Oklahoma Day Trips: Woolaroc Museum and Pawhuska

The weekend before last we took a mini roadtrip to the Pawhuska/Bartlesville area to do some exploring! From the OKC Metro area it was about 2 hours and 20 minutes for us, one way. The drive was pretty! Rolling green hills and lots of cows and horses to see along the way.

I had heard of the Woolaroc Museum and Preserve from reading the Pioneer Woman’s blog. It’s not far from her town of Pawhuska and she had great things to say about it. When I looked up the website, I saw that there were animals there too, so I knew it would be a hit with Cooper.

Woolaroc was founded by the famous oil-man Frank Phillips. He was the founder of Phillips Petroleum(marketed as Phillips 66)and was a very wealthy man. Woolaroc was once his ranch retreat. It now houses his collection of artifacts he acquired throughout his travels.

When we arrived at the entrance to Woolaroc, we paid our admission at the gate. It was $14 per adult, kids 12 and under are free. The lady we paid handed us a map with some information about the animals on the preserve, and away we went.

The drive up from the gate to the actual museum was about two miles long. There were many different animals to spot along the way. We saw deer, bison, zebras, ostriches, water buffalo, longhorn cattle, llamas, donkeys, and goats.

The preserve was beautiful to drive through. Rolling green hills, yellow wildflowers everywhere, a pretty lake with a small waterfall, lots of trees, etc.

Once we arrived at the parking lot, we went to the visitor center first. Inside there were restrooms, a small food counter with a dining area, and another area with seating away from the food counter.

Next, we made our way to the Animal Barn! Outside the barn there was a Rhea(I thought it was an emu), peacocks, goats, miniature ponies, a donkey and a zebra.

Inside the barn there were sheep, goats, a donkey, rabbits, and baby chicks. Cooper really enjoyed seeing the animals and getting to pet them.

We left the barn and walked across the entrance to the Woolaroc Museum. It’s a large building with big doors that I wish I’d taken a picture of. The entrance is a large rotunda with colorful lights surrounding the domed ceiling. The are a few statues in here, but I only took a picture of the Frank Phillips statue. I really liked what the plaque on his statue said:

We spent the rest of our time here exploring the various rooms of the museum. Woolaroc has a little bit of everything! There’s a huge collection of Western art and artifacts, Native American artwork, sculptures, a large collection of taxidermy and taxidermy mounts, one of the world’s largest collections of Colt firearms, the Woolaroc aircraft, Phillips 66 trucks, and a number of odd curiosities Frank Phillips collected over the years.

There is so much to see here- I feel like I could go back a dozen times and not see everything. We even saw real shrunken heads!

The museum actually began as an airplane Hanger that was built to house the Woolaroc aircraft. He continued to build onto it afterwards until it grew to what it is today.

The story of the Woolaroc aircraft is pretty interesting. The plane was the winner of the 1927 Dole Derby- a deadly air race from Oakland, California to Honolulu, Hawaii. The race was sponsored by the sponsored by Dole pineapple magnate James Dole with the first place finisher receiving a $25,000 prize. There were 9 entrants, and only 2 planes finished the race. The other planes either couldn’t take off, crashed on take off, were forced to return for repairs, or vanished over the ocean. In all ten lives were lost.

The area where the plane is kept tells the whole story and has a bunch of pictures and details. It was the last room we toured in the lower level of the museum before heading to the gift shop.

The gift shop has all kinds of neat things. Jewelry, books, stuffed animals, sauces, trinkets, etc. Most of it is made in Oklahoma. We bought some bar soap, a pen with an arrowhead attached to it, and a little wooden bison.

We had such a great time at Woolaroc! Next time we go, we’d really like to check out the hiking trails on the property. The land is so pretty I just know it would be a great hike.

Next we drove about a half an hour away to Pawhuska. It was around 5pm on a Saturday when we arrived and we found parking easily.

We went directly to the Pioneer Woman Mercantile and got seated right away. They were fairly busy, but our server was great and our food came out quickly. I ordered a strawberry lemonade for my drink and it was delicious! Our drinks came in these giant Mason jars:

Here’s a picture of the menu if you’re interested in their offerings:

We decided to start with the meatballs and the olive cheese bread:

I also ordered French onion soup because I had to try it:

All of our starters were delicious! The olive bread was great with the meatballs and marinara. They also served some complimentary biscuits with butter and blackberry preserves that were SO good. My husband really loved the biscuits.

For our meals we ordered Chicken Parmesan and Shrimp and Grits. Cooper had a side of mac and cheese for his dinner. For some reason I only have a picture of my shrimp and grits, but the chicken parm was also delicious- and it was a giant serving! We actually ate the leftovers of it for dinner the next night.

Cooper loved the mac and cheese- it was a large serving and was super creamy and delicious.

We ordered a lot of food and we ate until we were stuffed. Everything was delicious! I highly recommend it. I want to come back to try the breakfast here next time!

After dinner we did some shopping in the store. We smelled lots of candles, bought a cheese board, and I finally found myself a Pioneer Woman cling wrap dispenser! I’ve been wanting one for a while:

Cooper was goofing around with a cowboy hat, and he looked so cute in it that we had to buy it for him.

We made a quick stop at the coffee shop upstairs and bought ourselves a couple sweet treats before heading out. I failed to get pictures of those too, but don’t worry, we’ll be back!

We had such a great time on our day trip! Can’t wait until our next one.

Thanks for reading today!

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