Hollywood in Oklahoma

Day 1

The first stop of the day is just east of the Oklahoma-Arkansas state line near Kansas at Natural Falls State Park (allow 45 minutes). The park’s 77-foot water fall is easily accessible with an overlook area and steps that lead down to the bottom of the falls. This area was the film site for the movie Where The Red Fern Grows.

Enjoy lunch in Tahlequah before visiting the Cherokee Heritage Center. Here we will learn about Cherokee history and culture as we visit the Cherokee National Museum and Ancient Village (allow 2 hours). In the mid afternoon, we arrive in Tulsa which has been the site of many movie productions. Music plays a major role in the film industry, so we will begin with a visit to the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame which preserves and promotes jazz, blues, and gospel music. The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame hosts several concerts during the year and honors Oklahoma Jazz artists in an annual induction ceremony (allow 1 hour).

Tulsa is also hometown to the members of the Gap Band which was originally named the Greenwood, Archer, and Pine Band to honor the tragic memories of the 1920’s Tulsa Race Riot in Tulsa’s Greenwood district. A step on guide will tell about the rich history of Tulsa’s Greenwood District with a driving tour of the area once dubbed America’s “Black Wall Street” due to its prosperous black commerce area in the early 1900’s (allow 1 hour). Next, we will tour Cain’s Ballroom where from the Roaring Twenties to today it continues to make music history with top of the line performers (allow 1 hour). After dinner check into one of Tulsa’s hotels for the evening.

Day 2

We depart Tulsa this morning heading north to Dewey and the Tom Mix Museum. Tom Mix lived in Oklahoma and had various jobs including working on the Zack Miller’s 101 Ranch, bartending in Guthrie at the Blue Bell Saloon, and serving as Marshall in Dewey before he began his movie career in 1909. The museum houses a variety of Tom Mix memorabilia and tells the tale of this film cowboy that kept the audience in awe with the many movie stunts he performed himself (allow 1 hour).

We depart Dewey and head west stopping for lunch on the way to the town of Wakita and the Twister Museum to hear the local’s stories from when the movie Twister was filmed in the town. We will hear how the town was transformed into the aftermath of a tornado and how it actually benefited from the destruction (allow 1 ½ hour).

Next, we’re off to Simpson’s Mercantile & Movie Studio in Enid. Remember the cowboy heroes of the 50’s and 60’s like Roy Rogers and Hopalong Cassidy which were role models for children and set the morals to live by? Today the Simpson brothers continue to carry on this tradition as they produce westerns for the family to enjoy. Dinner will be served up in the Simpson’s Saloon where the only ale served is sarsaparilla. After dinner there will be time to visit the mercantile that houses a variety of historical items and many of the movie sets used in the westerns the Simpson’s have produced in recent years (allow 2 hours). Our overnight this evening is in Enid.

Day 3

We depart Enid today and travel to Clinton for a visit to the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum. The museum takes us through the decades of the “Mother Road” with an exhibit that features the popularity of drive in movie theaters that are now far and few between (allow 1 hour). As we depart Clinton and head to Oklahoma City we will drive a portion of the original Route 66 and cross the pony bridge where scenes from Grapes of Wrath were shot in 1940.

This afternoon our first top in Oklahoma City will be at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. The museum’s Western Performers Gallery honors western performers of film and holds many artifacts including a John Wayne collection of personal firearms, and memorabilia. Be sure to step inside the Western Performers Theater that continuously runs movies and clips of famous western entertainers (allow 2 hours).

Oklahoma has many hotels to choose from for your lodging the next two nights. So unpack your bags and settle in before departing for dinner in Bricktown at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill. Toby Keith a native Oklahoman created a restaurant that combines great food with live evening entertainment. The restaurant is filled with Keith memorabilia including signed guitars, platinum records and much more.

Day 4

This morning we head to historic Guthrie which has been the stage setting for a variety of movies. Guthrie went from prairie to a booming town overnight with the Land Run of 1889 and became the Territory Capital of Oklahoma. With over 400 blocks listed on the National Register of Historic Places Guthrie is also designated a National Historic Landmark. Enjoy time to explore the museums and shopping venues downtown and dine in one of the many restaurants before returning to Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Here you will find the largest most extensive colletion of Dale Chihuly.

This evening take a water taxi ride along the mile-long Bricktown Canal were we will hear the past and future of Bricktown. See this warehouse district built in the early 1900’s when bricks were an abundance source of building material that is now a major area of entertainment in Oklahoma City. With some of the finest restaurants in the city, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, home to the Oklahoma Redhawks and 16 screens at the Harkins Bricktown Theater, there is something for everyone. Choose to dine this evening at one of the many restaurants offering everything from Mexican, Italian and steaks to burgers and barbecue. Overnight a second night in Oklahoma City, OK.

Day 5

This morning visit the Oklahoma History Center where Smithsonian quality exhibits bring us the heritage of Oklahomans that have been a part of film and television through the decades. Learn of Oklahoma’s pioneering innovations in the broadcast industry as you tour the center (allow 1 ½ hours).

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