We happened upon Oklahoma when we were driving from Arizona to Pennsylvania. We just picked an exit that had a few hotel options and ended up finding a small casino and some of the nicest people. We had such a good time and decided we needed to plan a trip to Oklahoma. We’ve been there on three vacations now and will probably go back to places we didn’t get to. Ponca City was one of the most memorable and enjoyable places we visited.

History of Ponca City

Ponca City was named after the Ponca tribe that was given this land during the resettlement of tribes. The land was picked for close proximity to the Arkansas River. E.W. Marland moved to Oklahoma and started the Marland Oil Company. This company once controlled 10% of the world’s oil reserves. In 1929 Marland Oil merged with Conoco oil company, which later merged with Phillips Petroleum. In 2012 the company split and ConocoPhillips has the upstream portion of the company and Phillips 66 has the refining and transportation portions of company. Phillips 66 still operates the largest refinery in OK.

There are many places of interest here especially if you love history. Make sure you take your camera, because if you’re like me you’ll be taking lots of pictures. If you love to keep memories from your trip, make sure you get the free pamphlets from the museums to keep for your memories.

Standing Bear Park and Museum

This park and museum were built to help educate people about the history and cultural importance of the Native American culture and tribes in the area. Six tribes are represented: Ponca, Kaw, Osage, Pawnee, Otoe-Missouria and Tonkawa. In the middle of the park is a 22-foot statue of Standing Bear a Ponca chief. He was chosen for his fight with the government for Native American rights. He went to Washington and won his case that the judged ruled that all Natives have the same legal rights as all US citizens. There are many things to see in both the museum and park that help understand Native American history.

Marland Mansion Estate and Grand Home

E.W. Marland had two houses when he was in Ponca City. After moving to his second home, Marland Mansion, his first home became a museum. It showcases technology that had not been seen before such as a central vacuuming system and automatic dishwasher. It has the first indoor swimming pool built in Oklahoma. E. W. Marland later went on to be the 10th governor of Oklahoma and then turned his mansion into a museum that highlights his history and the history of oil in Oklahoma. These are a must see for history buffs!

More places to explore.

Pioneer Woman Museum– this is a museum that celebrates the history of all the women who helped shape the new frontier in the US. There is a great statue depicting the women and a very informative museum.

Conoco Museum– When Conoco merged with Marland Oil in 1929 it helped shape the history of the oil industry. They built this museum so that people could learn about the history of the oil industry.

Town of Ponca City– Riding through town you will find many historic buildings along with government offices and Sharp’s Indian Store that sells many native items and was established in 1989.

Another place to check out is Kaw Lake. It is 8 miles east of Ponca City. You can enjoy camping, swimming, and boating here.


Osage-Ponca City: not only is there a casino here, but also a hotel with a pool and hot tub, fitness center, and business center. Hotel rooms come with coffee makers, mini-refrigerator, and other amenities. There are over 400 slot machines here. If you get hungry, there are two restaurants here.

Blue Star Gaming and Casino: This is a small casino in Ponca City. There are 100 slot machines here and a bingo hall. There is also a restaurant here that has some really good deals sometimes, so check it out while you are there.

7 Clans Casino: 7 Clans has two casinos near Ponca City. The first is in Newkirk which is 15 miles from Ponca City. The second is in Red Rock, approximately 18 miles away. We went to the one in Newkirk. It has over 450 slot machines. 7 clans operate 3 casinos, 2 gasinos and First Council Casino and Resort.

Native Lights Casino: This casino is owned by the Tonkawa tribe. There are over 400 slot machines and electronic table games. If you’re hungry you can stop at the Buffalo Grill & Lounge. There is also a smoke shop on the property.


Ponca City and the surrounding area is full of history and well worth the trip. If you love to learn about the history, enjoy the scenery, or love going to new casinos, this is a great place to explore. I know every state has some great places to explore, some well-known and others not so much and I encourage everyone to see what there is to explore near you and take a weekend and have fun. If you’re planning a vacation, investigate areas that aren’t so well known for tourists. You never know what you might find. Take some time and find your adventure! If you would like to see some of our travel videos click her: https://youtu.be/OpJ4jTrsxJs

By Greg and Peggy

We are two people who love to travel, thrift and play slot machines. We love going to new places, especially if there is a casino! We just want to share our adventures with people and hope to inspire them to explore and have fun!

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