Part of the price of admission to Turner Falls is the opportunity to check out the Rock Castle that is built in the hillside. Dr. Ellsworth Collings was the man behind the design of the castle, and he had it built in the 1930s and made of rocks quarried in the area. I found it interesting to explore (note that the ceilings are awfully short!) but I thought the area could use a little more signage so that we could tell what the various rooms were for. If you climb all the way to the top, you will be rewarded with a view of the falls from up above (see the attached picture.)
OK - so for years I have driven by the sign to visit Turner Falls, but this year, we had such a great spot of weather that we had to stop. Luckily it was in the off season, because otherwise the rates rack up pretty quickly at over $10 per adult, and $6 for kids 6-12. But in the offseason, it's $4 per person 6 and up. So what do you get for the moolah? A chance to get out of the car and check out the falls! Now, during the on-season, it looks like the main attraction is swimming (with shopping, hiking, and picnicing among the other choices.) As this was November, swimming didn't sound too fun, but we did have the park mostly to ourselves. You park in a good sized lot, then take a short walk past the castle and around a bend to come upon the falls. We checked out the falls from a few different angles. While tall (75+ feet), the water level was pretty low. There are portable toilets near the falls (for the swimmers in the summer I imagine), but most of the concessions in the area were shut down. In all honesty, I can't imagine paying the in-season price and not feeling slightly ripped off.
The centerpiece of Turner Falls Park is the 77 foot waterfall on Honey Creek. True, this is not one of the world's great waterfalls, but here in the so-called flatlands of the midwest, that's surprising and impressive.
At the foot of the falls is one of the park's two natural swimming holes, both attended by lifeguards in season. A bath house is nearby.
Most of the camping and RV grounds are upstream (and uphill) from the falls. There are a number of walking paths in the area, where you can see views upstream from the main falls, and can explore several caves.
Swimming is permitted during the summer season when life guards are present. This is a rather sizeable pool with a small gravel beach. The cold water is really refreshing during hot Oklahoma summers. The picture shown was taken during mid-March, well before lifeguards are present, and this little girl was just wading in the presence of her father.
The other swimming hole, further down stream, boasts a large slide and lots of playground equipment.
We had our doubts for a moment to drive into a safari in a rental car but decided to take the chance. There where some moments we thought the car was going to be dented but luckely that didn't happen.
The Arbuckle wilderness consists of more then only a Safari. You can buy tickets for a few different programs at the entrance.
You can drive thru, walk thru, go to the petting zoo, Walk the Dinosaur Walk and enjoy the wilderness playground.
The drive through safari is about 6,5 miles long and leads you through the mountain on a some times steep and curly trail.
You can buy food to feed the animals and believe me the animals really count on that.
In the walk thru area you''ll see Servals Llamas , monkeys and chimps.
Other entertainment includes go-carts, bumper boats, a maze, pony rides and so on.
It isn't the most modern park you will visit but can be a nice break in between a long trip.
Picture taken friday june 6th, 2003 13:50
Signs near the historic downtown area will direct the conscientious traveler to the Chigley Mansion a few blocks north of the area. While this takes only a few minutes of time, travelers will have to stop at the distant gate to gaze on what appears to be the capital structure in town, now a private residence. Even in rural America, the wealthy have amassed enough fortune to seize the highest hill or the capital position in town to erect their estates.
East of the Davis Santa Fe Depot is the so-called Memory Plaza, which contains the names of local sponsors to the square rather than prominent residents or fallen servicemen. Apart from a few benches and a few planted basins, the town's prominent public clock scarcely charms the eye enough to draw one's attention for more than a second from the canary-colored Depot nearby.
Though Davis has its own newspaper and post office building, communications and news did not wholly flow through the offices at the Santa Fe Depot. As part of the historical mosaic of the region though, a separate room at the Depot contains primitive printing presses and teletype machines in what might be called its "communication room."
During World War II, the county enlistments would gather at the Davis Santa Fe Depot to be shipped to either the east or west coast for their respective theaters via the extensive network of the GC&SF lines. Those who perished in service to their country would later have their appropriate listings near the courthouse of the county seat in Sulphur, a few miles farther east. Recruiting may have even taken place at this station, since office space in this small town was likely at a premium.
The Arbuckle Historical Museum inside the Santa Fe Depot is extremely diverse, showing not only a ticket office and other civic functions, but also the barracks where the stationmaster lived during the days when this was fairly common. The conditions are stark, despite the contrived displays, since the living quarters are confined and even constricting. The museum is free, but donations are always appreciated.
As part of a declining throng of survivors from the GC & SF lines, the depot at Davis was built on concrete foundations, and might have helped to keep it in situ. Many such depots were dismantled or removed to other locations after being sold or converted into museums. Now serving as the Arbuckle Historical Museum, the Davis Santa Fe Depot preserves the aspect of train travel a century ago.
The entire space of Murray County is home to only four registrants on the National Register of Historic Places, but of these only three can be visited without permission. Of the three, two are questionable for their listings and only one of those can be photographed to any advantage. The third listing, the only one of the whole four not found in Sulphur, is the Davis Santa Fe Depot in Davis, Oklahoma. Built in so-called Italianate arcihtecture, this depot has stood since the first quarter of the prior century, and is open daily from 10a to 4p.
Exploring the caves is wonderful! Of course would have been nice to have to correct shoes on becaus eyou did have to hike a bit!! ;)
You cant miss the Castle that sits in Turner Falls Park. Even from the top of the Arbuckle Mountains you can see the castle.