Tulsa Things to Do

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    Philbrook Museum of Art

    by kooka3 Written Jan 17, 2005

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    The gardens at the estate

    Th Philbrook Museum is on the Philips Estate (Waite Philips made his fortune in oil). It is on the Historic National Register, so the museum makes the list of only one of a few museums in the country that involve both a museum and a historic estate. The collection is impressive (of course, it's not MOMA or El Prado, but what did you expect!). Take time to check out the entire estate, not just the art collection. The gardens are beautiful, as is the architecture.

    The restaurant is only open for lunch from Tues.– Sat. 11am–2pm and for Sunday brunch from 11am–2pm. On Thursday, they hold "The 5 o'clock Muse" from 5–7pm. Call 748–5367 for reservations

    Here's some of the important details:
    The museum is open:
    -- Tuesdays - Sunday, 10 am - 5pm
    -- Thursday evenings until 8 pm

    Admission
    * $7.50 General Admission
    * $5.50 Seniors, Students, Groups of 10 or more
    * Children 12 and under and members are always free
    * $3.00 Audio guide of Villa and Gardens

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    Philbrook Museum of Art

    by twojazztravelers Written Jan 2, 2005

    This 1927 Tuscan-style estate of oilman Waite Phillips is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Named one of the top 60 art museums in the country by the AAM, and is one of only five U.S. museums with the unique combination of historic home, gardens and collections.

    There is a really nice cafe and gift shop. At various times of year the University of Tulsa Orchestra will perform in the theatre. You can stroll through the gardens afterwards. Great place for pictures too!

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    A nice walk

    by twojazztravelers Written Jan 2, 2005

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    If you are into fitness or just enjoy a good walk, Riverside Parks have a great jogging trails that are alongside the Arkansas river. In the fall the trees are beautiful and it is a great place to picnic. You will see people fishing off of the bridges. It's a neat people watching place.

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    WoodWard Park

    by angelayjose Written Dec 15, 2004

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    WoodWard Park is the best park in Tulsa. It has several acres, and has a perfect romantic setting. People propose, get married, and have photos taken here all the time. There is a garden of roses, the Philbrook museum (where you can enjoy art and classical music), and acres of other types of flowers. At night, this is where the young crowd hangs out. Punk bands play, and people listen from the hoods of their cars.
    It is very typical for squirrels to come up to you and beg for food. Dont worry, they dont bite.

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    Visit Route 66 and the Blue Whale

    by JudiandBill Updated Oct 16, 2004

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    The Blue Whale of Oklahoma

    The Infamous Route 66 goes right through Tulsa, and if you tour it and head east, you'll come to many Oklahoma treasured spots!

    Located just 40 miles east of Tulsa, on Route 66 you can visit the "WORLD FAMOUS" blue whale! This at one time was a "swimming hole". Now it's a great place to pull off the highway, visit the whale, and there's even tables for a picnic. Admission is free, but of course any contributions to his upkeep are welcome

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    Tallgrass Prairie Preserve - Views from the Past

    by BixB Updated Oct 7, 2004

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    One of the TPP's sweeping vistas
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    Getting even farther afield, but still easily accessible and well worth the visit, is the 39,000 acre Tallgrass Prairie Preserve (TPP) located about 55 miles NW of Tulsa near Pawhuska, OK.

    A drive through the TPP provides at least a glimpse of the American heartland before the arrival of European settlers. The sweeping, unspolied vistas of the open hills and relatively narrow valleys are startlingly beautiful. Sunrises and sunsets can be breathtaking. The natural vegetation includes 747 identified plant species and features the namesake tallgrasses: big bluestem, indiangrass and switchgrass, each of which can reach up to eight feet by September. Wildflowers bloom throughout the preseve from spring to late summer. A herd of over 2,300 Bison freely range over about half of the preserve. Dozens of bird species, including Greater Priaire Chickens and Bald Eagles, call the preserve home, as do armadillo, beaver, badger, bobcat, deer, and many other forms of animal life.

    A scenic route on public county roads takes you through the heart of the preserve. Starting and returning in Pawhuska, the drive is approximately 35 miles. Self-guided 1-3 mile nature trails begin near the preserve headquarters. The headquarters are located in the historic bunkhouses of the ranch that once owned the property.

    Bison are almost always viewable from somewhere on the roadways, and often may block your path for a time. It is exciting to see these magnificant animals up close but please remember that these are wild and potentially very dangerous animals (males may be over 6ft. tall and weigh 2,000 lbs!).

    Picnicking is allowed near the headquarters. Camping, hunting and fishing are not allowed. The TPP is open dawn until dusk, every day of the year. There is no admittance fee. From March through November the Preserve Headquarters is staffed by volunteers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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    Great American Art at Gilcrease

    by BixB Updated Sep 8, 2004

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    Shoshone Falls on the Snake River, Moran, 1900
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    Located on the city's Northwest side, somewhat apart from other Tulsa attractions, Gilcrease Museum is nonetheless a must see for lovers of art and/or American history. The collection includes over 10,000 pieces by 400 artists from colonial times to the present. The artist represented in the collection are a "Who's Who" of American Art history: John James Audubon, Albert Bierstadt, George Catlin, William Merritt Chase, John Singleton Copley, Thomas Eakins, Daniel Chester French, Winslow Homer, William R. Leigh, Thomas Moran, Alfred Jacob Miller, Charles Wilson Peale, Frederic Remington (18 of his 22 bronzes), Charles M. Russell, John Singer Sargent, James McNeil Whistler, Charles Banks Wilson and N. C. Wyeth. The museum also houses an impressive collection of important Native American art and cultural objects. A unique feature is the "visible storage" area located on the lower level where pieces of the collections that are not on formal display are visible through glass walls. The modern building housing the museum is pleasant but largely unremarkable, though the setting is enhanced by theme gardens (pre-columbian, colonial, victorian, etc.) and expansive views of the Osage Hills. There is also a pleasant cafe, the "Rendevous Restaurant.," that serves lunch and Sunday brunch.

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  • Philbrook and Gilcrease art houses

    by jayhawk2000 Updated Aug 12, 2004

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    Waite Phillips of the aforementioned Phillips 66 oil empire built an Italian-style villa at Philbrook. Today open as a museum, this fantastic great house has an impressive art collection and gardens. Oriental sculptures, Native American pottery and Italian paintings fight for attention amidst the grand staircases and indoor fountains. The ballroom features a glass floor under which multi-coloured lights shimmer. Philbrook is open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm (closing on Thursdays at 8pm) and costs 4 dollars. The house is at 2727 South Rockford Road and can be rang on 800/324-7941 (toll-free in the USA).

    Another superb art collection can be found at the Gilcrease Museum on 1400 Gilcrease Museum Road. Thomas Gilcrease was a Native American who became rich after striking oil on his land. His museum houses Native American crafts plus paintings, sculptures and other Western Art by the likes of Moran and Remington. The Gilcrease is open Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday 1-5pm (staying open on Thursdays until 8pm, not open on Mondays outside of summer). Admission is free but a donation is requested.

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    Oklahoma!

    by Robachu1 Updated Aug 3, 2004

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    Discoveryland has been named "The National Home" of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway show Oklahoma. It is performed outdoors by a cast of 50 with real horses and a real surrey with the fringe on top. While it is not Broadway quality (more like a college presentation) it is still an entertaining evening. You can choose to pay for the Cattleman's Ranch Dinner which starts at 6pm or only see the show which starts at 8pm. Kids are free and can have free pony rides!

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    Philbrook - Gardens as Art

    by BixB Updated Jul 20, 2004

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    The upper garden terrace at Philbrook
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    Any traveller to Tulsa should absolutely do themselves the favor of touring the Philbrook Museum of Art. Particularly try to visit on a day that is conducive to a walk through its fabulous gardens. A complete restoration and expansion of the gardens and grounds was finished in 2004. The results are already wonderful and will only continue to improve as newer plantings mature. Special events often occur on the lawns, including picnicing and the presentation of classic films on Friday evenings during the summer.

    The ornate Italian Renaissance mansion housing part of the art collection was completed in 1927 as a private home by oil-baron Waite Phillips. 11 years later, he and wife Genevieve donated the 72-room "Villa Philbrook" and its 23 acres of grounds to the city of Tulsa specifically for use as an art museum. The sumptuous house is an attraction in itself, boasting marble, teak, oak and walnut floors, painted ceilings, extensive stone carving, and a ballroom with a glass block floor underlain with colored electric lights - disco ala 1920! An attractive and complimentary addition was built in the 1990's to greatly expand the gallery space and add a restaurant, auditorium, and office and classroom space. Lunch or Sunday Brunch at "La Villa" restaurant is a nice treat during your visit.

    While not to the caliber of some major collections in the States, Philbrook has quite a number of very nice pieces and important special exhibits are held frequently. The art collection is weighted toward 19th century European paintings as well as works from the Italian renaissance and baroque periods. There are also galleries devoted to American painters, Japaneses silk screens, African tribal art, Egyptian artifacts, and Native American art and objects, among others.

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    Unwind around Swan Lake

    by BixB Updated Jul 6, 2004

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    Fountain at Swan Lake

    Swan Lake is a beautiful small body of water in midtown Tulsa maintained by the city parks department as a waterfowl reserve. It is surrounded by gracious older homes (from 1919) and features a large fountain in the middle. A 0.4 mile long sidewak encircles the lake, crossing a portion of the water at the west end and providing a lovely stroll with the children or a significant other. Residents of the lake include a pair of trumpeter swans and many other waterfowl species. Identification panels are in place for those interested in distinguishing the different ducks. Historically, the lake was once part of Orcutt Lake Park, a "trolley park" in operation from 1909-1911 and featuring a dance pavillion, rowboat rentals, midway concessions, a cafe, a covered swimming pool (called a "natatorium"), and a $7,600 roller coaster. Only the lake remains from that festive time.

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    Oklahoma Aqaurium - immerse yourself!

    by BixB Updated Jul 6, 2004

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    Oklahoma Aquarium Entrance
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    Tulsa's newest quality attraction is the Oklahoma Aquarium, and it is well worth a visit. Located on the banks of the Arkansas River in the suburb of Jenks, the Oklahoma Aquarium presents more than 4,000 aqautic creatures in almost 200 exhibits arranged in ten themed galleries. All of the displays are very well done, presenting as natural a setting as possible. The centerpiece is the "Shark Adventure" in which you walk through acrylic tunnels to a domed room in the middle of the exhibit, completely surrounded by the 500,000 gallon tank and its inhabitants, including the largest bull sharks in captivity (and they are BIG!). The OA is a definite must-see for families visiting Tulsa! Note that the Aquarium stays open until 9pm on Tuesdays.

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    Woolaroc - near enough and worth your while

    by BixB Updated Jul 1, 2004

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    Woolaroc museum building

    Like the Philbrook and Gilcrease Museums, Woolaroc is another outstanding legacy from the area's oil-fortune past. Woolaroc is located about 40 miles northwest of Tulsa, but is such a unique and wonderful attraction that it qualifies as a "must-see" for any Tulsa visitor with the time to make the short trip. Once the country retreat of oilman Frank Phillips, Woolaroc encompasses a museum filled with of an eclectic but fascinating blend of Natural History, Art, and Americana; two outdoor "living history" areas; Phillip's historic lodge; and a 3700-acre wildlife preserve with free-roaming bison, elk, deer, and long-horn cattle. Woolaroc is a very child-friendly destination, and the annual "Kidsfest" in late June is a particularly good time to go.

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    Great art museums!

    by caminoreal Updated Apr 2, 2004

    Tulsa has two art museums with world-class collections and which also host traveling exhibits of world renown.
    My favorite is the Gilcrease Museum, just a couple of miles northwest of downtown, which has a huge collection including landscapes by Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran and others, and western paintings by Frederic Remington, William Leigh and others, plus a large collection of Remington bronze sculptures.
    The permanent collection includes more than 10,000 paintings by John James Audubon, John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, George Catlin, Olaf Seltzer, N.C. Wyeth and many more. There's also a great collection of Native American artificacts, a Mexican collection and more. (www.gilcrease.org)
    If European art is more to your liking, we've got the Philbrook Art Museum just southeast of downtown. (www.philbrook.org) It has a great 19th Century masters collection, plus a "Renaissance & Baroque" collection and much more.
    Both art museums are legacies of Tulsa's days as the oil capital of the world. Oilmen Waite Phillips (Phillips 66) and Thomas Gilcrease founded and funded the art collections and the structures that house them.

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    Tulsa's Federal Building

    by mrclay2000 Updated Sep 26, 2003

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    Federal Building from Boulder Avenue

    Started in 1917 to house Tulsa's first permanent post office, this elaborate building (completed in 1931) takes up the better part of the block. Unfortunately, the lack of variation as the eye pans along the endless facade seems to steal some of the pageantry from its classical details. Column after column after Corinthian column, and still the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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