Day-Trip Adventures to the South of OKC
November 4, 2019
There’s an incredible number of places and things to see, do and enjoy in Oklahoma. In this particular article, we’re going to explore some of the adventures that await families to the south of the OKC-metro area within a relatively short driving distance. In fact, under regular driving conditions, all of these spots can be reached by folks heading out from northwest Oklahoma City in two hours or less. Paul’s Valley Families don’t even have to drive to Paul’s Valley, as it’s one of the stops AMTRAK’s Heartland Flyer passenger train makes every morning on its trip from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, Texas. Those who take the train will be able to view local history close to the station at the nearby Santa Fe Depot Museum, which has a 1902 steam engine on display. There’s also a chance to satisfy even the most demanding sweet tooth by taking a tour through the Field’s Pecan Pies Factory, where they make over 3 million pies a year. Although they also make German chocolate, lemon chess and pumpkin pies, pecan pies make up 85 percent of their sales. All are made without preservatives or additives and are available, along with native pecans, pie crusts and pie dough in the Field’s Pies Thrift Shop. Hours can easily be whiled away at the acclaimed Toy and Action Figure Museum, the first museum devoted to the art and sculpting of action figures. Created with the help of local artist and toy designer (and collector) Kevin Stark, the museum features more than 13,000 classic pop culture figures. Figures are also available for hands-on experiences in an interactive area. The exhibits cover concept through manufacturing, actually showing how toys are made, and include everything from the first articulated toys of the late 1950s to those that are beloved today. Each year a deserving line of toys is inducted into the museum’s Hall of Fame. Medicine Park Often described as quaint, the vintage resort town of Medicine Park, nestled in the Wichita Mountains, is known for the round red rocks that dot the area and which are found in most local buildings, fences, gates and other structures. These cobblestones are a native geological phenomenon of the area and are what give the town its fascinating and distinctive look. Shops here offer all manner of arts, crafts, gifts for your browsing pleasure. There are also some fine restaurants and a bevy of cabins, cottages and bed-and-breakfasts available for visitors. Medicine Creek winds its way through town, beside which visitors can take a lazy stroll along scenic trails or go for a swim in Bath Lake. The fascinating history of Medicine Park began long ago, when the area was first enjoyed by the Plains Indians as an oasis. In 1908 it became Oklahoma’s first planned resort and from its opening through the 1930’s was an extremely popular vacation spot. Known as “The Jewel of the Southwest,” it was frequented by celebrities, gangsters, politicians and journalists. More recently it was named a finalist for “America’s Coolest Small Town” by Budget Travel Magazine. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Spanning over 59,000 acres, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, a one-of-a-kind destination, is home to free range buffalo, Texas Longhorn cattle, elk, deer and prairie dogs. Scenery is enjoyed by hikers and photographers alike, especially at the top of Mount Scott, 2,464 feet above sea level. Visitors also come for the rock climbing, rappelling, mountain biking, hiking, camping, picnic areas and fishing. Exhibits on wildlife and habitats are featured at the Quanah Parker Nature and Visitor Center, which also offers interactive and changing displays, artwork, videos, films and a gift shop. Periodically throughout the year, guests can schedule nature and wildlife tours to be made by foot or bus or a combination of the two. Other attractions to the area include the Holy City of the Wichitas, Quanah Parker Lake and the Parallel Forest, which consists of 20,000 large cedars planted exactly six feet apart from each other for over 16 acres. Although originally planted in the early 1900s by the federal government to counteract the effects of the Dust Bowl, the area was named a refuge before the trees grew large enough to be harvested. Another much loved spot is the Forty-Foot Hole, a small gorge through which Cache Creek flows creating several waterfalls as it tumbles over rock formations. Turner Falls Oklahoma’s largest waterfall and the state’s oldest park, Turner Falls Park has natural caves, hiking trails, a stone castle and a 77-foot waterfall that creates natural swimming pools. There are also wading areas, sandy beaches, bath houses, picnic sites and water slides. Wildlife is often spotted around the park. In addition, due to the streams being stocked with trout in the winter, this area offers some of the best trout fishing in the state. Nestled in the Arbuckle Mountains this area was discovered in 1878 by Mazeppa Thomas Turner. It offers 1,500 acres full of outdoor area to explore and enjoy.