Founded by Joe Estes as a nonprofit operation, Safari Joe's Reptile World provides a 200-acre sanctuary for more than 250 exotic animals—including lions, leopards, alligators, pythons, and large tortoises—that were unwanted, abused, or neglected. Each week, five to six new animals are donated or abandoned at the facility. Though these animals cannot return to the wild, they receive nurturing care from a cadre of more than 30 volunteers.
While newly abandoned animals remain hidden from view within the sanctuary, the park also boasts exhibit such as Reptile World. This educational, hands-on environment encourages visitors to interact with a slew of exotic animals while learning about protecting each species and their natural habitats.
The joys of riding a bicycle are many and beloved by many. Smells, which are dulled to undetectable levels in four-wheeled transit, are piquant from the fresh-air perch of a bicycle seat. The scenery of the country or of the city—its alleyways, byways, and other quaint little ways—comes to life in a colorful panorama of shops, sidewalk folk, nature birds, and little dogs. Tom’s Bicycle outpost is located adjacent to River Parks, allowing velocipedalists to take to the park’s paved trails or wheelie over to the deceptively inedible Turkey Mountain. A helmet is included with the rental, ensuring that the vast collection of Oscar Wilde quips you have stored in your brain are well-protected.
Reliant Stadium’s titanic venue, home to the Houston Texans and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, covers 125,000 square feet of sporting ground. The facility is the first in NFL history to have a retractable roof, which sightseers can view from the field during public gridiron tours. While strolling across Reliant’s stadium floor, fans can relive their favorite memories of Super Bowl XXXVIII, or search every nook and cranny for John Madden’s lost bus keys.
Aesthetes and anthropologists can devour an eyeful of wide-ranging cultural artifacts and extensive fine art collections at the Mabee-Gerrer. The permanent collection of Egyptian art claims Oklahoma's only mummy that's not living, and the antiquities section features sculpture and pottery from ancient Greece, China, and Mesopotamia. Visitors can also set their sights on a broad sweep of American works, including timeworn Aztec textiles housed in the Arts of Ancient America collection, present-day paintings by Oklahoma artists in the Contemporary Art section, and the unpainted canvases hanging in the museum's 23rd-century collection.
There was a time when Robbers Cave State Park wasn’t named as such. If it had, it would have been a pretty obvious tip for police, who might have stumbled upon outlaws such as Jesse James, Belle Starr, and the Youngers hiding out from the law. The wooded hills, rugged caves, and remote location amid the Sans Bois Mountains made it an ideal place for the infamous to disappear after robbing a train or showing the townsfolk their bare ankles.
Today, this same natural landscape attracts a different sort of adventurer—rock climbers, cave explorers, and all manner of outdoor enthusiasts. The park's 8,200 acres include three fishable lakes that teem with trout and perch, and the trails offer scenic trips for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. Climbers scale and rappel sandstone cliffs, and the wilderness area's wildlife attracts hunters and nature watchers.
After trying to track down the old outlaw cave among the sandstone hills and cliffs—which can reach heights of 1,500 feet—visitors warm up next to the fireplace in one of the park's 26 cabins. To make visits comfortable, these feature fully equipped kitchens, linens, and satellite TV, as well as central heat and air. The Belle Starr View Lodge also welcomes guests, and there are plenty of sites for tents, RVs, and stockpiles of loot as well.
A community-built science-and-art museum, Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse entertains young minds and inspires creative thought with numerous educational exhibits. As it pays tribute to the famed artist, musician, architect, inventor, engineer, botanist, and Tony-winning choreographer Leonardo da Vinci, the discovery warehouse offers a balance of art, biology, and engineering stations to stimulate both sides of the developing brain. Kids can explore a rainforest environment and meet live animals, strap into a space-shuttle flight simulator, dig for ancient fossils in an excavation pit, and create masterpieces in an arts-and-crafts studio. Directly outside of the museum is Adventure Quest, a three-story wooden castle filled with imagination-fueling bridges, slides, mazes, and swings.
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