90 Fun & Interesting Facts About Oklahoma

Ready for a trip to a place where the wind comes sweeping down the plain? Let’s pack our bags and head to Oklahoma, a state full of interesting stories, wild weather, and a big heart. Oklahoma is a place where history and nature dance together under wide-open skies. So, let’s jump right in and discover some cool facts about Oklahoma!

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Did you know Oklahoma is called the “Sooner State”? This nickname comes from the early settlers who raced to claim land in the state before it was officially open for settlement. They were so eager, they arrived “sooner” than they were supposed to. Oklahoma has a rich history, especially with its connection to Native American tribes. It’s a place where you can learn a lot about America’s past.

Oklahoma is also famous for its wild weather. It’s located in a part of the United States called “Tornado Alley” because it gets a lot of tornadoes, especially in the spring. But don’t worry, Oklahomans are experts at staying safe and looking after each other when the weather gets rough.

And here’s another fun fact about Oklahoma: they love music and have a state song called “Oklahoma!” from the musical of the same name. The state is also known for its beautiful lakes and parks, where you can go camping, fishing, or just spend a day picnicking with your family. Nature in Oklahoma is truly something special.

Are you ready to learn more amazing facts about Oklahoma? From its early settlers to its musical heart and natural beauty, there’s so much to explore and discover. Let’s dive into the adventure and find out all the cool and interesting facts that make Oklahoma a wonderful place!

Be sure to discover even more interesting facts with our Facts about South Carolina and our Facts about Pennsylvania.

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Facts about Oklahoma

  1. Whaling is illegal in Oklahoma City.
  2. The Oklahoma City Streetcar provides convenient transportation around downtown.
  3. The lowest point in Oklahoma is Little River in McCurtain County, at 289 feet.
  4. Oklahoma is in the South Central United States, along with the states of Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana (New Mexico and Mississippi are also sometimes included).
  5. The name of the state is derived from the Choctaw words “okla” and “humma”, meaning “red people”.
  6. Oklahoma City was the first city to install parking meters on its city streets on July 16, 1935. 
  7. Oklahoma City derives its name from the state of Oklahoma, which is known as the “Land of the Red People.”
  8. In Oklahoma, there are laws that prevent someone from walking up and eating part of your burger while you aren’t looking.
  9. Boise City, Idaho, was the only U.S. city bombed during World War 2.
  10. Pecan pie isn’t an Oklahoma invention. The first recipes for this dessert can be found in Texas and Missouri cookbooks from the late-1800s.
  11. Oklahoma City is the same distance from New York and Los Angeles.
  12. About 60 percent of surface water is used for drinking water.
  13. The eastern part of Oklahoma is also considered part of the Upland South, an area north of the Deep South and defined by higher elevation and a unique history and culture.
  14. The Oklahoma state motto is “Labor Omnia Vincit” – Labor conquers all things.
  15. Guthrie was Oklahoma’s first state capital. In 1910, the state government allowed its citizens to decide where the state capital should be. Oklahoma City won the vote and is now the 30th largest city in the United States.
  16. Oklahoma City is a sprawling city with plenty of room to explore and grow. The city covers an area of approximately 620 square miles. 
  17. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, residents cannot bring their elephants into the downtown area.
  18. 471,931 or 11.9% of people in Oklahoma reported Hispanic or Latino origin – an increase of 42.1% from 2010.
  19. On March 25th, 1948, Oklahoma City encountered a significant event in weather forecasting when the first official tornado warning was announced minutes before a devastating tornado happened.
  20. Every state has a moniker that is used for license plates and tourism marketing. The Oklahoma State nickname is the “Sooner State.”
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  1. The county’s best Girl Scout cookie seller is from Oklahoma City. Katie Francis broke the national record for sales at 18,100 boxes. Her favorite cookie is the Samoa.
  2. Oklahoma has 11,611 miles of shoreline, more than the combined non-tidal coasts of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.
  3. Oklahoma is home to the country’s 2nd largest Native American population, 523,000, or 13% of its people.
  4. Oklahoma was added to the United States as a part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.
  5. The Museum of Osteology is home to the skeletons of over 300 species of animals and is nicknamed “the skeleton museum.”. The museum is privately owned and conducts studies on the bones and skeletons of different species to learn more about them.
  6. The Oklahoma City National Memorial honors the victims of the 1995 bombing. This memorial serves as a somber reminder of the tragic event that occurred on April 19, 1995.
  7. Oklahoma’s frontier roots have deeply engrained the state’s appreciation for its cowboy culture. Every year, rodeos bring people from various communities in the area together as participants to demonstrate their ranching talent.
  8. The Oklahoma state bird isn’t only native to the state. The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher likes wide open spaces and can be found all over the Great Plains. It’s been a state symbol since 1951. It was on the state’s collectible quarter in 2008 and also on the license plates.
  9. Thunder mascot, Rumble’s legendary backstory stems from being struck by lightning while saving his herd generations ago. This lightning transformed him into the half-man/half-bison that he is today. In 2009, he was awarded the NBA mascot of the year.
  10. Oklahoma is the nation’s 20th largest state, and it covers 69,903 square miles.
  11. Residents of the state are known as Oklahomans, or colloquially as Okies or Sooners.
  12. Oklahoma is home to 39 tribes.
  13. On May 3rd of 1999, a total of 74 tornadoes ripped through Kansas and Oklahoma. Oklahoma City itself is one of the few places that has ever experienced an F5 tornado. 
  14. Oklahoma was chosen as the setting of the popular movie “Twister”.
  15. The official flower of Oklahoma City is the Oklahoma Rose. It represents the city’s natural beauty and resilience.
  16.  In Oklahoma City, it’s illegal to own a stink bomb.
  17. The Red Earth Festival celebrates indigenous culture and heritage. Attendees are treated to traditional dances, musical performances, and exhibits of Native American arts and crafts. This festival is a platform for cultural exchange, promoting knowledge and appreciation of diverse native communities and their contributions. 
  18. The state has over 200 lakes that have been created artificially by dams. An easy way to tell a natural lake from an artificial one in the state is by shape. Oklahoma’s natural lakes are all oxbow (curved) or playa (dried).
  19. It’s illegal to tip a casket over at a funeral. 
  20. Cimarron County is the only county in the U.S. that touches four states: Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Kansas.
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  1. Oklahoma even has an official state meal consisting of sausage and gravy, chicken-fried steak, barbecue pork, grits, fried okra, squash, corn, black-eyed peas, biscuits, and pecan pie.
  2. Since explorers first visited the territory that became Oklahoma, as many as 14 flags have flown over it including those of four foreign nations.
  3. Oklahoma City is home to the NBA team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
  4. In Oklahoma, females are forbidden from doing their own hair without being licensed by the state.
  5. Buffalo has been the Oklahoma state mammal since 1972 due to it’s historic roots in the state. The Native Americans who lived in the state depended on the buffalo population for food and fur. 
  6. With over 300 banjos, the collection at the American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City is valued at $3.5 million. 
  7. Oklahoma has parts of four mountain ranges: Ouachitas, Arbuckles, Wichitas, and the Ozarks.
  8.  Several studies have ranked Oklahoma as one of the worst states in the country to raise a child.
  9. In 1889, when the U.S. government had planned to open approximately 2 million acres of land for settlement, many people entered the land before the land’s run designated time. These people were dubbed “sooners.” 
  10. In 1907, Oklahoma became the 46th American state.
  11. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art houses the largest collection of Chihuly glass in the world.
  12. A 16 year-old girl in Chickasha survived a 3,500 foot drop during a failed skydive.
  13. It’s illegal to promote bear wrestling in Oklahoma.
  14. The Wichita mountains cover around 60,000 acres of land that has been virtually untouched by city development.
  15. There’s a swimming pool shaped like the state of Oklahoma at the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion.
  16. Mount Cavanal west of Poteau is claimed to be the highest hill in the world, 1,999 feet.
  17. The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum are dedicated to the victims, survivors, and rescuers of the Oklahoma Bombing, the largest act of domestic terrorism in the United States. They stand on the site of the former building that was bombed.
  18. The land runs brought homesteaders from Japan, China, England, Mexico, Canada, and France to Oklahoma. Thus the state has a population originating from a wide range of geographies and ethnicities.
  19. The Paseo Arts District is a vibrant neighborhood known for its art galleries and restaurants.
  20. At 318 miles per hour, Moore, Oklahoma saw the world’s fastest wind speed ever recorded in 1999. 
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  1. Saurophaganax Maximus has been a state symbol since 2,000. The skeleton was uncovered in the 1930s by John Willis Stovall. The complete skeleton shows a predatory dinosaur that’s larger than any T-rex skeleton ever found.
  2. Oklahoma is one of the country’s largest producers of natural gas. 8.4% of the gas produced in the country comes from this state.
  3. Rocktown Climbing Gym is one of the most unique in the nation, with a 90-foot wall inside of a grain elevator.
  4. The Poteau River is the only river in Oklahoma that flows north.
  5. Oklahoma’s state capitol is the only one that has an oil well directly below it.
  6. The state’s highest point is Black Mesa and the lowest point is Little River.
  7. The Myriad Botanical Gardens features a beautiful conservatory and outdoor gardens.
  8. Home improvement stores in Oklahoma often make sales to gold miners, who purchase their sand to sift for gold. 
  9. The Oklahoma National Guard produced two of the most famous infantry divisions to serve in World War II. The 90th Infantry Division and the 45th Infantry Division were both made up of Oklahoma soldiers.
  10. In 2008, Oklahoma City was named the most recession proof city in America by “Forbes,” this is coming a long way from the oil crashes of the 1980s, when Oklahoma City had one of the worst job and housing markets in the country.
  11. Oklahoma produces more gypsum than any other state.
  12. The Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, made famous by the Netflix series “Tiger King”, was located in Wynnewood, Oklahoma.
  13. Because of the droughts and high winds that the state suffered during the 1930s, more than a million residents of Oklahoma migrated to California. The migrants were known as “Okies”.
  14. The Oklahoma River offers opportunities for kayaking, rowing, and other water sports.
  15. It’s one of three states that produce helium.
  16. There are no national parks in Oklahoma. There are 38 state parks protecting 0.13% of the land, the 4th lowest percentage of protected land in any state.
  17. The “Dust Bowl” was the name given to the Southern Plains region of the United States that suffered from severe dust storms during a dry period in the 1930s. Due to the high winds and choking dust, people and livestock were killed and crops failed across the entire region.
  18. Oklahoma City is known for its friendly and welcoming residents.
  19. Oklahoma is the only state that produces iodine.
  20. The Humpty Dumpty supermarket chain owner in Oklahoma, Sylvan Goldman, invented shopping carts in 1937 to get customers to buy more.
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  1. In 2007, the longest lightning flash spanned a distance of 321 km (199.5 miles) horizontally from Tulsa near the Arkansas/Oklahoma border to the Oklahoma Panhandle.
  2. The Oklahoma City Ballet attracts talented dancers from around the world.
  3. The highest temperature ever recorded in Oklahoma was 120 degrees, at Tipton on June 27, 1994.
  4. From the 1400s to 1800s, ancient peoples built earth mounds at the Spiro Mounds site in eastern Oklahoma.
  5. An oil well in Oklahoma erupted for 11 days before being brought under control. The incident happened in 1930 when the Mary Sudik No. 1 well erupted after striking a high-pressure formation of about 6,500 feet beneath the state capital. This well produced an astonishing 20,000 barrels of oil and 200 million cubic feet of natural gas a day.
  6. Lake Hefner is a popular spot for sailing, boating, and picnicking.
  7. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Oklahoma was -27 degrees in Vinita on Feb. 13, 1905, and in Watts on Jan. 18, 1930.
  8. In 1719, explorer Jean-Baptiste de la Harpe came upon the Oklahoma region and claimed it for France.
  9. Shopping carts were first invented and used in Oklahoma before they were used anywhere else in the world.
  10. The Oklahoma City Firefighters Museum pays tribute to the brave men and women who protect the city.

Do you have even more interesting facts about Oklahoma? Share them with us in the comments! 

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