An Oklahoma Day Trip: Discovering Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve

Ahhhh…Vacation. Who doesn’t love a break from the ordinary?

As spring break winds down, many of our friends are coming back from amazing trips all over the country and the world. Our travels weren’t nearly as fancy, but we did find time to get out of the house and explore…

Today, with  a tankful of gas, we’re heading about 45 miles north of Tulsa to Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve. My husband is at the wheel and I’m his trusty co-pilot.

Julie Chin in Car at Woolaroc

I’ve wanted to visit Woolaroc for a while, and can’t believe after living in Oklahoma for nearly a decade, I’m just now getting here. I think like many folks it’s one of those places, that is just far enough away from home that I’ve allowed myself to get sidetracked. I’m so excited we’re finally ticking this off my “must-do” list today.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Woolaroc, it is a big ranch, built in the 1920s as a  county retreat for oilman Frank Philips. The ranch is home to a wildlife preserve, an extensive western art and artifact museum, nature trails, the Philip’s lodge and so much more. I read somewhere that it is 3500 acres (but don’t quote me on that.) I can confirm that it is big… and beautiful.

Julie Chin Road Trip to Woolaroc

Woolaroc is now run by the Philips Foundation and $10 per adult is your admission to this living museum. The price seemed a little steep to me at first, but it was well worth every penny. Once we made our way though the gate, we were transported into a different world. It was a big change from our midtown neighborhood.

For beginners, we were greeted by deer, longhorn and ostriches.. Oh my!

Julie Chin Ostrich

We also spotted Bison, Elk, Llamas, Cattle and Zebra along Woolaroc’s winding 2 mile driveway. I mentioned to my husband what an amazing 5k backdrop this would make, and daydream about what it would be like to run wild alongside the wild animals.

Of course on the drive in, along with seeing the animals, we see plenty of signs that remind us to stay in our car. We stop and shoot plenty of pictures, but we stay inside our vehicle following the road as it twisted and turned its way through the living preserve part of the ranch.

Along the way, you’ll see all sorts of Native American displays. The road we’re taking leads to the Woolaroc Museum. Looks are deceiving here. The museum is larger than it seems. One could easily spend an entire day checking out this extensive collection of Western art and artifacts. I was also surprised to discover one of the world’s largest Colt gun collections was inside as well.

Julie Chin Explores Western Art and Artifact Museum at Woolaroc

There’s lots to learn inside the walls of the museum. I’m fascinated by the stories of outlaws who had hideouts in the hills of Oklahoma. This chair is rumored to have been sat in by Jesse James!

Jesse James Chair

I found this piece of Americana to be fascinating as well. It’s a saddle that Theodore Roosevelt sat in with the Rough Riders!

President Saddle in Oklahoma

You’ll also find a stage-coach inside the museum, and this famous Woolaroc airplane as well!!

Airplane in Oklahoma Museum

Outside, picnic tables dot the landscape, and lakes surround it all. In the distance we hear a mixture of laughter and happy flute-like music.

Julie Chin Visits Woolaroc

You can’t help but relax at Woolaroc. I also couldn’t resist peeking in the petting barn for the kids. I had to laugh at this chicken with a punk rock hairdo…

Julie Chin Petting Barn at Woolaroc

And then there was this goat… who perhaps could argue that the grass (or hay) is sometimes greener on the other side…

Goat proves grass is greener on the other side

Frank Philips had a great love for animals. Inside his lodge, where the famed Will Rogers, and Wylie Post spent many a night, you’ll find all sorts of animal heads adorning the walls.

Julie Chin looks at Animal Heads inside Woolaroc Lodge

There are nearly 100! A docent tells us all but 7 of the animals in the lodge, lived at Woolaroc at one time or another, and all died naturally. I’ve never seen anything like this!

Welcome Home Oklahoma

Woolaroc had always been on my check list of things to do, and if that’s the case for you, move it to the top. Put the family in the car, pack a picnic lunch and plan to spend the day.

There is something for everyone there… from shrunken heads to doll collections, Native American headdresses to videos on Oklahoma’s oil history, Animals to ice cream.

Sometimes some of the best vacations from life are just a short drive away! Get out there and explore….

Shine on!!!


3 thoughts on “An Oklahoma Day Trip: Discovering Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve

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