The Sam Noble Museum of Natural History is located on the campus of The University of Oklahoma (OU) in Norman, Oklahoma- about 30 minutes south of downtown Oklahoma City. The museum is currently operated by OU, and offers multiple exhibits displaying the rich natural and cultural history of the state of Oklahoma, including fossils and prehistoric skeletons, Native American artifacts, cultural treasures from around the world, and dioramas of Oklahoma’s natural landscapes. The museum has acquired over 7 million historical objects belonging to the people of Oklahoma, and displays them across 50,000 square feet of exhibit space.
The Noble Corporation and Noble Energy Orientation Gallery
The Orientation Gallery is located at the entrance of the museum, and the first thing one will see upon entering is the Sauroposeidon proteles, the world’s tallest dinosaur peeking into the Great Hall. This is an interactive gallery providing information about the museum’s work and research. It also provides a preview of some of the museum’s best artifacts.
The Siegfried Family Hall of Ancient Life
A favorite of museum-goers, the Hall of Ancient Life introduces visitors to Oklahoma’s prehistoric times. The centerpiece of this gallery is “The Clash of the Titans,” an exhibit featuring two enormous dinosaurs in a battle. A glass elevator gives visitors the opportunity to see world’s largest Apatosaurus eye to eye, 26 feet in the air. There are also ancient mammal skeletons, including a mammoth and saber-toothed cat.
The Noble Drilling Corporation Hall of Natural Wonders
This gallery is designed to make visitors feel as though they are walking through Oklahoma’s great outdoors. There are multiple dioramas, including the Ozark highlands, a limestone cave, and the mixed-grass prairie. All dioramas include both plant and animal life to make the experience as real as possible, and more dioramas are planned to be added in the near future.
The McCasland Foundation Hall of the People of Oklahoma
The Hall of the People of Oklahoma walks visitors through a 30,000 year history of native Oklahomans, beginning with the earliest evidence of human life in the state. Highlights include reproductions of Native American pole houses and a canoe, along with examples of Native American clothing, toys, and other cultural objects. There is also an impressive collection of arrowheads.
The Merkel Family Foundation Gallery of World Cultures
Visitors can explore a variety of cultural objects from around the world, ranging from ancient Greece and Rome to the Eastern Orient in the Gallery of World Cultures. There is also a display of Mayan artifacts, including textiles, masks and toys.
The Paleozoic Gallery
This gallery provides a hands-on opportunity for visitors to touch and feel some of the oldest surface rocks of Oklahoma and a meteorite while learning how the planet was formed. A walk-through diorama of a prehistoric nature trail also gives visitors the experience of facing full-scale models of bizarre animals, like dragonflies with 2-foot wingspans and a 6-foot long relative of the millipede.
Other exhibits include the Andree Family Discovery Room, where kids and adults alike can get up close and personal with artifacts from the museum, the Conoco Oil Pioneers of Oklahoma Plaza, and multiple virtual exhibits.
Hours and Admission
The Sam Noble Museum of Natural History is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
Admission Fees are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors 65 and up, and $3 for children 6-17. Children 5 and under and OU students may enter for free.
The museum also has free admission for everyone on the first Monday of each month, and it always offers a $1/ticket discount to all U.S. military personnel and their families.
In addition to multiple free admission days, the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History offers a variety of fun and educational activities as well. There are family movie nights, which give families the chance to see the museum after hours and then settle in for a movie in the Great Hall, all for the same price as regular museum admission. Spike’s Club is for 1st through 5th graders who have a love for nature. It costs $40-$45 and includes weekly sessions allowing kids to explore, play games, do crafts and more.
Museum Rentals and Membership
The museum space is available to rent, and is popular for large events and birthday parties. The museum has held university events, private parties, weddings, lectures, and more.
There are also opportunities to support the museum through becoming a member. Museum memberships provide complimentary admission, a newsletter, store and program discounts, and invitations to member-only events. Membership prices range from $20-$1000.
More information can be found on the official site.
Other Oklahoma City Museums:
The Science Museum of Oklahoma (formerly known as the Omniplex)
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art
The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum
The Myriad Botanical Gardens of Oklahoma City