Though they may sound like the titles of Hardy Boys escapades, Buccaneer's Booty, Redbeard's Riches, and Russian Treasure hold different surprises in store, as they?re just a few of the 800 slot machines at Grand Lake Casino. Open 24 hours a day, the 45,000-square-foot floor also hosts games of blackjack, three-card poker, and Texas hold'em, and its casual onsite eatery, The EndZone Restaurant & Bar, provides a place for high rollers to replenish their stacks of potato chips.
Located 2 miles from the casino?just a free shuttle ride away?Grand Lake Casino Lodge accommodates guests with simply appointed rooms furnished with soft Serta mattresses. There, visitors can break from the energy of the gaming floor by watching a movie on the flat-screen TV or get even rowdier by playing shuffleboard on the hardwood floor.
Dust clouds form from the hooves of two warhorses thundering across the jousting field. Across the way, a falcon wheels in the sky, spotting prey for his master. Meanwhile, King Henry watches from a tall stone tower, pleased with the bustling marketplace below. It isn’t the year 1539, and it isn’t planet Camelot IV in the Avalonian system. It’s the modern-day Oklahoma Renaissance Festival, held at the Castle of Muskogee every summer for nearly 20 years.
Every merchant and performer has a story to tell, from Sir Robert Vinterhawk of Birds of Prey to the painter Lady Anne, who creates lush portraits of the castle’s guests. The Tribal Circus performs gravity-defying feats without the aid of strings or wizardry, and the mysterious masked man of Cast in Bronze enraptures his audience with the sanctified tones of carillon bells. For adrenaline-pumping thrills, the human chess game —where life-size pieces engage in full battle—is second only to the raucous jousting tourney. Guests can further immerse themselves in a lost era with a spin around the maypole or by dressing up for the daily costume contest.
After a 20-year career in the air national guard, Britton Shaw still couldn’t get enough of the sky. So, he founded River Valley Paragliding to share his passion with new students. Whether soaring over local river bottoms or catching gusts of wind from atop Heavener Mountain, he performs and oversees solo and tandem flights, giving his charges hands-on experience in the air.
Founded in 1985, Theatre Arts, Inc. has continued to honor its core mission of supplying Oklahomans with performance education and opportunities. Within a newly renovated 10,000-square-foot facility, students train tapping toes in more than 10 styles of dance?including tap, jazz, and hip-hop?and channel their inner thespian in acting classes or private lessons that focus on both improvisation and script work. Private instruction and classes also accommodate vocalists who receive personalized tips on stage presence from the faculty and practice harmonizing by singing duets with humming radiators. Numerous alumni have harnessed their training into careers, working locally and nationally on television and Broadway, and two?Lauren Nelson and Shawntel Smith?have gone on to become Miss America.
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.