At Showplex Cinemas, it’s the same scene every night. The lights dim, and the crowd quickly falls silent. After some song-and-dance from the concession stand and a few thrilling trailers, main attractions from Hollywood’s biggest movie makers flicker to life on screen. Thanks to Showplex’s screening systems, moviegoers in five states share in this immersive entertainment tradition, which is as American as the hot dogs they sell in the lobby. Recently under the new management of Starplex Cinemas, Showplex has lowered ticket prices and added more items to the concessions lineup. The theaters’ Facebook page increases the community aspect, helping moviegoers stay abreast of the newest releases as well as flashback screenings of classic flicks.
The newly renovated Oilers Ice Center provides visitors with a regulation-size indoor rink designed for ice hockey, figure skating, curling, and public skating sessions. Four curling rings sit beneath the frozen carpet, which is kept smooth with frequent passes of a zamboni blasting classic R & B hits from its stereo. The venue doubles as the official practice space for Oklahoma’s Central Hockey League team, the Tulsa Oilers, and offers adult hockey leagues throughout the year. Busy families of dexterous ice veterans can take advantage of the center’s flexible hours, and adventurous couples can spend Friday nights using their skates to trace the shape of hearts or prenuptial-agreement fine print into the ice.
Kaleidoscope Children's Museum transports kids into a pint-size world, touting 13,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits that ignite the imagination. Wee ones rule in Kid's City, a microcosm of society with a café, grocery store, barbershop, doctor's office, post office, and a miniature jail for locking up pinky-swear violators. Two rock walls soar 20 and 22 feet into the air, beckoning aspiring spider monkeys to scale their faces, and a multilevel play structure with two slides entertains playground explorers. Tykes can rock out on stage or solve a who-dun-it in Kaleidoscope's detective mystery lab. Snoezellen, a multisensory black-light room, appeals to little ones' five senses with glow-in-the dark toys, Van de Graaff static-electricity spheres, and oxygen-flavored air.
Thomas Gilcrease learned to love the American West as a boy growing up in the Oklahoma Territory during the early 1900s, but it took a trip to Europe to ignite his passion for preserving and sharing the region's distinctive culture and history. Inspired by the vast displays of Old World artwork he viewed during his overseas travels, he used the wealth he amassed in Oklahoma's oil fields to assemble an immense collection of art and artifacts. This collection found its current home in 1949 when Gilcrease founded what would become the Gilcrease Museum.
The museum's exhibit halls, library shelves, and refrigerator doors brim with historically and culturally significant pieces, including more than 10,000 Western American artworks by nationally renowned painters and sculptors, 100,000 rare books, maps, and manuscripts, and 250,000 Native American artifacts. Although exhibits change throughout the year, they tend to explore the impact of westward expansion while also celebrating the region's natural beauty and honoring its roots in Native American culture.
Beyond its walls, the Gilcrease Museum features 23 acres of themed gardens, which embrace landscaping design and agricultural practices from the pre-Columbian, Colonial, and Victorian eras, among others. These gardens allow visitors to interact with displays that are simultaneously historical and alive, serving as a symbolic reminder of western America's cultural growth and development.
The building that houses the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum doesn't just contain historical artifacts?it's a piece of history itself. Built in 1919 by Sam and Julie Travis during the prosperous years of Tulsa's second oil boom, the mansion sits on 28,000 square feet of manicured landscape that now houses a Vintage Garden brimming with architectural artifacts and bronze sculptures.
Of course, this is just part of the history museum's draw. In the years since its 1963 founding, the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum has amassed a collection of more than 50,000 photographs, 10,000 books and manuscripts, and 6,000 other objects that bear the essence of Tulsa or Oklahoma history, ranging from furniture and fine art to military uniforms and civilian clothing. Curators pull from this ever-growing collection to create themed exhibitions in the museum's eight separate galleries. Every exhibition changes at least once a year, giving repeat visitors a chance to make new discoveries about subjects such as Tulsa life in the Great Depression, the Tulsa Race Riot, and the history of Tulsa baseball.
Clad in their families' colored tartans, members of more than 30 Scottish clans gather on festival grounds in Tulsa for the annual Scotfest, Oklahoma's largest Celtic music festival. Scottish traditions are passed on to festival patrons with a showcase of Highland crafts, educational workshops, and strongman Scottish games, in which more than 60 athletes compete in games that include tire flips, truck pulls, and tug of war.
Scotch tastings will feature Rubright & Hardagain answering questions about different types of scotch, the distilling process, and why some whiskies are resentful about being locked in barrels for years. Meanwhile, vendors refuel visitors with authentic Scottish food before sending them off to dance to traditional folk and Celtic rock acts such as Celtica, Tullamore, Wicked Tinkers, Seven Nations, Murder the Stout, and Celtic-influenced Texas rock band Cleghorn. A designated children's area is available for youngsters to play in.