I have always loved Oklahoma history and interesting places. I was a teenager when I ordered my first free Oklahoma Travel Guide and starting planning small trips around our home. My dad took a state map, drew a large circle around our town, and told me we could visit anywhere within the circle. It was a good size for a one-day excursion, but we never got to visit one of the most fascinating sites I knew of – the Heavener Runestone State Park.
The parkwas built to surround the Heavener Runestone – a large stone inscribed with what many believe is proof of Vikings in early Oklahoma. A definitive origin for the markings has been disputed, but it was intriguing enough for me to want to visit. Other rocks with similar markings have also been found, and those stones (or replicas) are also on display.
Last year, Heavener Runestone State Park, was one of seven state parks that Oklahoma decided they could no longer afford. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t ever get to see the runes in person, but the city of Heavener took it over in July 2011. The park is still nice and well kept, with a big gift shop. Admission to see the runes is by donation only.
The path was nice and wide, and the stone edged walkways were good for pictures. The runestone itself is in an enclosed building, so even though it was a little misty, we were able to look them over easily. You have to climb stairs to get there, so it’s not wheelchair or stroller accessible. If you do bring really little ones, make sure to hold on to them tightly, because there are a few drop off areas along the walkway. It seems perfectly safe but you don’t want to get too close to the edges.
Everyone looks quite a bit closer to the edge here than it seemed in real life. Hold those little hands tight!
All in all, we really enjoyed our visit to the Heavener Runestone Park. Of course there are geocaches in the area, so there’s more fun to experience. There’s also additional hiking trails and a pretty waterfall during rainy weather. I’m glad I finally got to experience the park…and I got to see it with my kids!