Main Street in 1908.
Looking north from Eighth and Boston.
Bandana Tours, owned and
operated by Kelly Gibson (formerly owned by Alice and Rudy Froeschle), has provided walking tours, art
deco tours, art and architectural tours and church tours of Tulsa since
1987, when it was founded by Patricia Cowan. We take pride in tours that can be customized for the interests of
each group. We offer various tours of Tulsa, the most popular being the
downtown Walking/Tunnel Tour, usually one
hour, narrated by an experienced guide. Tunnel tours longer than one
hour are available.
All tunnel tours are by
special arrangement and most are on weekdays* between 9
a.m. and 3 p.m. Your group can be from 1 to 20 people;
the cost is $75 per group. Cash or checks are accepted, but we don't
take credit or debit cards. You will be walking about 8 blocks on the
one hour tour, three inside and four outside. Your guide will cover many
areas of interest, including fascinating local history, architecture,
and art information. Questions are welcome, and our guides are used to
gearing discussions to a variety of ages and interests. The starting
point of the walking tour is flexible. People staying at downtown
motels, for example, can start and end at their hotel if they wish.
*A different walking tour
is available on the weekend.
Travel the Tulsa
Tunnels (a walking tour)
and under the streets of downtown Tulsa on a walking tour via the Tulsa
tunnels. See ornate buildings of art deco and gothic design built during
the oil boom days of the early 20th century.
See sculptures, murals and
paintings in those buildings. Walk across the streets under the streets
on this tour, going back in time to see Tulsa when it was in its early
days. This is a great tour for groups of friends, co-workers, school
kids, and people of all ages! Come downtown on a walking tour to see a
glimpse of Tulsa’s fascinating past.
former owner Alice
Froeschle gathers a group to enter a Tulsa tunnel on a downtown walking
offer "step-on" guide service where you provide the bus or van and we
arrange the route and ride along to narrate. These tours are also by
special arrangement. The price is the same, $75 per hour.
Driving Tours of Tulsa:
A step-on guide service
Tulsa Time Tour, a
Historical and Architectural
2 to 4 hours
Hear about and see the sites
that tell the story of Tulsa from its beginning to its presence today as
a diverse and beautiful city. Hear of the men and women, Native
Americans and cowboys, back when the Indians were the cowboys! Hear
about those who came to strike it rich and the locals who also struck it
rich; settlers from all parts of this country and the world who were
responsible for Tulsa’s beginnings and its oil-boom growth.
Tulsa, known for its art
deco architecture, is also known as "terra-cotta city" for the elaborate
ornamentation including gargoyles on some of the downtown buildings.
On this tour we will drive by and maybe go inside to see the lobbies of
several of these historic buildings. We’ll travel to the Creek Council
Oak Tree and Park where the original Tulsans settled and named Tulsa
We’ll drive through "Black Gold Row," blocks of mansions built by the
oilmen in the 1920s when Tulsa was the "Oil Capitol" of the entire
world! We may drive by the Philbrook Museum of Art, once the private
home of Waite Phillips, one of the oil barons from early Tulsa. We could
see the Gilcrease Museum on our tour or take a walk through the
beautiful Tulsa Rose Garden, home of over 10,000 varieties of roses, and
drive to the campus of Oral Roberts University to see the Praying Hands.
We may go to historic Greenwood, once called "Black Wall Street," home
of a thriving African-American community in the early 20th century; then
on to the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park where the history of
African-Americans in this country and in Tulsa is told in sculpture.
This park, built to honor the survivors of what has been called a race
riot that occurred in 1921, is a place for hope and reconciliation
Tulsa, once called
City" and the south’s "Most Beautiful City," has a powerful and moving
story that can be seen through its past and present. The history of
Tulsa and the remarkable resilience and indomitable spirit of its
friendly and generous people make Tulsa as exciting to visit today as it
was when it was the "Oil Capitol of the World."
Art Deco Tour of Tulsa
2 to 4
Tulsa has been featured in
national magazines for its many beautiful and well-preserved art deco
buildings throughout the city. In 2001, the World Congress of Art Deco,
a group that has also met in Cape Town, South Africa and Melbourne,
Australia met in Tulsa to see our beautiful art deco architecture. Art
deco buildings in Tulsa include a cathedral designed by a woman! Its
soaring tower and terra cotta figures over the main entrances are a
feast for eyes of the art deco enthusiast. Other art deco buildings in
Tulsa include the Fairgrounds Pavilion, two high schools, the old Union
Station and many others with rich art deco themes inside and out. Art
Deco became popular in the late 1920s, swept throughout the country and
the world, and continued to be built in Tulsa through the 1940s.
Photo/above, right: Art
deco detail on the front of downtown Tulsa's old Warehouse Market
today, buildings are being built in Tulsa with a nod to art deco, like
the Tulsa Metropolitan Transit building built in 1999. In Tulsa we are
proud of our art deco heritage and are aware of how important it is to
preserve it. Art Deco - it’s one of
the things people come to Tulsa from
all over the world to see!
Holy Tulsa: A City of
2 to 4 hours
buildings, built with grandeur and beauty in styles of both the past and
present are an important part of Tulsa’s past and Tulsa today. On this
tour we’ll hear about the founding of the downtown churches built
between 1914 and 1929 when oil and prayer funded these powerful
monuments to religious beliefs that are still vibrant and active today.
We’ll visit the interior of a number of the churches to see their
extraordinary beauty close-up and hear about their history. The churches
of Tulsa tell the story of its people and their faith, a story that
resonates in the past and reverberates for the present and the future.
*Churches include those
of various denominations and faiths.
Photo/above, right: Art
deco figures in the architecture of Tulsa's Boston Avenue Methodist
Church, completed in 1929.
Art and Architecture: The
Story of Tulsa in Its Art
2 to 4 hours
Hear the story of Tulsa told
by its architectural treasures, sculptures, and murals in parks, on the
streets and in buildings. They tell the story of Tulsa’s past, present
and hopes for the future. Included on this tour are bronze and wood
sculptures, some depicting real people, including an actress who
graduated from a Tulsa high school and won an Academy Award for her
portrayal of a saint in a movie made in 1943. This art also depicts
oilmen, roughnecks, policemen, Native Americans, prominent
African-Americans from Tulsa, settlers, and aviation pioneers; people
from Tulsa history. It includes the good guys and the bad guys, the
ordinary everyday people, the famous and the infamous, and events from
Philcade arcade looking south. Photo/right,below: Gargoyle on downtown
Tulsa's Mincks-Adams Building.
On this tour we’ll also see buildings that reflect the
grand vision Tulsa had in the early days and we'll see architecture that
embodies the bold spirit of the time and the high hopes for the future
of this diverse, beautiful and complex city.
The story of
Tulsa in its
art and architecture is the story of our country: the past, the present,
the pride, the vision and the hopeful future that make Tulsa a great
place to visit and a great place to live.
Step-on tours for tour buses visiting Tulsa
Leave the city of Tulsa and
discover the heartland of America amidst the area's surrounding hills
and prairies. These tours often begin with the Tulsa Time Tour and
continue on to these locations within 60 miles of Tulsa:
Will Rogers Country Time
6 to 7 hours*
Visit of the birthplace of
America’s favorite cowboy, the Dog Iron Ranch on beautiful Lake Oologah
and continue on to the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, where the
talent and spirit of one of the best known and loved of all Americans is
captured. A stop for a 20,000 gun salute at the Davis Gun Museum, home
of the largest gun collection in the world is often possible on this
Call for price.
Woolaroc - Phillips '66
6 to 7 hours*
Travel to Woolaroc Ranch
where the buffalo really do roam even today. Named for the woods, lakes
and rocks on the property, Woolaroc is an open wildlife preserve with
many types of animals. The museum has an outstanding collection of art
and artifacts of the west and a Native American Heritage Center. Also
open to the public is the Phillips Lodge where Mr. and Mrs. Frank
Phillips entertained dignitaries from around the world; it’s worth the
trip all by itself. On the way back to Tulsa, we can visit a small town
with silhouette sculptures on a hillside near the town by a Native
American artist who has an art store there with his own and many other
art works and crafts for sale.
*Call for price.
Oklahoma Aquarium and
Riverwalk Crossing in Jenks
The Oklahoma Aquarium
located in Jenks on the banks of the Arkansas River is a cultural,
scientific and educational center for visitors of all ages. The aquarium
has over 200 exhibits and almost a million gallons of water representing
ponds, rivers, reservoirs, streams, rocky coasts, tide pools and dozens
of other habitats, home to trout, bass, seahorses, and thousands of
other aquatic creatures. The aquarium’s one-of-a-kind walk through shark
tank is an engineering masterpiece with its all acrylic dome. More than
20 feet across, the dome gives the aquarium visitor a sense that they
are virtually swimming with the sharks. After visiting the aquarium the
group may want to stop at Riverwalk Crossing, a lovely shopping and
entertainment venue also on the banks of the Arkansas River or drive a
few blocks to visit some of the wonderful antique and craft stores on
Main Street in this charming little town.
*Call for price.