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Top Five Things to Do During the AQHA World Show

This year, while you’re at the AQHA World Championship Show in Oklahoma City, you’ll likely spend most of your time at the fairgrounds. Whether in the stands, on stall cleaning duty, practicing, or in the arena showing, barn time is almost all the time.

However, in those brief moments you can escape from the barn, you might find yourself wanting to explore some of OKC’s travel hot spots. Whether you’re looking to learn, adventure, go on a shopping spree, or eat some good food, Oklahoma City’s got a lot to offer away from the show grounds.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, be sure to double-check hours and also be aware you may have to buy tickets beforehand for a specific time-slot in order to enter as well as wear a mask.

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City is known as “America’s premier institution of Western history, art, and culture.” The Museum not only has a large collection of Western art and artifacts that it collects, preserves, and exhibits, but it also offers many interactive workshops and serves as a home to three Halls of Fame, including the Hall of Great Westerners, the Hall of Great Western Performers and the Rodeo Hall of Fame. Some of their current exhibits include Girls of the Golden West, West: The American Cowboy, and Storytellers and Sellers: Artist Illustrators.

Oklahoma City Zoo

If you’re looking for an unforgettable wildlife adventure, the Oklahoma City Zoo is the right place for you. Located in OKC’s Adventure District, this zoo and botanical garden have over 1,900 animals and many hands-on animal activities. The zoo offers many fun rides, exhibits, and a closeup view of many exotic animals and sea life. Whether you’re interested in a “Flamingo Mingle” session, Camel Rides, or the chance to feed a Rhino or Giraffe, the Oklahoma City Zoo promises tons of fun for everyone.

Stockyards City

Stockyards City is a historical part of OKC that showcases all things Western. Once used as a cattle yard and still functioning as one of the largest cattle markets globally, Stockyards City is home to western wear shops, great restaurants, and even the iconic Shorty’s Caboy Hattery. Another unique part of Stockyards City is the Oklahoma National Stockyards, the world’s largest stocker and feeder cattle market. It’s here where you can see cows bustling about as they’re prepared for auction.


Once a warehouse district, Bricktown has now evolved into a lively urban district. It’s home to dozens of restaurants, bars, retail shops, museums, art galleries, and even a mile-long canal going right through the town. The Bricktown Water Taxi offers rides down the canal, or you can take one of the bicycles or hiking trails through the area. Bricktown is a great destination for a quick retreat from the OKC fairgrounds.

Myriad Botanical Gardens

The Myriad Botanical Gardens is marked as one of Oklahoma City’s favorite places. The Gardens offer visitors 15 acres of natural beauty with a children’s garden, an off-leash dog park, the Park House restaurant, “splash fountains,” as well as paths for walking and jogging.

The Myriad Gardens offers a variety of horticultural education programs for adults and children. Classes range from story reading, making chocolate, wreath-making workshops, to the annual Oklahoma Gardening School, and more. The Myriad Botanical Gardens has a variety of displays for the inner outdoorsmen in all of us.


Oklahoma City is a town of many entertainment opportunities and even more horse shows. When you have some free time away from the barn during your OKC stay, make sure to eat good, explore lots, and make memories. Be sure to keep these five places in mind as you explore the great state of Oklahoma at this year’s AQHA World Championship Show.

About the Author – Oklahoma State Equestrian Commit, Lauren Pursley is a devoted youth equestrian showing in the all-around events with her horse Lovin Some Lazy Lola. Lauren is the current Texas Quarter Horse Youth Association Vice President, AQHYA Region 8 Director, and a member of Team USA 2020 for the Youth World Cup.  In addition to competing in AQHA shows, Lauren competes in Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) horse shows and participates in the 2020 AQHA Ranching Heritage Bred Young Horse Development Program.