At age 13, a few years after relocating to the United States from her native Australia, Cheryl West unearthed a passion for horseback riding. Since then, she has become accomplished in both the competitive and educational arenas, including snagging a master certification in equestrian instruction, operating a program for special-needs riders, and ghostwriting a memoir for Mister Ed. At West Equestrian Ranch, Cheryl and her team of seasoned instructors bestow their expertise upon pupils during camps and group and private lessons. Both are anchored in the philosophy that building a sturdy seat lays the foundation for adept trotting?the lessons gravitate toward English, Western, jumping, dressage, or trail methods, while summer camps fold similar techniques into days of riding, games, and horse care.
Cheryl and her staff also serve the equine community, rescuing one or two horses each year, rebuilding their strength and confidence, and giving them spots on the ranch's competitive team. Meanwhile, they allow kids free rein of a playground and picnic tables, where the stables' gentlest steed whinnies happily as kids finger-paint him with rainbows or complex mathematical equations.
Just west of Tulsa along Keystone Lake lie the grassy hillsides of Keystone State Park. The year-round warm weather means that the premises? popular outdoor activities, from fishing to water skiing and boating, never stop. Those with their own watercraft can access the lake via boat ramp, while others can rent a vessel and equipment from Pier 51 Marina, located inside the park. It also has a floating restaurant, fuel station, and grocery store.
A series of wooden one- and two-bedroom cabins loom on the shores, overlooking the lake and inviting guests to rent them. Each is fully furnished and treats visitors to many of the comforts of home, including a full kitchen and TV with cable.
In 1960, Floyd Farley and Randy Heckenkemper’s vision for the LaFortune Park Golf Course facility’s championship course came to fruition, bringing to life a picturesque design of rolling bermuda-grass fairways unfurling in front of bentgrass greens guarded by bunkers. Heckenkemper recently returned to renovate the links’ water hazards and grassy contours, which contribute to a layout that’s both unique and challenging enough to earn the title of Tulsa’s Best Golf Course from Urban Tulsa Weekly, an award that even Meryl Streep hasn’t won.
The same deciduous trees that shade the championship course’s greens also thrive at LaFortune’s 18-hole executive course, whose shorter fairways save time for postround drinks or lunch at the club’s North Dining Room. Even when the sun is vacationing in the Andromeda galaxy, golfers can still play through the par 3 layout thanks to the course’s ample lighting, which illuminates the streams that split seven fairways and demand strong carries from golfers, and the tricky bentgrass greens, most of which are hemmed by bunkers.
Before embarking on 18-hole outings or whacking balls from one of 80 hitting stations on the driving range, golfers can gear up at the golf shop. Named one of America’s 100 Best Clubfitters by Golf Digest, the shop’s team of experts includes Callaway, Titleist, and Ping specialists and a repair technician with more than two decades of experience in mending putters gnawed on by nervous caddies. To perfect their swings, players can attend lessons run by PGA teaching professionals that rely on a vector launch monitor and V1 digital coaching software to improve students’ form.
Championship Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Course rating of 73.9 * Slope rating of 124 * Total length of 6,938 yards from the back tees * Four tee options * See the scorecard
Executive Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 3 course * Total length of 2,461 yards * See the scorecard
Since its founding 75 years ago in a graceful 1920s mansion, Philbrook Museum of Art has grown to become one of the preeminent art museums of the central United States. The cornerstone of its permanent collection is its wide-ranging survey of Native American art, from traditional basketry to 20th-century paintings. Other highlights include Renaissance and Baroque paintings from the Kress Foundation and an American art collection including 15 paintings by Andrew Wyeth.
Outside, the museum's 23 acres of grounds includes a lush garden whose trails run alongside native Oklahoma plants and plants that relocated to Oklahoma after college. An architectural addition features an auditorium, restaurant, library, and education studios, many of which host the Philbrook's interactive, enlightening programs and events. In the summer, these include daytime art camps for six- to 12-year-olds and a nighttime film series that screens features in the garden. The Philbrook's growing modern and contemporary art collections can be found at a satellite campus in downtown Tulsa, which also contains the Eugene B. Adkins Collection and Study Center of Native American Art.
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.
Safety comes first at New Heights Rock Climbing Gym. Before strapping in at the gym’s top-rope climbing course, all guests have to complete a training lesson that teaches them the skills needed to safely surmount the gym’s walls. Students learn how to tie weight-bearing knots, help friends safely ascend and descend the walls using belaying techniques, and recognize the difference between rocks and Styrofoam coolers that just look like rocks. Once instructors deem them ready, students can then latch onto the colorful rocks sprinkled throughout the climbing space, using their upper-arm strength and path-finding skills to surmount the vertical obstacle course. The angled bouldering course rises over padded mats, allowing guests to safely climb the inclines while working against gravity pulling down their own body weight. The gym opens its doors to parties of all sizes, with one designated instructor for every eight partygoers to ensure climbers stay safe and agile.