Woolaroc Museum

Must See: Bartlesville, Oklahoma!

We’ve never been to Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve even though it is just a short hour drive from my house. This weekend turned out to be the perfect time to check it out and we were not disappointed!

Frank Phillips, founder of Phillips Petroleum Company

Frank Phillips lived an exciting life that included owning a barber shop, selling bonds for the bank, opening a savings and trust, and eventually founding Phillips Petroleum Company with his brother, L.E. Frank’s life was full of details that are far to interesting to recount in this blog post. I encourage to visit the website here and learn more about him and why he built Woolaroc!

Wildlife Preserve

Turning onto the property you stop to pay a modest fee of $14 per person (adult price; 12 and under are free). Then you will see almost immediately that your drive to the museum may not be as boring as you imagined. Along the side and in the middle of the road are Buffalo! Lots of them! They were close enough to reach out and touch, but no thanks! I’m certain they would bite, but I was more worried about the smell! They are some filthy creatures.

The first stop on the map we were given at the entrance was a replica of an 1800’s fur trader site. A history enthusiast dressed in period clothing described the type of clothing, tipi materials, and weapons that would have been used. He was interesting and I learned several things. I learned that the Indian men hunted the buffalo but it was the women that skinned, butchered, cooked, and tanned the animal after it was brought back to camp.

Another fascinating thing I learned is that Indians would trade with the trappers and settlers for their canvas. They began using the canvas fabric for their tipi’s instead of the animal hides because it was water resistant like the tanned hide, easier to mend if torn, and infinitely more lightweight. The weight difference was significant because the tee pees belonged to the Indian women and it was their job to put them up and take them down! Wet hides are incredibly heavy; can you imagine that job?!

The fur traders used the canvas for shelter because it could be rolled up quickly and placed on the back of their saddle. All they needed was to drape it over nearby trees or rocks and it would shield them from the rain!

The Room of Women Settlers!

I was completely enamored of this particular room! Along with an authentic stage coach, there were 12 bronze statues that had been entered in a 1927 Pioneer Woman contest. I took pictures of all of them but I’ve included three of my favorites above!

Pioneer life has always intrigued me. The women who came west (and survived) were strong, adventurous and heroic. Yes, surely they were afraid, lonely, and perhaps angry as well but that doesn’t negate the challenges they overcame and the heartache they surely endured while trying to eke out an existence in the wild west!

In 1926, E. W. Marland, founder of Marland Oil Company (later to become Conoco) and at that time one of the wealthiest men in the world, commissioned twelve 3-foot sculptures that were submitted by US and international sculptors as models for the Pioneer Woman statue. Marland paid each sculptor $10,000 for his submission, about $100,000 in present US dollars. The models were shown in Ponca City, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Dallas, Fort Worth and Oklahoma City where they were viewed by 750,000 people who cast votes for their favorite.Hugh Pickens

Each of the statues were to represent a different attribute: Protective, Determined, Challenging, Affectionate, Self-Reliant, Fearless, Heroic, Adventurous, Sturdy, Faithful, Trusting, and Confident. You can learn more about the contest and the statues here.

Obligatory Selfie!

OH! One more picture to share, this is a real Water Buffalo just hangin’ out in the pond chewing on grass. I’ve never seen one that close! Have you? And that’s our historic reenactor shooting a powder rifle.

Next time you’re out this way…

Take a trip to Bartlesville, Oklahoma and see this wonderful treasure. You can plan your trip by visiting here. Unfortunately, We were not able to see the Frank Phillips Lodge or the Wildlife Gallery because — COVID — but hopefully it will be open when you visit.

A short trip to Eskimo Joe’s

Eskimo Joe's Lunch

I’ve been to Stillwater only once and it was when my sister graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in the mid 1990’s. That day was all about watching her achieve her goal and celebrating with her so we didn’t visit anywhere else besides the small business building that the ceremony took place.  I have said “Let’s go to Stillwater and visit Eskimo Joe’s!” about once a year since then. Well, 2020 is the year we finally took that drive!

Yes, we saw Transformers!

Several years ago I started seeing Facebook pictures on my friends pages of two very large Transformers, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. Turns out these statues are located in Stillwater at either end of 6th Avenue in front of the G & M Body Shops. The FAQ posted near the first statue we saw gave some interesting statistics:

  • The statue Optimus Prime is 22 feet tall;
  • Weight is approximately 5700 pounds;
  • It is made from recycled auto & motorcycle parts, metal shelving, and various household appliance pieces;
  • It took four months to create, three months in transit, one year for the G & M owner to rebuild it;
  • Total cost: Too Much.

Eating at Eskimo Joe’s

Next, we drove straight to “Stillwater’s Jumpin’ Little Juke Joint.” We were told the wait would be 45 minutes so we grabbed our buzzer and headed over to the store for some pre-shopping. It was busy for a Friday but everyone was wearing their masks and staying distant as much as possible. True to their estimate, 45 minutes later our buzzer went off. After being seated, we ordered Joe’s Cheese Fries (which were seasoned just right and loaded with delicious melted cheese), a Sweet Peppered Bacon and Cheddar Burger, a Sweet Peppered BLT, and Joe’s Pasta Salad. I had read lots of mixed reviews about the food before we left the house. The good news is that we liked everything we ordered and the waitress was friendly and attentive even though they were very busy. We learned that they were having a week of fun celebration events in honor of Eskimo Joe’s 45th anniversary and my son won an anniversary t-shirt by spinning the prize wheel.

Can’t NOT have dessert

Lastly, we took a leisurely drive around the Oklahoma State University campus which is truly beautiful! But there was one more place we were looking forward to visiting before heading back home. Down the final little side road near the OSU courtyard, we spotted it… Insomnia Cookies. Ohmylanta, the smell as you walk in the door is just heavenly. We ordered one M&M Classic, one Triple Chocolate Chunk, and one Cookies & Creme. The perfect way to end a trip. Every. Single. Time!

I mean…

Stillwater Day Trip

For those of you looking for a quick day outing, this trip was a short hour and a half drive one way. It is the perfect day trip destination that I highly recommend.

What’s your favorite place to visit when in Stilly? Leave your comment below so that we can add it to our must sees.

Crystal Bridges

My son, niece, and I took a short two hour drive this past week so that I could share this really cool museum with them before my niece goes back to Colorado. I truly could have taken hundreds of pictures while we were there but I wanted to be “in the moment” as much as possible and just…..be. When you go, make sure and eat or drink before entering because those things are a no-no. You probably already knew that, but just in case you didn’t…that’s my public service announcement! You’re welcome. lol

Crystal Bridges is located in Bentonville, Arkansas and although it is located in a neighbor state, this museum is well worth the visit. The link to their website will allow you to take virtual tours of the exhibits however, as soon as you are able, in person viewings are the absolute best way to get the entire scope and feel of the various art pieces.

A Little Background

Alice Walton, the daughter of Helen Walton and Walmart founder Sam Walton, founded Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and serves as chairwoman of the museum’s Board of Directors. There is much more about Alice on the website if you would like to learn more about her passion for the arts. The art housed at Crystal Bridges is truly fabulous – any way you slice it!

Art of art? Of course!

One of the first exhibits that we found was this jaw dropping exhibit! I am sharing the link from the website because there is no way that my camera could have done it justice: https://crystalbridges.org/exhibitions/after-the-last-supper/

We also saw…

Red over Blue Painting

art that made us go… hmmm.

Melted Windmill

and art that made us go… ah!

BTW – one of the staff told us that this was a melting windmill. We saw was a (’bout ready to pop) pregnant windmill. Do you? lol

Selfie Time

Stopping to take selfies and impromptu photo shoots are always a must when my niece is in town!

COVID-19 Masks

We social distanced from everyone else! I promise!

Photo Shoot on the trail

See… no one around. (:

Last, but never least…

You might have heard about the gigantic art structure that used to be in the open foyer between the museum store and the art gallery. That structure has been moved and is now located outside on the art nature trail. Take a look of this terrifying art piece!

Mamon = Mommy
The actual French word is maman but Ms. Bourgeois decided to name this a little differently

I hope you enjoyed looking at a few of the pictures of this fun (and fairly close) getaway! As an FYI, right next door to Crystal Bridges is a children’s science museum, Scott Family Amazeum. I don’t have little’s anymore or I would have checked it out also.

I would love for you to comment below if you have visited either museum and let me know what your favorite exhibit was!