Although it’s not particularly well known on the tourist circuit, Norman has a nice collection of compelling attractions to keep visitors entertained. Attend a college football game,gaze at a giant dinosaur skull at a well-regarded natural history museum and test your luck in one of the area’s many popular casinos.
Like neighboring Oklahoma City, Norman has its origins in the 1889 Land Run, which saw white settlers rush to claim “unassigned” land. Prior to this, the land had been part of what was then known as Indian Territory.
As the home of the University of Oklahoma campus, Norman has a sizable population of students who help bring youth and vitality to the town. Attend a “Sooners” football game at the Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and cheer alongside the screaming masses. Head to Heisman Park to see life-size bronze statues of previous Heisman Trophy winners. This trophy is awarded annually to the top player in U.S. college football.
Discover a fascinating collection of museums in Norman. Inspect the giant skull of the Pentaceratops skeleton at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. This dinosaur’s remains were found in New Mexico in 1941. It is thought that when it was alive, the Pentaceratops weighed as much as 13,000 pounds (6,000 kilograms).
For culture, visit the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, whose collection features works from French, Native American and American artists. Examine treasured pieces by such well-known artists as Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet.
Visit Lake Thunderbird State Park for outdoor recreation. Swim and sunbathe at the park’s beach, sail around the serene lake or follow the hiking trails that weave through the park.
Norman is located about 20 miles (30 kilometers) south of Downtown Oklahoma City. The nearest major airport is just west of the city. For convenience, rent a car to get around. Public bus routes do serve parts of Norman, but are not always regular.