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Discover state's hidden gems

Summer is coming to a close, and families may want to take one last trip before school starts. Instead of planning an outlandish vacation or a mediocre trip, parents should look at some hidden gems Oklahoma has to offer.

The list includes museums, celebrations and foundations Oklahomans may not have known are in their backyard. All information was compiled through

Southeastern Oklahoma

Home to the second-largest herd of Asian elephants in America, the Endangered Ark Foundation in Hugo was founded in 1993 to help preserve the endangered species.

The private nonprofit is dedicated to ensuring the future of Asian elephants in North America, according to its website. The foundation provides a retirement ranch for circus elephants and uses tours to educate the public.

According to its website, the foundation's board "respects the intimate understanding of the bonds and partnerships formed between animals and humans, and the need for human involvement and action to save endangered animals. We believe that through education, conservation, and preservation efforts we will ensure that people will be able to experience the joy and wonder of Asian elephants for generations to come."

Tours are available by appointment only. Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for children (ages 4-12) and free for infants (3 and younger). Group rates are available.

For information on the Endangered Ark Foundation and tour options, visit, call 580-317-8470 or email

Northeastern Oklahoma

Oklahomans interested in learning about the Jewish experience within Oklahoma, the United States and the world can look no further than the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa.

The museum works to deepen understanding of Jewish culture through exhibitions and educational programs that highlight Jewish faith, history, culture and art. According to, the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art is home to the "largest collection of Judaica in the American Southwest, and was named the third best Jewish museum in the United States and Canada by Jewish Living Magazine."

The museum's website states that its mission "is to preserve and share the legacy of Jewish art, history and culture." It was founded in 1965 when a local synagogue brought the traveling exhibit "Traditionally Ceremonial Art" from the Jewish Museum in New York. Since it generated great interest, the Gershon and Rebecca Fenster Gallery of Jewish Art opened to the public. The gallery's first curator, Sherwin Miller, began collecting Jewish art and artifacts, and in 2000 the museum was renamed to recognize his achievements. In 2003, the museum moved to its current location, 2021 E. 71st in Tulsa.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Docent-led group tours are available. Admission is $6.50 for adults; $5.50 for age 55 and older and $3.50 for students age 13-21. Groups of 10 or more are $3 per person. Free admission is given to museum members, school teachers with school ID, Blue Star Families and members of the uniformed services.

For information visit or call 918-492-1818.

Oklahoma Panhandle

On Aug. 13, Guymon will play host to "Azuma: An African Celebration" where attendees can take part in traditional dancing, hear African music and listen to stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. The celebration will also include cuisine from various African countries, including South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eretria.

For information, visit or the Main Street Guymon website,, or call 338-6246.

South Central Oklahoma

Featuring over 13,000 classic pop culture figures on display and a hands-on interactive experience, it's no wonder Pauls Valley's Toy and Action Figure Museum was named one of Time Magazine's "Top 50 Most Authentic Experiences."

According to, the museum has exhibits from conception to manufacturing of action figures from the late '50s to the present day. The museum opened in 2005 with a vision of giving Pauls Valley a unique attraction, according to the museum's website, and has hosted over 50,000 visitors from across the country and the world since it opened.

The Toy and Action Figure Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7 for adults; $5 for children; $4 for 55 and older; and free for children 2 or younger. Individuals younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Military discounts are available with a current valid ID. Groups of 10 or more are $4 per person.

The Lawton Constitution

102 SW 3rd, Lawton, OK
Classifieds: (580) 357-9545
Circulation: (580) 353-6397
Switchboard: (580) 353-0620