Daytrip Southwest of Shawnee
Updated: Nov 23
A visit to Shawnee is more than our art, historic sites, and Native American culture. It’s daytrips to see more of Oklahoma. Plan to spend an extra day or two. Southwest of the Redbud City, it's an outdoor and natural wonders adventure all within an hour of Shawnee.
Lake Thunderbird on the east side of Norman is the closest State Park to Shawnee and features two marinas - Calypso Cove Marina and Little River Marina, nine boat ramps, and two swim beaches. It’s a hiker’s and off-road cyclist’s delight with the Clear Bay Recreation Area Trail System offering 18.5 miles of trails.
Discover Cove Nature Center at Lake Thunderbird features displays of native snakes and animals, furs and artifacts. The Cove offers programs throughout the year, including fishing clinics, Dutch oven cooking, trail hikes, and animal tracking.
Lake Stanley Draper is just west of Shawnee on I-240 and features activities such as camping, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, waterskiing, jet skiing, boating and sailing. The two trail systems are a destination for hikers and cyclists. A 13-mile paved trail loops the lake. A 13-mile off-road trail offers various lengths for mountain bikers and those out for a hike.
Oklahoma Motorsports Complex offers four tracks for motocross and karting. Rent karts and go for a spin around the .7 mile, 13 turn asphalt track in Norman.
Sam Noble Museum of Natural History on the OU campus in Norman offers six breathtaking galleries that give you an in-depth tour of more than 500 million years of Oklahoma's fascinating natural history. Explore Oklahoma's indigenous people, native landscapes and dinosaurs including the world’s largest Apatosaurus and a Guinness-World-Record-Holding Pentaceratops. The Special Exhibitions Gallery offers several traveling exhibitions through the year, so there is always something new to see.
Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art also on the OU Campus in Norman showcases the Weitzenhoffer Collection of French Impressionism, 20th century American painting and sculpture, traditional and contemporary Native American art, art of the Southwest, ceramics, photography, contemporary art, Asian art and graphics from the 16th century to the present. Temporary exhibitions are mounted throughout the year that explore the art of various periods and cultures. The museum of art is free to visit.
Once it reopens to the public, at the National Weather Center, go behind the scenes, experience the forces of nature, and see the newest technology in action. More than 550 scientists, meteorologists, climatologists, students and staff from The University of Oklahoma and multiple federal and state agencies work together at the Center to improve the understanding of the Earth’s atmosphere and severe weather events. Tours are available for the public Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1 p.m.
Weather buffs will also want to visit the National Weather Museum and Science Center in Norman. It offers an opportunity to learn more about weather and science along with a gallery of historical meteorological instruments. You’ll want to see the plane and try your skill as a test pilot.
While we bleed OBU Green in Shawnee, with OU so close, take in the excitement of an OU football, basketball, or softball game. Gymnastics and wrestling meets are a spectacle as well!
The Museum of Osteology celebrates vertebrate life and provides visitors an engaging adventure viewing hundreds of skulls and skeletons from all corners of the world.