Ardmore Named Among ‘Worst’ Places To Visit In America
I know I've been accused of being a little harsh on Southeastern Oklahoma and the various cities that exist there, but it's honestly nothing but a little healthy pride and competitiveness at play. Besides, everyone benefits from a good spirited rivalry... Oklahoma vs Texas, OKC vs Tulsa, Wayne's vs Whataburger... It's all in good fun.
Something unexpected, and a little mean-spirited did pop up in my social media feed though, declaring Ardmore to be one of the "Worst Places In America To Visit."
I've never been to Ardmore, but I'm the adventurous type that truly believes there's no such thing as a boring place... only boring people. That being said, let's examine why Ardmore was bestowed such a terrible crown and try to articulate an argument, for once, why the internet is wrong about a Southeastern Oklahoma town.
While it would be easy to pick apart Ardmore for the more famous reasons... Being the 11th most "sucky" town to live in Oklahoma... or existing as the 7th most dangerous town in the state... it's sort of odd that someone would cherry-pick Ardmore for one of the most unique reasons I've ever heard of... a (reportedly) super-creepy doll museum.
In small town Oklahoma, you kind of get what you get. Look at Moore, it's known for two things... tornadoes and the bone museum. If you were into (probably) super-creepy dolls that can trace popular history of America and Oklahoma, you'd feel right at home... but surely Ardmore has more to offer than just a (more than accurately worded) super-creepy doll museum.
If you searched "Things To Do In Ardmore," one of the highest rated things there is to board a train and leave. The Heartland Flyer has a stop there... but depending on how deep you dig, things aren't exactly looking up for A-Town.
The #1 attraction in Ardmore, according to TouristChecklist.com is Urban Air Adventure Park. What a bummer. Not to insinuate that Urban Air isn't a fun place that any kid will love... but it's not something that is unique to Ardmore. Surely the "best things" to do in this town isn't limited to outside corporate chain influence right?
What's the #2 attraction in Ardmore? "Catch a movie at the AMC Classic Ardmore 8"
Throughout the list of "Things To Do," Ardmore is almost metaphorically knee-capped by just regular activities you can find in literally any town in America... Farmers markets, pumpkin patches, bowling alleys, city parks, a Christmas "Festival of Lights" that can't hold a candle to Chickasha's, lakes, casinos, etc... The website even mentioned yoga as an attraction.
What person in their right mind, even if they're super into yoga, is going to travel to Ardmore, Oklahoma to do some light stretching?
Perhaps the Tourist Checklist isn't the best guide to seek out to experience a place... but there are some unique gems listed there if you scroll past all the lame everytown stuff.
Did you know Ardmore is home to the oldest continually operated drag strip in America? It's medium-time too, hosting all sorts of divisional NHRA events throughout the year. There's also a dirt-track oval there, but why travel to see something you can catch in Lawton?
Ardmore is also home to the largest hay maze in Oklahoma. Even if you've been, there's a reason to go back as they build a new maze each year on the 3B Ranch. Alongside the maze is tons of activities for the kiddos, and every parent can appreciate anything that gets their kids off their screens for an afternoon.
There's also a pretty unique city attraction too called The Clubhouse... Owned and operated by the City of Ardmore, it's like a party space available for rent, or you can just show up and enjoy things like go-karts, zip-lines, ropes courses, mini-golf, and depending on the time of year, something called Water Wars or an ice skating rink...
A handful of interesting museums round out the real pique of interest... no matter how creepy looking at dolls sounds, it does sound curiously interesting.
Does all of that make Ardmore a top destination in America? God no... but I'm fairly confident you could do a lot worse with your travel itinerary.