Oklahoma's Western Heritage

Day One

Morning – We begin today in northeast Oklahoma at the Tom Mix Museum in Dewey. Tom Mix lived in Oklahoma and worked as a bartender, sheriff, and as a showman with the 101 Ranch before going on to star in silent films. Enjoy some of these movies in the 30 seat theater at the museum and see photographs and other personal memorabilia of Mix who was known for his elaborate cowboy outfits and riding skills. (Allow 1 hour.)

Afternoon – This afternoon we arrive at the Will Rogers Birthplace - Dog Iron Ranch near Oologah to enjoy lunch in the barn followed by a tour of the two-story home where famed Cherokee humorist and film star Will Rogers was born in 1879. The home sits on a 400-acre living history ranch with era-correct barns and Texas longhorn cattle overlooking Oologah Lake (Allow 1 ½ hours). At the JM Davis Arms & Historical Museum in Claremore we will see the largest privately-owned gun collection in the world. The museum contains not only firearms but also antique music boxes, musical instruments, steins from around the world and more (Allow 1 hour). Next we will tour the Will Rogers Memorial & Museum which pays tribute to the life of Will Rogers. Twelve galleries feature art and artifacts of Rogers’ life as author, trick roper, radio commentator, philanthropist, newspaper columnist, and Ziegfeld Follies star (Allow 2 hours).

Evening – Our dinner and overnight this evening will be in Claremore.

Day Two

Morning – We depart Claremore and travel to Tulsa and the Gilcrease Museum, one of the country’s finest facilities for the preservation and study of Western art. The museum contains more than 10,000 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures by 400 artists (Allow 1 ½ hours).

Afternoon – This afternoon we will enjoy lunch in Pawnee before touring the Pawnee Bill Ranch, home of Gordon W. “Pawnee Bill” Lillie, known around the world for his Wild West Show. The 14-room ranch house was completed in 1910 and contains original furnishings and belongings of Pawnee Bill. Also on the ranch are an original blacksmith shop, barn, log cabin, and a museum with exhibits on the Wild West Shows and Pawnee Indians.

Evening – We travel west to Enid for our evening meal and overnight.

Day Three

Morning – Railroads played an important part in developing the western frontier and this morning we visit the Railroad Museum of Oklahoma which contains the largest collection of railroad material in the US. We will see steam engines, lounge cars, cabooses, freight cars, dining car china, depot clocks, and model railroad layouts. Next stop is the Simpson's Old Time Museum & Movie Studio, once a dry goods store, today it features a display of Western paraphernalia and antiques along with stage settings for the filming of old time Western movies that are suitable for the entire family. See the jail, hotel lobby, and the saloon area where we will enjoy entertainment and lunch which will be served with the saloon’s only beverage - Sarsaparilla. Continue on to the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center in Enid. Here you will learn of the story of the largest land run in American history. The 1893 Land Run, settlement and the development of northwest Oklahoma is explored through the Heritage Center’s five permanent exhibit galleries. On the grounds of the Heritage Center complex is Humphrey Heritage Village, a living history village featuring four historically significant buildings including the only remaining 1893 U.S. Land Office. (Allow 3 hours.)

Afternoon - This afternoon we arrive in Kingfisher and the Chisholm Trail Museum located on the route of the famous cattle trail that ran from Texas to Kansas. Visit the museum's frontier village which contains a church, bank, one-room schoolhouse and two log cabins along with pioneer artifacts (Allow 1 hour). At the Express Clydesdales Ranch in Yukon we will get up close to some of the most beautiful black Clydesdales in the world. As we walk through the barn which was originally built in 1936 and restored in 1997 by a team of Indiana Amish barn specialists, we will be able to see these gentle giants who love visitors and have participated in the Rose Parade and Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (allow 45 minutes).

Evening – We will check into one of Oklahoma City’s hotels before heading to the Bricktown Entertainment District. This warehouse district, built in the early 1900s when bricks were an abundance source of building material, sat empty for years until a revitalization of the area developed this into a major entertainment district. We will find many restaurants to choose from for our evening dining.

Day Four

Morning – After breakfast at the hotel we will visit Historic Stockyards City a Western district of Oklahoma City which is the largest stocker/feeder cattle market in the world. Walk the catwalk above the cattle pens where the livestock are held for auctions on Mondays and Tuesdays (Allow 1 hour). Next stop for the day is the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum to see works by master artists such as Charles Russell, Frederic Remington and Albert Bierstadt. The museum complex also contains Prosperity Junction - a turn-of-the-century Western town, a gallery dedicated to the Western performers, a gallery honoring the American cowboy, and a gallery focusing on rodeos. Enjoy lunch at Dining on Persimmon Hill, the museum's cafe, before departing the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (Allow 2 hours).

Afternoon – After lunch we depart Oklahoma City and head to Duncan and the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center. We’ll take a seat in the museum’s theater to experience what the Chisholm Trail was like as we smell the coffee and bacon from the chuck wagon, feel the blowing wind, see the lightning and feel the chairs shake as the cattle stampede. The cowboys and the cattle that drove up the Chisholm Trail are captured larger than life in a bronze that stands 15 feet high with a length of 35 feet (Allow 1 hour).

Evening – This evening we visit Sipokni West, a recreated Western town that has been used for movie sets. Visit the buildings and enjoy some cowboy entertainment and shootouts before dinner is served. Our overnight today will be in Ardmore.

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