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Oklahoma’s Route 66

Experience the nostalgia of the Mother Road with stops highlighting the history, culture and character of Oklahoma’s Route 66.

 

Day 1

  • Arrive in Miami
  • Tour the Coleman Theatre
  • Head southwest on Route 66
  • Stop at Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park
  • Continue southwest to Claremore
  • Visit the J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum
  • Dinner at Hammett House Overnight in Claremore

Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park — Chelsea

Totem poles are intricate and aesthetic examples of Native American art and culture that are as impressive as they are beautiful. It’s no wonder they inspired a woodworker, Ed Galloway, to create an entire park dedicated to them. Galloway, a renowned folk artist, began carving the totem poles on his own property in 1937, and continued until his death in 1961. His land was later recognized as a folk-art environment, converted into a park and added to the National Registry of Historic Places. The 11 colorful carvings in the park have been restored over time, including the world’s largest concrete totem pole, the park’s 90-foot-tall centerpiece. Groups can peruse the nine-acre property and visit the park’s museum, which features Galloway’s hand-carved fiddles and other artworks and gives insight into his vision for the park. 

nps.gov/nr/travel/route66

Day 2

  • Tour the Will Rogers Memorial Museum
  • Continue on Route 66
  • Shopping and snacks at the Nut House
  • Photo stop in Catoosa at the Blue Whale
  • Continue to Tulsa
  • Tour the Philbrook Museum of Art
  • Visit Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios
  • Tour the Woody  Guthrie Center  and the Bob Dylan Center in the Tulsa Arts District
  • Tulsa tour with stops at Center of the Universe and Cyrus Avery Plaza

Will Rogers Memorial Museum — Claremore

A trip to Oklahoma wouldn’t be complete without learning a little bit about Oklahoma’s Favorite Son, Will Rogers. Built in 1938, the Will Rogers Memorial Museum pays tribute to the American entertainer and his successful career. Groups can learn about Rogers’ life, from his birth in the Cherokee Nation to his exploits as a film star in Hollywood, by taking guided or self-guided tours of the museum’s 12 galleries. The museum features photographs and artifacts from Rogers’ life, as well as documentaries and interactive exhibits that showcase his personality and prominence in the history of American showbiz. Groups can also arrange for one of the museum’s Will Rogers interpreters to speak to them for an entertaining presentation about his life and legacy. Guests can round out their trip with a visit to the museum gift shop for some Will Rogers memorabilia and grab a bite to eat in the nearby town of Claremore. 

willrogers.com

Woody Guthrie Center — Tulsa 

Woody Guthrie was one of the most influential singer-songwriters of his time and is most famous for penning the American folk song “This Land Is Your Land.” Guthrie’s work often focused on political themes and had a lasting impact on the generations of music to come, inspiring other greats such as Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. At the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, groups can learn about this Oklahoma native’s life and his legacy as a musician and activist. The center, which opened in 2013, houses 10,000 artifacts in its archives and is committed to sharing not only Guthrie’s music but also his principles of equality and justice. Groups can check out the museum’s permanent exhibits, such as a short documentary about Guthrie’s life, Guthrie’s guitar, some of his lyric journals and the original handwritten lyrics of his most famous song. The museum’s rotating exhibits celebrate other musicians from Guthrie’s time to present day. 

woodyguthriecenter.org

Day 3

  • Continue southwest on Route 66
  • Visit the Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum in Sapulpa
  • Lunch at the Rock Café in Stroud
  • See the Round Barn in Arcadia
  • Soda and snack stop at Pops near Oklahoma City
  • Visit the American Banjo Museum
  • Dinner in Bricktown Entertainment District
  • Overnight in Oklahoma City

Pops — Arcadia

Whether they call it soda, Coke or pop, every traveler in your group is sure to find something they like at Pops. This Oklahoma landmark is a gas station, restaurant, convenience store and soda lover’s paradise all in one. Pops is known for its ultramodern architecture, which has been drawing in travelers along Route 66 ever since its opening in 2007. It features a 66-foot-tall soda bottle sculpture out front that illuminates the Oklahoma sky with changing neon lights and makes it the perfect photo op. It also hints at the hundreds of colorful sodas lining the shelves inside that guest can purchase, including exotic and zany flavors. The Pops restaurant offers a wide range of food for groups, from their signature Pops Burger to their massive ice cream sandwich sundae. The Pops gift shop is the perfect place for groups to shop for Route 66 or Oklahoma souvenirs. 

pops66.com

Day 4

  • Visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum
  • Tour the Oklahoma State Capitol
  • Lunch and tour at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
  • Explore the First Americans Museum
  • Dinner at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse
  • Overnight in Oklahoma City

Cattlemen’s Steakhouse — Oklahoma City

With a history as wild as the rest of the West, Cattlemen’s Steakhouse originally opened as Cattlemen’s Café in 1910 in a part of Oklahoma City called Stockyards City. This area was a hub for meat production in America, and the restaurant served cowboys and ranchers driving their herds of cattle through the area, as well as workers at the meat-packing plants. The restaurant changed hands in 1945 with the lucky roll of two dice and has been providing exceptional steaks ever since. It’s known for its hand-cut, prime and choice cuts of beef and exceptional food. Groups can arrange to stop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner seven days a week and can be accommodated for any style of meal, from plated meals to buffets. Cattlemen’s has witnessed many eras of American history, from the country’s westward expansion to Prohibition, making it a staple tourist spot in Oklahoma. 

cattlemensrestaurant.com

Day 5

  • Continue west on Route 66
  • Explore El Reno aboard the Heritage Express Trolley
  • Lunch at Johnnie’s Grill
  • Visit Historic Fort Reno and the U.S. Cavalry Association
  • Continue on Route 66
  • Photo stop at Lucille’s Filling Station
  • Depart for Clinton
  • Tour the Stafford Air and Space Museum
  • Visit the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum
  • Depart for dinner and overnight in Elk City

Oklahoma’s Route 66 Museum — Clinton

Groups can learn all about one of America’s first and most famous highways at the Route 66 Museum in Clinton. Though it has since been replaced with newer highways, Route 66 was an integral part of American history and development during the 20th century. Oklahoma’s Route 66 Museum is the largest museum dedicated to the highway and its history. Groups can tour the museum’s rotating exhibits to learn about the highway’s role in important historical events, such as the Great Depression, when many Americans traveled Route 66 to escape the Dust Bowl. Other popular exhibits include a re-creation of a vintage diner and collection of motel keys from motels along the route. The museum also features a new photography exhibit by Jerry McClanahan, an artist and expert on Route 66, with 66 photographs of the highway taken in the late 20th century. 

okhistory.org/sites/route66

Day 6

  • Visit the National Route 66 Museum
  • Lunch at Simon’s Catch
  • Visit the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site
  • Lunch at Prairiefire Grille
  • Depart for home

You can find this itinerary along with more resources to plan your group’s trip to Oklahoma at travelok.com/group-tours/toolkits.

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