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Ideas for free summer fun R

By Erin Jasmer, Okla. Tourism & Recreation Dept.

eady to ditch the rat race for a well-deserved vacation but stressed about the overall cost? You are not alone. More and more people are embracing the act of keeping their money where it belongs: in their wallet. While it seems that every- one is looking to save a buck these days, you never have to sacrifi ce a nice vacation in order to meet your savings goals. Budget-conscious travelers have learned one important fact: You don’t have to go broke to have fun in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma is home to the largest drivable stretch

of Route 66 in the nation. Immerse yourself in the nostalgia of this old highway, remember days past and discover quirky roadside stops along the way. Pack a picnic lunch and take advantage of a great photo-op at these fun, out-of-the-ordinary Route 66 pit stops. Uncover what central Route 66 has to of- fer by visiting the Round Barn of Arcadia. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this piece of Oklahoma architecture is certainly unique. After the sun goes down, travel down the road to POPS to view its iconic, giant soda bottle illuminated with dazzling LED lights.

Travel to downtown Oklahoma City to see the site of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Wander through the grounds of

the Oklahoma City National Memorial and refl ect upon the outdoor Field of Empty Chairs, the mas- sive bronze Gates of Time and the Survivor Tree, a testament to the city’s strength and perseverance.

Visit the Chickasaw National Recreation Area near Sulphur and enjoy a wealth of freshwater streams, and the park’s renowned mineral waters. Popular activities include swimming, boating, hiking and cycling.

The breathtaking Wichita Mountains Wildlife

Refuge near Lawton is a haven for hikers, wild- life photographers and rock climbers. Free range buffalo, longhorn cattle and prairie dogs call the refuge’s 59,000+ acres home, so be sure to have your camera poised and ready.

Discover the fascinating history of prehistoric Na-

tive Americans at the Spiro Mounds Archaeologi- cal Center in eastern Oklahoma. View the art and artifacts of this long-ago culture and take a tour of the 12 on-site burial and ceremonial mounds.

Take a scenic drive through the largest protected

tallgrass prairie in the U.S. at this large nature pre- serve near Pawhuska. Keep a look-out for the white- tailed deer, coyotes and buffalo herds that inhabit this stretch of untouched prairie.

Oklahoma offers more than 40 state parks to the public, each with its own unique attractions and recreational opportunities. Armed with a massive variety of outdoor fun and activities, Oklahoma’s

The Chickasaw National Recreation Area near Sulphur, Okla.

state parks are one of the best values in Oklahoma. This information and so much are are available

at Tourism Information Centers statewide or at Search “50 free things” on to fi nd more free Oklahoma destina- tions. You can order free brochures, research trip itineraries and look up event dates all from this one website. OL


Courtesy photo of

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