OU’s main campus is located in the center of Norman, Oklahoma, about 20 miles south of Oklahoma City, the state capitol. With more than 110,000 residents, Norman has the advantages of small-city living along with easy access to the large city. Little River State Park and Thunderbird Lake, which are within the city limits, are a haven for swimming, water-skiing, sailing, fishing, and camping. The cost of living in Norman is among the lowest in the nation. (See chart).Oklahoma City is another source of cultural, recreational and sports entertainment. Attractions include the Oklahoma Arts Center, the Oklahoma Museum of Art, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, and Ballet Oklahoma. This major metropolitan center also offers the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage center, the Oklahoma City Zoo, the Kirkpatrick Omniplex (science museum) and Omnidome Theatre, and many other museums, theme parks, and attractions. Its diverse ethnic mix supports a variety of markets, restaurants and festivals.
Oklahoma has short, mild winters and well over 300 days of sunshine per year. The state is the meeting place between central prairie, southwest desert and midwest forest. As such, it enjoys a variety of geographies, ecologies and culture. Oklahoma has 77,000 acres in parks and recreation areas, with a large number of man-made lakes that provide miles and miles of shoreline.
It is perhaps best known for its Native American culture; the name “Oklahoma” itself comes from the Choctaw “okla” meaning “people,” and “humma” meaning “red.” Once known as “Indian Territory,” it is still home to more Native Americans than any other state, except California. There are 39 tribal headquarters located here, and members of at least 67 tribes call Oklahoma home. The state’s Native American traditions are celebrated in a number of museums and cultural Festivals, the most famous of which is perhaps the Red Earth Festival, held each summer.