Tucked into the southern edge of Oklahoma City, Norman is a laid-back alternative to the bustling metropolis. Sandwiched between the urban centre and a number of nature preserves and state parks, the little city offers the perfect balance between urban entertainment and scenic tranquillity. Norman is small compared to its neighbour, but it’s no sleepy suburb. Its thriving nightlife scene is bolstered by the student population of the University of Oklahoma, whose main campus is here. As a college town, it also offers lively game days and plentiful trendy cafes and restaurants to enjoy.
There are plenty of more intellectually stimulating activities to enjoy as well, with plenty of history and science museums and art galleries to browse. The National Weather Centre is also located here, offering a glimpse into one of the many functional applications of science.
If you’re more interested in hands-on interaction with nature, you can head out into the Lexington Wildlife Preserve or Lake Thunderbird State Park. Whether you enjoy exploring the wilderness or visiting nature centres, you’re sure to get a great appreciation for the wonders of the natural world.
Oklahoma City is right on your doorstep if you do want to explore its sights and attractions, but, for the most part, there’s plenty to keep you busy right here in Norman. In this article I’ll be taking you through all the very best ways to spend your time in and around the too often overlooked town.
- Norman, Oklahoma
- Plan Your Trip
- 20 Best Things To Do In Norman
- 1- Look Around The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History
- 2- Visit The Museum of Osteology
- 3- Appreciate The Works At Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
- 4- Take A Break in Andrews Park
- 5- Find James Garner Statue
- 6- Take A Look Around Moore-Lindsay Historical House Museum
- 7- Join The 2nd Friday Norman Art Walk
- 8- Relax In Reaves Park
- 9- Visit Jacobson House: Native Art Centre
- 10- Meet The Residents Of Tiger Safari Zoological Park
- 11- Learn About The Local Area At Discovery Cove Nature Centre
- 12- Visit The National Weather Centre (NWC)
- 13- Explore The Lake Thunderbird State Park West Sentinel Area
- 14- Make A Splash At Westwood Family Aquatic Centre
- 15- Take A Walk Around The Lexington Wildlife Management Area
- 16- Bounce Around At Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park
- 17- Look Around George M. Sutton Wilderness Park
- 18- Throw Down At Sooner Disc Golf Course
- 19- Expand Your Mind At The National Weather Museum and Science Centre
- 20- Cross The Sante Fe Bridge of Noble at Riley Park
20 Best Things To Do In Norman
1- Look Around The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History
If you are interested in the natural world and the creatures that have walked the earth over its many millennia, you will definitely want to check out the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.
The museum is full of skeletons, taxidermy, and recreations of magnificent animals both modern and prehistoric, land roaming and sea faring.
You’ll also find exhibits on various world cultures from throughout human history.
Go to 2401 Chautauqua Ave, Norman, OK 73072, United States.
2- Visit The Museum of Osteology
The Museum of Osteology focuses almost exclusively on the bone structure of a huge range of animal species.
With over three-hundred in their collection, you can see the inner workings of a wide range of species, including ancient humans and our relatives.
Head into 10301 S Sunnylane Rd, Oklahoma City, OK 73160, United States.
3- Appreciate The Works At Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
If you prefer browsing art galleries, then you’ll want to pay a visit to the Fred Jone Jr. Museum of Art.
If you want a preview before you decide to visit, you can even take a virtual tour online.
Affiliated with the University of Oklahoma, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum displays both contemporary and historical works from across the world.
It houses over 20,000 items in its collections, providing both permanent displays, as well as frequently changing special exhibitions.
Find them at 555 Elm Ave, Norman, OK 73019, United States.
4- Take A Break in Andrews Park
If you need a break from exploring, you can head to Andrews Park to kick back on the grass and relax.
With amenities including play areas, basketball courts, and a skatepark, along with the open lawns, there is plenty to keep everyone entertained if you don’t just want to lay back and enjoy the fresh air. In the summer, there’s even a splash pad and amphitheatre to add to the fun.
Head into 201 W Daws St, Norman, OK 73069, United States.
5- Find James Garner Statue
If you’re travelling along James Garner Avenue, keep your eyes peeled for the James Garner statue perched at the corner of Legacy Trail Park.
The statue – and road name – pays tribute to the iconic actor who was born and raised in what is now Lake Thunderbird State Park, just east of Norman.
Look around Downtown, Norman, OK 73069, United States.
6- Take A Look Around Moore-Lindsay Historical House Museum
The Moore-Lindsay house is a must visit for anyone who wants to learn about the early days of the city.
The historic, Victorian era house is expertly furnished in the style of the period, with visitors able to tour the rooms and see how the residents of Norman would have lived over a hundred years ago.
Go to 508 N Peters Ave, Norman, OK 73069, United States.
7- Join The 2nd Friday Norman Art Walk
On the second Friday of each month, various creative businesses around downtown Norman take part in the Norman Art Walk.
Studios and galleries, craft stores and independent artists, bars and coffee shops, all collaborate to create a monthly celebration of local artistry and talent.
Participating businesses change on a monthly basis, so make sure to check the current lineup in advance, so you know where to go.
8- Relax In Reaves Park
Reaves Park is another great option for when you want to enjoy some fresh air and escape the concrete jungle without having to actually venture out of the city.
Located in the south of the city, right next to the University of Oklahoma, Reaves Park is a large expanse of open fields.
You can stretch out on the grass or let the kids run around and burn off some energy in the play area. It’s also perfect for a laid-back, al fresco lunch, with plenty of picnic and barbeque facilities to take advantage of.
Head along to 2501 Jenkins Ave, Norman, OK 73072, United States.
9- Visit Jacobson House: Native Art Centre
This unassuming house, on an otherwise residential street, houses a celebration of native American art dating back to the early 20th century.
Along with a permanent collection of works by a group of native artists called the Kiowa Six, it also hosts an open call for native artists from across Oklahoma.
The Jacobson Art Centre currently accepts visitors by appointment, so make sure to contact them ahead of time if you want to pay them a visit.
Go to 609 Chautauqua Ave, Norman, OK 73069, United States.
10- Meet The Residents Of Tiger Safari Zoological Park
Tucked away in the countryside to the west of Norman, the Tiger Safari Zoological Park is home to an array of wildlife, including tigers and bears, which you can observe in their specially tailored habitats.
Visitors can also enjoy a range of interactive experiences, like photoshoots, axe throwing, and up-close animal encounters.
There’s even a range of accommodation options available if you want to enjoy an overnight stay alongside the exotic residents.
Head out to 963 County Street 2930, Tuttle, OK 73089, United States.
11- Learn About The Local Area At Discovery Cove Nature Centre
Head around Lake Thunderbird to the Discovery Cove Nature Centre to learn more about the natural landscape and abundance of species that call it home.
Along with teaching visitors about the local wildlife, the nature centre also houses a number of resident specimens to let you enjoy a closer look.
It’s educational fun for the whole family, and a great spot to pick up leaflets and maps to help you explore the park yourself.
Go to 1201 Clear Bay Ave, Norman, OK 73026, United States.
12- Visit The National Weather Centre (NWC)
Closely affiliated with the University of Oklahoma, the National Weather Centre is located in the southern end of Norman.
If you have even a passing interest in meteorology and how weather is tracked and predicted, then you will want to pay the NWC a visit.
Guided tours are offered on weekdays at 10am, and last around 1.5 hours. You get to visit the storm labs and prediction centre and the weather forecast centre, among various other fascinating areas.
Head over to 120 David L Boren Blvd, Norman, OK 73072, United States.
13- Explore The Lake Thunderbird State Park West Sentinel Area
If you enjoy escaping into nature, then you will want to spend some time exploring Lake Thunderbird State Park.
Covering over 1,874 acres, you can fill days wandering along the network of hiking trails and seeking out all the natural attractions hidden within the trees.
If you’re just looking for somewhere to relax in the tranquillity of nature, there are plenty of beaches for you to laze around on, or set up your fishing pole and catch your own lunch.
Start the adventure at 9100 Alameda Dr, Norman, OK 73026, United States.
14- Make A Splash At Westwood Family Aquatic Centre
There’s no better way to spend a hot summer’s day than splashing around in the local waterpark.
When the temperature rises, take the family down for a day of fun in the sun, at Westwood Family Aquatic Centre.
The centre boasts multiple pools, along with a selection of waterslides and toys to keep everyone entertained.
Go to 1017 Fairway Dr, Norman, OK 73069, United States.
15- Take A Walk Around The Lexington Wildlife Management Area
When you really want to get away from it all and just enjoy the peaceful solitude of nature, head out to Lexington Wildlife Management Area.
A few miles south of the city limits and covering over 9,500 acres, the huge area feels even more removed from civilisation than Lake Thunderbird State Park.
It’s perfect for when you want some quiet time with only the local wildlife for company.
Find the park near Lexington, OK 73051, United States.
16- Bounce Around At Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park
If you need something else to keep the kids busy and let them burn off some energy and excitement, take them along to Urban Air Trampoline And Adventure Park.
As the name suggests, you can expect way more than just halls full of bounce mats.
There are also go-karts, assault courses, laser tag, and zip-lines, to name just a few of the activities kids of all ages can enjoy.
Head to 2800 S Telephone Rd, Moore, OK 73160, United States.
17- Look Around George M. Sutton Wilderness Park
Want to feel close to nature without actually leaving the city? George M. Sutton Wilderness Park is the perfect place for you.
Located well within the city limits, you can explore a web of trails leading around a central lake, looking out for the plentiful wildlife that live in the woods and water.
Head over to 1920 12th Ave NE, Norman, OK 73071, USA.
18- Throw Down At Sooner Disc Golf Course
Connected to George M. Sutton Wilderness Park is the Norman Community Park, which is also home to the Sooner Disc Golf Course.
With a wide variety of ‘holes’ to aim for, the course is ideal for both seasoned pros and total beginners looking for an introduction to the game.
You can while away a couple of hours testing your aim in beautiful, scenic surroundings.
Find it at 1001 E Robinson St, Norman, OK 73071, United States.
19- Expand Your Mind At The National Weather Museum and Science Centre
If your visit to the National Weather Centre left you hungry for meteorological thrills, head to the National Weather Museum and Science Centre.
The museum is home to some fascinating exhibits, including planes specially designed to collect data from inside storms and a vintage radar detector.
The museum is only open from Friday through Sunday, so make sure to plan your visit accordingly.
Go to 1200 W Rock Creek Rd, Norman, OK 73071, United States.
20- Cross The Sante Fe Bridge of Noble at Riley Park
If you hike through the forests between Norman and Noble, try to find the old Sante Fe Bridge.
The stone railway bridge was once a part of the busy trainline that ran through the area until it was abandoned in the ‘40s.
Now all that remain are little pieces scattered among the trees, with the Sante Fe Bridge standing as a charming reminder of the area’s heritage and development.
Find it just south of Norman at Noble, OK 73068, United States.