There are three National Park Service sites in the state of Oklahoma. Each one of Oklahoma’s National Parks provide a unique and interesting experience. They also provide a glimpse into the history of this unpredictable land.
The visitors center in Washita is fairly new and is a great place to begin exploring the area. Watch the video shown here because it really explains it’s importance historically. Explore the museum, it is small, but does a great job showing what happened at the site.
Once you have finished drive down the road a short distance. There is a wonderful self guided walking tour of the battlefield. Make sure to grab the book available at the entrance to the trail. It will help you to understand the event that occurred at this site. Take turns reading it aloud as you walk the trail, there are numbers in the book that correlate with numbers along the trail.
Although what happened here was very tragic, it is an important part of American history. Children, as well as adults, can learn from our nations past mistakes. It is a beautiful landscape and once you see it you might understand why the Native American Tribes fought so hard to keep it natural. The trail is easy, our six year old had no problem walking the entire length.
Spent the day learning about The Battle Of The Wishita at the #blackkettlenationalgrassland and the kids got another #juniorranger badge. They also got a Junior Ranger Book for all the National Park Sites in #oklahoma, so our route just got changed. Good thing we are #flexible and can detour south to see #chickasaw
On April 19, 1995 an explosion happened in Oklahoma City. Someone set off a bomb that blew up a building. It was an act of violence that killed over 100 people, but hurt many more. The memorial is a place to help people remember this event.
As you enter the memorial through the Gates of Time you will look out over the calm reflecting pool. The Gates of Time signify the minute before and the minute after the explosion. To one side of these is the field of empty chairs and to the other you will see the survivor tree.
Each chair is engraved with the name of a person that lost their life that day. Some of the chairs are smaller than the others, these are for the children. At night they are beautifully lit. Just outside the museum entrance they have chalk and chalkboards. These are for the children to draw or leave a message for the people involved in what happened here.
The survivor tree remains standing even after the explosion that occurred that day. It has survived through fires and many other acts of nature as well. At the end of the field of empty chairs you will also find a wall with the names of the people that survived that day.
This monument is very well done and really makes us think about what occurred at this site. It was so unnecessary and did not solve or change anything for the better. The lesson we were able to teach our children by visiting this site is invaluable.
Enjoying the outdoors is something we love to do as a family. Chickasaw National Recreation Area is a great place for this. There are many trails and all of them are fairly easy. Swimming holes and natural springs are what made this place so unique.
The nature center has a lot of information about the area, mostly the wildlife that can be found. It is built right over the creek. Inside are several animals on display that were fun to see. Even more exciting were all the animals we saw while hiking though.
Just behind the nature center is the trail to both Antelope and Buffalo Springs. The trail is easy and not too long, which is great after spending some time in the nature center. Both springs are so clean and clear, the kids were excited they could drink the water straight from the source.
We ate our lunch while enjoying the view of Buffalo Springs. You can see the water bubbling right up from the ground, it is amazing. The trail extends beyond this spring for even more nature, but there aren’t any more springs. Walk in the other direction from the nature center to get a view of Little Niagara, and, if it’s warm enough, you could even go for a swim.
Bison viewpoint trail is another great trail to hike, but also longer than the spring trail. The climb up to the look out is a little steep, but the trail is fairly level otherwise. If you do go up to the lookout it’s worth the climb because it is a great view of the town.
We were able to see so much wildlife while hiking and camping here. Birds, snakes, bison, toads, and a few others as well. The Buckhorn Campground was clean and quiet while we were there, and the campground host was very friendly. The free, clean, and hot showers were also a bonus after all the hiking.
Oklahoma’s National Parks each offer something different
Our visit to Oklahoma wouldn’t have been complete without visiting these locations. We learned so much about the state by traveling to each one. Not to mention getting to see several sides of the state too. If you decide to visit with your family don’t forget to pick up some Junior Ranger books. They are a great way to make the most of your experience. Also check out our Favorite Campgrounds to see where we stayed.
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