Field Trip to Woolaroc
As a work-at-home-mom, I am grateful for the flexibility I have that allows me to take my kids to school, pick them up, and be available to go eat lunch with them and attend school functions. I am not able to volunteer for every opportunity with the PTA, but I can do some.
There are some requests you just don’t turn down. So, when my stepdaughter asked me if I would chaperon her upcoming school field trip to Woolaroc, the answer was instantly, “Yes!” Those of you out there who are stepparents know how difficult it can be to blend families and to earn trust with your stepchildren. To be honest, I got a little teary when she asked. I know, I know, they probably just needed volunteers and she probably didn’t think anything special about asking me, but I sure did.
I made arrangements for someone else to take my littles to school that morning, and found someone to stay with our twelve year old who did his schoolwork online this past school year, and packed up our things for the day. Corrinne even made me a list!
It was a hectic morning for sure. I couldn’t ride on the bus with the class, but had to follow along in my car. The entire fourth grade was going on the field trip, and the line of cars with attending parents was insane. And it was rainy. But we made it!
Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve was the private ranch of Frank Phillips, and is located on Oklahoma State Highway 123 twelve miles southwest of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. I had visited as a child, probably on a similar field trip, but haven’t been in years. I have to say it was even more interesting to me as an adult to read about the history of the estate and all the fascinating artifacts it holds. Sadly, I wasn’t able to take as much time as I wanted to read every little thing because I had to keep up with these crazy kids who excitedly rushed about, chattering about every clay pot and animal hide they saw!
Frank Phillips’ vision for Woolaroc was to have a place that preserved the Oklahoma he knew as a child, untouched by development and urbanization. I absolutely loved seeing all of the Native American artifacts, and displays like this one. This shadowbox shows all of the different native Oklahoman plants used to produce dyes for textiles. How cool is that?!
It is amazing to see the array of the Phillips collection in the Woolaroc museum. It truly is a vast collection of native artifacts as well as gorgeous artwork. This painting of Pocahontas pleading for the life of John Smith took my breath away.
The children, of course, loved all of the animals!
Can you imagine traveling in a covered wagon? This is a REAL covered wagon, that traveled over 625,000 miles with its passengers!
I also had no idea that Frank Phillips was an aviator. In 1927, Phillips was part of a race to Honolulu, using his revolutionary new petroleum product, Phillips Nu-Aviation Gasoline. A replica of the racing plane, named the Woolaroc, hangs beautifully in the museum.
Petroleum is a huge part of Oklahoma history, part and partial to Frank Phillips and his legacy. There is a portion of the museum dedicated to this era of Oklahoma, including a replica of an Oil Lease House, which shows how families who worked on the oil lease land would have lived.
In addition to the museum, there is a 37, 000 acre wildlife preserve, which is home to more than 30 different varieties of animals. There’s also a petting zoo, which my little veterinarian-to-be was very excited to visit!
I should share at this point that this was not the ideal day for a field trip to an outdoor location. It was cold, windy, and rainy. I’m not gonna lie. I was not excited about this part of the day. This is my I’m-not-happy-about-the-weather face.
But I was there for Corrinne and her friends, not myself. So we continued to romp about in the rain, see the animals and the buildings, and even climbed the narrow and slippery stairs to the observation tower. I am actually glad we did; it was really beautiful to look out and see the entire property and remember just how beautiful Oklahoma is. I’m sure it would have been even more lovely had the weather agreed with us!
When you do visit Woolaroc, there is a lot to explore. Because of the inclement weather, we did not do nearly as much outdoor exploration as we could have and stayed mostly in the main buildings and museum, but the ranch would be a fantastic summer day trip adventure. Add it to your list of summer to-dos!
See you around town,