Norman's motto is "Building an Inclusive Community," which is an apt description of its character, even though it is one of the largest cities in Oklahoma. Presently, Norman is home to over 120,000 residents. Also within its borders is the University of Oklahoma, which is the most prominent university in the state. The National Weather Center is also a key organization in the city. Along with providing detailed daily forecasts, the weather center conducts research to better understand and predict severe weather events in the area. This is quite helpful for the community considering that Norman lies in Tornado Alley, which is one of the busiest tornado areas in the world.
Norman's roots go back to the early 1800s, following the addition of Oklahoma to the list of US states in 1803. Through treaties enacted in the early 1830s, Norman became part of what is called the Creek Nation. During the 1870s, the US government seized control of unoccupied lands around Norman. The leader of the project was a man named Abner Norman, who established a camp near Lindsey and Classen streets. The area was initially called "Norman's Camp," which was ultimately shortened to "Norman."
Around the time Norman got its official name, it also got its first train station. The railroad was built through the city in the late 1880s. It was part of the Topeka, Atchison, and Santa Fe line that connected vital areas throughout the Midwest and Western regions. The railroad brought more people and business to the city, which eventually caught the attention of two businessmen associated with the railroad company. The duo decided to expand Norman and make it a destination location. This decision was due in part because of the city's continued land grab opportunities and government incentives hoping to bring more settlers to the area. Not long after plans were set in motion to expand the city, the first university (the University of Oklahoma) was established. Norman's growth and expansion continued. By 1902, it had a vibrant town center filled with banks, hotels, and businesses. By 1940, the city's population size exceeded 11,000 residents. The addition of a naval training center and an airport increased the city's population size even more.
Attractions in Norman
Naturally, a city as large as Norman has plenty of things to do. From museums to parks, here are some can't-miss places to explore in the city.
Sam Noble Museum of Natural History
Situated on the University of Oklahoma's campus, this museum of natural history shows the importance of the natural world in Norman's past and present. Although the museum was established over 100 years ago, it wasn't until 1999, its 100th anniversary, that it opened for business in its current location. The museum features permanent collections showcasing natural wonders of the world, Oklahoma's first citizens, world cultures, and more.
Lake Thunderbird State Park
The Lake Thunderbird State Park covers nearly 2,000 acres. Within its confines are a trail network, open spaces, and a reservoir that is popular for fishing, boating, and other recreational activities. Events periodically take place around the state park, such as a trash collection day and community walk/run events.
This water park is open year-round. Amusement park-style rides are offered in all seasons, while a water park operates seasonally. This park contains a miniature golf course along with batting cages and other areas designated for athletic and sports activities. The park has a pay-per-ride system, which means that visitors can go on (and pay for) as many or as few rides as they wish.
Buck Thomas Park
This park covers approximately 130 acres. It offers an array of recreational opportunities such as walking trails, a playground, fishing areas, and more. For anyone needing a quiet reprieve from the city's fast pace of life, this park is an excellent destination. Periodic events are held at the park, such as an Easter egg hunt in the spring, and dog training classes all year around.
Established in the 1800s, Norman has transformed from a place where people moved because of government incentives to a destination where people go by choice. With a prestigious university, museums, and events, there's always something going on in this vibrant city. Despite this growth, Norman's natural areas are still crucial to its identity. If your lawn is looking a little bit less like something that would make the city proud, let us help. With experience in all aspects of lawn care and maintenance, Lawn Love is the area's go-to resource for property beautification.