A seasonal chill is in the air, bells are jingling, and the old-fashioned Christmas tradition is in full swing at the Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve near Bartlesville.
Each year, the “Woolaroc magic” takes on new life as it sparkles with all the holiday trimmings. The historic 3,700-acre country estate of late oilman Frank Phillips is glowing with a quarter of a million twinkling Christmas lights.
“This is truly one of those wonderful family traditions for so many people,” Woolaroc CEO Bob Fraser said. “We have families who meet here at Woolaroc each year to celebrate their ‘family Christmas’ during our lights.”
Between now and Dec. 20, the slice of country heaven on the Osage Hills will be bustling with visitors after dark as they stroll through outdoor light displays, peek inside Phillips’ undisturbed 10,000-square foot lodge decorated for Christmas, and pour over artifacts inside the museum itself.
The Woolaroc ranch hands host evening wagon rides, and there will be live entertainment, appearances from Santa Claus and hot cider, hot chocolate and cookies for sale.
The lights at the preserve were turned on Friday and will remain lit every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5-9 p.m., through Dec. 20. Admission is $4 for adults and $1 for children 11 and under.
Entertainment will be in the Heritage Theater almost every Friday and Saturday night, and a schedule of performances will be distributed at the front gate when guests arrive.
During Wonderland of Lights, the 2-mile main drive to the campus is reversed, allowing guests a unique view, seen only this time of year, of the buildings across from Clyde Lake glowing for the season.
One of the most special moments of Wonderland of Lights is seeing the Holiday Horseman as you exit the property. The Holiday Horseman is a real horseman riding along the drive. He and his horse both are outlined completely in white lights.
The Woolaroc experience is special, nearly spiritual to some, as it transports visitors back in time. It allows a glimpse inside Phillips’ life at his ranch, one that was luxurious for its time and a left a lasting legacy behind.
Before he died, Phillips ensured his foundation would keep Woolaroc a place that preserved the ideals of the West, its animals and the spirit of the three figures who made Oklahoma what it was at the turn of the century -- The Indian, The Plainsman and The Oilman. Those elements all remain central to the Woolaroc experience.
Wonderland of Lights entertains thousands of visitors each Christmas season, some of whom are first-time visitors and almost always vow to come back in the warmer months.
After all, once the Christmas magic fades, the “Woolaroc magic” remains.
“To have the chance to walk the grounds as holiday music drifts through the trees, enjoying the lights, hearing the laughter of children -- this is the way things should be this time of year,” Fraser said.
Learn more about Woolaroc here