In 1972, when most other 7-year-olds were building their baseball-card and bottle-cap collections, Jay Villemarette began collecting skulls. His lifetime hobby evolved into a full-time vocation in 1990 after he opened Skulls Unlimited, a one-of-a-kind bone-replica shop that earned the limelight on popular TV shows such as Dirty Jobs and Ripley's Believe It or Not!. By 2010, Jay's widespread success led him to establish the Museum of Osteology, which currently houses the largest privately held collection of osteological specimens in the world, with more than 300 skeletons and, most importantly, zero zombie sightings to date.
Education abounds throughout the 7,000-square-foot space as visitors investigate rare species, skulls, and skeletons from all corners of the world. The form and function of the skeletal system weave a common thread through each of the museum's exhibits, which showcase topics such as adaptation, locomotion, and specific categories of animals, including marsupials, birds, and reptiles. After exploring displays and begging skeletons for their teeth-whitening regimen, interim osteologists can visit the gift shop, where souvenirs, toys, and replicas of museum models are available to start personal collections.
After starting off your evening at Regatta Park Landing, you'll glide along a seven-mile stretch down the Oklahoma River that takes you past the gorgeous sights of the city and alongside riverbanks where enterprising frogs and crickets exhibit their paintings. The 90-minute cruise includes music, light appetizers, soft drinks, and a modest cash bar so that you can relax on the deck in the company of fresh breezes or celebrate inside the climate-controlled cabin. During the cruise, the boat will lazily circle back to swallow its own wake, dropping you off where you started in a perfect ouroboros.
Originally home to Mr. William Fremont Harn, his wife Alice, and their sassy talking cow, the Harn Homestead was built during the 1889 Land Run and has since become a first-rate museum that gives visitors a hands-on experience of Little House on the Prairie–time simplicities thanks to interactive exhibits and costumed re-creationists. Bring G-rated pioneer fantasies to life with an educational romp around the Homestead's seven historic buildings. Visit a one-room schoolhouse, tour the graceful Victorian dwelling, or pack a picnic to enjoy on the grassy promenade.
Science Museum Oklahoma's 70-foot-diameter Dome Theater has a 36,000-watt digital sound system that makes any movie a full-body experience, like skydiving or donating half a liver. Climb to your comfortable theater seat to watch professional climbers ascend to the world's greatest theater seat in Everest, a 40-minute film about scaling the world's most daunting peak. SMO's other feature film, Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag, follows Captain John Stratton in his F-15 Eagle as he participates in combat training exercises for the U.S. Air Force.
Two floors spanning 21,000 square feet exhibit the American Banjo Museum's more than 300 shiny string-boxes and other instruments, providing tune-lovers and armchair folklorists with a rich history of American music. Every era of banjo evolution is represented with corresponding displays on the first floor, from its beginnings among slaves in the 17th century, to its ornate four-string iterations in the Jazz Age, to its proliferation among street-prophets as a dowsing-rod for buried sandwiches. Head to the special gallery to scope the pristine collection of Gibson Mastertone banjos, including an extremely rare pre-war five-stringer valued at more than $175,000, or learn about the luminaries of the plectrum at the Banjo Hall of Fame.
In the months after the bombing, then-Mayor Ron Norick commissioned a 350-person task force to explore ways to remember those who had died in the horrific terrorist act. Visitors will be taken on a powerful chronological tour of the complete story, including a background on terrorism, a history of the site, an audio recording of the blast, and a look at the chaos that ensued. As grim as the experience can be, the museum concludes with an uplifting showcase of hope that explores rebuilding efforts and the city coming together in support. The museum also includes a classroom and children's area for younger museumgoers.