Recognized as one of the most progressive cities in the state, Norman has a firmly established reputation as the brightest educational center in Oklahoma, with a city culture to match. And as you would expect from a city rooted in education, the University of Oklahoma provides some of the most entertaining things to see and do in Norman.
Founded in 1899 by an act of the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History on the OU campus is one such attraction. Today the museum has 7 million specimens, including the world’s largest Apatosaurus skeleton and The Cooper Skull, the oldest known painted object in North America. Visitors explore the museum’s specimen collection in five permanent exhibits: the Orientation Gallery, the Hall of World Cultures, the Hall of Ancient Life, the Hall of Natural Wonders, and the Hall of People of Oklahoma.
Also on the OU campus is the National Weather Center, where visitors can take tours and learn how research scientists, meteorologists, climatologists, and engineers work together to increase our knowledge about everything weather-related. Designed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which operates the NWC, one of the most popular stops on the tour is Science On a Sphere or SOS. The global display system uses computer and video projectors on a huge, animated globe to explain environmental processes to visitors in a fun and engaging way.
A third popular attraction hosted by OU is the Fred Jones Junior Museum of Art. Two of the most popular collections enjoyed by museum visitors are the Weitzenhoffer Collection of French Impressionism, the largest ever given to an American university, and the Eugene B. Adkins Collection, which features 3,300 American Southwest and Native American art pieces.
The University isn’t the only source of things to do in Norman. The city itself offers a wide variety of attractions, including fairs and festivals that bring visitors from across the state and country. Held annually since 1977, the Medieval Fair features seven stages and exhibits, arts, crafts, foods, games, and all things Medieval. Jazz in June is another popular local festival. First held in 1984 and attended by around 300 visitors, today this popular music festival draws in crows of 50,000 or more. Best of all, both events are free to the public.