Oklahoma Proud

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There are so many extraordinary Oklahomans who've helped shape our state and incredible places you can only find right here in the Sooner State.

As Oklahoma's Own News 9, we want to highlight our amazing state where our local, family-owned company has called home for over 100 years. Check back here each Friday as we celebrate the best of Oklahoma and what makes us #OklahomaProud.

Tallgrass Prairie

Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

Covers Nearly 40,000 Acres Near Pawhuska

Covering nearly 40,000 acres near Pawhuska, the Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is home to free-ranging bison herds and is the largest protected area of tallgrass prairie left on earth.

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Route 66

Route 66

Known as the “Mother Road” of the U.S.

Oklahoma is home to over 400 miles of Route 66. Along our stretch of the Mother Road you can find many iconic landmarks and attractions, including Pops and the Round Barn in Arcadia, Lucille’s Service Station in Hydro, the Blue Whale in Catoosa and Miami's Coleman Theatre.

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Broken Bow Lake

Broken Bow Lake

14,000 Acres & 180 Miles of Shoreline

Located in southeastern Oklahoma, Broken Bow Lake covers 14,000 acres and is bordered by 180 miles of shoreline. The lake offers plenty of opportunities for fishing, boating, water sports and more.

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RSU Softball Team

RSU Softball Team

2022 NCAA DII Softball National Champions

Congrats, Hillcats! The Rogers State University softball team in Claremore made history this week. On their first trip to the World Series, the team won the 2022 NCAA Division II Softball National Championship – their first ever in program history!

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Myriad Botanical Gardens

Natural Falls State Park

Features a 77-Foot Waterfall

Located in northeast Oklahoma, Natural Falls State Park features a 77-foot waterfall (one of the tallest in the state!), nature & hiking trails, catch-and-release fishing and camping opportunities.

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Myriad Botanical Gardens

Myriad Botanical Gardens

Located in Downtown OKC

Located in downtown OKC, the 15-acre Myriad Botanical Gardens include a Great Lawn, ornamental gardens, a children's garden and playground, an off-leash dog park and more. Seasonal activities and events take place throughout the year, including concert series, festivals and workshops. The Crystal Bridge Conservatory, currently closed for renovation, will reopen in fall 2022.

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Talimena Scenic Drive

Talimena Scenic Drive

54-Mile Route in Southeast Oklahoma

Known for its stunning views, especially during the fall season, the 54-mile Talimena Scenic Drive is located in southeast Oklahoma near Talihina.

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Will Rogers Memorial Museum

Will Rogers Memorial Museum

Located in Claremore

Dedicated on November 4, 1938 to honor “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son”, the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore contains 12 galleries, a theater, a children's museum and the world's largest collection of Will Rogers memorabilia. It is also the location of the Rogers family tomb.

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Mount Scott

Mount Scott

Located Inside Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Visitors of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge can drive to the summit of Mount Scott for spectacular views of southwest Oklahoma. Rising to a height of 2,464 feet above sea level, it's one of the highest peaks in the state.

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White Tail Deer

White Tail Deer

Official State Game Animal

Found throughout the state, the white-tailed deer became Oklahoma's official state game animal in 1990.

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Center Of The Universe

Center of the Universe

Tulsa Landmark

Located in downtown Tulsa is the iconic "Center of the Universe". Visitors can find the acoustic anomaly on the Boston Avenue pedestrian bridge. While standing in the center of a small concrete circle, any noises made will be echoed back even louder.

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Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks

Country Music Legend

Country music legend Garth Brooks was raised in Yukon and graduated from OSU in 1984. He's now the biggest-selling solo artist in American music history.

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Golden Driller

Golden Driller

Oklahoma State Monument

One of the tallest freestanding statues in the country, the 76-foot-tall Golden Driller is located at Tulsa's Expo Square. It became Oklahoma's official state monument in 1979.

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Black Mesa

Wheeler District

Includes Historic Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel

Oklahoma City's Wheeler District is home to the historic Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel. The 100-foot-tall Ferris wheel was reassembled on the south bank of the Oklahoma River and opened to the public in 2016. Its 2022 season kicks off this Sunday, March 20.

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Black Mesa

Juanita Kidd Stout

First Black Woman Elected Judge in U.S.

Born in Wewoka, Juanita Kidd Stout first taught music here in Oklahoma before making history as the first Black woman elected judge in the U.S. She further broke barriers when she became the first Black woman to serve on a state supreme court. In 1981, Stout was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame in 1983.

Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Historical Society

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Black Mesa

Black Mesa State Park & Nature Preserve

Highest Point in Oklahoma

Located in Oklahoma's panhandle near Kenton, Black Mesa State Park & Nature Preserve features unique rock formations, flat-topped mesas and some of the darkest nighttime skies perfect for stargazing. Visitors can also hike all the way to the top of Black Mesa – the highest point in Oklahoma at 4,973 feet above sea level.

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Greenwood

John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park

Features Hope Plaza & the Tower of Reconciliation

Located in Tulsa's Greenwood District, John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park shares the history of African Americans in Oklahoma and remembers the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The park features Hope Plaza, the Tower of Reconciliation and docent-led tours. Named in honor of civil rights advocate, historian and educator Dr. John Hope Franklin, the park was dedicated as a national Literary Landmark on May 31, 2018 and became part of the African American Civil Rights Network in June 2020.

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Greenwood

Greenwood Cultural Center

Sharing the History of Tulsa's Greenwood District

Through its pictorial exhibits and tours of the Mabel B. Little Heritage House, the Greenwood Cultural Center shares the history of Tulsa's Greenwood District with visitors. The center also provides resources for teaching about Black Wall Street and the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

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Charlie

Charlie Christian

Jazz Icon

Jazz icon Charlie Christian grew up in the historic Deep Deuce area of Oklahoma City. He pioneered a new way to play the electric guitar, and the Charlie Christian International Music Festival is held in OKC each year to honor his life and celebrate his musical contributions. Christian was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2018.

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Red Bud

Greenwood Rising

World-Class Museum & History Center Dedicated to Black Wall Street

Greenwood Rising opened to the public in August 2021 and tells the full story of the Greenwood District before, during and after the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The state-of-the-art history center was named one of the Best New Attractions of 2021 as part of USA Today's 10Best Readers' Choice Awards.

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Red Bud

Red Bud

Oklahoma State Tree

Well known for its small, purple-pink flowers in early spring, the redbud is Oklahoma's official state tree.

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Honeybee

Gloss Mountain State Park

Located near Fairview

Located in Northwest Oklahoma just north of Fairview, you'll find Gloss Mountain State Park. Visitors can enjoy the picnic areas right off the parking lot or hike to the top of Cathedral Mountain for a panoramic view of the area. Sometimes referred to as the Glass Mountains, the Gloss Mountains were named for their shiny, glass-like appearance created by their high selenite content.

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Honeybee

Jim Thorpe

Olympic Athlete

The first Native American to win an Olympic gold medal for the U.S., Jim Thorpe was born in Oklahoma on the Sac and Fox reservation near present-day Prague. He competed in the Summer Olympics of 1912 and won gold medals in the pentathlon and the decathlon. Thorpe later played both professional baseball and football, and he was named the “greatest athlete of the half century” in a 1950 poll by the Associated Press.

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Honeybee

Skydance Bridge

Oklahoma City Landmark

Stretching over Interstate 40 in OKC, the Skydance Bridge opened to the public in April 2012. The pedestrian bridge was inspired by the scissor-tailed flycatcher, Oklahoma's state bird, and features LED lighting that can be changed for holidays and special events.

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Honeybee

Honeybee

Oklahoma State Insect

The honeybee, an important crop pollinator, became Oklahoma's official state insect in 1992.

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Woody Guthrie

Beavers Bend State Park

Located in McCurtain County

Outdoor enthusiasts from all around can visit Beavers Bend State Park. Located in McCurtain County, the state park contains Broken Bow Lake and was established in 1937.

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Woody Guthrie

Black Swallowtail

State Butterfly

The black swallowtail became one of Oklahoma's official state symbols on November 1, 1996 when it was adopted as our state butterfly.

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Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie

Singer, Songwriter & Folk Music Icon

Born and raised in Okemah, folk legend & activist Woody Guthrie wrote lyrics to over 3,000 songs, many of which were never set to music. His "Oklahoma Hills" became Oklahoma's official state folk song, and Guthrie was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2006.

Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

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Woolaroc

Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve

Former Ranch Retreat of Oilman Frank Phillips

Woolaroc, a 3,700-acre wildlife preserve and world-class art museum, is the former ranch retreat of oilman Frank Phillips. Established in 1925, its name came from the woods, lakes and rocks that make up the Osage Hills of northeastern Oklahoma where Woolaroc is located.

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Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-Tail Hawk

Oklahoma State Raptor

The red-tailed hawk, found year round in Oklahoma, became our official state raptor thanks in part to 10-year-old Ephraim Bowling. His idea was signed into law back in 2018.

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Shannon

Lt. Col. Childers

Medal of Honor Recipient WWII

Broken Arrow native Lt. Col. Ernest Childers, a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, was the first Native American to be awarded the Medal of Honor in the 20th century. Childers was honored with our nation's highest military award for valor for his heroic actions during World War II. Photograph courtesy of the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame

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Shannon

First Americans Museum

Honoring Oklahoma’s 39 First American Nations

The First Americans Museum officially opened to the public in September 2021. Located in Oklahoma City, the museum honors Oklahoma's 39 First American Nations.

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Shannon

Bricktown

Entertainment District in Downtown OKC

Once a warehouse district, Bricktown is now Oklahoma City's entertainment district with the Bricktown Canal, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, restaurants, shopping and more.

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watermelon

Watermelon

Oklahoma State Vegetable

Oklahoma designated the watermelon as our official state vegetable in 2007. Rush Springs, OK calls itself the "Watermelon Capital of the World" and has held an annual watermelon festival each year in August since 1948.

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Pops

Shannon Lucid

Biochemist & Astronaut

Dr. Shannon Lucid grew up in Bethany and became a NASA astronaut in August 1979. She once held the record for the most hours in orbit by any woman in the world. Lucid was inducted into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame in 1993 and was the first woman to be awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1996.

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Pops

Indian Blanket

State Wildflower

The Indian blanket – a colorful, grassland wildflower – was adopted as Oklahoma's state wildflower in May 1986 for its high heat tolerance and as a symbol of our state's Native American heritage.

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Pops

Tulsa Botanic Garden

Located in the Osage Hills Northwest of Tulsa

The all-season Tulsa Botanic Garden is located in the Osage Hills northwest of Tulsa. Each year, the Garden hosts "Tulsa Botanic BLOOMS", one of the largest spring bulb displays in our area, and "Autumn in the Botanic Garden" with thousands of pumpkins on display, a hay maze, a scarecrow display and more. This year's "Autumn in the Botanic Garden" is taking place now through October 31.

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Pops

Scissortail Park

Urban Park in Downtown Oklahoma City

Located south of Myriad Botanical Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City, the 36-acre upper part of Scissortail Park opened on September 27, 2019 with a 3.7 acre lake, seasonal roller rink, performance stage and lawn, children's playground, dog park and more.

Construction on the lower part of the park is currently underway, which will add soccer fields & sports courts and additional open spaces. It's expected to be completed in 2022.

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Will Rogers

Will Rogers

"Oklahoma's Favorite Son"

William Penn Adair Rogers - better known as Will Rogers - was born of Cherokee heritage near present-day Oologah and became an American icon. He held many roles throughout his life including cowboy, world traveler, humorist and entertainer. Rogers had a hugely successful acting career, which included starring in 71 films during the 1920s and 1930s. He was also a radio commentator and wrote over 4,000 syndicated newspaper columns. "Oklahoma's Favorite Son" was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1932, and the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore was dedicated in 1938.

Directions to Museum
Pops

Pops

Route 66 Landmark

Located in Arcadia, Pops is a modern-day Mother Road landmark. The roadside attraction includes a diner, gas station and soda ranch with over 700 types of soda. Visitors can also check out the iconic 66-foot-tall soda bottle sculpture out front!

Directions to Pops
bison

Bison

Oklahoma's State Mammal

The bison was adopted as Oklahoma's state mammal in 1972, and it became the United States' first national mammal in 2016. They can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and run speeds up to 35 miles per hour. Bison herds can still be found across Oklahoma including within the Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton and the Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve near Bartlesville.

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se hinton

S. E. Hinton

Author of “The Outsiders”

Tulsa native Susan Eloise Hinton is well known as the author of The Outsiders, but did you know she wrote her best-selling first novel while she was a student at Will Rogers High School? A movie version of The Outsiders was later filmed in Tulsa by Francis Ford Coppola, and the Outsiders House Museum opened in 2019 to preserve the home and memorabilia used in the film.

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blue whale

Blue Whale of Catoosa

Route 66 Landmark

The iconic Blue Whale has called Catoosa home since the 1970s. Located on a small pond along old Route 66, the roadside attraction was built by Hugh Davis and quickly became a beloved Mother Road landmark.

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lake murray

Lake Murray State Park

First and Largest Oklahoma State Park

Drive just south of Ardmore and you'll find Lake Murray State Park - Oklahoma's first and largest state park. The 12,500-acre park includes all of Lake Murray and the iconic Tucker Tower, a historic landmark built during the 1930s that extends 65 feet into the air.

Directions to Lake Murray
wiley post

Wiley Post

Pioneering Aviator

Wiley Post was raised in southern Oklahoma and became the first pilot to fly solo around the world. He helped develop one of the first pressurized flight suits and proved the importance of using the jet stream. Post's final flight was on August 15, 1935 with his longtime friend Will Rogers. Tragically, the two died that day when their plane crashed near Point Barrow, Alaska.

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historical society

Oklahoma History Center

215,000 Square-Foot Learning Center

Located on 18 acres in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma History Center tells the stories of Oklahoma and its people through its 5 galleries, 50 topics and 2,000 artifacts. The Oklahoma History Center also houses a Research Center and is a Smithsonian Affiliate.

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Collared Lizard

Collared Lizard

Oklahoma's State Reptile

Oklahoma adopted the collared lizard as our state reptile back in 1969. The collared lizard gets its name from its distinct coloration, which includes bands of black around the neck and shoulders similar to that of a collar.

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Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

59,020-Acre Refuge in SW Oklahoma

Located near Lawton, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is home to many wildlife species including American bison, Texas longhorn cattle, white-tailed deer, Rocky Mountain elk and prairie dogs. Other refuge highlights include Mount Scott, the Holy City of the Wichitas, Quanah Parker Lake and the Parallel Forest. The 59,020-acre refuge was established in 1901 and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Arcadia Round Barn

Arcadia Round Barn

Route 66 Landmark

Built by William Harrison Odor in 1898, the iconic Round Barn can be found along Route 66 in Arcadia.

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Wilma Mankiller

Wilma Mankiller

First Female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation

Tahlequah native Wilma Mankiller made history when she became the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Mankiller was an activist for Native American and women's rights, and she strove to bring improved health care and educational opportunities to the Cherokee Nation. Mankiller received numerous honors for her accomplishments including induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1994 and being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998.

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Wilma Mankiller

Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher

Oklahoma State Bird

The scissor-tailed flycatcher, easily identified by its long, forked tail, became Oklahoma's official state bird in 1951.

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Philbrook Museum of Art

Philbrook Museum of Art

World-Class Art Museum, Gardens and Historic Villa

Tulsa's Philbrook Museum of Art opened its doors in 1939 and offers a world-class art museum, gardens and a historic villa originally owned by oil man and philanthropist Waite Phillips and his wife Genevieve.

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Arbuckle Mountains

Turner Falls Park

Oldest Park in Oklahoma

Located in the Arbuckle Mountains near Davis, Turner Falls Park is the oldest park in Oklahoma. It's also home to Turner Falls, one of Oklahoma's tallest waterfalls with a height of 77 feet.

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Arbuckle Mountains

Shannon Miller

Seven-Time Olympic Medalist

Raised in Edmond, Shannon Miller is a seven-time Olympic medalist and gymnastics icon. She is also the only female athlete to be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame twice – first as an individual in 2006 and then with her team in 2008.

Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma Historical Society

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Arbuckle Mountains

Cain's Ballroom

Historic Music Venue

Built in 1924 as a garage, Cain’s Ballroom later became host to some of music’s most notable stars. Known as “The Home of Bob Wills”, Cain’s was also formerly a dance academy before it became a renowned venue for musicians and fans to connect.

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Oklahoma Rose

Oklahoma Rose

State Flower of Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Rose became our official state flower in 2004. Created by Herbert Swim and O. L. Weeks in 1964, the hybrid tea rose has dark red petals and produces a very sweet fragrance.

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Cowboy Museum

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Internationally-Renowned Collection of Western Art & Artifacts

Founded in 1955, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is located in Oklahoma City's Adventure District. The museum features an internationally-renowned collection of Western art & artifacts including James Earle Fraser's "The End of the Trail" sculpture.

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Cowboy Museum

Mickey Mantle

New York Yankees Baseball Player

Mickey Mantle, well-known former baseball player for the New York Yankees, was born in Spavinaw and raised in Commerce. His number (7) is retired, and no other Yankee will ever wear that number. Mantle was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1964 and the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.

Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame

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gathering place

Gathering Place

World-Class Riverfront Park

Gathering Place is Tulsa's world-class, riverfront park with year-round programming and attractions including a five-acre children's playground, pond with free boat rentals, large lawn for concerts, skate park & sports courts – all without an admission fee. The park opened three years ago on September 8, 2018 and has since earned national recognition. Earlier this year, USA Today's readers voted Gathering Place as the Best City Park in the country.

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strawberry

Strawberry

Oklahoma State Fruit

The strawberry was named Oklahoma's state fruit in 2005 thanks in part to a group of Skiatook 5th graders and their teacher, Pam Bell. After they reached out to Representative Joe Sweeden of Pawhuska, he sponsored House Bill 1762 which ultimately passed and made the strawberry our official state fruit. Plus, the town of Stilwell is known as the "Strawberry Capital of the World" and has held an annual Stilwell Strawberry Festival since the 1940s.

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robbers cave

Robbers Cave State Park

Located in Southeast Oklahoma

You'll find Robbers Cave State Park in the rugged hills of the Sans Bois Mountains near Wilburton. The 8,246-acre park is said to have been a former hideout for notorious outlaws Jesse James and Belle Starr, but the park also features 189 combined lake acres, seasonal trout fishing and hunting, miles of hiking and equestrian trails & much more.

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