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.
What began in 1965 as a traveling exhibit from the Jewish Museum in New York transformed into a permanent space for art pieces that encompass various aspects of Jewish life. The museum now bears the name of its first curator, Tulsa native Sherwin Miller, whose dedication to Judaism and art embodies the museum’s mission to "preserve and share the legacy of Jewish art, history and culture."
To cultivate its educational environment, The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art maintains permanent collections such as the Jewish History and Culture exhibition, in which visitors can peruse fine art in the form of brilliantly colored tapestries by Israeli artist Reuven Rubin and archeological artifacts from the Middle Bronze Age through the Iron Age. Other displays include the Kaiser Holocaust Exhibition on the first floor and the Oklahoma Jewish Experience, which tells the stories of immigrants and showcases memorabilia from Oklahoma synagogues and families. In addition to its collections, the museum also showcases rotating exhibits of visiting works of art and seasonal educational displays with craft projects geared toward specific holidays.
While Trail of Fear is now Oklahoma's largest haunted attraction, Hauntworld.com reveals that the original format was a small, roadside hay maze operated by a father and son in 1998. Today, a three-story pyramid looms above the theme park's frightful environs and prowling actors. Creators Bob Wright Sr. and Bob Wright Jr. supervise a staff of more than 100?a vast increase from their first crew of approximately 15 people and a few rusty table fans?as they guide visitors through four nightmarish worlds. Though the majority of these helpers return to the job each season with fiendish devotion, their strategies for harvesting screams evolve every year to surprise even the most loyal fans.
Between the two locations there are five haunted attractions, including a maniacal ringmaster overseeing the disorienting maze and murderous clowns of Cirque de Morte, malformed test subjects rising from The Experiment's excavation and lab sites, and performers injecting dark humor into their classic sideshow acts at the Thunderbird Trail of Fear.
On the Halloween Midway, Boo House BBQ supplies fuel for brave souls in the form of burgers and brisket. Fairground games embrace macabre twists; past activities include a severed-head toss and live-zombie target practice. For younger children, Pumpkin Junction entertains with scary stories and magic tricks on select nights. A portion of Trail of Fear's proceeds go to benefit a specific charity every year, contributing thousands of dollars to community causes.
As a basket drifts against the twilight, the only sound one can hear is a burner whispering to invisible gas, commanding it to push the carriage higher into the evening sky. At Go Hot Air Ballooning, flights stay close enough to the ground to witness deer wandering the earth, and each excursion—from private rides to tethered convoys—takes off with passengers' well-being in mind. An FAA-licensed pilot with more than 20 years of ballooning experience—and a perfect safety record—takes the helm of each flight, personally confirming each reservation and watching up-to-date weather reports to ensure safe flight conditions. Though the in-air portion lasts only an hour, most journeys take up to four hours in all, allowing passengers to witness such behind-the-scenes action as the pilot inflating the entire balloon with his lungs.
A diverse group of vendors converge at Serendipity Market to display their eclectic wares, ranging from vintage furniture and restyled home goods to home accents and handmade gifts, encouraging shoppers to discover their own, personalized style. Serendipity Market’s ever-changing selection of one-of-a-kind wares includes mirrors ($55) and picture frames ($10–$50). Shelves stuffed with vibrant lampshades, jewelry, and throw pillows ($20–$40) give homeowners quirky ideas for their living spaces and generals out-of-the-box ways to liven up the war room. Serendipity’s elegant candleholder set ($40) or lanterns ($40–$50) can give off an abundance of light to otherwise darkened bedrooms. Groupon holders looking for an enviable conversation piece can splurge on repainted or restyled chair ($150). The shop’s Facebook page keeps customers updated with photos of new merchandise.
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.