Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Arbuckle Wilderness

(Join with us as we continue the road trippin’ fun, north from DFW up to Wichita, Kansas and beyond... I know the anticipation is killing you.)

Itinerary in hand, I looked on a few days before we left on our trip. I wanted to check out if the weather would be fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk hot, or just regular August-hot.

Well. Behold the pink. Our trip would take us from the hot mugginess of Houston, to the blistering hot dryness of Dallas, only to end up in the record-setting hot of Wichita. Not to be left out, we decided mid-morning on Saturday not to leave Oklahoma without experiencing her 115 degree weekend. Would someone I’m related to PLEASE move to Colorado? My only consolation is that now I am bound and determined to go visit my Kentucky family next spring. I will go. After this road trip, Kentucky and it’s relatively milder weather seems like a piece of cake.

We impulsively decided after seeing a billboard to forgo our lunch-in-OKC plans and take everyone to Arbuckle Wilderness. (When I was growing up there was a commercial on TV that played all the time, and to this day, when I mentally think the words “Arbuckle wilderness”, it is immediately followed up with, in my head, “Wow! What a difference!”

For those of you who don’t regularly drive past exit 51 in Oklahoma, Arbuckle Wilderness is one of those places where you stay in your car and all kinds of displaced African safari animals are supposed to wander up to your minivan and eat animal feed out of the pepsi cups that you bought at the gate for $3 each. You drive through, and try not to run over any llamas or miniature donkeys.

I had set the bar low for this place. I think we have all been to zoos, peering anxiously into the lion area, only to realize that the lions are hot and holing up inside, away from the prying eyes of visitors. I was prepared to see near empty habitats, because how crazy do you have to be, to be wearing a full coat of hair/fur, wandering around the 115 degree Oklahoma heat?

Apparently, just a little crazier than the family in the minivan with the windows rolled down in the 115 degree Oklahoma heat.

I would like to offer some tips to any future visitor of Arbuckle Wilderness:

  1. Let the kids out of the seatbelts. You are driving 5 miles per hour, alone, on a set path. Getting to drive and sit in the front seat will be a highlight for some of your children.

Getting to run around the now-empty backseat unencumbered and eating Craisins out of the snack basket all by yourself will definitely be the highlight for some of your other children, who may or may not have even known there were animals outside.
  1. There were animals outside? Um, yes. And go ahead and get that extra cup of animal food, because these aggressive llamas will grab an entire cup out of your 4 year olds’ hand, snarf down the goodies, and throw the empty cup on the ground.

  1. Zebras are really pretty. And bigger than you think they will be.

  1. The identity of this animal has not been officially confirmed (it looks a lot like a Brahman cattle to me, Brandon thinks it’s a Sabu), but he has a gigantic head that he WILL stick entirely in the van and drool all over whatever hand is holding his snack cup.

    This was the only animal I was actually concerned about tipping the van over. He and his buddies could totally do it.

  1. And if this guy comes to your window?
Do what Emmy and I did, and DO NOT UNROLL YOUR WINDOW. Do not do what Brandon did, which was unroll the window and watch as this crazy ostrich reached his long neck halfway across our front seat, attempting to peck Aidan’s eyes out.

Okay, he may not have actually been aiming for eyeballs, but he very well could have been. These are mean birds, people, mean birds.
  1. When you finish driving through Arbuckle Wilderness, go ahead and cross the highway and pick up a fried pie from the fried pie place. Just think of all the calories you surely burned off while you were clinging to your children in the front seat, saving them from being Brahman lunch and ostrich eyeball appetizers. Dane was considerably braver than his mommy was when it came to feeding all kinds of undomesticated animals out of the front seat. There was some screaming and some clutching on my part.

Overall, our little side trip was worth every penny. I love that we’re on a little vaca that allows for impromptu side trips. The kids LOVED Arbuckle Wilderness, and it’s not every day that you get to feed zebras out the side of your window in Oklahoma.

(Please forgive the numbering/spacing in this post. Something happened when I transferred the word document into blogger and then added pictures. And I'm too tired to fix it.)


Megan said...

Love this family vacation your on! Can't wait to see where you stop next : )

Adrienne said...


So jealous you guys got to make the stop at Arbuckle Wilderness. Mom and Dad never let us go there when we were kids, so I am wondering if this was something Brandon wanted to do to fulfill a childhood dream! :)