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.
Whiling away their vacation in a Swiss Alps chalet, Joe and Beth Henretty noticed a peculiar sound: nothing. The entire town moved at a pace much slower than that of their home in the States; without a car in sight, residents simply strolled to their destinations. Inspired by this way of life, Joe and Beth imported the car-free philosophy to Tulsa in 2005, buying their own bicycle cab and christening their new business Golzern Pedicabs after the chalet in which they'd stayed. Today, the duo and their two fellow drivers shuttle riders to and from concerts or obedience-school reunions while working solely for tips—both as an accommodation to any budget and as a further homage to Switzerland's laid-back lifestyle.
For a flat fee, the business—also known as Tulsa Pedicabs—captains tours that bounce among Tulsa's local eateries, where passengers sample fare at each stop and, sometimes, carry out agendas of their own. Once, on one of Joe's tours, a man proposed, and the Henrettys honored the occasion by pedaling the couple to their hotel on their wedding day—much like the Swiss nuptial tradition of dragging cans behind a saddled yak.
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.
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.
Nearly 90 years of history have boogied across the spring-loaded maple dance floor at Cain's Ballroom. Once known as the Carnegie Hall of western swing, the ballroom played a key part in the boot-stomping genre’s history as the one-time home of Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys, who used the neon-lit space to host raucous dances, broadcast a radio show, and do their laundry in the bathroom. Still a landmark of Tulsa’s music scene, the ballroom retains much of its original charm, from the barrel-vaulted ceiling to the oversize portraits of past stars to the fiddle-shaped light fixtures.
Several spirits have been said to haunt the Oklahoma lands, from black shadows racing through the forest to an oil-breathing beast raising its tentacles from the pools of black ooze. At Psycho Path Haunted Attraction, visitors test their courage within three fear-filled experiences amid the lingering legacies of such demons. Inside the Shadow Box haunted house, horrors roam the dimly lit corridors, bringing adventurers face-to-face with nightmares worse than those summoned by the student filmmakers in charge of their dreams. During journeys through The Dark Ride, visitors board a transport known as the Scareage and travel through mysterious forest paths hidden in a blanket of fog. Actors may pop out at any moment, adding suspense to every turn, just as the Rage Cage—a maze peppered with scary surprises—challenges those brave enough to navigate its twisting halls without any compass to point them back toward their home’s refrigerator magnets.