Ah, the open road! For many adventurers, the ribbons of highways remind them of freedom, endless journeys, and exploration. Now, more than ever, people are embarking on road trips to escape daily life’s monotony, see more, experience more, and appreciate more of the world out there.
What makes the idea of road trips so alluring for all of us? Well, in the “gadgets-and-gizmos” era, when we plan everything down to minutes, this is perhaps one of the most spontaneous things to do. You are free to decide where you wanna stop, when, and how long you stay. By not getting overwhelmed by hours and deadlines, time will become your friend, not your enemy – that’s the secret to the healing you might need.
If you are eager to pick up your backpack and hit the road yet still not sure where to go, Enjoyfuntrip suggests heading to Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Being an eclectic blend of culture and architecture with a celebration of western America, the City of Legends promises plenty of things to explore and stories to share. This list of the most exciting things to do in Bartlesville OK will show you how the mighty town is perfect for your next getaway!
- Get Lost In Nature At Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve
Address: 1925 Woolaroc Ranch Rd, Bartlesville, OK 74003
Opening hours: 10 AM – 5 PM, Tuesday – Sunday
I didn’t intend to include any museum in this list because, let’s admit it, many of us are tired of them already. Still, missing out on this whimsical landmark would be a big regret. Trust me when I say, Woolaroc will forever change the way you think about museums.
Tucked away in the rugged Osage Hills, the historic building served as the ranch retreat of oilman Frank Phillips in the 1920s. After founding the Philips Petroleum Company, Frank reconstructed his mansion into a cultural and artistic compound surrounded by nature. Until now, the locals still refer to Woolaroc as “an oil baron’s secret paradise”, and it’s also the wonderland for culture and wildlife lovers.
From the entrance, tourists will drive through a sizable wildlife preserve that spreads over 3,700 acres. This is home to 30 species of native and exotic animals. Don’t be surprised if you come across bison, elk, deer, and even exotic wildlife such as zebras and llamas!
At the end of the road is a complex of stone buildings, with the 50,000-square-foot museum as the centerpiece. Vibrant mosaics of Native American dancers adorn Woolaroc’s high doors. As you walk in, you will be fascinated by the extensive exhibition of cowboy memorabilia, Western artwork, antique firearms, and Native American relics from more than 40 tribes.
Still, the crowning glory of this facility is the celebrated Woolaroc single-engine monoplane – a Cessna airplane that won the 1927 Dole Air Race. The plane is famous for being the winner of a tragic air race in which four planes crashed, killing all of the boards.
After touring the museum and marveling at all the artifacts, you can venture outside to explore the wildlife preserve, pet the cute animals, or go on a quick adventure at one of the many nature trails that are accessible from there. This attraction is packed with so many activities and sights, so you can spend the whole day here without a moment of boredom!
- Things To Do In Bartlesville OK – Marvel At The Majestic Caney River
After exploring the Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve, a 23-minute drive will take you to the meandering Caney River.
The Caney River serves as Bartlesville’s essential resource. What’s more, it’s a dividing line between the city’s northern and southern parts. Beginning the journey in Grenola, Kansas, the river ventures for another 180 miles before joining the Verdigris River as a tributary.
According to many road trippers, Caney River is one of Oklahoma’s most picturesque waterways. Surrounding the river is lush-green forests that give it a mystic ambiance. Unlike Amazon or East Alligator, the flows here are incredibly soothing. Along with the serene, crystal-clear water, it provides a breathtaking backdrop for photographs.
You can drive along the riverside to take in the natural beauty. To best experience the Caney River, however, I’d suggest stopping by for a canoeing or kayaking tour. This allows you to admire the stunning flora and fauna while soaking up the sun.
What if you travel with friends and want to spice up the trip with some thrill? Well, the age-old river is also the perfect stage for a chilling adventure! By booking an after-dark canoeing tour, you can venture into the spooky world.
This haunting trip is an epic, spine-tingling ghost tour that begins at the old cemetery. Legends say this is where lost graves remain, and vengeful spirits are trapped beneath the water of the Caney River. It’s frightening. It’s unbelievably unsettling, and… it’s real, so don’t try if you have weak nerves!
- Climb Into The Cab Of The Antique Locomotive Number 940
Address: 201 S Keeler Ave, Bartlesville, OK 74003
Opening hours: 9 AM – 2 PM, Tuesday – Sunday
Travel back in time on these restored vintage trains at the Bartlesville Depot! Here, visitors can hop on one of the three historic railway cars – the oil tank car AOX No. 930, the Locomotive Number 940, and the AT&SF caboose No. 2259. They will experience what rail travel was like decades ago and witness firsthand how much the trains have changed since then.
Ridin’ The Rails Of History, Bartlesville Ok, M-K-T & AT&SF Union Depot
When the holiday season rolls around, the trains will be decorated with a distinct theme every year, making it a fun stop for families with children. Even without all the decorations, though, Bartlesville Depot is still well-loved by the kids: They can climb aboard, ring the bells, explore the engine, and walk around the cars. Oh, and don’t forget to pack your camera if you are a fan of the steampunk aesthetic!
- Things To Do In Bartlesville OK – Admire The Quirky Charm Of The Price Tower Art Center
Address: 510 Dewey Ave, Bartlesville, OK 74003
Opening hours: 10 AM – 9 PM, Tuesday – Saturday
Have you ever heard of Frank Lloyd Wright? He’s the man behind the marvelous “Fallingwater”, the Guggenheim Museum, and the iconic Hollyhock House. All the buildings he designed have become world-famous today, except one: Bartlesville’s Price Tower. This stunning skyscraper is the heart of downtown Bartlesville.
In case you don’t know, the Price Tower is the only high-rise building designed by the legendary architect. Despite being relatively low-key, the tower is still an architectural masterpiece that reflects Wright’s distinctive style and philosophy: It was constructed around a core, or “trunk”, of four elevator shafts, which is the primary support for the building’s structures and ties the rest of the design together.
Each floor plate extends from this central trunk, like a tree’s branch. Accordingly, the building’s outer walls are adorned with long copper wings; their green patina textures resemble leaves. The asymmetrical design also brings to mind a tree’s imperfections – natural yet very appealing.
The structure is a work of art in itself, but as you step inside the building, it will amaze you even more. With a boutique hotel, a restaurant, and retail with office space, Price Tower stays loyal to Wright’s envision of a complex for residential, commercial, and retail.
The show’s star is the Price Tower Arts Center on the 16th floor. It showcases rotating exhibits across a variety of eclectic subjects, including design, furniture, and contemporary art. After marveling at the finest artwork of local and international artists, visitors can enjoy a meal at the Copper Restaurant while taking in the mesmerizing cityscape. And if you need a comfy bed to rest on? Stay the night at the Inn At Price Tower!
- Things To Do In Bartlesville OK – Try Your Luck At Osage Casino
Address: 951 West 36th St N, Bartlesville, OK 74127
Opening hours: 10 AM till midnight weekdays, 10 AM – 2 AM Friday & Saturday
Unlike Las Vegas, nicknamed “America’s adult playground”, or Nashville, the “city of music”, Bartlesville is not the first destination that comes to mind when considering nightlife. The small town is way too tranquil under the sunlight, so, well… that’s understandable.
However, when the night falls, the gambling scene in this city heats up. As it turns out, there are countless ways to enjoy a memorable night out at the City of Legends, from trendy cocktail bars and rooftop bars to casinos.
Among them, the Osage Casino really stands out as the best of the best. Arguably the most deluxe casino in Oklahoma, it will make you feel like a high roller the moment you arrive, especially if you are into slot machines and enjoy a bit of glitzy sophistication.
The betting palace prides itself on more than 30,000 square feet of gaming space, which is filled with video pokers, slots, and multi-game machines. What’s more, it also does a good job of featuring new games regularly so visitors can feel fresh any time they visit.
Whether you want to hit the slots, throw dice at the craps table, or put on your poker face, this is the best place to scratch that gambling itch. Head to Osage Casino and see if luck will be on your side!
- Revel In Colors And Flavors At Bartlesville’s Annual Festivals
Aside from the provocative nickname “the City of Legends”, Bartlesville is also entitled to “the encyclopedia of Oklahoma’s history and culture”. This is truly a city with rich heritage, as seen from the many festivals that attract thousands of tourists every year.
Without a doubt, the most celebrated event is Sunfest – an annual three-day festival that honors arts, craft, and traditional music. Held at the Sooner Park, it has been one of the biggest cultural events in Oklahoma. Let the cultural milieu absorbs you as you enter the festival grounds and dance with the residents in traditional costumes, with traditional music playing in the background. This is a wonderful opportunity to relish in Western American culture and admire the best artwork from local artists.
Bartlesville Sunfest 2021
Meanwhile, melophiles wouldn’t want to miss out on the two most notable musical events: Oklahoma Music Festival and OK Mozart Festival. A long list of famous artists, from pop and indie to jazz and classical, were featured in previous years. The best part? Both of the events are entirely free!
Your road trip to Bartlesville will be a lot more meaningful if you can participate in one of these amazing occasions. They will give you memories of a lifetime as they reflect the city’s culture and heritage in the most exciting way!
Journey To The Unexpected
Making and sharing memories are the most rewarding aspects of a road trip. With this list of things to do in Bartlesville OK, you now have another destination waiting to be discovered.
The idea of visiting Bartlesville is a bit off the beaten path, but don’t let it hold you back. When you explore it with an open heart and mind, you can be the first to see amazing findings that the guidebooks never mention. In the City of Legends, even a minor diversion may become the highlight of your adventure!