A Family Explores Oklahoma’s State Capitol

The State Capitol of OklahomaAs a family we have traveled all over America, stopping to check out the capitol in each state. Visiting these places is a great way to learn about an area. We were able to explore Oklahoma’s State Capitol as a family, where we learned more about this unique state. It was a fun and educational way to spend an afternoon.

The Parking

Traveling to a big city can sometimes result in an expensive parking nightmare. Luckily this is not always the case, like at Oklahoma’s state capitol. Pulling into the free parking lot across the street from the capitol building, we were wondering how we would get there; because the road is pretty busy and there were no cross walks.

Then we saw the tunnel entrance. It takes you under the street, so no crossing needed! As you walk through there are murals painted along both sides that depict images related to the state. Kids always enjoy walking through tunnels, so this made a great start to our day exploring Oklahoma’s state capitol.

A little girl walking down a tunnel that has murals on the walls.

The Tour

The bench the justices sit at in the Supreme CourtI highly recommend taking the guided tour, but there is always the self guided tour option available. A guided tour begins in the gift shop which also serves as the information center. This is great because you can look around Oklahoma’s state capitol gift shop if you need to kill some time before the tour starts.

Often the tour guides are able to access areas that might not always be open for self guided tours. We were able to go into the Supreme Court room with our tour guide. The room is currently being restored so it is usually closed. Getting a glimpse into this room was lucky because it is one of the most elaborate rooms in the building.


Oklahoma’s State Capitol History

a look at the inside of the domeThe guide was able to explain a lot about the building and it’s history. We learned how important the various Native American tribes are to the state. So important that their nations symbols are incorporated into the state seal. They even have an 22′ tall Native American statue that sits on top of the dome.

Another interesting fact we learned about Oklahoma’s State Capitol is that their dome was added on recently. The original building was flat on top, the dome wasn’t added until 2002! It looks great though and you probably wouldn’t ever know if no one told you. This building is beautiful inside and out.


Restoring Oklahoma’s State Capitol

This building is old, in fact it is 100 years old. Unfortunately for us that meant it was being restored while we were there. It’s great for the building, but not so great for tourists. Most of the art work was either covered or put away in storage to protect it during construction. They do have a binder that has photographs of all the art work not on display in the gift shop.

While we were disappointed to miss out on some of the display’s normally found in the building, we were excited to get a glimpse of what the future of the building will look like. There was an interactive display that shows some of the improvements that will be made. It is going to look great when it’s completed.

The Gallery and The Grounds

On the basement level is an art gallery. This gallery display’s works of artist’s from around the state. There were some really beautiful pieces on display. We really enjoyed the sculptures found all the way at the back. Don’t miss checking this out because it’s not part of the tour.

The grounds of Oklahoma’s State Capitol are also not included on the tour, but if you are like me, you will want to get some pictures of the building. Something unique about the grounds at this capitol are the oil derricks. It is the only state capitol with oil wells on the property, and before the oil dried up, they were working. There is also a cool Veterans  Memorial that makes for a great photo opp.

If you are in Oklahoma City go check out the state capitol building. It has a unique history and is a cool place to walk around. Take the tunnel entrance and enjoy the free parking. It’s a fun way to learn about Oklahoma and spend time with the family.

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family in front of Oklahoma's State Capitol

Check out our article about Exploring Oklahoma’s National Parks With Kids

or other articles about State Capitol’s

Here is a Travel Guide to visiting Oklahoma City

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16 thoughts on “A Family Explores Oklahoma’s State Capitol”

  1. There are always cheap flights advertised to go to Oklahoma and seeing how cute it is, I need to go there! I wasn’t able to tour it this time around, but I heard fantastic things about it.

  2. What a wonderful article on this wonderful building, the State Capitol of Oklahoma. The art gallery at the basement is a nice touch. Capitol without a dome till 2002. It is quite intersting to see the old photos 🙂

  3. I like the art gallery on the basement level and the (relatively) newly constructed dome. It’s always nice to take a guided tour of the state capitols. How cool that you’ve done more than half of them. All the best for visiting the remaining!

  4. I would definitely want the pictures of the building, I love architectural details. Loved the ceiling a lot. Interesting to know the tribes’ symbols are added to the state seal.

  5. I am so glad you started with the most basic, yet an important aspect of travel these days – Parking! 🙂

    Oklahomas does look like a great place to explore with kids, and even solo I would say. I would actually spend quite sometime learning about the history as well as restoration of the capital…

    • Ah, thanks. We strive to take good shots and walk all around to find the side without scaffolding when there is construction.

  6. I enjoy touring state capitols most of the time its a timed and guided tour but I prefer it that way then we learn a lot of things about the capitol. This is really interesting. That dome is really nice. Well, your kids definitely enjoyed the learning experience.

  7. I love the dome! And great that there’s such a reference back to the Native American tribes. Will you take your kids back when the restoration work is all done? it seems such a shame to have missed out on so much

    • I am not sure if we will. It seems like every Capitol we visit has restoration work being done, but this was the first major restoration where all the art work was gone.

  8. Goog luck with visiting all the state capitols, have you got many more to do? It’s always good taking a guided tour if one is available because you get so much more information and as you mention, you often get to visit areas which are restricted to others.

  9. I enjoy touring state capitols as well. I like that the capital pays homage to the Native American tribes that call Oklahoma home. I’m certainly glad they added that dome, it’s stunning!


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