Why Is Tulsa Called the Center of the Universe?

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View of Tulsa, also known as the center of the universe

Cities receive unique nicknames for one reason or another. New York City is “The Big Apple,” and Philadelphia is “The City of Brotherly Love.” However, Tulsa has been called the “Center of the Universe” The origin of this nickname is mysterious and has sparked multiple theories.

Today, we’ll dive into the history and legend of Tulsa’s “Center of the Universe.” And we’ll explore its scientific explanation and how you can experience it. As a bonus, we have some suggestions for things to do while visiting Tulsa.

Strap on your thinking cap, and let’s get started!

About Tulsa

Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a growing city in the heart of the United States. Its history heavily involves the oil industry. It played a significant role in the city’s growth and development. 

However, it’s now home to a thriving arts scene, world-class museums, and various restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions.

The city sits in northeastern Oklahoma, with the Arkansas River running through its center. Its location makes it a hub for transportation, commerce, and culture. It also gives it easy access to other major cities in the region.

It is known for its Native American heritage, with several tribes, including the Osage Nation, having historical ties to the area. The city has many cultural events and festivals celebrating its Native American history, such as the Red Earth Festival and the Native American Heritage Month celebration.

This booming city has a reputation for its outdoor recreation opportunities. More than 130 parks and several miles of walking and biking trails along the Arkansas River exist. 

Visitors can enjoy water sports such as kayaking and fishing. However, a scenic drive along the historic Route 66 might do the trick for those looking for more relaxation.

Why Is Tulsa Called the Center of the Universe?

The nickname “Center of the Universe” comes from a mysterious acoustic phenomenon in a small concrete circle in the Brady Arts District. This paved circle, which measures 30 feet in diameter, has a unique acoustic quality. It causes sounds at its center to echo back louder.

Visitors must walk up a set of stairs and stand in the center of the circle to visit the Center of the Universe. They can speak or make sounds there and experience the strange acoustic sensation.

The echo is so strong that you can hear it a few feet away. However, it is almost entirely silent, just a few steps outside the circle.

Close up of the center of the universe in Tulsa

How Does the Center of the Universe in Tulsa Work?

The exact reason for this phenomenon is unknown, and many theories exist about its causes.

Some people believe that it is due to a natural underground echo chamber, while others attribute it to the unique design of the surrounding buildings. Still, others believe that it results from supernatural or paranormal forces.

Regardless of the cause, the “Center of the Universe” has become a popular attraction for visitors to Tulsa, drawing people from all over the world interested in experiencing this strange and fascinating occurrence. 

Whether you believe in the scientific explanation or the supernatural one, there is no denying that the “Center of the Universe” is a unique and mysterious feature of this vibrant city.

Things to Do in Tulsa

Tulsa the center of the universe and of numerous things to do. We’ve got you covered if you want some things to do after experiencing this mind-boggling acoustic event. Here are some activities you should consider adding to your travel plans.

Visit the Philbrook Museum of Art

The Philbrook Museum of Art is one of the finest art museums in the region. The museum lies in an Italian Renaissance villa that has been preserved and restored, including the surrounding gardens. It provides a glimpse into the city’s grandeur of the early 20th century.

Inside, visitors can explore various artworks from different periods and cultures. Some of the museum’s most notable pieces include works by Picasso, Van Gogh, and Renoir. It also has an extensive collection of Native American art and artifacts.

Take advantage of the opportunity to experience the museum’s beautiful gardens. They feature a wide variety of plants, sculptures, and fountains. The Philbrook Museum of Art is a must-see for anyone interested in art, architecture, and history.

Explore the Tulsa Zoo

After visiting the Center of the Universe, stop by the Tulsa Zoo. It has over 400 species of animals from around the world. The zoo covers 85 acres and features various habitats, from the African savannah to Asia and South American forests. 

Visitors can see everything from elephants and giraffes to tigers and orangutans, as well as a wide range of birds, reptiles, and amphibians. 

However, one of the highlights of the Tulsa Zoo is the Lost Kingdom exhibit. It features a variety of animals from the rainforests of Asia, Africa, and South America. Visitors can see jaguars, tapirs, pygmy hippos, and various monkeys and birds in an immersive setting.

The Tulsa Zoo also offers a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year, including animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours, and summer camps for kids. Visitors can enjoy a variety of dining and shopping options, and a playground and other attractions for children.

A zoo sign

Walk Along the Arkansas River

Visitors and locals in Tulsa enjoy a casual stroll along the Arkansas River. It flows through the city’s heart, and a long stretch of its banks has been developed into a beautiful trail. It offers incredible views of the water and the surrounding neighborhoods.

The trail is known as the River Parks Trail and stretches over 26 miles long. It’s one of the longest continuous trails in the state. It winds through various landscapes, from urban areas to quiet parks and natural areas. It’s perfect for walkers, joggers, and cyclists looking to get some exercise.

You can enjoy picnic areas, playgrounds, and restrooms along the trail. Or stop at several attractions along the path, including the River Skate Park, the Gathering Place, and the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area. Additionally, walking or cycling along the River Parks Trail is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air. 

View of the Arkansas river bridge in Tulsa

See a Show at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center

The Tulsa Performing Arts Center is a state-of-the-art facility. It hosts a variety of theatrical performances, concerts, and cultural events throughout the year. 

The center features several performance spaces, including the 2,365-seat Chapman Music Hall. In addition, the 437-seat John H. Williams Theatre and the intimate 200-seat Liddy Doenges Theatre are also available.

The Tulsa Performing Arts Center hosts a variety of shows, including Broadway shows, musicals, plays, dance performances, and concerts. The center also hosts various cultural events and festivals, celebrating the diversity and richness of Tulsa’s arts and culture scene.

In addition to its diverse programming, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center is also home to several resident companies.

These include the Tulsa Ballet, the Tulsa Opera, and the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. These world-class organizations perform throughout the year and give audiences a memorable experience.

Keep in Mind:

Visit the Woody Guthrie Center

The Woody Guthrie Center is a museum and cultural center dedicated to the life and legacy of legendary folk singer and songwriter Woody Guthrie. Guthrie was born in Oklahoma and is best known for his songs about the struggles of the working class and the social injustices of his time.

The center features various exhibits and interactive displays that explore Guthrie’s life, music, and legacy. You can see original song lyrics, manuscripts, photographs, rare recordings, and other artifacts from Guthrie’s career. 

The center also hosts various events and programs throughout the year, including concerts, lectures, and educational workshops.

One of the highlights of the Woody Guthrie Center is the “This Land Is Your Land” exhibit. It features an interactive display where you explore the lyrics and history of Guthrie’s most famous song. 

The exhibit also explores the broader history of American folk music and its role in shaping the country’s social and political landscape.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities at Mohawk Park

Mohawk Park, covering over 2,800 acres, is the largest park in Tulsa. It offers a wide range of outdoor activities and amenities for all to enjoy. The park is in the north of the city and has a beautiful and natural setting. It’s perfect for hiking, picnicking, and exploring.

One of the highlights of Mohawk Park is the Oxley Nature Center, which offers various educational programs and activities for visitors of all ages. The center has several miles of hiking trails through the park’s natural habitats, exhibits, and displays.

Other popular activities at Mohawk Park include fishing, golfing, and disc golf. The park features two 18-hole golf courses and a disc golf course with 18 challenging holes. Additionally, visitors can fish for bass, catfish, and other species in the park’s several ponds and lakes.

Mohawk Park is also home to several other attractions, including the Tulsa Zoo, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, and the Mohawk Park Golf Course.

With its beautiful setting and wide range of activities and amenities, Mohawk Park is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to enjoy the great outdoors in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

View of a park in Tulsa

Visit the Tulsa Air and Space Museum

The Tulsa Air and Space Museum is a must-visit destination for aviation enthusiasts and anyone interested in the history of flight. The museum features a collection of over 20 aircraft. Additionally, exhibits and displays throughout the museum explore the history of aviation and space exploration.

You can see various aircraft from different eras and countries. It has vintage planes from the early days of flight, military planes from World War II, and modern jets and helicopters. 

The museum also features several interactive exhibits. Visitors can experience the thrill of flight, including a flight simulator and a virtual reality experience that takes visitors on a journey through space.

One of the highlights of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum is the Planetarium. It features a state-of-the-art projection system that takes visitors through the solar system and beyond.

Visitors can also enjoy educational programs and events throughout the year, including workshops, lectures, and summer camps for kids.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Tulsa?

The best time to visit Tulsa depends on what you want to do during your visit. If we had to pick one season, visit between September and November.

Fall in Tulsa means cooler temperatures and lots of festivals. Not only can you do everything on our list, but you can also experience the celebrations.

Winter is relatively mild, but summers can get hot and humid. If you plan to visit during the summer, spend time near the water.

Temperatures can climb into the high 90s and be somewhat uncomfortable. Spring offers the opportunity for mild weather and blooming flowers, but it’s also peak tornado season.

Keep in Mind:

Don’t miss the Mystery and Magic of Tulsa’s Center of the Universe

The Center of the Universe in Tulsa is a unique and mysterious attraction you don’t want to miss. Whether you believe it involves magical properties or not, the Center of the Universe will fascinate visitors of all ages. 

While in Tulsa, you can enjoy many other attractions and activities, from exploring the city’s history and culture to enjoying its beautiful parks and outdoor spaces. Whether you’re a fan of art, music, or nature, Tulsa has something to offer everyone. 

So add the Center of the Universe to your itinerary and discover the mystery and magic for yourself. 

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