Looking for something different to do over spring break? Head west! Enid is full of interesting and exciting places to make new memories with your family. Here are five places in Enid to explore, with something to offer everyone from train enthusiasts, to history buffs and to anyone that just loves to have a great time.
The Biggest Land Run in History
You’ve no doubt heard about the land runs in Oklahoma, but most of us think of the 1889 run that settled the Unassigned Lands in the central part of the state. In 1893, though, the land run to settle parts of the Cherokee Strip was the biggest land run in history. The Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center (507 S. 4th Street, Enid; 580-237-1907, www.csrhc.org) tells the stories of the people who settled the empty lands and developed them into the thriving communities they have become today.
Five galleries showcase different aspects of life in the Cherokee Strip from before the land run to the early days of the oil and gas industry to the founding of the state’s first private university. In addition, themed displays change periodically, so each visit to the center will bring the opportunity to learn something new.
A tour through the Humphrey Heritage Village brings the everyday world of the Cherokee Strip in 1893 to life for visitors. Each building in the village is an original structure from the area that has been moved to the site and then restored to accurately reflect the time period. Kids will especially find the old one-room schoolhouse interesting. Visitors can also tour the Gildewell home, one of the early homes built in the area. Although this home was in poor condition by the time it was acquired by the museum, it has been restored to its former glory and filled with furniture, toys, and other household goods from the time, including some of the items that are original in the home. Finally, the last remaining land office from any of the land runs is open to visitors, too. Once you visit this small building and hear of all the paperwork that had to be processed there, it’s almost unbelievable what they were able to accomplish without the help of computers and modern technology!
More Than a Million Pieces of Memorabilia
Do you have a train enthusiast in your home? This is the perfect place to take them! The Railroad Museum of Oklahoma (702 N. Washington St., Enid; 580-233-3051, www.railroadmuseumofoklahoma.org) is the home of one of the most extensive collections of railroad memorabilia in the world and offers a fascinating look at the railroads. After spending 42 years working for the Frisco Railroad, Frank “Watermelon” Campbell started the museum, which has been located in the old Santa Fe Freight Depot since the late 1970s. His personal collection of items such as uniforms, railroad china, and artwork began the museum’s displays, but they have grown exponentially over the years and now include tickets, clocks, telegraph machines, and just about any kind of equipment you can think of that would be in a train station. In addition to more than one million pieces of railroad memorabilia, the museum is also home to several large model railroads. Each one has many detailed scenes that are fun to examine closely.
Once you’ve looked over all the items inside the museum, head out into the yard for a real hands-on train experience. The museum’s rail yard is home to engines, cabooses, a dining car, and several other kinds of railroad machinery. Best of all, visitors are welcome to climb aboard, so take your turn as a conductor up in the cupola of a caboose or see how far you can drive the hand car.
The Old West Comes to Life
The Old West comes to life at Simpson’s Old Time Museum (228 E. Randolph, Enid; 580-234-4998, www.skeletoncreekproductions.com).
Originally home to Simpson’s Mercantile (one of the largest retail stores in the state), this huge building now houses several indoor movie sets for the family’s production company, Skeleton Creek Productions. The company has made five different family-friendly westerns in the spirit of the old movies of the thirties and forties and you can tour the saloon, jail house, hotel and other rooms seen in the films.
In addition to the movie sets, the museum has an extensive collection of western memorabilia, from a chuck wagon to saddles as well as numerous other antiques. You can also see a doll collection of almost 2,000 dolls, some dating back to the late 1700s. There are so many different things to see that a trip to Simpson’s Old Time Museum will have something to interest everyone in the family.
A Hands-On Experience
No trip to Enid is complete without a stop at Leonardo’s Children’s Museum (200 E. Maple, Enid; 580-233-2787, www.leonardos.org), a hands-on experience that children of all ages will love. Leonardo’s is home to ferrets, a chinchilla, a leopard gecko, and many other creatures—and sometimes they even come out of their cages so you can pet them. A visit to the tinkering area allows kids of all ages can draw, make crafts, take things apart, and even build their own creations with real tools in the workshop area. Younger kids can enjoy a play doctor’s office and store, and for those under five, there is a special area full of age-appropriate activities.
Leonardo’s has so much to offer that it can’t fit into the building! Head outside to Adventure Quest, a three story wooden castle that has so many nooks and crannies kids can play for hours and not get bored. In addition to the swings, slides, other typical playground equipment, Adventure Quest also has sand areas, a dinosaur dig, and a water table. The outdoor area is closed when the weather is extreme and does not open until noon on weekdays, so plan accordingly.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Enid has several family-friendly parks that are wonderful for having a picnic or just burning off some energy after a car ride. Spend some time fishing or playing on the playground at Government Springs Park (509 E Oklahoma Ave), or stop by Champlin Park (1198 Sequoyah Dr) and try out some of their new playground equipment. If you have a bit more time to spend, Meadowlake Park has walking and biking trails and even has train rides during the evenings in the summer. Check out the Family Fun section on www.visitenid.org for a full listing of parks in Enid.
Enid is just an hour and a half away, so it’s a great day trip destination. Just head north on I-35 until you reach US-412 and then go west and this takes you right into town.
Enjoy your trip!