Oklahoma’s third largest city, is home to performing arts, unique museums and galleries, year-round festivals, and nationally recognized sports teams. This is the place to bring the family to experience world-class attractions, lodging and restaurants, all in the unique environment of a university community.
Kids and dinosaurs go together like peanut butter and jelly and one of the best places in the country to get up close and personal with dinosaurs is the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History ( http://www.snomnh.ou.edu/ ) where you can journey through 500 million years of history. Part of the University of Oklahoma, the museum houses more than 6 million artifacts and specimens in its collections and features dynamic displays on human, plant and animal life, but its resident dinosaurs are always a big hit with the whole family! This amazing, child friendly museum boasts record-breaking dinosaurs that cannot be viewed anywhere else, like the world’s largest Apatosaurus (also known as the ‘Brontosaurus’). The museum’s Pentaceratops skeleton with its 10½-foot-tall skull has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest dinosaur skull. These and other prehistoric giants grace the Hall of Ancient Life and leave kids staring up in amazement. But looking up at the towering giants is not the only vantage point you can get on Sam Noble’s dinosaurs – the whole family can board the glass "dinovator" for an adventure which takes guests up 26 feet to meet the Apatosaurus eye-to-eye.
The Hall of Natural Wonders is a wonderland showcasing the diversity of Oklahoma’s wildlife. In a series of detailed dioramas, visitors are taken on a walk through the state’s diverse landscapes to meet wildlife on its own turf. Visit a coyote den, watch buffalo lazily grazing while a rattlesnake poises for a strike, and walk through an interactive cave exhibit where you’ll find bats and other cave-specialized species. Kids will particularly enjoy the many hands-on exhibits and interactive displays, as well as trying to spot the many camouflaged animals hiding in the dioramas. The cultures of Oklahoma’s native people are explored in the Hall of the People of Oklahoma. Here you will learn how the earliest Oklahomans hunted mammoth and bison and view examples of early Native American dwellings and tools. A native storyteller weaves a dramatic tale of a buffalo hunt while events are highlighted in a display area that becomes a theater through the innovative use of light and still drawings. Learn the secrets of turning a tree into a canoe, view artifacts from spearheads to jewelry, and learn more about the ceremonies and traditions of Native Oklahomans. Don’t miss the Discovery Room with its "Please Touch" policy. This is an exciting educational experience where activities include a dinosaur dig where children can excavate casts of real Oklahoma dinosaur fossils, and dozens of hands-on discovery drawers and activity boxes filled with objects from the museum’s collection that can be taken out, handled and explored.
While you’re in Norman, there are several other family-friendly activities that you won’t want to miss. Soak up some "Sooner Magic" with a tour of the beautiful and historic University of Oklahoma campus which is home of the seven-time national championship OU football team. Or visit Perfect Swing Family Fun Centre ( http://www.perfectswing.com) for a day of excitement with go-kart rides, bumper boats, batting cages, miniature golf, and a large indoor play area.