cooked to perfection, and most can’t deny Ballard’s ability to serve one of the best tasting cherry limeades Oklahoma has to offer. Best of all, Mr. Ballard himself stops by in between taking orders to introduce himself and make sure everything is to your liking. It may be a little drive-in, but the service is certainly a five star ordeal.
Need to walk off some of those calories already? Wander into Pauls Valley’s charming and expansive 12 block downtown area for a little stroll. Various shops occupy a majority of the gorgeous old building’s storefronts creating a uniquely pleasing atmosphere that one should make a point to experience. Nestled downtown is The Toy and Action Figure Museum (111 S. Chickasaw St), one of Pauls Valley’s most interesting attractions.
The museum, which opened its doors back in October 2005, is the world’s only museum dedicated to the world of the action figure. Inside one can find many displays highlighting the history and evolution of the action figure as an art form, including things like sculpture prototypes, toy sketches, and of course thousands of action figures. Young and old alike will love the 1970s Mego display which has some of the most popular figures of all time, including the eight-inch figure of Batman, Spider-Man, and other classic heroes and villains. If this place doesn’t bring out the child within you, I’m not sure anything can.
Time spent in Pauls Valley is always fantastic, but remember, the town has so much more to do than what has been mentioned here. Make a point to explore for yourself everything it has to offer; trust me, your inner child will thank you later.
For more information, contact Pauls Valley Tourism at (405) 238-649 or visit www.PaulsValley.com. Those interested in exploring more of Oklahoma can also log on to www.TravelOK.com for travel ideas and discounts or call 1-800-652-6552 to speak to a tourism specialist.