State capital Oklahoma City is famous for many things, including a booming economy and great basketball. One lesser known fact is that, in 1935, Oklahoma City became the site of the world’s first parking metre, something the nation is perhaps less grateful for. Luckily, the city has more than made amends through its vibrant cultural scene, offering visitors and city-dwellers plenty to do this summer. Here are ten unmissable Oklahoma City events this August.
Set in the beautiful and peaceful Myriad Botanical Gardens, this space is a calm tranquility in an otherwise busy city. Every Sunday this August, the Myriad Botanical Gardens will play host to a wide variety of great musical acts that will carry guests through the evening. Starting every Sunday at 7:30 and going on until 9:00, the first Sunday will feature a performance of classic Beatles’ songs performed by Edgar Cruz. Later events will include Reggae inspired songs and sets from Broke Brothers, while Shortt Dogg will delight guests with a range of funk and soul songs. Set in a beautiful park, visitors are invited to bring a long chairs and blankets and settle in for a great night.
The Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma is the only professional music theatre within the whole state. Originally shown on Broadway in 1973, A Little Night of Music was also made into a film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Len Cariou in 1977. The plot revolves around the lives of five characters in 1900 Sweden, and includes famous musical numbers such as ‘Send in the Clowns’ and ‘The Glamorous Life’. This production brings together a stellar line-up of new faces and former Broadway stars. George Dvorsky, who plays the character Frederik Egerman, has appeared in a number of Broadway shows, as has Dee Hoty, who plays Desiree Armfeldt.
The Poteet Theatre is a small and intimate arts venue in Oklahoma City that, this August, will host some of the best Disney inspired music from all the classic films. It doesn’t matter which is the favourite song, or favourite character, of each guest; all of the greats are guaranteed to make an appearance every evening. Due to the timeless nature of Disney, age will not affect the enjoyment of this event, with visitors of every age encouraged to come and sing along.
This August, running for the whole month at the Oklahoma City Civic Centre Music Hall, Glengarry Glen Ross will be debuting in Oklahoma City. On initial release in both Broadway and in London’s West End, this fantastically scathing comedy took both places by storm. Now debuting in Oklahoma City, the Pulitzer Prize winning play is entertaining guests here. This scathing comedy by David Mamet examines the brutal pursuit of the American dream, as a ruthless real estate agent grinds out a pointless career selling plots of land to reluctant buyers. Tickets are inexpensive and the play is of an incredible quality – a must see for City visitors.
Art | Gods and Heroes: Masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris
Until 14 September
This exhibition at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art showcases over 140 pieces of art, all exploring the themes of courage, sacrifice and death. A joint feat of organisation between École des Beaux-Arts – the original school of fine arts in France – and the American Federation of Arts, this exhibition features a variety of paintings and sculptures dating from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. The exhibition also features a number of films and drop-in drawing classes for guests to try their hand at making their own interpretations of classic European works. There will also be a number of lectures on the subject for those wishing to boost their understanding.
Oklahoma City Zoo – with attached botanical gardens – is running a whole schedule of fantastic and exciting events this summer. One option is the stay late and play weekends, which sees the zoo stay open until 8pm on Saturdays (attractions and rides will run until 7:45pm). For August only, the zoo will be exhibiting a number of paintings created by the zoo’s animals. Visitors can choose to buy any number of animal paintings for a small donation that will help to improve a while selection of conservation projects. Also running until October, Oklahoma City Zoo also offers the chance for guests to take a behind the scenes tour every Sunday.
The Oklahoma Science Museum was founded almost 60 years ago, back in 1958. Since then, the museum and the associated science and arts foundation has worked hard to make learning fun in Oklahoma City. As well as a number of permanent exhibits – including a space centre, and a mechanical demonstration – this year the museum has played host to Rufus Butler Seder’s LifeTiles. LifeTiles has appeared in museums around the world and examines the science behind art. Butler’s exhibit includes a number of murals, as well as animated images, from classic children’s picture books. This is a sure fire bet for those with children, or even those just looking for a bit of nostalgia.
Following on from the banjo museum, the next stop must surely be the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the home of American history and culture. While the museum exhibits a constant array of cowboy paraphernalia – including clothing, wares and weaponry – this year it is highlighting the lives of some of the wild west’s most influential characters. This temporary exhibit will focus on the life and times of the legendary Lane Frost – a champion bull rider – and Robert C. Norris, a famous rancher (and recent inductee to the great westerner’s hall of fame). This museum really connects people to America’s routes and is a great cultural edition to any trip.
While the Museum of Osteology – that is, a museum of bones and skeletons – has not prepared a special guest exhibition this year, the unique quality of the museum makes it a must visit. Despite only officially opening in 2010, the museum has already collected the assorted bones and skeletons of over 300 different organisms. Permanent exhibits include a room that focuses on forensic pathology – examining the way an organism died – while others focus on evolution, and movement. Skeletons include all manner of varieties of reptiles, birds and mammals, including the skeleton of a humpback whale. This is a truly fantastic museum and visitors would be foolish to give it a miss.
There isn’t much that is more quintessentially American than the banjo – an instrument thought to originate in the USA – making the American Banjo Museum a great visit for the USA as well as Oklahoma City. The museum opened in 1998, and is now a $5 million facility that exhibits the proud and colourful 350 year history of America’s favourite instrument. The oldest models available are from the 19th century, with a timeline of banjos passing through eras such as world wars one and two, as well as the modern day. Guests can examine beautiful pieces of craftsmanship, as well as listen to the delightful tunes that can be played on them.