Acoustical Anomaly One Part Of Midwestern City's Charm
By Vanessa Pearson
TULSA, Okla. -- I journeyed to the Center of the Universe. All it took was an overnight stop to visit a college friend on my way back to Tyler and short walk through downtown Tulsa.
It's a worn 30-inch circle of concrete on a pedestrian bridge near the train station.
When you see it in the shadow of the "Artificial Cloud" statue, it seems like every other cement bridge you've seen.
But when you step directly onto it and speak, it's other-worldly.
Your voice reverberates like you'd screamed into the back of a box fan with an echo.
And what's weirder? A companion can stand six inches from you, just outside the circle, and hear nothing unusual.
What causes it? No one knows. Sure, engineers and scientists offer plenty of theories, but no one really knows.
That's why the Sonic Center of the Universe landed at the top of my must-see spots when I stopped for an overnight visit.
I found the spot on RoadsideAmerica.com, one of my favorite websites on the entire Internet. I want to see odd and weird things when I travel. Who wants to see exactly the same things as every other tourist? Not me.
So I also got my friend Chris, a native Tulsan, to take me to all the weird and interesting spots in Oklahoma's second-largest city.
Like the newspaper boy statue outside his office at the Tulsa World and the 76-foot-tall mustard-yellow man called the Golden Driller outside the Tulsa Fairgrounds.
Or the giant prayer hands at the entrance to Oral Roberts University. The 30-ton bronze statue honors the university's namesake and are just one of the campus' interesting sites. The architecture of every building is geometric and I've never seen so many buildings at one time employ the style. And the buildings are gilded. Next time I'm in Tulsa, I want to spend some time walking around the campus and taking in all the details.
Back on the edge of downtown, the Blue Dome district, centered along Second Street, boasts a neat nightlife and cuisine scene.
The namesake dome was once a 1920s gas station that attracted Route 66 travelers and sits on one corner amid bars and restaurants with patio areas and colorful paint jobs.
We snagged a pizza at Joe Momma's Pizza -- and because it was Tuesday, it was $5 pizza night. The place had a wait, so that either meant it was good or trendy. I enjoyed the brick-oven pizza I customized with tomatoes and onions. And the fried cheese Chris talked me to ditching my diet for were yummy and hardly greasy.
The next day, we hit the quirky Dilly Deli, one of his favorites. No table had four matching chairs and color popped from stainless steel everywhere. And because I already blew my diet for those two days, I ordered my favorite breakfast items: scrambled eggs and a cinnamon roll. But this wasn't any cinnamon roll -- "The Jed" was billed as being the size of my head. And it was.
I ate the whole thing eventually -- it took me three more days after I returned to do it, but I did.
The Arkansas River runs by Tulsa and the city has developed a lovely RiverWalk, perfect for getting your exercise in while you're on the go or spending the day at its amphitheater, restaurants or shops.
And if you are into flowers, Tulsa has a rose garden, too. The Tulsa Rose Garden Center is south of downtown and has acres of blooms to browse. It costs nothing to visit and visitors enter through an amazing building. Take a peek inside the rooms on the first floor before venturing out to the gardens. Roses are labeled amid the trees and water features.
It abuts a park and also offers tours. Through Aug. 30, Thursdays feature story time in the garden for children.
Visit tulsagardencenter.com for hours and more information.
The city has more charm than I could take in during 36 hours, so a repeat visit to the city born of an oil boom is definitely on my list.